Sunday, November 12, 2017

New Car Cards

All active freight cars have new car cards. Time to retire the Micromark car cards. This is quite a bit more work intensive than hand written cards. Most of the work is due to my choice of raising the bar: Baseball card plastic sleeves, printing the car card with a picture of the respective car, stickers on the outside of the sleeve, ... I think it's worth it, but only time will tell how this system holds up to regular use.

On to making more way bills.

Apple Cake

I noticed this morning that I haven't made any cakes this fall -- contrary to last year -- and decided to promptly address this burning problem. Yumm.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Open House

Today was the Fall Open House at Silicon Valley Lines. I helped set up this morning, and prepped the paper mill yard for a small switching exercise with car card & way bills.

The Northern Pacific "Main Streeter" is passing Hallelujah Paper at track speed on the SVL main line, while Dave and Jon run the paper mill switcher.

We prepped Bayshore Yard with a wide selection of different trains that visitors could run on a loop on the lower level.

Towards the end of the day I ran the UP "doodlebug" on the upper level from Windsor to Nowheres, down to Jacksonville and back. The single car unit got quite some interest because it stands out due to its distinctive color and ... aehm ... length.

M-32 at Vampires Rest in Silicon
M-32 in Nowheres

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rain again

Beautiful rain for the second time this week.

It wasn't that much really, and was over pretty quickly. Oregonians or Seattleites would laugh, but this made me happy today. More of this, please.

Fall Sunrise

We had some really nice sunrises the last couple of days. Due to Daylight Savings Time ending and time of year, my bus departure time lines up with dawn just before sunrise. Combine that with clouds and fog, and the folks waiting get treated to a flaming sky for a few minutes in the morning.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Dave Park' Cumberland West - Western Maryland

Tonight the Western Maryland was the active railroad. Contrary to the fully signaled B&O with big time main line railroading, the WM is scrappy and still uses Timetable & Train Order operation (TT&TO), which is a nice change I always enjoy.

I started the evening with finishing the Elkins Mine turn (EMT), switching Douglas Mine and taking the fully loaded coal train home to Knobmount Yard and on to Hagerstown.

That run took a surprisingly long time, ... but I wasn't exactly in a hurry, either. By the time I came back to the train master, the remaining pickings were slim. I got BT-1, a fast manifest from Hagerstown to Connellsville. There was traffic ahead of my train coming up from staging, the operators were busy with other trains, ... "wait and hurry up". I used the opportunity to chat and take photos.
When I got to Ridgley Yard it was pretty late in the evening already. BT-1 was too long for the yard, so the yard swapped cars on the main line, which ended up blocking the only through track in Ridgley to the detriment of all opposing trains.

Here's a section of my train on the main line. In front on the left is a west-bound passenger special holding short of Ridgley station, on the right the yard switcher with cars pulled from my train. In addition there was a coal train waiting behind the passenger special ... The car drivers probably needed infinite patience to wait for the railroad crossing to clear.

Once I had all the cars I needed, BT-1 proceeded through the Cumberland Narrows. The two-track B&O main line is on one side of the river, the single track WM on the other side.

A little bit later we see BT-1 at track speed entering Frostburg. Shortly after the run ended in the Connellsville staging portal.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Sleeping Dragon

The Welztalbahn didn't have an ops session for over a year now. During the break last year I focused on building things and getting ready for the Open House in January.
A new assignment at work, a new layout project, various small projects, and operating on other layouts conspired for me to ignore Welztalbahn operations.

I want to get the layout back into operations state. Tonight I took stock of cars and existing paperwork. The next step will be to determine car routes and build the respective new style paperwork. I hope that this will go quickly if I transfer the routes from the existing car cards for now, and fine-tune later as needed.


By way of a recent Ebay purchase, this Buchfahrplan from Summer 1971 found its way to me. Among several routes north-east of Stuttgart it covers all traffic on the Murrbahn in my chosen time frame. Digging through the schedule tables it confirms that in 1971 there was still regular steam operation on the line, usually with classes 23 and 50.

