Archive for March, 2021

Making it up…

The next two wagons for the Entirely Random Arbitrary Goal that seemed such a good idea back in January will be low loader/well wagons for carrying containers and swap bodies, their European counterparts, because for a narrow gauge line the biggest problem was always the cost of transferring a load onto the standard gauge network, so anything that meant a whole load could be swapped over in a few seconds would help tip the economics in their favour.

Being a natural planner I started with drawings. This didn’t work. I still seem to draw things a bit big and the proportions didn’t work. I also realised that to make the models I’d designed would mean cutting lots of funny angles at exactly the same shape and size. Eventually I gave up and used trial and error, as shown in the not remotely posed picture.

The template was made by cutting the frame in a manner that looked about right, give or take, then adding bits and filing until I was satisfied, and scoring around it to make the other end. Once these were glued together in a manner approximating “straight” I used them as a template for the four “production models”.

Notice large label for the permanently disorganised.

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Battered Wagons

The two wood wagons are finally complete, and I’m already thinking about what I want to change so they can carry different loads. I’d like to claim this is because the Körschtalbahn is becoming a living railway in my imagination and I’m already anticipating new traffic flows but we all know it’s because I didn’t plan and research enough before I starting gluing stuff together.

The main point I’ve been thinking about is the “twistlock” fittings, those pointy bits sticking up from the base of the wagons so they can take containers. Unfortunately I later realised that swap bodies, which are used a lot in domestic European transport, have slightly different spacing for twistlocks, so I’m now dithering about adding extras.

I’m also curious that I used the same method to make “rust” as on previous projects but the paint seemed to hold on rather better than usual.

I’m wondering if there’s a more reliable method: I know some people prime over the “rust” layer then use sandpaper and cocktail sticks to scrape the paint off, and I’ve also found some ways of making real rust to apply to the more exposed parts of the wagon where dirt and dampness would collect and corrode the paint, so more experimentation is likely.

Am I getting obsessive about this? Tell me if I’m getting obsessive…

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And suddenly…

After last week’s trial run I got all enthusiastic again and finished the vans off in a succession of evening sessions. The weather wasn’t really on my side; there was just enough light to spray the models but not enough to get a decent picture, so you’re spared the constant step by step updates, and we’re jumping to the finished models.

I did wonder if I’d overdone the weathering a bit on the ‘advertising’ livery, and at least one of the smears isn’t quite vertical so I’ll have to work on that. On the other hand this isn’t a nice museum where the rolling stock is tucked into bed in a nice warm shed each night: these vans will be out in all weathers either moving or dumped in a siding somewhere, so they’ll get pretty grubby and probably only get cleaned when someone from management happens to see them and makes a bit of a fuss.

Also, this is a milestone because it means there are now four freight wagons complete out of the eight I planned in the Entirely Random Arbitrary Goal that I want to reach before I start building baseboards. How quickly this will mean I can build a model is another matter as my contract at work comes to an end in a few months: I’m already in conversation with another local employer but it all depends on a certain flu-like virus not gumming things up for too long; we shall see…

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The wood wagons take on colour: Wagon #1 getting a liberal coat of hairspray.

I can’t guarantee it will be realistic, but it smells lovely.

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Nerd in Karlsruhe

Travelling from Freiburg to visit the family in Stuttgart this week, I found myself with an hour spare in Karlsruhe. Sensible people would at this point go and look at the historic buildings in the city, gardens, zoo or any one of the other tourist attractions within a short ride from the station.

However, I am a nerd.

Faced with several hundred years of central European history only a few minutes away, your correspondent went in search of the railway yards to the south of the station, and after a couple of wrong turnings found a nice pedestrian bridge with a good view of a rather busy yard.

First thing to pass was this Swiss railways class 421, looking surprisingly good in modern livery for a loco built at least three decades ago. The advertising reads “Zürich – Munich 6x daily in 3.5 hours” which I’m assuming means trains rather than just this locomotive rattling back and forth, because that would be expensive and a little bit silly.

Also, if it is going from Munich to Zürich then it’s taken a wrong turning as well.

Loco stabling point with a stack of DB class 185 locomotives, SBB Vectron on the front of an intermodal train in the main yards, and another SBB Class 185 sneaking around the back of the signal box.

That turned out to be a Chemical train running across the yard on its way south.

By this time my hour was half over and I was aware I didn’t really know the way back to the city, so I set off towards some big buildings, which had a tram line running alongside them; following tram lines is generally a good way to find the railway station in a European city…

…And so it proved here.

Useless information department: the Karlsruhe system was the original “tram/train” system and now reaches deep into the Black Forest. The system has been copied by a number of other countries and these trams are the same as the new units coming into service in Sheffield.

Now I’ve explored a bit I know where to go next time.

I won’t spoil the story by mentioning that I was only pootling about Karlsruhe for an hour because the DB train from the south had been late and made me miss my connection, again…

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