Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hoods for Growler 1

After five attempts at making decent hoods for growler 1 I’ve finally managed to get them to work out as I’d like. I came very close to a complete redesign of the loco with square bonnets but I was too stubborn to know when to give in. Even after one of the hoods was complete, it disintegrated when I tried to glue strengthening pieces to it. However, now that stage of the model is over and I can start thinking about the cab.

On top of that the model shop I ordered my track from has given up on Royal Snail postage and sent another batch of track- this time directly to Germany. Delivery expected at the end of this week.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Körschtalbahn history 1: 1891 to 1901

This is the first part of the history of the Fictitious Körschtalbahn. The Körschtal is a real valley that passes our village- but sadly it never contained a narrow gauge railway. All the details in this history are based on real railways somewhere local to the Körschtal, both standard gauge and narrow; and although the 1000mm line to Altensteig closed in 1969, a standard gauge railway run by DB still runs along the beautiful Nagoldtal.

The Körschtal (Körsch Valley) is a small steep sided gorge in the black forest, climbing eastwards from the Nagold Valley up to Dachsburg and Spitzenwald in the hills. In the 1890s the people of the Körschtal saw the industries growing in the Nagold Valley as the standard gauge railway was opened, and they felt that the timber from their forests, and the stone of their quarries was every bit as good as that being carried on the new railway in to Stuttgart and beyond for sale. Furthermore, they reasoned, their valley was at least as beautiful, if not more so than that of the river Nagold, and they felt that the people of the growing towns were being deprived of an excellent opportunity to see this beauty. Nagold was developing its tourism, and many rich hunters were coming to try their luck with the deer in the area. If, the people of the valley reasoned, they had a railway, the wood and stone could go to Stuttgart and the hunters could come and shoot things in the woods, and the Körschtal would prosper.

In 1891 the “Königlich Württembergischen Staats-Eisenbahnen” (The Royal Württemberg State Railways) opened a 1000mm gauge railway to the south, running from Nagold to Altensteig. This spurred the supporters of the Körschtalbahn and in 1893 a plan was put together for a narrow gauge railway, backed by several local towns, and the Government of Württemberg. In the event the main reason for the line was wood; on the broad Nagold river the wood was lashed together and transported downstream in large rafts, but the Körsch was a narrow mountain river, too narrow and rocky for transportation, so the logs had to be transported by cart on unmade roads.

The first cut was made on August the first 1897, and construction continued apace, reaching Dachsburg by 1899. Services started in June of that year. After a brief pause construction began once more and pushed through the final few kilometres to Spitzenwald by June the 28th 1901, and services began within a few weeks, with much fanfare, feasting and firing of cannon. The Körschtal was connected to the outside world, the two black 0-6-0 tank engines could convey freight and passengers at 20km per hour, usually on the same train. Journeys to Stuttgart, Pforzheim and Tübingen were reduced, and the deer of the Körschtal had something new to worry about.

To Be continued...
(Go to Part 2)

Cab controls...

On his shifting sands website, Colin Peake includes a picture of the controls for "Jay" which runs on the Kirklees light railway, and is a good example of a simpler design of controls.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Growler 1 update

Progress on Growler 1 is slow but steady. After considering my options (ie: putting it off) for a while I finished the radiators last night. They aren’t an exact copy of the real thing, and maybe when I'm building locos in brass I'll redo it, but until then I'm satisfied with how it looks.

The model under construction is shown next to the mock-up. I balanced the radiators on the frames for the photo, but I'll wait until the bonnet is ready before I glue the lot together.

If you click on the picture you'll find a couple more pictures including a closeup...

Computers, and other things...

I finally persuaded Blogger to accept the 'Ö' letter in 'Körschtalbahn'. I've tried before and it didn't like it. If you're wondering, the pronunciation is "Koerschtalbahn".

I reckon I've also got the bugs out of the links. I managed to add a couple of others too, but several just didn't work. Unfortunately that means there are a couple of people who have linked here and don't see a reciprocal link, but it'll be a while before I try again, I'd rather spend time building trains than snarling at computers because I can't get the hang of HTML... This is also one reason I'm not going into digital in the near future. Give me good old solid wires and relays. Now I'll just go and get my flint knife and bow and arrow and hunt dinner...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cab inside.

I've been doing some research on locomotive cabs, because it dawned on me recently that Growler 1 is going to have pretty huge windows so it needs interior detailing. It seems I've got to make the cab look something like this, which is a DB class 290. It even has a computer console.

Fortunately a 290 is a tad bigger than the DB class 399 that my model is based on, and the controls are more complex, for example I can probably dispense with the main computer- it's from DB's timetable system, which an NG loco isn't likely to need. On the other hand the basic controls for the power and brakes are largely similar, and they're going to be very small in 7mm scale.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

A step at a time...

I’ve completed the frames on “Growler 1” at last. It took some time, as construction was squeezed between nappy changes and burping of littlest... For a comparison with the mock up look here. I’m in the early stages of building a Flickr gallery.

At the moment I think I’ll paint the under frame grey, and the body red. In Europe it’s a common colour for locomotives, especially if they have just been delivered This way I'm not committed to a final livery style just yet.

Now to hide that motor block under the cab. There's a loud street festival going on outside our house, so I may be building more through the night...

Monday, October 09, 2006


Our third boy, Lucas Sean was born 01:30 on Sunday morning. I'm juggling the other two and commuting into the hospital every day to see my beautiful wife and baby, which isn't leaving a lot of time or energy for building. However, in the spare moments I'm doing a bit here and there to unwind, so there will still be some uptates now and again...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Building the frames, or How not to do things…

Today is a national holiday in Germany to commemorate the reunification in 1990, Being a public holiday it rained, but I was able to get some model building done.

I haven’t built in plasticard since about 11 years so I have an excuse for making almost every mistake in the book, and then some. I’d forgotten how awkward the stuff can be, and how it makes a blunt blade waggle all over the place. I had to scrap one frame, and this one nearly went the same way due to my dodgy measuring. However, much later this is the mark two frame ready for the next building session when it will receive a body and cab roughly like the mock-up. Hopefully.

I still don’t know what colour it’ll be.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blatant self-publicity

I’ve got articles about local railways loafing in files of several different magazines, and this month “European Railways and ER Modelling” issue #174 (Oct/Nov 2006) has published one about the tram/metro rebuilding in Stuttgart over the summer, with layout suggestions. It’s based on the slightly chaotic conditions in Stuttgart and the ways that the Stuttgart tram company is making a gauge change in the middle if the city. Others have been sent and I’m told they will be published soon.

At the same time I’m translating a German website about the beautiful and varied, but almost unheard of railways of the North German islands. The project is long-term because I’m doing it as and when I can but I’ve done three of the Islands so far.

Well, it keeps me out of trouble…

Baseboards Continued.

Yesterday was the great baseboard construction day. Now the ugly join below is under the equally ugly plywood top, but they will soon disappear under the track and brilliant scenery that is planned so no worries about that. The important bit works- the join is straight, hardly visible; and securely bolted together using the 8mm bolts below. Nobody ask how. It was more luck than judgement.

With the non-delivery of track, I’m now going to move to locomotive construction, which itself will probably have a significant break soon as our third baby is due in a week.