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Blackston Junction lay on a historic piece of railway, connecting the Coatbridge area with the Union Canal to Edinburgh, via the significant Causewayend incline, a few miles west of Linlithgow. Eventually the line was extended to pass under the North British main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow at the bi-level station of Manuel and continued on to the coal shipping port of Bo’ness. Fascinating as all that is for the railway historian, Derek Whale, who built the layout, confined himself to portraying the junction at Blackston, a few miles to the west from where railway met canal, but where a route diverged to serve Bathgate. The layout shows the lines in the time of the North British Railway.
Blackston Junction was not as simple as it looks, and the layout depicts some of the complex train movements and sheer inconvenience to the passengers, caused by the fact that in spite of being a junction, the station only had one platform. The local coal pits supply most of the freight traffic, and the sidings are in constant use for making up trains. Of particular interest is the scenery, which represents one of those sharp winter mornings with frost in exposed areas and the bare trees stark on the landscape.
The layout is exhibited by Scalefour Society members in Scotland (Richard Darby and the West of Scotland Group) in memory of its builder, Derek Whale, a courageous modeller who died prematurely at the end of 2001.
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