Sunday, December 30, 2007

Complete Mess

Meik was getting on my case about fixing the mess van so I finally got it together yesterday. When tested on the normal chassis the it showed a tendency to dive nose first into the track when moving which spilt Meik’s coffee. After Meik calmed down the chassis was duly lengthened, and a test run was accomplished without further damage.

The roof is made from the same deluxe materials as the walls, namely cereal packet card although it does have an overlay of recycled printer paper. I figured Meik wouldn’t want to mess about with an arched roof, so I made it pitched, and added shutters to protect the windows when the van is stored outdoors. These two measures make it look like a garden shed on wheels, but there we go.

Rear view of the van while Meik was shunting.

I’m wondering about having red and white warning signs on the corners like a lot of German work vehicles do, so I tried it out using the Gimp:

And then, as I was using the Gimp in any case, I couldn't resist one for the British ‘modern image’ enthusiasts…

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twilight at our local Christmas market, Esslingen.

Many thanks to the long-surffereing readers of this blog for your encouragement, suggestions, ideas and friendship over the last 12 months. Wishing you a happy and most blessed Christmas and new year...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making a Mess

The smaller island and Hallig railways all seem to have at least one stores/mess van in some form or another: when working away from the main depot it’s possibly the only form of shelter for a long way, and on Minsener Oog it's the only way from ship to shore.

Naturally the Westerooge line needed its own version, and true to prototype it is made up of scrounged materials, in this case low quality cardboard which started life as a cornflake packet, but which proved pretty strong when two sheets were glued firmly together. The main superstructure was built from this with ‘metal’ strapping from sketch paper.

The walls need painting so they look a bit more like real wood, and the windows will need shutters for protection against the elements. I thought I’d finished the outside but looking at the photo I’ve forgotten a couple of corner pieces.

The inside is complete though. Meik was insistent that there had to be a stove and a decent table inside.

The table cloth is a bit askew, possibly Jan left in a hurry. He seems to have left his coat hanging by the door as well. Hopefully he'll remember it before he goes home on the boat tonight

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Complete Loco

I've not posted for a while- mostly because I had some dental work done with a general anaesthetic, which put me off modelmaking for a bit. However, I was able to get the Westerooge diesel finished enough to be presentable...

Rear view showing rudimentary controls and Meik peering out of the window

Front view again, showing the other side. This view hides a couple of bodges, but it doesn't do the glazing any favours. At least the glazing itself is clean though.

I've also found that the self-removing paint problem I've been having is probably because of the primer I've used up to now, which is a brush-on Acrylic. Apparently I need a spray primer so I'll be looking for a car respray shop. There must be some in Germany, but as I don't own a car I've never looked before.

In the meantime I'll be working on building some some wagons for Jan and Meik to move materials and the generator around whilst repairing and maintaining the sea defences, and hopefully a small mess coach where they can retreat when caught on the wrong end of the causeway in a storm...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Technicolor Cab

Slowly but surely the new cab takes shape on the Westerooge diesel. Last weekend I gave it some colour:

Remarkably I managed to mix a new batch of blue to roughly the same shade as the old.

Meik trying the cab out for size. He complained about the draught until I told him the alternative. I have since put some glazing in, and the sandwich seems to have been suiccesfull. The painting was less so. I have to touch up just from the handling required to put the windows in. I'm going to try spray-on primer in future I think.

I’m sure no-one will notice that there isn’t a door handle.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ideal narrow gauge coaches?

The Zillertalbahn's new push-pull train.
Click on the picture for more details (in German)

Every now and again in this blog, I have a bit of a whinge about how narrow gauge railways are treated essentially as heritage lines, and often end up using dated stock with several steps at the entrances (and narrow doors to make them really wheelchair-proof), arcane operating methods and low speeds. So what would my idea of perfect narrow gauge passenger stock look like?

Well, ideally:

Modern, not just a replica of an old coach but built for modern needs in a modern style.
At least partially low-floor
Probably loco-hauled for flexibility and maximum stock usage
Push-pull with a driver’s cab in the coaching stock to minimize runarounds
Wide doors with push-button operation, which actually close without allowing a draught
At least partially low-floor
Cassette toilets
Comfortable seats (with cushions)
Corridor connections
Proper passenger information systems
Quiet and smooth when moving.
Did I mention that it should be low-floor?

Essentially what we are becoming accustomed to on a bus or standard gauge train. This sounds a bit of a pipe dream I know, but the 760mm (about 2’6”) gauge Zillertalbahn in Austria has ordere new carriages which look remarkably like my description. The English page is for the tourists so it doesn’t mention them, but you can see an artist’s impression of the inside and outside here. You can also click here for pictures of the first units being delivered.

(Yes, they are partially low-floor)