Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

Designed and carved by Franziska
with some help from me


Once again, I'm taking LH130 for the second leg of the trip. Even though it's only a 25 minute flight, business class gets a snack.

It's interesting how they added the jet bridges to the old Terminal A at STR using a steel/glass access bridge for each jet bridge to keep easy access to the bus served departure gates, yet have the convenience of all-weather boarding for some flights. I remember this was a really big deal when it was put in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Gate G99. Impossible to take a decent photo of the plane you're going to fly in due to airport window coating. LH 455 is boarding already. I was supposed to fly from SJC today. However, Lufthansa decided that having three flights from Germany to the US West Coast is not economical and canceled the San Jose flights as of October 27. Really a bummer. I enjoyed that flight.

As usual for long distance flights at SFO, we're taking off to the West and circle around San Francisco, over the Marin Headlands and on to Sacramento, the Sierras, and north-east to the Rocky Mountains.

Pacific Coast looking south towards Pacifica
It starts to get dark as we enter Canadian air space and I manage to catch a couple hours of sleep.

Engines back-lit by the setting sun
We took a rather southern route this time and didn't even get close to the tip of Greenland. The sun came up as we are somewhere south-west of Iceland.

Good Morning!
Final approach into Frankfurt after a S-curve that took us first flying west along the Rhine west of Wiesbaden with a wide left turn over Rheinland-Pfalz and landing at FRA from the West.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Silicon Valley Lines November Ops

Franziska pulls the cars for train 216 from Marshall Yard. 
Franziska and I were running Nowheres Yard at SVL today. After a somewhat slow start, where I had time to at least take a photo, the operations session gained speed and trains started to converge on Nowheres Yard.
We had our hands full for the rest of the day, but kept traffic flowing through the yard without clogging up the railroad.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fitting the conveyors

Yep. This is what I had in mind.

Building the lower base housing will be interesting. Towards the aisle I need to give the impression that the housing and its support structure extend all the way to the ground behind the warehouse. However, it needs to be built so that the club can use the semi-hidden track along the backdrop without any clearance issues.
The upper part will be made from corrugated styrene sheet, while the support structure will likely be a combination of styrene sheet, H-beams of various sizes, and possibly some material from the tall support towers.

The upper end of the conveyor will go into a similar housing to hide the end. The modifications I made two weeks ago work well. The conveyor sits lower on the digester, which helps with slope, and appears to connect to it. This will look better after I file the respective beam ends to the right angle.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Digitizing Roco 43012 - Truck replacement

I left this conversion alone for a while after I learned that I needed a different truck assembly for the Maerklin version. The shipment has since arrived. Let's see if I can finish wiring this unit this weekend.

Truck replaced. I might have to mill the frame a little bit to ensure that the cable from the pick-up shoe doesn't get squished between locomotive frame and truck assembly.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Weekend at YMCA Camp Campbell

Franziska and I headed to YMCA Camp Campbell this weekend for some father-daughter time. Our family has been coming here for years, so we know our way around the grounds. There was a wide variety of scheduled activities, and lots of opportunities to hang out, be creative, active, or lazy, as you wish. We had a great time.

Climbing Wall 
Pita Pizza
The High Ropes course was certainly a highlight
Climbing 30 feet up in the trees
Sunday morning in the forest

Thursday, October 18, 2018

DV 605: Gueterbefoerderungsvorschrift - Ortsdienst

I recently picked up the rule book DV 605 that goes with the forms I got last year. Now I can learn how to use the forms properly. ... Not surprisingly, it's a lot of text.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Visited another building on campus today. They have some unusual wall decoration.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Papermill Conveyors

The long conveyor needs to be shortened by about an inch. A cut-off disk in the Dremel made this easy enough. While cutting, the roof popped off with a bang. ... Oh, right, I glued it on in only a couple spots to make it easier to remove. That approach clearly worked well, but not as I had intended...

Mission accomplished. I cut the conveyor end so that the support structure connects to the digester side and the belt meets the digester slightly above the top.

For the lower end of the conveyor, I built a mockup from paper with some styrene reinforcement. Time for the next test fitting at the club.

With that out of the way, I turned my attention back to the smaller conveyor units. The plan is to use them around the rotary dumper to transport wood chips to piles that will be represented only on the background. Typically these conveyors would have a covered top. I decided to assume some bracing structure that would carry a corrugated metal roof, and low profile metal sheeting for the sides.

The sides are Evergreen 0.020 x 0.250" strip styrene. The top is Evergreen's 4526 0.040" metal siding. I bent the siding lengthwise over a wooden curtain rod, and heated it with a hair dryer. I contemplated bending it harder to get a tighter arc, but this worked out sufficiently well. The thickness of the styrene sheet is visible to the side. I might grind this down a bit if I can't hide it with color.

Here are the three pieces with their covers. I cut the roofs a little bit too short and will add an external cross brace to hide that. Next stop: Paint booth.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Needs more work

The conveyor is a little bit too long and maybe slightly too steep. Nevertheless, this is getting closer to what I had in mind here.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Module No. 1: Mistakes are for fixing

Before we went on our weekend trip, I noticed that one end plate of Module 1 was not 100% vertical. That's obviously bad, and I chalked it up to inexperience. ... However, mistakes exist to either not do them again, or at least try to fix them. A few hits to a chisel loosened the side boards and I was able to align the face plate. I'll let the glue dry for a while before removing the clamps ...

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Sunset near Gaviota Beach

Santa Barbara station

Santa Barbara still has a train depot with some character.

The ticket counter is not exactly busy.

The waiting room with quite a few people. The Surfliner from San Luis Obispo is delayed. On the way north some time later we saw the southbound Coast Starlight at a red signal. Pretty much on time, but once again local traffic messing up their schedule.

Surfliner in Santa Barbara

Friday, October 05, 2018


After all these years, this is still a good show.



The Mummy


In the green houses of Hogwarts Castle.


Thursday, October 04, 2018

I-5, in the Middle of Nowhere

About 45 minutes north of Grapevine, CA, we're passing trucks while the sun is about to set.
 I can't decide which picture I like more, so you get to ... enjoy ... both.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Module No. 1: Covered

Tonight I continued with the module frame I started yesterday. I cut the intermediate crossbars to length and glued them into place. In a modular arrangement the legs would be mounted to the crossbars, so they'd support the whole module. I should add some corner pieces for additional support.
Next, I glued a 5mm thin piece of wood to the roadbed. This is where the track gets mounted on and will disappear under ballast later. I cut the pink foam to the proper width and trimmed the piece to fit.

With the second piece of pink foam installed, here's the module underside.

And the top.  While the module sits flat on the floor, one of the end plates is not 100% vertical, so it's unlikely that I will use this module in a modular arrangement. Nevertheless, I'll continue this build learn as much as I can from it.