Author: Russell Darling

I have been working on the Scottish East Coast Main Line since I first found Rail3D in Classic form, but I have now converted it to 2kD. It has also been extended to include the famous Waverley Route.

Currently it is what I would call a technical layout with all trains timetabled and given realistic route numbers. The only un-timetabled trains are the ecs workings which rely on holds being released when a train arrives at a station.

It will become a pretty layout when I have added more terrain, but this has led to major track works where my original gradient profile approach to track laying does not match up with the added terrain. Fortunately Mark has provided various tools to sort this.

Recent progress can be seen at the end of this page.

My approach is to create my layout for the 1962 era in great detail between Edinburgh (Waverley), Berwick and Carlisle, with no detail beyond to London, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. These last lines are only there with stops and quick signals to allow trains that enter and leave the detailed area to be seen in the roster to be running somewhere and not in a fiddle-yard. The London lines southwards from Newcastle and Carlisle had to be reduced in size by 80% to fit into Rail3D’s grid!

My approach

  • Download os maps from multimap.com and combine them in a graphics program - two very large files cover Edinburgh to Berwick.
  • For the line to Carlisle which is now defunct and not clear on current os maps, I downloaded 1925 os maps from the National Library of Scotland and combined them.
  • Digitise the lines with OziExplorer which allows export of points into a spreadsheet
  • Using gradient profiles found on the internet for the Berwick and Carlisle routes, added them into the spreadsheet
  • Import the spreadsheet into Rail3D which instantly gives the route and gradients with double lines if required
  • Add the rural branches in the same way
  • Add loops, sidings, platforms, stops/reverses, speed restrictions and signals on a station by station basis - photos from books and internet help here.
  • Signals are my best guess sometimes, but involve distants, homes, starters, shunts and junctions
  • Create timetables from my 1962 Scottish Region br timetable in Excel and import these into Rail3D
  • From these timetable spreadsheets, create diagrams for the various trains and cut and paste the appropriate bits as I create the trains
  • Complicated station layouts like Waverley with its 21 platforms were a challenge and normal digitising does not work, so a cunning plan emerged. I scanned the Waverley station plan from a book and created a flat wagon with its floor covered in the map. Various iterations produced the correct size of floor to make the plan cover the correct distances. Laying this on a track at the right angle (usually West to East) then allowed me to place the tracks and bay platforms in the “normal” way of laying tracks, something like pricking a model plan with a pin to produce an outline. Then joining them up with points, slips etc from the plan and photographs - Waverley is well documented by photographs.

Progress as at March 2005

14 dmus and two local steam-hauled trains running around the network to correct times and have just finished signalling the line to Carlisle before adding more loco-hauled trains (diesel and steam) to faraway places like Kings Cross and St Pancras.

Progress as at December 2005

With all the developments in Rail3D in recent times, I now feel confident in producing terrain for my ecml layout.

I am using Mark Hodson’s Coordinate Tool with downloaded dem maps to produce a spreadsheet of terrain data which can then be imported to Rail3D. My main problem was that, while the gradient profiles for the track were reasonable, a gradient for not the correct length can put the track too high up in the sky.

Using my Fugawi cd of os maps, one of which covers south Scotland and north England, I was able to produce paper copies of terrain profiles where there is railway track. Drawing my Rail3D elevations on these printouts showed where I needed to make alterations. Importing the terrain then produced reasonable cuttings and embankments.

Some terrain changes were required where imported points were too near the track and extra points needed to be added around station areas to maintain level ground without humps of terrain appearing between sidings. Extra points were also required around bridges.

My main concern is the time it takes to generate terrain :-( and I have overcome this by splitting the layout into 30sq km chunks. I find that this size of chunk takes about 30 seconds to generate and allows fine tuning and re-generation without having to wait too long. I use the new print facility with 1km grid lines and mark and name these selected chunks on it. Once I am happy with one chunk I can export the terrain, again a nicely timed addition to Rail3D, delete it from Rail3D and create the next 30 sq km chunk.

Eventually I will have all the terrain done and it will be a case of importing each saved chunk which may then require an overnight re-generation. Of course by that time Mark may have speeded it up :-)

Progress as at April 2007

Not much has been done to terrain since the December 2005 progress. However, a lot of new new features have been implemented:

  • Fully functioning lever frame signal box at Newhailes Junction
  • Signal panel for Waverley East - quite complicated
  • Destination Boards on the dmus
  • New ex-lner B1 locomotive built in traditional Rail3D style
  • New msts derived steam locomotive: ex-lner V2 (built by Brian Walker)
  • New msts derived diesel locomotives: Class 40 and 55
  • Diesel locomotives with route indicators

Class 55 passing Newhailes Junction Signal Box

Russell Darling


MRG 26/06/2013 14:30:46