Thursday, July 27, 2017

BNSF Coal empty at Carkeep Park, Seattle

Seattle's Carkeep Park is a great place for train watching. There's ample parking, convenient access to the tracks, a beach, tide pools, and a creek for the kids... and of course, the double track BNSF main line to Vancouver, BC.

The beach is a good vantage point to watch the tracks for a couple miles in both directions, which leaves plenty of time to get into position for taking photos.

The Cascades trains to/from Vancouver, BC come through here, as do the Sounder commuter trains.

During the half hour we hung out here, I caught a BNSF coal empty with more than 80 cars.

I now have a couple dozen pictures how to weather these cars. Each car is 53 ft in length and can carry 121 tons of coal. At more than 80 cars that works out to over 1300m, roughly twice the allowable length of freight trains in Germany ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On the coast between California and Washington

At Arch Rock, Oregon
I might have mentioned before that we love the US West Coast. This year, we decided to do a road trip that would take us from the SF Bay area all the way up to Vancouver Island. The first couple days we drove Highway 101 along the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts to Mukilteo. 

Meyers Creek Beach, Oregon
Battle Rock Park, Port Orford, Oregon
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
We stayed with friends in Mukilteo, WA. The view from their living room is breathtaking, covering not only Pudget Sound, Whidbey Island, and the ferries, but also the BNSF main line north to Vancouver with plenty of freight and passenger traffic, as well as the siding used for deliveries to the Boeing factory in Everett.

Mukilteo, Washington

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Good Night

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad
at Tillamook Bay


They found me at Oregon Dunes!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Eurowest 2017

Shortly before 10am I arrived at Hiller Aviation Museum to meet with David and the Swiss Narrow Gauge folks. We finished setup and shortly after trains were running.

RhB 621 is ready to leave staging. Paul and David are in active discussion.
This time the setup was along the window front of the entrance hall with bright sun light. Probably one of the best places to take day light photos of the setup.

RhB 642 on the stone arches bridge under the Wright flyer
The setup is point to point. Locomotives need to run around their trains in the staging yard at each end. Occasionally it happens that one end of the layout gets overloaded.

Whoops. Ken's staging yard is full
The Chamby station module once again drew lots of excitement from visitors.

As in previous years I walked the dealer tables with new and second hand stuff. Contrary to most other years, I didn't really see much that jumped out at me, so my bag remained quite light when I left in the afternoon.
The Rungenwagen is SNCB which I only noticed at home, but that's fine for $10. The model is really nice and DB had very similar cars, so it fits right in.

I spent most of my time running trains on the narrow gauge modules, chatted with various people, met more ETE members, and really enjoyed myself. This continues to be a fun event.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tdgs-z decaled

The two Tdgs cars have been sitting in a box for the last 2 months. While painting over the wrong decals was easy, I waited until the decals from arrived before finishing the renumber of the car, which I did tonight.

I could have made my life dramatically easier if I had painted only over the last 3 digits of the car number. Andreas Nothaft has a spiffy set of new car numbers that go with any classification numbers (the first 4 digits). I spliced 074 9 from two numbers and finished it off a third number. Yes, that's a waste. I won't make that mistake again.

The numbers are not perfectly straight. Close enough for the first try. I hope to get better with more practice.

Morning Routine

Waiting for the bus to work.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

To fence, or not to fence

I'd like to do something about the edge where the grass hits the backdrop. One option is to add fencing to draw the eye away from the edge. I have two different styles of fencing that I'd consider using here.

I'd build proper transitions between the horizontal sections, of course. To the right of this area is a bushy transition to the forest. To the left is the town of Emsingen. The grass area will get a couple apple trees at some point to suggest a "Streuobstwiese". Here's an overview shot of the current state.

Any opinions of my dear readers? Does one fence work better than the other? Are they basically the same? Any other ideas to hide the transition?

Mystic Mountain Railroad

I had the pleasure of operating at Ray Turner's Mystic Mountain Railroad today. A delightful experience. Most garden railroads are not set up for operations. Ray has added enough sidings and spurs to make operations possible and interesting.

Industries and scenery range from open space over trestles and canyons all the way to a small harbor.

Ray used cast concrete panels to make rocks and cliffs for the railroad.

Nicely set scenes and plenty of humor can be found everywhere.

... and you can't argue with the view.

On the Mountain Division track climbs to shoulder height.

Between train assignments, I took a video of one of the other crews as they were switching the team track in Outaluck.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A train will come ...

Background perfection on David Park's B&O main line near Oakland, MD

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Nr. 121

This switch tower is from my Dad's layout, and I've played with it ... errrm, used it on layouts ... since I was a kid. Today it guards the north end of Emsingen. Thus I added the respective tower identification signs a while ago.

As with so many articles from the 1950's, "121" is not some random house number, but rather the product number. Always useful to see that right up on the wall ...

Plum Cake

This plum cake ("Zwetschgenkuchen") disappeared so quickly, I didn't remember to take a photo of the whole cake. However, here is me making the dough. Yes, we have a machine that could do it, but I prefer making the dough by hand. It's more fun for the few times I'm making cake.

While prepping the cake, I watched a neat documentary from 1934 about the construction of the electrified North-South-route of the Berlin S-Bahn, which was completed in 1939. Quite a bit of Civil Engineering details, and of course in German. However, there are many scenes showing the working conditions, tools, and machines used for this rather large untertaking more than 80 years ago. An impressive reminder how much technology has advanced in this very short time.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Emsingen railroad crossing (part 6)

What's going on here? Looks like some folks are working on a guard rail separating the freight area from the main road.

Are there some disagreements over workmanship maybe?

 I think they got it figured out.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Emsingen railroad crossing (part 5)

I drew inspiration from Michael Klenk for the Leitpfosten on the road leading to the railroad crossing. I made mine from 1.5x1.5mm miniature lumber, cut it on the Chopper, and I didn't bother with trying to imitate the reflectors.
I'm still working on the crossing signs, Andreaskreuz, and other details.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Emsingen railroad crossing (part 4)

It's coming together.
I spent a good part of the day to add tension wires ("Spannseile") to the crossing gates. I carefully drilled holes in the crossing gate beam for the wire support.

I glued Berkshire Junction E Z Wire into additional holes.

Next I glued the wire lines to the wire support. It takes some patience and steady hands to make this work. To make my life easier, I used the base plates from the kit to hold the crossing gates while I fiddled with E Z Line and glue.

There. One down, one more to go. I actually built both gates in parallel and switched back and forth while the glue dried, which optimized the build time substantially.

Since the crossing gates are somewhat delicate, I decided to finish the remaining major work items in the area around the crossing: Ballast the track, install turnout lanterns, install street lights, guard rails, wire ducts, ground cover, weeds, some bushes, etc.

The last Emsingen turnout to be ballasted
The intro photo above shows the current state with many details still missing. I hope to get most of that completed tomorrow.