Archive for the ‘Diesel’ Category

Something I’ve noticed over this year: projects go through phases, and a lot of them make for pretty boring photographs.

Take this picture of the outer and inner sides of the big diesel I’m working on for the Körschtalbahn. Try as I might there is no exciting way to take pictures of a sheet of plastic with holes in it. Trying to take a picture on a filthy wet day doesn’t help either but needs must.

Why did I decide that lots of holes in the side of a model locomotive would be a good idea anyway? It’s not like I enjoy trying to cut straight lines in plasticard.

This is the bit of the project where I just have to keep reminding myself that eventually, there will be a fun but, where all the bits come together, and I can add on details and decide what colour to paint the model, and I’ll generally enjoy myself. This is especially important because when I took those pictures I realised that a couple of those windows are too big: not enough that anyone else will see it probably, but just enough to irritate me.

As I am very keen to break with my tradition of making at least two starts on every model, I’ve tried to repair the damage by welding extra bits of plastic inside the frames, leaving it to set very solidly, and filing and sanding away on the next model making session. We shall see if this works…


Read Full Post »


Here’s the basic form of the power units for Krokodil 2.0, with my 1:55 scale figure apparently walking off in disgust, but at least giving some idea of the size of the things.

The locomotive will be loosely based on the V29 locomotive that ran on the Altensteig line in the Black Forest, although after I’ve finished shoehorning the design into a track gauge half the scale width of the original and put in a bit here and a bit there to make up for my model making shortcomings, I doubt it will have more than a passing resemblance to the original.

The big cut outs on the top of the hoods are a case in point. I want to make the locomotive easy to dismantle in case something goes wrong, as I’m firmly convinced that the chances of something going boink are twice as high in a locomotive glued together, so I had to make those holes to give me access to the screws that will hold the power units onto the cab, and in order to cover those massive great holes, I’ll have to add some very unprototypical details.

On the other hand I’m pleased with how the grille worked out on the ends, especially as I actually remembered to put a background in and paint it black before I glued the unit together.

It seems the secret to satisfaction in this sort of thing is having very low standards.

Read Full Post »

It’s Summer, and this year that means going to see Beautiful Wife’s family in Japan in a few weeks. I was all for cycling over but Beautiful Wife being more grounded in reality and far more patient with the interwebby thing excelled herself with the booking and found a flight that was relatively inexpensive, allows us to stay in Japan for a reasonable amount of time, and fly with an airline which we’re fairly confident the seats will be properly bolted to the floor. Normally we hope for two out of the three, so that’s pretty exciting.

It was important to get there this year because my very dear father in law is seriously ill, and getting worse, by all accounts, so we really want to get some time with him while we still can. I’m not sure what either of us will do without him: some people leave a big gap even when they’re a long way away, and with his wisdom and humour he’ll be one of those people.

We’ll be travelling about in Japan, and I’m really hoping that this year we can finally wangle a trip to visit family Hokkaido, which is the northernmost Island. Apart from the chance to visit one of Beautiful Wifes numerous eccentric aunts who we last saw at our wedding in Tokyo, I am assured that the place they live has some incredible scenery which is very different to the main island.

The fact that it also has a lot of these

and these

Has absolutely nothing to do with it, of course.

And while I’m on the subject, what would you go to see (railways or otherwise) if you were in Japan? What would be an interesting subject to write about?

Read Full Post »

So there’s at least some railway content this week, here’s some videos of narrow gauge trains hauled by Japan Railways class DD51 locomotives. Because you can’t have too many DD51 videos.

The first is a snowy day in -I think- Hokkaido in the north, and the second is a ballast train being loaded in what seems to be a very leisurely, un-Japanese manner…


Read Full Post »

I’ve always preferred solid and workday locomotives over pretty lined-out preserved stock, and Japan Rail’s B-2-B class DD51 locomotives fit the bill perfectly, so here’s a couple of videos I found for my big diesel ‘fix’.

