Platform ending

2019_09_19_Esslingen_11Last week I had to spend some time Esslingen, our county town, so I did something I haven’t done in ages: went to the railway station to take pictures of passing trains.

This meant I could get more pictures of Class 218 diesels, and you can’t have enough pictures of class 218 diesels. After arriving in time to catch one on the front of a local train to Ulm (above) I caught a second pushing a train to Stuttgart:


Esslingen is also great place for catching the freight trains between Stuttgart and Ulm/Munich, which are many and varied. This is handy as I still have no idea how to get freight train timetables in Germany.

152 011-3 is seen here hammering through the station on the fast line towards Ulm.




Slow line platforms, 146 224-1 on a local twin deck train going to Geislingen, in the hills between Esslingen and Ulm. Geislingen is the start of a 2.6 kilometre ramp at up to 2.25% (1:44.5).


Another older loco, 111 073-2 on a train to Ulm. These were one of the standard local passenger locomotives of early eighties. I think DB were planning to buy more of them but for political reasons they ended up ordering east German designs after reunification.

Notice attempt at artsy shot by holding camera at platform level.


Another class 111 pushing a semi-local train toward Stuttgart. For some reason this platform is on the fast line.

The station was extensively rebuilt a couple of years ago, which I expeced would result in several platform closures and the fast lines moved well away from passengers, but Germans seem to take a rather more robust approach to such things.

A few minutes later a class 146 on yet another local train pulled into the eastbound platform to to allow an ICE 4 to pass on the fast line. This layout seems more sensible as it allows fast trains to belt through at speed.

Note to Deutsche Bahn though, if you really want to make white trains, you need to clean them a bit more frequently.


Type 187 electric locomotive on a freight service, following the ICE and local train on the Eastbound fast line. This is the latest locomotive in the TRAXX family from Bombadier which are all over Europe in various forms.

DB has recently signed a contract with Bombardier for 450 TRAXX locomotives of various types; there was some talk of having a “last mile” module with a diesel engine but I think that’s been cancelled.

Then I made the mistake of putting the camera away and had to rush to get it back out again. Worth it though.


I’ll be travelling about this week again so there may be more chances to take pictures. We shall see.


The awkward stage


Glacial progress on the KÖB railcar continues: finally it is in colour; I’m not sure if it is the right colour but colour nonetheless.

I must admit I really dislike this stage. Models always seem to look awful in the first attempt at paint, before the details are painted and the mistakes corrected or hidden by weathering and distractions.

Still, progress is progress. Now I’ve got this done I can make an attempt at adding transfers and painting all those pipes and things.


Summer Holiday


I’ve been off travelling again, this time with Beautiful Wife and family on a train/bike holiday a moderately long train/bike ride away from Stuttgart.

Today I came back with Youngest Son after an extra day camping, and now we’re trying to do the washing and recover.

Normal posts will resume as soon as I have the energy…


While waiting to change trains near the German/Swiss border I found this German class 218 lurking in a bay platform. I see these fairly frequently in Esslingen, usually in pairs belting along the fast lines towards Lindau and Austria, but under the circumstances there’s not much opportunity for detailed observations.

The Br128 is part of a family of locomotives known as the v160. These days numbers aren’t cool enough and manufacturers pay committees to come up with names like “Gemini” or “Taurus”.


Despite the lack of a mythological name the class 218’s were very successful; between the late 1970’s and early 2000’s they were DB’s most important main line diesel, with a similar role to the class 37 and 47 in the UK. They’re now gradually being phased out by DB and replaced by the inevitable multiple units and class 245 locomotives but there’s still quite a few in our region.

Readers familiar with my ramblings may also recall that Henschel made an outwardly similar narrow gauge locomotive, known as the “NG-v160” which is still working in Thailand, Spain and one repatriated loco can be found in Germany, which I’m trying to make a model of. Very slowly.

Hence the rush to make detail photographs, most of which are too boring even for this blog.


The saga over the nose shape continues: I was sure these had a straight nose but this picture shows there is indeed a very slight horizontal curve across the end: cue much fretting about how to make this in model form, or if I should even bother.

Thankfully the NG version doesn’t have that complex angle running under the cab side windows though, and I wouldn’t have attempted it if it had: I know my limits…

So, all that swearing at technology a last week was –in part- so I had some appropriate transfers for the Körschtalbahn’s van and railcar.

The next challenge I was avoiding was actually putting them onto said van. I’d worked out a cunning plan while procrastinating and added dark green borders around all the designs. The theory was that when I inevitably cut something in the wrong place there would be a tiny bit of near invisible dark green instead of an ugly white line. This was fine except that the transfers turned out to be extremely delicate and scratched when cut with anything other than a brand new knife blade.


Also, the companies heavily advertised “After sales help” didn’t.

More overthinking followed before yours truly hit on the idea of varnishing the transfers. This improved matters somewhat, i.e. I managed to get them onto the model without more scratches than colour.

The glue was more forgiving than the transfers of my youth so I could take a bit of time to position these on the wagon, very, very carefully, and dabbing it with a facial tissue to dry while playing relaxing music softly in the background.

I dried them for 24h during which I refrained from looking at them in case this caused scratches, then applied two more coats of varnish over the next three days

So far they seem to be okay.

Now I need to weather them. This is hopefully the fun part.


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…

Changing trains


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…