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V-160 Fixation Continues

While waiting to change trains near the German/Swiss border I found this German class 218 lurking in a bay platform. I see these fairly frequently in Esslingen, usually in pairs belting along the fast lines towards Lindau and Austria, but under the circumstances there’s not much opportunity for detailed observations.

The Br128 is part of a family of locomotives known as the v160. These days numbers aren’t cool enough and manufacturers pay committees to come up with names like “Gemini” or “Taurus”.


Despite the lack of a mythological name the class 218’s were very successful; between the late 1970’s and early 2000’s they were DB’s most important main line diesel, with a similar role to the class 37 and 47 in the UK. They’re now gradually being phased out by DB and replaced by the inevitable multiple units and class 245 locomotives but there’s still quite a few in our region.

Readers familiar with my ramblings may also recall that Henschel made an outwardly similar narrow gauge locomotive, known as the “NG-v160” which is still working in Thailand, Spain and one repatriated loco can be found in Germany, which I’m trying to make a model of. Very slowly.

Hence the rush to make detail photographs, most of which are too boring even for this blog.


The saga over the nose shape continues: I was sure these had a straight nose but this picture shows there is indeed a very slight horizontal curve across the end: cue much fretting about how to make this in model form, or if I should even bother.

Thankfully the NG version doesn’t have that complex angle running under the cab side windows though, and I wouldn’t have attempted it if it had: I know my limits…


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Knowledge applied

So, all that swearing at technology a last week was –in part- so I had some appropriate transfers for the Körschtalbahn’s van and railcar.

The next challenge I was avoiding was actually putting them onto said van. I’d worked out a cunning plan while procrastinating and added dark green borders around all the designs. The theory was that when I inevitably cut something in the wrong place there would be a tiny bit of near invisible dark green instead of an ugly white line. This was fine except that the transfers turned out to be extremely delicate and scratched when cut with anything other than a brand new knife blade.


Also, the companies heavily advertised “After sales help” didn’t.

More overthinking followed before yours truly hit on the idea of varnishing the transfers. This improved matters somewhat, i.e. I managed to get them onto the model without more scratches than colour.

The glue was more forgiving than the transfers of my youth so I could take a bit of time to position these on the wagon, very, very carefully, and dabbing it with a facial tissue to dry while playing relaxing music softly in the background.

I dried them for 24h during which I refrained from looking at them in case this caused scratches, then applied two more coats of varnish over the next three days

So far they seem to be okay.

Now I need to weather them. This is hopefully the fun part.

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OnWayfarer labels final_sheet_also_KÖB_Railcare of the jobs I’ve been putting off for ages was making transfers. This is because it involves electronics and machines, which as everyone knows are inhabited by leprechauns

On the other hand I realized I’d have to either beat the machines or have a permanently unfinished railcar so after more research faffing about I ordered some sheets with a “white” and “clear” background.

This of course just meant I had a big folder full of expensive transfer sheets, and I could have probably ignored them for even longer, but I’m working on the randonneur project with Elder Son and I’d promised him we could make transfers for the bike, because hey, I needed to make some for the models so I could do those at the same time…

I really should think more before opening my big mouth.

Designing the transfers was relatively simple: I’ve been using the Gimp graphics programme for several years and these days can generally get it to do what I want without wanting to throw a shoe through the screen too often. Once the design was complete it only took half an hour to persuade the computer to convert it into a PDF file and another fifteen or so for my computer at work to talk to the printer in the corridor and make a test print.

Success was mine, I loaded the printer with the transfer paper in the ‘special’ tray and told it which paper to use.

The printer ignored this and used the normal paper.

I tried again, this time selecting the ‘special’ tray on the printer control panel and the computer.

Caught out and with its options limited, the printer sulked.

Eventually the Business Manager got fed up of me cluttering the corridor and pressed buttons in a stern manner. This frightened the printer into working, mostly: it did try to smear some of the transfers but fortunately I was ready for this and made several on each sheet.

Ha. Take that, evil technological devices.

Now all I have to do is actually apply the things…

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Changing trains


I’ve been travelling again, this time I had an interview in Lörrach, a town so near the Swiss border you have to go into Switzerland to get there in the train.