Between Backnang and Stuttgart (and Kornwestheim) trains usually ran with Diesel locomotives (classes 211, 215, and 221), or electrics (classes 141 and 144). Diesel rail cars (class 795) were used for passenger runs outside commute hours. All steam-powered trains changed locomotives in Backnang, since Stuttgart Hbf was declared "smoke free" in the mid-1960's.

There were various transfer runs from Backnang to nearby stations, too.

Plus, several local and through freight trains from Nuremberg / Crailsheim to Kornwestheim / Untertuerkheim, though most of the trains to Kornwestheim went via Heilbronn.

I have copies of the respective schedules from 1968, too. It appears not much has changed three years later. Either way, there is plenty of inspiration here for an operations-oriented model railroad. Now I just need to plan and build it ... Hah! That might take a while ...

Friday, November 03, 2017


This was a miserable flight. I don't sleep well on planes, so I usually stay awake, work on the laptop, eat, watch a movie or two, ... but this time it didn't work. I was sleep-deprived, dozed off multiple times, and basically felt like a zombie. I was glad to get off the plane in SFO in one piece.

Seeing the Concorde display at CDG was cool, though. It's impressive how small that super-sonic plane was.


It's already time to go home. My flight from Stuttgart is once again brutally early. The alarm went off at 3:00am.

The plane stayed at STR overnight and was accordingly cold when we boarded. I fell asleep seconds after take-off, and appreciated the coffee and chocolate croissant for breakfast, even though neither was particularly good.

The sun peeked over the horizon as we started our descent into Paris CDG.

Thursday, November 02, 2017


An der Rems

Heute morgen hatte ich Lust auf frische Luft. Pascal kam mit auf eine Runde ueber die Felder und zurueck an der Rems. Wir nahmen einen mir bis dahin unbekannten Weg durch den Wald am Flusshang. Eine schoene Alternativstrecke, wenn auch mit etwas Kraxeln verbunden. Nach 6km waren wir wieder zuhause.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Garmisch - Waiblingen

The RegionalBahn to Munich is ready for boarding on track 1 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen station. Goodbye snow-capped mountains, it was nice to meet you.

Arrival in Muenchen-Pasing.

... and now we wait for ICE 596, which didn't show up at it's scheduled departure time. Instead the RegionalExpress that would normally run behind the ICE stopped at the platform. While the platform information showed a 5-minute delay for the ICE, the DB Navigator app showed it 10 minutes late, which was indeed accurate.

There it is. Apparently there was a door problem that prevented on-time departure in Munich.

By the time we got to Ulm, our ICE had made up the delay and we were on-time for the remainder of the journey.

There are no high-speed tracks between Munich and Stuttgart yet, so we got to enjoy the fall scenery, as well as the steep grade and tight curves of the Geislinger Steige, Wuerttemberg's steepest section of main line track. Pusher service was the norm here for many years. Even today some very heavy trains get a helper locomotive between Geislingen and Amstetten.

On-time arrival in Stuttgart.

The last segment of this trip was taking the S-Bahn to Waiblingen, with friendly pick-up service by my mother.

Morning Walk

On our last day we went for a walk after breakfast to pass the time until we need to head to the station.

It's so nice here, but all cloudy again. We got really lucky with the weather yesterday.

 Many houses in Garmisch have elaborate wall paintings. This one was unusual and funny.

On the plaza in front of the Casino we found this guy.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Die Zugspitzbahn hatte heute alles was rollen konnte im Einsatz. Die neuen 4-teiligen Stadler Triebwagen, die zweiteiligen Triebwagen, und sogar einen eher historischen Wagenzug mit Lokomotive. Die zwei Garnituren fuhren direkt hintereinander auf der Bergstrecke, um die gleiche Sitzkapazitaet zu erreichen, die die neuen 4-teiligen Triebwagen haben.

Zu meiner Ueberraschung haben die Gleise Stahlschwellen.

Im Bahnhof Grainau wurde die Zahnstange etwas rueckgebaut. So kann man gut sehen wie die Zahnstange befestigt wird.

Fuehrerstand des Taltriebwagens ohne Zahnradantrieb in Garmisch.