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Archive for April, 2021

Well loaded

There’s been (another) change of plan.

For some reason I kept thinking I’d got my sums wrong again, and the deck of the container wagon was too short, so I decided to make a couple of containers to make sure. As usual when faced with the choice of a simple square box and a complex round tank with a frame I went for the difficult option. The twisted logic behind this is that I tackle the most awkward project at the start when motivation is higher, and then when I finish that the success supplies more motivation to deal with the less complex boxes, as well as future projects; it makes sense in my world so don’t argue.

This of course is a “prototype” which is a polite way of saying it’s full of mistakes and I’m going to have to completely rethink the way I make them before trying for the others I want to build. In particular I’m going to have to find a method of embedding the frame into the tank sides that doesn’t involve hours of filling in ugly cracks caused by inaccurate sawing of plastic.

Still, it’s serving its purpose of proving that a swap body will fit on the wagon, and as swap bodies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, I can probably get away with using it as long as I finish it to look like a fairly nondescript tank to bring the weekly diesel fuel delivery to the shed at Spitzenwald.

There, if you read it quickly it almost sounds plausible.

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Well, well…*

More by luck than judgement, and with frankly rather more faffing about with tiny bits of plastic than I’d care to admit, the basic wagons are done. The ends are even a uniform height with the other flat wagons in what I laughingly call the “fleet”.

Some considerable detailing is needed now so they look at least vaguely like a rather battered railway wagon, and if I manage to be sufficiently self disciplined they will get some swap bodies carry backwards and forwards on the as yet thoroughly etherial railway. Current plans are to have an agricultural cooperative on the model which gives a lot off opportunities for cylindrical swap bodies carrying “animal feed” and possibly “sawdust” for pellets, and a few more rectangular boxes to deliver things like plywood and chipboard or finished products.

*I did warn you about this last time…

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Unterlenningen railway station, (Standard Type IIa)

I’ve been feeling the need for some variety; wagons are very interesting but you can have too much of a good thing, and thoughts have turned to making a building.

I haven’t made any buildings for a while now; the tiny model railway I’m hoping to fit into my apartment doesn’t allow much space for such luxuries as townscapes, but I think I can get away with a smallish station. Fortunately there’s a common prototype from the region the Körschtalbahn is supposed to inhabit, snappily entitled the “Einheitsbahnhof (Württemberg) Typ IIa.” (“Standard railway station (Württemberg) Type IIa”).

Strangely, German railways didn’t really go for standardisation. Apart from anything else the first time the various states, duchies and in some cases, independent cities actually joined together in any meaningful way was at the start of the German Empire in 1871, and all the states had their own ways of running railways even after that. In Württemberg the state government took a break between revolutions in 1887 and decided they couldn’t just assume private companies would build railways to sparsely populated and hilly regions, so they started to plan and build their own.

Unusually for Germany they also decided that it would keep costs down if they used a set of standard station designs. According to Wikipedia there were three, a small single storey building for small stations (Einheitsbahnhof IIa), a slightly larger, two floored version for intermediate stations (IIb) with an apartment for the stationmaster, and a larger three storied version to grace the platforms of more important places, known as the IIc.

Einheitsbahnhof IIc in Owen, (Pronounced “Auen”, don’t ask me I just live here).

The entirely fictional Körschtalbahn is right on the edge of Württemberg and is pretty much the sort of enterprise that the phrase “minor railway” was invented for, so the only way it would exist is if the Württemberg State Railways built it. Having agreed to do so and probably regretting it the next day, the state would have sought to keep all costs down and the grandest of stations would be unlikely to have anything more than a type IIa building. At 8.5m by 7m (ca 27′ by 22′) this would be about 155mm by 127mm which I think I can fit on the baseboard, although I’ll have to assume the goods shed that is normally attached has been demolished or possibly built elsewhere.

Of course I’ll have to go and take more photographs of the real thing, which means another cycle tour to a few rural railway stations.

It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it…

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Well made?

Do you see what I did there?*

The Körschtalbahn intermodal revolution continues. I finally got the proportions right on the swap body carriers, or at least close enough that no-one will notice that I fixed the rest of it by gluing on bits of plastic and filing them.

It would possibly have been a bit simpler if I could make the “deck” fit at the bottom of the frames, but it will probably need full access for unloading and also removing the swap bodies. This will teach me to get all excited about a design because I think it looks nice instead of thinking through the construction problems.

Theo other reason is that I needed to fit a small weight underneath the heavily laminated open deck. One of the ironies of this model is that I am trying to make it look as lightweight as possible while stuffing extra weights in every corner I can so it doesn’t jump off the track at the first opportunity.

*Bad puns are a hazard of this blog, usually when I’ve run out of ideas for vaguely original titles…

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