I also managed to travel behind one of German Railways brand new, if aesthetically unfortunate, class 147 locomotives, seen here on the left with a Swiss railways Re 420 on the opposite side of the platform. These are the new intercity locomotive for this region, hauling double deck intercity coaches, which frankly alone made the trip worthwhile.

The photo was taken while waiting for another train in Singen, which is a junction for several trans-European routes so there was a lot of variety. I will return to this subject.

There was even a DB class 218 which I took lots of pictures of, ready for when I finally get myself into gear and finish my narrow gauge version.

That assumes of course that I can stop gallivanting about and get my model making organised long enough to start that project up again…

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On the side.


Model making time is still being squeezed again by job hunting and if I’m honest by building the Randonneur bike and touring, so I dug out a simpler project for this week, namely building a BMW motorbike for swashbuckling tabletop adventures.

Suitably painted this should be the ‘go to’ vehicle for your heroic last minute million-to-one-chance escapes or alternatively pursuit of the bad guy.

I’m not too sure what colour to paint it though. I realise the kit is for a military motorcycle but do you think I could get away with having it in vaguely civilian colours?

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I’ve been getting distracted again: it was warm and sunny, so I had the choice of sitting inside making models, or going out and exploring in my bike. I had also rashly made a resolution this year to complete an imperial century, 100 miles or 160 kilometres.

Actually, I’d made this resolution for about seven years straight so it was high time I actually went out and did it.



Eyach, change here for: Haigerloch, Hechingen, Gammertingen, Sigmaringen and Kleinengstingen.

This is why your correspondent ended up one spring Saturday afternoon, with slightly sore legs, at Eyach, junction of the German Railways line between Tübingen and Switzerland, and the Hohenzllerischen Landesbahn (HzL) branch to Hechingen.

I’d figured that if I turned around at a railway station I could take some pictures and pretend it was all ‘research’.


DB Track to the left, HzL to the right. Notice relaxed approach to matters like fencing and level crossing signage.

Click here for an image taken in the 1970’s from almost the same location. Notice the HzL/DB link is the other way around.

Hohenzollern was once a semi-independent state, a tiny corner of Prussia, in fact (don’t ask why), and as such it got to build its own railways. Originally the branch from Eyach only ran as far as Stetten, because someone had realised there was money to be made selling liquid carbon dioxide and mineral water from a natural source in the valley, but after dithering for about ten years the HzL finished the line to the junction at Hechingen up in the hills.


Goods shed. This would make an awesome arts centre.


Surprisingly intact abandoned crane.

By the time the railway was complete passengers with any sense would have caught the Reichsbahn train from Tübingen to Hechingen and left Eyach out all together. There’s not much use for a railway connecting a small town with three houses so passenger services were stopped back in the 1950’s, but Eyach was still needed for transferring 15000 tones of liquid CO2 a year to the Deutsche Bahn system for transport up to Stuttgart and points beyond.


Entrance from DB station to the HzL ‘Station’ beyond. It seems the HzL were not expecting many passengers.

The branch line is still used for some freight. There are also tourist trains in summer: these run on Sunday, which would have been handy to know earlier, as it would have resulted in more interesting photographs.


Deutsche Bahn station on the left, HzL Station on the right. Platforms are for wimps apparently.

I got fairly carried away thinking up ways to make a model based on this, partly to put off making the return journey. The HzL could be metre gauge, with transhipment sidings; and transporter wagons; and mixed trains with railcars…

Of course, this was partly a way of putting off the return trip to Stuttgart…


As I look at these photographs, I realise why I generally find myself on solo bike rides.

(Pictures of the station in 2009. This is what it looked like when I first cycled through)

(The story of my first, accidental, imperial century is here)

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After a considerable amount of faffing about, the van is now in glorious technicolour. Admittedly the colour in question is mostly grey, but it’s colour; not just blank primer, and thus incredibly exciting.

I probably should get out more.

Actually, now I look at it the green is a bit too light so I’ll have to work on it, or possibly just hit it a bit harder than planned with weathering. The originals are generally rust free but they travel about a fair bit, and don’t seem to be cleaned any more than strictly necessary: these aren’t preserved relics.

This is very useful as it means I can hide the worst of my mistakes learning experiences under ‘weathering’ and no-one will be the wiser…

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