Thursday, March 29, 2007

Körschtalbahn Route map.

Today’s post was to be about the ISO container that’s (Just) visible in the last post, but unfortunately that isn’t happening because (1) The weather is foul and I haven’t got enough light, and (2) I haven’t had time to finish the container so it’s equally foul and I didn’t want to spoil your evening. So instead here’s a plan of the railway as it currently exists in my head. I’ll post the container another time… I’d be grateful to geographers for ignoring some of the more glaring inaccuracies. I’ll clean those up for a later version of the map.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Organised Modelmaking

Yesterday Stephan (My eldest son) and I spent the afternoon bashing nails into wood and produced “Daddy’s Modelling tools box” My modelmaking tools were languishing in old ice cream boxes and my wife was quite reasonably getting fed up of it cluttering our office/bedroom. It was this or be banished to the outer darkness of the cold utility room whenever I wanted to build anything.

Of course it was fun to build it with Stephan and he was really excited to be "Helping Daddy".

The funny coloured box on top is the ISO container, hopefully in the process of being painted into Hapag-Lloyd Orange, or an approximation thereof.

I organised all my bits last night and this morning Stephan insisted that I go through it with him, and show him the contents of each drawer (of "our box") in turn.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Going Postal

The "container question" continues. Whilst I'm not planning to make a collection like that on Nick Gurney's intermodal model, I think there may be more than one running on the KÖB, and I'm too cheap to get another kit, so I've been looking at tanktainers, swapbodies and roll-on containers and anything with flat sides until I resolve the "Corrugation issue"

And my goodness but there's a lot of possibilities. I may bore you with those another time, but this week I wasted my precious minutes creating a postal container based on those used by the Rhaetian Bahn. For those who aren't familiar with this company, it is a metre gauge line in Switzerland which doesn't seem to have heard that narrow gauge trains are old and can't carry big things. Amongst other heavy duty wagons including cement carriers, bogie tankers, roll-on container carriers and some very nice side-panel vans, they clearly have a contract with the Swiss postal service, and carry post in a fleet of swapbodies (If that’s the word for a lot of yellow boxes), which are designed to be accessible from road or rail. I first found these on the very comprehensive Schewizer Schmalspurbahn gallery where they are shown on well wagons, although I don’t know if this is for clearance or ease of access. The Railfan Europe site shows these and other similar swapbodies on normal four wheel wagons, which would be useful for my tiny layout.

Anyway, the drawing shows the general idea, please compare with the pictures of the real thing and let me know what you think. What would a UPS version look like?

Takeover? Maybe not...

The unanimous opinion on G1 in Connex livery was “Bring back red”. Thank goodness for image manipulation.

Connex are changing their name to Veolia now, and Paul Smith of Widnes Road fame tells me they are gradually changing the corporate colours to red and white. Their German website is changing too. It seems they have decided to follow my lead…

Being a Brit I can't resist mentioning that after a mild winter it started snowing yesterday...

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Or: More learning The Gimp…

Here is the location of the KÖB, just on the northeast corner of the Black Forest. All the railways apart from the KÖB are real, if rather inaccurately drawn. Spitzenwald is fictional, but the other towns all exist although Dachsburg is moved slightly. If you are so inclined, you can even find Wildberg on Google Earth by entering “72218 Wildberg Germany”

The numbered railways are all 1000mm lines that existed in the Black Forest:

1: “Todtnauerli” running from Zell im Wiesental to Todtnau;
2:Müllheim-Badenweiler, electrified, but I don't know what voltage- nand I can't find anyone who does, and:
3:“Alternsteigerle“, from Nagold to Altensteig

There were plans for another electrified 1000mm line from Todtnau to Freiburg and a steam operated one from Todtnau to meet the standard gauge near Titisee, but this was never built. Strangely, no-one really knows why.

This map was made for a magazine and had to be black and white. When I get time I’ll post a rather better colour map of the KÖB showing how Spitzenwald fits into the overall scheme of things. I have been planning Spitzenwald itself as well. More on that soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I'm learning how to use "The Gimp" at the moment, and it occured to me that as Connex/Veolia Group run a lot of the local railways, with a bit of a different history they may well have taken over the KÖB, so I tried some image manipulation into their livery. What do you think? I think I prefer red.

This is not quite the sum total of my progress but it's not far off. I'm hoping that the current work deluge will calm down soon and I can get back to ma true vocation. Real progress may be a while though as we're off to visit family in Japan in April/May. On the other hand that's a chance to travel on/photograph/experience some real main line Narrow gauge so the blog will likely be active.

I've also found a model railway association around here which I may even join as they are very big on familiy activities involving model railways. We shall see...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Contain Yourself...

I’m the proud owner of a grey resin box, just recognisable as a model iso container. No numbers, details, or even locking mechanisms as yet, but it’s a start. Besides, I’ve got all the help I need on details because there are websites out there belonging to container enthusiasts, people who travel around the place photographing containers. (Like this one for example). And why not? bearing in mind I’m keeping a blog of how I glue and paint bits of plastic, and was recently photographing seats in a local train (See last entry) I’m not about to take a superior attitude. Besides it’s a mine of information and I’ve learned enough to know how to make my own containers in future, so it’s even saved me some money…

I reckon a modern narrow gauge line would be into intermodal in a big way. Look at it this way- a transporter wagon or rollboks are complex bits of equipment, non-standard and very specialised. This will put the cost up. A container flat on the other hand, can be rebuilt easily from a standard gauge wagon, has to carry less weight and the transfer process uses standard cranes and systems. It’s much more flexible as well: a truck can take the load at the end of the line and carry it further into the hills.

That’s not to say I won’t have a few transporters on my line, they are too good to be left out completely. But they’re going to have some competition...

The containers are coming...


Thanks to the kindness of Colin Peake, who sent me some surplus examples, I’ve now got a collection of seats for the future carriage. I’m rapidly running out of excuses to get moving on that. One thing that is clear: I'm tending to build slightly overscale judging by the comparison with G1, so I'll have to watch out for that...

Incidentally, here's an example of modern German passenger seats on a local train. The window pillars bend in because it's the upper deck of a double deck unit. Great for seeing the view. You should have seen the looks I got for taking this picture.


This blog went a bit quiet for the last couple of weeks because I was snowed under with work, and then managed to catch the flu at the same time. Of course, having three small boys doesn’t allow a lot of rest. I’m not sure if it’s worse having flu with healthy kids who want to run around or with sick boys who need lots of cuddles… Either way it’s not conducive to modelling or blogging... But it's worth it for the extra cuddles.