The first video is an intermodal train being top-and tailed by 2 examples of the class. They often seem to work in multiple which makes me think that for their size they aren’t overpowered. (Video 1 min 3 sec)

This is more how I know them: double heading block petrochemical services in industrial ports. All of Japan’s oil is imported, and a fair bit of it, it seems is carried from the ports by rail. with tankers are as big as the JR loading gauge will allow. (Video 2 min 30 sec)

There’s a more rural video here (37 sec) on YouTube but unfortunately I can’t embedd it.

I was watching these last night while working on various projects for Spitzenwald and Obermettingen. More on that to come.

Read Full Post »

I don’t usually listen to people saying I should get out more, but I was invited over by a friend who lives in a sylvian idyll over in the Allgäu, the eastern corner of Germany, just before you get to the Alps. The combination of a chance to visit a good friend and his besutiful family, and get a long ride on a train seemed far too good an opportunity to pass up.

The train to Lindau is usually formed of double deck coaches, pulled by a class 146 locomotive, the way trains ought to be. The railway follows the valley of the Neckar, home of Mercedes and one of the most important wine-growing regions of Germany. It must be the only place where you can stand in a medieval vineyard and look down on a factory. If that’s your idea of a good time.
After half an hour we’re past the industrial strip and passing through a wide valley flanked by steep snowy hills. Forests stand on the slopes like three day old stubble. A TGV flashes past on a service from Münich. The valley closes in, and the hilltops sprout castles as we approach the pass in the hills at Geislingen an der Steige (‘Geislingen on the hill’). We lumber up the pass, the cliffs loom ever closer, the valley floor is far below, railway and road grasp onto the cliffside and just as there seems to be no space left for both we pop out of the pass and into friendly rolling hills as if the looming dramatic cliffs were never there.

After a bit more of the rolling hills the scenery goes all dramatic again, although this time it’s because we’re descending into Ulm. The Cathedral is much celebrated for having being the tallest spire in the world. Unfortunately by an accident of geography it makes an ignominious entrance from behind a brewery, but it’s no less impressive for all that.

In Ulm station the engine disappears and goes off around the corner in a huff. This is a little disconcerting for some tourists, but all is well: a few minutes later another locomotive appears, and not just any old loco either, one of my favourite Br 218’s. From here on we’re going into diesel territory into the less heavily populated and rather lumpy south. I appreciate that having a favourite diesel locomotive marks me out as a Very Boring Person: I also don’t care.

Aulendorf. The Lindau train looking like a long-distance train should.

So… which train to I get on. This nice clean Br650 from the Hollenzollnerische Landesbahn?

Or this classy version of the same unit belonging to the Bodensee-Oberschwaben Bahn?

Nope, I end up on an aging DB Br 328, which was last refitted in the seventies. On the plus side the first class section is declassed to second, and the reclining seat reclines. It then stays reclined despite all efforts to make it more upright.

We’re following the Württembergische Allgäubahn. It’s a local railway in every sense of the word with a winding single track route from Aulendorf into the Allgäu: a large, quite remote and very lumpy region calculated to break a railway promoters heart -and budget.

We make a mellow run through ever more dramatic and snowy hills, pass another train in into Kißlegg,  The train reverses here, and I hunt for another facing seat: it’s that or see my breakfast again. I know: I’m getting old.

This seat doesn’t recline at all.

The approach to Wangen involves bursting out of a forest onto a high viaduct, promising baroque buildings and onion domes. Wangen has all these things -it’s one of the prototypes for the fictional Obermettingen- but unfortunately the railway station seems to be in the back yard of a run-down farmers cooperative, which doesn’t quite fit the image.

My friend meets me in the car park and takes me to his family home: an old wooden building in the side of the hills with the mountains rising steeply in the distance.

He does his winter commutes on cross-country skis.  This is the view from his living room.

It’s enough to make you regret having a return ticket, but at least I was able to go home on a real train.

Read Full Post »

What with work, a streaming cold, and more snow, I’ve not yet been able to take any pictures of the week’s progress so instead a I’m posting a video again. This is the sort of feel we’re aiming for with our current project. Apparently this line is still working, although the road alongside in the first shot has clearly seen a lot more investment than the railwayin the last few months.

Progress continues in model world too, honest. I’ll take and post pictures when I can.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »