Hope the New Year finds you well, although the current global situation shows no sign of abating any time soon it has provided me the opportunity to spend more time working on various projects. One of these is a new route; The Dava Line in North East Scotland.
Built to connect Inverness to the south, the Dava Line served as the main route south until 1892 when the current Highland Mainline was built via Carrbridge. From Aviemore in the south the route passes through the wide and gentle Strathspey with glorious views of the Cairngorm mountains on the right until arriving at Grantown-on-Spey. From here the hard graft begins as the line climbs to the Dava summit, some 1046 ft high.
The moorland here is epic with vast swathes of heather that blooms a brilliant purple in summer. In winter the exposed landscape changes dramatically with deep snowdrifts notorious for stranding locomotives. Dava Station, the highest on the line, sits above this moor and provides respite before the long decent to Forres.
By the time the line has crossed over the impressive Dunphail Viaduct and it’s accompanied station the moorland has faded into green fields and farmland. The steep gradients continue as the line drops down past the Dallas Dhu distillery (now a visitor attraction) and into Forres at just 39 feet above sealevel.
The route certainly provides a challenge for the driver who is rewarded for their efforts by some of Scotland’s most picturesque scenery. Much effort has been made to capture the routes look and feel as accurately as possible. From track, turntables and bridges to buildings and vegetation – much of the scenery has been custom built.
It has been greatly satisfying to see the route come together over the last few months and, although cosmetically close to completion, there are still some important details to implement such as accurate signalling and scenarios.
With that said, we hope to have a release candidate ready this quarter so keep a look out for more details when they are released.
Wishing you the best in 2021.