Monday, November 27, 2006

Finally, a cab...

After 3 attempts the cab sides for G1 are ready. I’ve not glued the lot together, but I couldn’t resist having a dry run to see how it looks. Hopefully the dodgy joins in the cab will disappear when it’s fixed properly. I don’t know what happened to the end of the short bonnet but it won’t go straight. The exhaust is a drinking straw, and I may try for a bigger diameter version. You’ll notice I’ve chickened out of interior details so far, and the railings. I think I need to move the buffers up a bit to fit the DG coupling in

More pictures on Flickr. Click on the photo to see them...


The paint arrived last week. I'm using artist's acrylics because they are easier to get hold of in Germany. I've had a lot of advice from Dave Balcombe (of Teetering by the Well fame) and Colin Peake, builder of Shifting Sands, which I'm really grateful for, as I seem to have no colour sense. (Michiko, my wife is the opposite and has taken over home decoration, to the relief of all concerned) They suggest going for subdued colours and using brighter colours as tints with creams, browns and greys to keep the colours muted and together on the scenery. If I'm really persistent, maybe I can get Michi involved...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Slow progress…

I’ve made little visible progress in the last week or two. I’m waiting for the paint I ordered to come through, and in the meantime I’ve been looking for couplings that will work with my locos, and for modern 7mm figures.

The coupling problem is that I want to have link-and-pin couplings and automatic couplings working at the same time, which rules Kadee couplings out- they wouldn't fi t under that huge buffer. I’m hoping to build some transporter wagons one day and they will need to be coupled by a drawbar. In other words, I want to have the best of both worlds.

However, it seems I can get away with it. I’ve found that DG or B&B couplings will probably lurk unobtrusively under the buffers on G1, giving me the convenience of auto coupling and uncoupling, and still have prototypical coupling to drawbars.

I’ve also -with a lot of assistance from many different modellers- found a couple of sources for modern 7mm scale figures, which I was concerned about. One of them is actually quite close to where I live. Finally I’ve confirmed that the figures will be between 35 and 40mm tall which means my calculations for the doors (42mm, based on an assumption they would be a scale 6 feet) are correct. I’ve made the sides of the cab ready to fit. After painting...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Körschtalbahn history part 2: 1901-1946

The second part of my entirely made up history of the Körschtalbahn. I suggest you start with the first part, here. Almost all the events in this story have happened on narrow or standard gauge railways in our region. I’ve just pushed them all together…

From the first ten years the line grew and the traffic forecasts were fulfilled, even exceeded by traffic returns. Several wood mills worked in the valley, and a steel works began production in Körschbrunnen. A mallet supplemented the two 0-6-0 tank engines in 1904. A second, heavier unit followed two years later. Together these powered up and down the Körschtal with their heavy wood trains.

However, there was now a problem. Coal costs money, and transporting the stuff cost more money. The directors had long been looking at the fast-flowing river Körsch and imagining the potential for cheap electricity. The more visionary ones were already drawing up cost/benefit analyses. In 1913 the decision was made to electrify the line, and the Körschtalbahn placed an order with the Esslingen Maschinenfabrik near Stuttgart for two electric c-c railcars.

In 1914 Electric power was switched on from Wildberg to Dachsburg. Originally it is clear that the directors wanted to have wires beyond the station at Dachsburg and up the final section to Spitzenwald, but the First World War intervened and steam remained on the upper section. The steam locomotives also continued to run on the lower Körschtal for freights that the railcars couldn’t handle. This did not stop the Government requisitioning first one and then both of the 0-6-0 tank engines for use on the Russian front, where they both disappeared. By the end of the war, the manpower difficulties had reduced the steam fleet to one Mallet, and the railcars were struggling with the increased traffic.

The chaos between the wars allowed for little investment, although two steeple cab locomotives were purchased second hand from a line in north Germany. As with all of the rest of Germany’s railways the Körschtalbahn came under national control in the 1930’s and for the next ten to fifteen years the story was one of overuse and under investment. Stone and wood were moved in huge quantities, so much so that two diesels were brought in to assist.

The Second World War would make depressing reading, so I’ll stick to saying that after the war the line was worn out. One Mallet was still operable and ran the whole length of the line when there were power failures, which were frequent. As the “Economic miracle” began to take place, and the industries grew in the Lower and Upper Körschtal, the line built up traffic, but it urgently needed new investment, new trains, and a complete overhaul of the infrastructure.

Continued on part 3.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wood and Transhipment at Nagold

On Wednesday I had an appointment in Nagold, a town in the Black Forest. I went by train, of course.

Nagold is about ten kilometres south of Wildberg, where the fictional Körschtalbahn meets the real Nagoldtalbahn. It used to have its own narrow gauge railway running to Altensteig.

One of the reasons given for the demise of Narrow Gauge is the transhipment cost. It costs too much to tranship freight from standard gauge to narrow, and vice versa. The picture above shows a train of wagons (From Belgium, if you’re wondering), which have just been shunted into that shed for unloading; there’s apparently a freight train to Nagold, carrying different things every one or two days. The steel is put onto a truck and driven to a company based in Rohrdorf, who are steel distributors, and if that isn’t transhipment, I don’t know what is.

Rohrdorf is on the route of the old Narrow Gauge line. How much easier it would have been to simply shove those steel wagons onto transporters, or just transfer the load, onto narrow gauge wagons instead...

There are also wood trains. These Austrian wagons have clearly just been loaded, which conforms that the wood train I saw being loaded at Nagold on my last fleeting visit wasn't a one off.

I’ve got a few more pictures, which are on the Flickr gallery. I also got a brief look at Wildberg on the way through. It is a lot more mountainous than I thought, but there is a small valley running into the hills, which could easily be part of the Körschtalbahn. And the buildings are very distinctive and I didn’t have time to take photos.

Which just means I’ll have to go back again…

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Links

I've just discovered that a blog I read has linked to me... It's just playing trains from John Sharp has me in his link section, which made a pleasant suprise. I'm also linked from the RJR Branchline by John Teal. Thanks for that!

Now I've really got to try and figure out HTML...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Taking Control...

Progress on G1 continues. I'm going to have to do some painting soon, find a driver to fit inside the cab. The great lump in the floor is the result of my not concentrating when I built the frames- I managed to put the biggest part of the motor there instead of under the bonnet... Hopefully it won't be too obvious when it's all painted. I've also realised my brilliant idea to use MSE Couplings won't work because they are designed to be in the middle if the buffer beam, right where the buffer is. However, it finally looks like a locomotive as opposed to a rail borne Skateboard. There's a few more views on my photo album, click on the picture to have a look.