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S4um Guide

Kyle of Sutherland is a “work-in progress” showing the passing loop station of Culrain in Western Ross on the Far North line of the former Highland Railway from Inverness to Wick and Thurso. The layout is set in the period 1955-1962, towards the end of which the last steam loco north of Inverness had left.

The principal aim of Kyle of Sutherland is to create a representation of an actual ex-HR location, offering realistic lineside views of prototype trains which ran north of Inverness. The high-level, theatre-style presentation gives an intimate view of this animated diorama. The proscenium arch and wings are designed to constrain the sight lines, for improved realism. Interpretative displays describe the prototype inspiration for the layout, and its construction. Baseboards are 3’0” x 16’0” raised to a viewing height of 4’3”. The scenic section is 8’0” long, with a traverser at the northern (Wick/Thurso) end, a hidden run-around, and cassettes at the southern (Inverness) end. The 30 foot radius curve through the station is equivalent to almost half a mile on the prototype.

The operating sequence for Kyle of Sutherland compresses a day into approximately one hour. While every item of stock to be found north of Culrain had to pass through Culrain at some time or other, artistic licence is taken to include the Dornoch branch train and the Inverness to Tain locals in the sequence. Rolling stock is a prototypical mix from the pre-Grouping, Grouping and early British Railways periods, much of it scratch or kit-built. Some of the stock is also presented as work in progress.

Presented by Stuart Holt