Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Industrial Archaeology.

Yesterday I was in a warehouse visiting the location shooting of a film project I'd helped out on last week. This isn't half as glamorous as it sounds, but while I was there and everyone else was busy doing important technical stuff I don't understand, I happened to see a wagon turntable in the ground, which turned out to be part of a small system which I estimate to be 50-60cm gauge. The track looked pretty old and clapped out, but then so did much of the warehouse, and one of the staff said that they still use it regularly. He also said I could take pictures, so I ran off and did before someone else came along who thought otherwise.

The back of the works, looking out of the hall pictured above: disused track and chimney.

The only wagon I could find, lurking at one end of the warehouse.

Fairly heavy-duty cast turntable

View out of the front door. The tree is at the edge of the former standard gauge goods yard. The narrow gaige track is very close to the door and further along the street there are the remains of some standard gauge wagon turntables opposite similar factory doors. I did wonder if a standard gauge siding once came through the doors.

Overhead view showing the scales in the background. The disused track dissapearing bottom right goes into the offices where it runs along a corridor

I wanted to take a picture of the standard gauge turntables but unfortunately when I went back someone had parked on them in defiance of several 'no parking' signs. I'll try another day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spot the difference.

On the face of it, there seems to be little change since the last time I posted, but the track is here, giving a far better idea of clearances and radii, while a friend who is a carpenters apprentice has carefully cut the front and sides of the box file out, I've built up the ground level inside the box, giving an eye-level, rather than 'lighthouse keeper's' view. The front folds back up, allowing the box to close normally.

I'm also working on a mock-up for the detachable fiddle yard, made from the usual cornflake packets of which I have an inexhaustible supply. This is proving to be the tricky part of the design, partly because I've never built anything like it before, but with work finally beginning to calm down a bit I'm really hoping to get the design together in the next week.

I'm planning to use plastic card as my construction material, which may seem odd but I want to keep weight down, and with such a tiny fiddle yard, (about the same length as the big freight wagons on the Körschtalbahn) I don't think it will cause too many problems. We shall see. All thoughts, feedback, etc, welcome.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

This has been a very quiet blog for the last week, partly because of pressures of work which kept increasing since January, but also but also because of a severe cold/flu attack which kept me firmly horizontal for a while.

‘Westerooge’ is actually progressing faster than it would seem from the lack of updates here. I have been able to get track and a few other essential bits and I’ll get some pictures up as soon as I'm able to take them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No news then good news

Stuttgart-St. Pancras return tickets...

This blog has experienced a rather long silence, mostly because of time pressure from work and because Michi's sister and brother in law came with our two lovely little nieces. We’ve been showing them around Stuttgart for the bare five days they were able to be with us.

Today we dropped them off at Stuttgart main station on a train for Frankfurt, and at the same time we were able to finally get tickets so we can come to the UK by rail
from May the 12th to June the 9th. We also have a ‘Britrail’ pass to travel within the country so hopefully we can get to a couple of places and see people, although the 7mmnga meeting in Burton won't be possible.

We've wanted to go by rail and the recent announcement by the local airport ("We need more money, so we're going to take more land and build another runway") made us only more determined not to fly. Besides, the airline industry is very creative imagining up extra ways to make life more miserable, like determining that you can only carry 100ml of water, shouting at you at every opportunity, and dreaming up lots of extra 'costs' so after you've booked your flight they add things like 'Airport Tax', 'Service charge', 'Administration charges', 'fuel surcharge', 'security costs', 'runway toll', and 'Mandatory Insurance'.

I may have got a bit confused with some of those costs as the list is very long and in very small print, but with these little extras and the overnight stop in a hotel because the plane lands in Manchester just before ten, and the taxi fare to and from the hotel, the train actually looks reasonable in comparison: it is definitely quicker door-to-door,
and that at 10% of the emissions, much less noise, no massive runways, and no-one shouting at us about how much water we can carry.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Going up in the world.

Westerooge takes shape. The unfinished lighthouse
lends a distinctly 'Steampunk' feel to the model.

If this entry seems even more disjointed than normal it’s because I’m writing it between dealing with a wriggly toddler and getting ready for the evening meal: life is hectic and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down for a while.

However, on Sunday I had a few moments to spare and it dawned on me that I can still work on the few structures which will be on the layout and the plan, so here is a progress shot showing how things are developing.

The two sidings are an attempt at an 'Inglenook' shunting puzzle (look here if you're wondering what that is): it looks a bit crowded though so perhaps I should remove the points and just have one siding to avoid cluttering the model. The 'main line' theoretically crosses the only road on the island (where the locomotive and wagon are sitting) and continues to the next clutch of houses. In fact, of course, it will drop off the front of the model.

It has dawned on me that I can squeeze one building on the model, and that is a lighthouse. This would not only set the scene as most definitely coastal, but also distract the eye away from the hole in the side of the box where trains will enter and exit the model. The excellent website at has lots of different designs and is packed full of information about the different types, colours and purposes of lighthouses which I'll ramble on about that when the model is more complete. for now suffice to say that the lighthouse will be a modern design, partly to place the model firmly in the present day, and also for other reasons too long to bore you with right now but which will become clear as the model progresses. It is about 11 scale metres at the moment, quite respectable for a small lighthouse, but I'm wondering if artistic licence requires it to be a tad smaller. I expect I'll have to build it to find out, but any thoughts are welcome.

And on that thought, I'll be off to make the tea.