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OnWayfarer labels final_sheet_also_KÖB_Railcare of the jobs I’ve been putting off for ages was making transfers. This is because it involves electronics and machines, which as everyone knows are inhabited by leprechauns

On the other hand I realized I’d have to either beat the machines or have a permanently unfinished railcar so after more research faffing about I ordered some sheets with a “white” and “clear” background.

This of course just meant I had a big folder full of expensive transfer sheets, and I could have probably ignored them for even longer, but I’m working on the randonneur project with Elder Son and I’d promised him we could make transfers for the bike, because hey, I needed to make some for the models so I could do those at the same time…

I really should think more before opening my big mouth.

Designing the transfers was relatively simple: I’ve been using the Gimp graphics programme for several years and these days can generally get it to do what I want without wanting to throw a shoe through the screen too often. Once the design was complete it only took half an hour to persuade the computer to convert it into a PDF file and another fifteen or so for my computer at work to talk to the printer in the corridor and make a test print.

Success was mine, I loaded the printer with the transfer paper in the ‘special’ tray and told it which paper to use.

The printer ignored this and used the normal paper.

I tried again, this time selecting the ‘special’ tray on the printer control panel and the computer.

Caught out and with its options limited, the printer sulked.

Eventually the Business Manager got fed up of me cluttering the corridor and pressed buttons in a stern manner. This frightened the printer into working, mostly: it did try to smear some of the transfers but fortunately I was ready for this and made several on each sheet.

Ha. Take that, evil technological devices.

Now all I have to do is actually apply the things…

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Changing trains

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I’ve been travelling again, this time I had an interview in Lörrach, a town so near the Swiss border you have to go into Switzerland to get there in the train.

I also managed to travel behind one of German Railways brand new, if aesthetically unfortunate, class 147 locomotives, seen here on the left with a Swiss railways Re 420 on the opposite side of the platform. These are the new intercity locomotive for this region, hauling double deck intercity coaches, which frankly alone made the trip worthwhile.

The photo was taken while waiting for another train in Singen, which is a junction for several trans-European routes so there was a lot of variety. I will return to this subject.

There was even a DB class 218 which I took lots of pictures of, ready for when I finally get myself into gear and finish my narrow gauge version.

That assumes of course that I can stop gallivanting about and get my model making organised long enough to start that project up again…

On the side.

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Model making time is still being squeezed again by job hunting and if I’m honest by building the Randonneur bike and touring, so I dug out a simpler project for this week, namely building a BMW motorbike for swashbuckling tabletop adventures.

Suitably painted this should be the ‘go to’ vehicle for your heroic last minute million-to-one-chance escapes or alternatively pursuit of the bad guy.

I’m not too sure what colour to paint it though. I realise the kit is for a military motorcycle but do you think I could get away with having it in vaguely civilian colours?

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I’ve been getting distracted again: it was warm and sunny, so I had the choice of sitting inside making models, or going out and exploring in my bike. I had also rashly made a resolution this year to complete an imperial century, 100 miles or 160 kilometres.

Actually, I’d made this resolution for about seven years straight so it was high time I actually went out and did it.

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Eyach, change here for: Haigerloch, Hechingen, Gammertingen, Sigmaringen and Kleinengstingen.

This is why your correspondent ended up one spring Saturday afternoon, with slightly sore legs, at Eyach, junction of the German Railways line between Tübingen and Switzerland, and the Hohenzllerischen Landesbahn (HzL) branch to Hechingen.

I’d figured that if I turned around at a railway station I could take some pictures and pretend it was all ‘research’.

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DB Track to the left, HzL to the right. Notice relaxed approach to matters like fencing and level crossing signage.

Click here for an image taken in the 1970’s from almost the same location. Notice the HzL/DB link is the other way around.

Hohenzollern was once a semi-independent state, a tiny corner of Prussia, in fact (don’t ask why), and as such it got to build its own railways. Originally the branch from Eyach only ran as far as Stetten, because someone had realised there was money to be made selling liquid carbon dioxide and mineral water from a natural source in the valley, but after dithering for about ten years the HzL finished the line to the junction at Hechingen up in the hills.

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Goods shed. This would make an awesome arts centre.

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Surprisingly intact abandoned crane.

By the time the railway was complete passengers with any sense would have caught the Reichsbahn train from Tübingen to Hechingen and left Eyach out all together. There’s not much use for a railway connecting a small town with three houses so passenger services were stopped back in the 1950’s, but Eyach was still needed for transferring 15000 tones of liquid CO2 a year to the Deutsche Bahn system for transport up to Stuttgart and points beyond.

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Entrance from DB station to the HzL ‘Station’ beyond. It seems the HzL were not expecting many passengers.

The branch line is still used for some freight. There are also tourist trains in summer: these run on Sunday, which would have been handy to know earlier, as it would have resulted in more interesting photographs.

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Deutsche Bahn station on the left, HzL Station on the right. Platforms are for wimps apparently.

I got fairly carried away thinking up ways to make a model based on this, partly to put off making the return journey. The HzL could be metre gauge, with transhipment sidings; and transporter wagons; and mixed trains with railcars…

Of course, this was partly a way of putting off the return trip to Stuttgart…

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As I look at these photographs, I realise why I generally find myself on solo bike rides.

(Pictures of the station in 2009. This is what it looked like when I first cycled through)

(The story of my first, accidental, imperial century is here)

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After a considerable amount of faffing about, the van is now in glorious technicolour. Admittedly the colour in question is mostly grey, but it’s colour; not just blank primer, and thus incredibly exciting.

I probably should get out more.

Actually, now I look at it the green is a bit too light so I’ll have to work on it, or possibly just hit it a bit harder than planned with weathering. The originals are generally rust free but they travel about a fair bit, and don’t seem to be cleaned any more than strictly necessary: these aren’t preserved relics.

This is very useful as it means I can hide the worst of my mistakes learning experiences under ‘weathering’ and no-one will be the wiser…

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Brake wheels: check.

Information panel (paper again, working on transfers at the moment, watch this space): check.

“Wooden” battens (card sanded down to look like they’ve had chunks taken out of them by thumping great tree trunks dropped by unsympathetic crane drivers): check.

Final weathering with pastels: check.

I’m pretty pleased with the overall effect, I just have this feeling something is missing…

I’m off at an interview…

It looks a nice part of the country.

Also, there are trains. I’ll take some pictures.