The end of year silliness is still upon us, so model making is stalling a bit. It doesn’t help that I’m trying to work out a method for getting point rodding to go around corners, and I still haven’t found the missing pushbutton switches.

To tide you over until next week and the summer holidays, here’s tram number two from the Esslingen-Nellingen-Denkendorf tramway, which used to run through the next village to us. The original tram is now resident in the tramway museum in Stuttgart, but sadly it is unlikely to run again as this tramway had a bigger loading gauge than Stuttgart so the clearances are too tight in the city.

Most people think of a tram as urban transport but this was nothing of the sort and even has compartments to transport animals to market.Unweaned piglets could be carried in cages provided by the tram company, but weaned pigs were not permitted.

Well, quite right too…


Wiring is taking place. Slowly

It is every bit as exciting at this picture suggests.

I have colour coded the wires so we know what goes where. We have Red for positive and black for necative, and yellow for things like insulating sections and frog switches. I was properly organised this time.

At least until it came to putting the switches in the right box. So far they’ve eluded discovery for two weeks.

The yellow wires on the siding are on the insulating sections, the idea being that we can park two locomotives in the siding at the same time. Not that we have two locomotives, but there we go. It also helps us not to send locomotives down the siding and into oblivion.

The wires nearest the camera just bridge the insulating rain joiner and are a reminder that it is a good idea to measure your locomotives before you cut the insulating sections.

Ah, well.



So, the first exam came and went, and I’m told I did reasonably well. This week I get to do it all again, graded this time, and hopefully remembering all the reccomendations the examiner made.

Oh, and now I have to go and find out what our long-term immigration status looks like thanks to a sizable minority of the UK being tricked into believing it will be a good idea to go it alone. We have a lifelong visa here so we are okay for the time being, but with everything shifting under us I feel the need to plan ahead.

Thse two are taking a lot of time and energy, hence the low posting rate at the moment….


I spent most of the weekend preparing for my first practical exams, which means not much modelmaking got done. In the exam I have to teach someone something for half an hour. For my first attempt I chose to do a session on how to sharpen a woodworking plane, a choice I since regretted because it means carrying both my cast iron planes into college and back, but there we go. I’ve practiced with several people so I know how to approach the session, and I spent most of the weekend preparing lots of instructions for my ‘trainee’ to refer to. I also wrote a fifteen page report, which either explains my concept in flowing German prose, or fills a lot of paper with utter gibberish. I decided not to get anyone to proofread the first example so I can see if my German is up to the standard the college needs.

The college have very kindly let me do the test with just the tutor and trainee, instead of being in front of the entire class of 20 people, which would just make me freeze up. Of course this means organising an extra session, so they shoe-horned some space into Monday morning.

The test is at 1030 tomorrow. See you on the other side…


Here you see history in the making: The first train to run around the 1:55 scale, 9mm gauge roundy-roundy layout I’m working on with the boys. This is the first continuious run layout I’ve built since my Hornby model back in the mists of the 1980’s. I was about the age of my youngest son then, which probably shows I haven’t really grown up.



I’m not an electrician so the wiring is about as basic as possible. In fact they were a bit too basic at first: more on that next week.

We have a couple of ideas for how this vast amount of space will be filled…


but for now we are getting on with the important business of playing trains. I suppose this could also be counted as my first succesful scratchbuilt locomotive, which makes running it over a fenceless bridge like this a bit cavalier, but still…


The bridge is so bad that the local health and safety official turned white when he saw the train run over it. or maybe he was looking t that severe curve at the edge of the abyss.


The main (ie ‘only’) diesel on the line in the future station site. This is of course the loco from Westerooge which is built to the larger 1:43 scale. There is some discussion as to whether we will actually do anything about this.

The inaugural train was witnessed by Grandad, who is vastly more competent with a camera and thus became official photographer for the event. He usually takes pictures of prototype trains: you can find his blog here.

This week we had a trip to the local park at Killisberg, just on the other side of Stuttgart, which amongst other undoubted attractions has a 15″ railway, run by the local tram company, of all people. We haven’t been here for nearly ten years. Here we can see the passenger train about half way around the circuit.



Sometimes I look at things like this and think: why can’t we do something more useful with this? For example, the main entrance and only station on the circuit are at the opposite end of the park from the main play area and petting zoo. Why can’t they do the same as other park railways, and carry push chairs, with an extra station at the playaground?


Judging by the numbers of families who come on the tram with push chairs, who then have to walk the length of the park to the play area, they would gain a fair few riders for very little change to the way the line operates.

Alas, as is so often the case, no-one asks my opinion, and the train just trundles around the park bringing people back to where they started.


This is the sort of style I’d like to make for our, as yet nameless model: track snaking through the woods, occasionally alongside/crossing the road.


I don’t think I’ll nake a model of this train though. the setup is a bit too fancy for my liking. A grubby working loco with a train of rusty wagons is more to my liking.


Still, it is good to see some real narow gauge trains for a change and get a few ideas together.

More modelmaking progress coming soon…

It appears that despite my prodigious debating skills, the boys have rejected my carefully planned and built layout inna box, and instead voted in favour of the layout thrown together from bits of scrap wood, as that will be a roundy-roundy and the locomotive is ‘cute’.

This is the drawback of democratic decision-making.

However, The People Have Spoken, so I’m collecting donor wagons for things like bogies and other parts, hence the appearance of Blue Boxes of ready to run stock on the modelling board. These will hopefully become the useful part of a couple of coaches. Or something.


Meanwhile, it is the holidays and because I’m now officially a student, I’ve got some time to work on the track with the boys. The goal is to have trains running by the time we all have to go back to school/college in a week, so we can then take our time making the fun bits and playing trains.


The plus side of this process is that I’m getting lots of help.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers