Whilst not being set on the Isle of Skye, or even being a real place, Dunbracken is a model of a similar part of the world. Before Dunbracken I had been building another Scottish 009 layout in the cellar of my mum’s house, when moving away to university and a subsequent move of home meant that layout had to go into storage up in the loft, I thought it was time to build something smaller that I could actually get finished.
I was given an ironing board that cost £5 to build it on, after having seen Peter Leadley’s ‘Briding Noora’ I thought that something of a similar size would be ideal, so why not use an ironing board too? I had always had the notion that Dunbracken would be superceded by a larger layout in the back of my mind, so it was designed to contain features that would be on the larger layout in order for me to use it as a practice run. These features included water (I had never modelled it before), a Clyde Puffer (never made a ship before), moorland scenery, and various scenic techniques. It also includes the first buildings that I’ve ever made from scratch myself, the first backscene I’ve ever used on a layout and, well… you get the picture!
Operationally the only pre-requisite that I had was to be able to run a train consisting of 2 Vale of Rheidol bogie coaches from the fiddle yard onto the layout and be able to run round them without the need for an external fiddle yard. This meant that almost all the board would need to be taken up with a run round loop and a small section at the rear for the fiddle yard.
The layout had its exhibition debut at Tonbridge Model Railway Club’s show in 2009 (it had been there in 2008 as part of a demonstration but wasn’t in operation). Its second exhibition invite was to ExpoNG at Swanley also in 2009 , an invite to ExpoNG was one targets I’d set myself to achieve with the new layout, so to achieve it with Dunbracken was rather surprising. I was astounded to receive the Reinier Hendriksen Trophy for the layout at ExpoNG too, a real honour and total surprise. It subsequently featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Voie Libre, and even made it onto the front cover! It has also featured in several issues of the 009 News in either article or photographic form, and in the Dutch ‘Rail Magazine’.
Many of the techniques used to build Dunbracken will be described in the techniques pages of this site at some point.
Here is a slideshow of some images of Dunbracken.
A comprehensive thread detailing the build of the layout can be found here.
Dunbracken was retired from the exhibition circuit at the end of 2011.