Prototype Inspiration

I have long held a fascination with the Industrial Heritage of the UK. Big heavy industry of the early & mid 20th century provided the Railways with significant traffic and modellers with glorious scenes of dirt, dereliction and endeavour. In helping with other RMRG layouts and with the detailing of my Dads layout, Eskmuir, I have harboured layout building ambitions on such installations.

For a small space layout, a colliery lends itself perfectly with many small collieries existing through to the 1970’s, often with private sidings and locos. There are many reference books available such as ‘Industrial Railways in Colour’ by Adrian Booth, ‘Industrial Steam in the 50’s and 60’s’ by Eric Sawford and ‘Industrial Steam in Action’ by Roger Sivitar. In addition, the Internet is a gold mine with Flickr and other photo sharing sites offering many ‘free to download’ photos. Some off the more representative are included here with links back to the host site. There were two photos that gave the original spark, sadly I cannot reproduce here for copyright, but one can be found in ‘on Glasgow and south western lines’ by David Cross, page 73. It depicts three class 25’s at Kirkconnel in 1967. There is a video of coal wagons and coal yard at Potters bar coal train on British Pathe and various films on youtube

Based on my love of type 2 Sulzers, a layout in the Ayrshire coalfields was the outcome of such research and nostalgia. To keep it interesting in terms of rolling stock, I am setting it in the period 1969 to 1971 – green and blue diesels, full and half yellow panels, 16t unfitted mineral wagons and private owner steam mixed with ex-BR steam On tr NCB network. A good inspirational book on BR locos for me is ‘Seventies spotting days around the Scottish region’ by Kevin Derrick (Strathwood).


National Coal Board, West Ayr Area No.24, Andrew Barclay 0-6-0 tank, at Waterside Colliery in 1973. By Tilt Cab Man on Flickr


Comrie Colliery No 5; 7th April 1983 NCB, Scottish North Area No 5 dumped @ Comrie Colliery. By Woolwinder on Flickr.


Polkemmet Colliery No 8; 26 May 1982 Barclay NCB No 8 dumped at Polkemmet Colliery. By Woolwinder on Flickr.


25227 Elgin 30 October 1978 Shunting coal wagons into the station sidings. By Woolwinder on Flickr.


By Telefunker on Flickr


By Norwood77 on Flickr


851BI Frances Barclay Scottish North No.29, a 14″ Barclay, works number 1142, plays with a trio of loaded wagons at Frances Colliery 1971. By DeanM66A on Flickr.


Crab 42739 working at Glenburn Colliery. By Rick2E on Flickr.


Class 27 5372 & unidentified Class 20 at Kilmarnock, circa 1972. By Crewcastrian on Flickr.


NCB Number 19 taking water at Minnivey in 1973. Photo by Andrew Arnot on


Ayrshire Area No. 1 and West Ayr Area No. 21 stand in the yard at Cairnhill Colliery. By J. Davidson on

Steam’s Twilight at Lowca / Harrington coal preparation point 1973. By Kingmoor Klickr on Flicr.

Bardon Mill Colliery Shed August 1971. By Kingmoor Klickr on Flickr.

4 Responses to “Prototype Inspiration”

  1. Ian March 13, 2014 at 10:27 am #


    Great area to model. Have you read Dalmellington Iron Company, by David L Smith. Out of print but still available on ebay etc. Gives the history of the railway and engines right up to the late 60’s. I lived close by and often went to soak up the atmosphere and, if I was early enough, a footplate trip up the line. Happy days.


    • Black and Decker Boy March 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      Hi Ian, We have got the book, we bought it at the Dalmellington / Waterside preservation site.

      It must have been great to actually see and ride on the NCB system. Sadly such things were all gone by the time I was out and about spotting so its only history books, photos and videos I have for inspiration but it is a great period in Industrial UK terms.

  2. Jamie Wood January 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Saw the name and thought instantly: Waterside/Doon Valley inspired.
    More or less home turf – if I can be of any help let me know. Barclays feeding 16 tonners to ScR Type 2s is something I’ve often fancied but doubt will ever do.


    • Black and decker boy January 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Jamie, nice to know the name is suggestive of the area, it helps set the scene in people’s minds. Just hope the finished product lives up to the image as well. Nice to see the Sulzers are still alive and well on Culreoch too.


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