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Archive for January 15th, 2011

Ro-Rail

On the Humber valley and Simcoe Railway blog, Ron Wm. Hurlbut writes:

As if you don’t have enough on your plate, how about getting a Siku Mercedes Unimog U 1500 and converting it to a High-Railer?

I have indeed considered making a ‘high-railer’ (Known as a road-railer here). I even added to my village idiot status by taking photographs of Maxicar trucks used by the local authority with a view to possibly making a model of them. Or, with my skill level, a more realistic aspiration would be to make something vaguely resembling them, when viewed at a distance, in a dark room.

Ron suggested I use the Siku Unimog as a basis, like the one used by the Stuttgart metro network. This would make life easier and set me off thinking about fitting rail wheels to one with a motor in a ‘tool van’ permanently coupled to it. Then while I was idly watching trams in Freiburg while the family was doing something called ‘shopping’* This came along the metre gauge tracks…

…stopped briefly in the middle of the wandering shoppers, allowing me to make this unfortunately blurred image of the undergubbins. Note that the front wheels seem to be unconnected with the rail wheels:

before trundling through the city gate for the outer suburbs.

This is definitely a road-railer, and not some crude way of making a track cleaner: I saw it driving along another road earlier. Ron suggests a narrow gauge road-railer would use a form of friction drive, but this one seems to have a completely separate drive unit which lifts the entire machine off the ground. I could make one with a Siku Mercedes Atego and a motor unit and make one of these fairly easily.

I will now put this idea it in the ‘ideas book’ with plans like making a snowplough or a rail-based fire truck or extensions to the as yet un-built Spitzenwald.

If I spent half as much time building as I do imagining, I’d get a lot more done.

As an aside, I’m joining the WordPress ‘Blog a week’ challenge for 2011. and adapting some of their post ideas for this blog. The idea being that if I have an extra motivation to blog weekly, it will give me more motivation to build things so I have material to post. In theory this means there will be a post each Saturday. But then in theory I was going to get the Railcar built last year…

*Surely this could be a selling point for cities with light rapid transit: Wives can go shopping and leave their menfolk watching the trams.

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