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Archive for June, 2021

Passenger traffic

Last week was the first week at my new job, which looks pretty good so far. While taking my first tour of work I was shown the wood workshop, machine room and main office and found, I was running through an internal checklist (“Workshop to make baseboards, scanner to scan drawings onto a computer…”) I’m not sure what this says about me although it suggests a surprisingly, some would say worryingly focussed mind. On the other hand, being able to work in my job at all is because of the skills I learned making model trains and later as a cabinet builder, so what goes around comes around…

I’m another step along the Entirely Random and Arbitrary Goal hat I set myself back in the mists of time, namely finishing the set number of freight wagons; well, almost anyway. This seems as good an excuse as any to move onto the next stage and start planning coaches.

The wagons built so far have a rather “Swiss”, appearance; I don’t want people thinking this is another Swiss narrow gauge line, so the carriages will have a more German look to compensate. Fortunately there are a couple of prototypes that will shout “German” as loudly as a line of passengers wearing Lederhosen.

The “Silberlinge” carriages which are the basis of the sketch above were designed and built by German railways from 1958, and with upwards of 5000 examples built they’ve been the main carriage for local and many suburban services in West Germany from that time. They were built until 1980, because in Germany “standardised” means what is says.

There are some “Silberlinge” in regular service today; yes you read that correctly: German still uses a design of carriage over 6 decades old on the main rail network, although thankfully they are now painted various colours and it has to be said that the surviving examples are refurbished and pretty comfortable on the inside.

The Körschtalbahn would have needed new carriages at about the same time as the rest of the rail network, so it would have been a logical solution to order some “mini-Silberlinge” to carry passengers. As they were originally built from stainless steel, they’d last forever, so they’d still be in use today.

The two variations above are one the same length as the wagons already built, or as near to ‘the same’ as any wagons ever are when I’m done with them, and one a bit longer, which I suspect is more sensible as it allows for an extra half seating bay at each end, and more importantly a utility room/Luggage space/privvy. The longer version also looks a bit less “toy train” like. I’ll try a couple more designs, not least for a push-pull trailer, preferably with the usual trappings of a modern railway such as disabled access and bicycle storage.

If you’re wondering about the name, it refers to the original stainless steel construction which gave a silvery finish when new and probably for about ten minutes afterwards., hence the nickname of “Silver pieces”, a reference to the new Testament, specifically Matthew 26,14 where Judas Receives “30 silver pieces” for betraying Jesus to the authorities.

Apparently German trainspotters receive a very classical education.

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Ferry distracting

A few weeks before starting the new job I got a bit distracted, which is why model making slowed down and you’re getting this picture instead of another thrilling instalment of wagon construction.

One long running project, by which I mean I started it about six years ago then put it off for ages, was a painting for our dining room. I’d planned it to feature a post van approaching a ferry, and it had essentially become a series of false starts, with just a (very) a rough version hanging in our dining room, much to the annoyance of my long suffering wife. This hadn’t been annoying me as much because I currently have to live in another town for work but every weekend I’d come back, see it, and vow to make a start, then forget all about it when I left.

While tidying up the ‘work” apartment a few weeks ago in an heroic attempt to rediscover my dining room table, I found a photo that I’d planned to base the picture on, and decided that I was going to finally get on with it, not only that, but I was going to get it finished before returning to the family for a two week holiday.

The last paint was applied 2 hours before leaving, but hey, finished is finished…

The next question was how to get it to the family, as I don’t own a car. Fortunately I do own a long cargo bike.

Equally fortunately German Railways don’t object to me taking it in their trains:

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Ironically for someone who works in social care I generally turn into a hermit if left to my own devices, and end up reading or making stuff and generally avoiding any social interaction whatsoever. This week I found myself focusing on the three container wagons, trying to get them past the point where I had to restart the project due to unauthorised curvature on the part of the previous wagons. I’m always happier when I’ve caught up with myself on an abandoned project and sorted out the previous mistakes.

Of course, this only shows how many projects I’ve abandoned over the years, but I can live with that.

I’m aware I’ll probably make several more mistakes as well, but I remain hopeful they won’t be too serious. I managed to put the brake handle in the wrong place already, but I solved that one by snagging the handle on an errant sleeve, and breaking it sufficiently that rebuilding it in the proper place was the only option.

I really need to learn to solder.

What with breaking bits and inventing new ways to make mistakes, I’ve now run out of brass and it’ll be a while before I get any more; I have to order online so I’ll wait until I need a few more bits so it’s worth paying the shipping fee. This means the wagons and the other detailed parts I’ve not attached as yet will go into storage and I’ll focus on the next project for a bit. This was originally supposed to be a replacement shunter but I’d also like to make a start on some coaches, and I did say I’d make a building at some point…

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Straight… ish.

I’ve left the wagons on a shelf for a few days, and there’s still no apparent inclination to bend in the middle.

One still managed to warp at the angle where the frame goes down from the end platforms. I seem to remember a similar problem on some of the wood wagons I built a few months ago, and solved it as I did then by cutting through most of the frame with a hacksaw, then gluing the join and leaving the resulting mess to set solid overnight, sitting on a piece of glass with a pile of books on top. I’ve never really taken a subtle approach to model making.

Another then decided to twist slightly end to end, I’ve managed to reduce this by cutting and re-gluing but there’s still a tiny difference which I now intend to solve by pretending it isn’t there.

Both methods seem to have been effective so far. Assuming the model shows no further flexous tendencies I’ll get on with some of the detailing next week…

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Well solid…

Container wagon version 2.0 is progressing. After the problems of the first version I’m following the “Brick Bog” school of construction in the hope this reduces any tendency to gain additional corners…

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