Samstag, 1. April 2017

New fiddle yard

Am I getting sentimental?

It seems the more I plan for the new layout and think of track plans and operations, scenes and buildings, frame construction and lighting fascias, the more I want to keep my current layout. I am obviously not "finished" with it yet...

There is so much to improve, detail to add, scenes to perfect - but most importantly, believe it or not, I enjoy the short, zen meditation-like operating sessions on this tiny Inglenook layout! There is no effort involved, just start a Diesel locomotive and switch a few cars to their destination and form a new train.

As I have now more room available and to add some more fun, I built a small fiddle yard as extension. This two track yard allows me to get more variation in locomotives and cars on the layout without having to touch the rolling stock with my hands.  And it is nice to have a "wider world" where the trains can actually go to. In an operating session the new fiddle yard represents the station "Valkenveld Goederen", the starting point of my industrial spur. One of the two trains is the "morning train", the other one the "afternoon train".

The yard is 95 x 15 cm with one turnout and built from materials I had at home. The rails are trusted RocoLine with 2.1 mm profiles. I built the yard without usage of glue, so all rails etc. can be reused for a later project if necessary.

It's a small yard but offering much additional operational variation. Both tracks have a length to hold a locomotive and 4 freight cars.

Mittwoch, 29. März 2017

Inspiration: Feijenoordse Meesters

The Dutch website "Feijenoordse Meesters" showcases fascinating inspiration for anyone interested in freight traffic in urban settings. The site features images, video’s and even maps and plans from the tracks in and around Feyenoord. The section "Trein in de wijk" holds particular interest for me as it covers lots of street running images in the Raccordement Katendrecht. 

Another great resource for this area is the site of Arthur Kamminga: Op dood spoor.

Here some images from the Feyenoordse Meesters site:

Sonntag, 26. März 2017

Night Shift

Two workers of Hoekstra's Oliefabrieken enjoy a pipe and chat during a break in the night shift.

Samstag, 25. März 2017

Planning for the Valkenveld II shelf layout

I have done a lot of planning for the new layout lately, Valkenveld II. I enjoy planning as much as building and operating a model railroad. 

After some back and forth, I have decided to stay true to the current theme, a switching layout situated in The Netherlands in the early 1960s. Another option would have been an Austrian themed layout.

My inspiration comes from a number of industrial lines, like the former Distelweg line in Amsterdam Noord, Ede-Wageningen, Deventer, and others. I will not try to strictly follow a certain prototype, but proto-freelance drawing on inspiration from various prototypes.

Key measurements are:
  • L-shape of 250 x 110 cm
  • Aisle depth 45 cm 
  • Cupboard height at 135 cm
  • Top of rails at ca. 145 cm

The “must-haves” for the new layout are:
  •            Lots of operational fun without looking overcrowded
  •           Elegant track plan
  •           RocoLine or Tillig Elite rails
  •          Overall feeling that the modeled section resembles not a terminus station but is part of a freight-only short line
  •           Run-around track with at least 5-6 cars capacity
  •           Variety of interesting scenes, buildings and industries.
  •           Attachable, folding fiddle yard with 3 tracks (but the layout should be operational without the yard as well)
  •      Minimum radius of 50 cm

“Nice-to-haves” are:
  •          A bridge/canal
  •          Street running
  •      -  Passenger excursions
I have shown a first plan inspired by the Distelweg industrial line earlier. On second thought, this plan has a lot of industries but also looks too crammed and overcrowded. The minimum radius is below 50 cm.

Distelweg in Amsterdam Noord, inspiration for the above track plan.

Since then, I have done many variations of the original plan. Some I will show here below.

This plan is elegant but offers not enough switching possibilities for my taste.

In this plan, I wanted to have the team track road in-between the incoming track and the team track. This would make the plan more interesting. However, it would not be really safe to have trucks move around close to the incoming track.

Finally, this is my current favorite. It is elegant and has a lot of operational potential. The minimum radius is 54.28 cm (RocoLine radius No. 5).

A slight variation to the above plan with an insertion between tracks 1 and 2. This allows some space between tracks 1 and 4 without the slight S-curve.

And finally with insertion between tracks 1 and 2 and a slight S-curve. You can go on and on and on...

Montag, 20. März 2017

New Railroad Room

After a couple of weekends of hard labor, Valkenveld has been finally moved to its new home - the new "Railroad Room" slash study. The height of the rails is now at 145 cm, a great height to view and operate the layout. All equipment is neatly stored in the cupboards below. An operating session can be started at the throw of a switch! What is really missing, however, is proper lighting which I will install with a new layout.

Planning for the new layout continued. I hope to be able to report shortly on progress. The new layout will cover the full length of 250 cm plus an L-shaped extension on the right of 110 cm. The depth will correspond with the cupboards' depth of 45 cm. I am also planning for a folding fiddle yard and an upper fascia to include led lighting strips (see the example from Lance Mindheim below).

"Miami" is one of Lance Mindheim's shelf layouts and a good example how a shelf layout can be beautifully integrated in a room. I especially like the upper fascia. Source: lancemindheim

Sonntag, 19. März 2017

Valkenveld featured on Carl Arendt small layout website

The late Carl Arendt was a pioneer in developing and promoting small layouts. He has written many books like "52 Micro Layouts You Can Build" and the "Small Layout Scrapbook" and published a website. Carl Arendt's heritage lives on as others keep his famous website alive. Model Railroader magazine has even featured an article about the site. contains many track plans and ideas for small layout enthusiasts. My layout Valkenveld has been included in the March layout update.

Freitag, 10. Februar 2017

S-CHO to deliver more goods

I bought a discounted model of NS S-CHO box car No. 5854. The model is from Roco (No. 46835) and has a length of 122 mm.

Roco's model of the S-CHO. Source: marnan

Source: beneluxspoor

Source: automatic-rock

Source: nvm

Montag, 30. Januar 2017

Inspiration: Distelweg, Amsterdam

Planning for the new layout in the new room continues. Most probably I will stick to the original theme of Valkenveld, a freight short line in the early 1960s in The Netherlands. This allows lots of operations with short trains and many industries. On the available space of 250 cm length it also seems the only viable option when I do not want to shorten track lengths dramatically or overload the space with tracks.

I came across a particularly interisting prototype that could form an important inspiration: the former freight line on the Distelweg in Amsterdam. This line is perfectly described with many images on the site of the AGA museum. The website even features a list of industries and which car types and loads they have seen. Below are some images from the site and a first track plan option for my layout inspired by this prototype.

Source of all plans and images: AGA Museum

Plan by Jaap Veldhuis for a modular layout of Distelhaven.

Below my own interpretation fitting my l-shaped layout room. Thematically this layout fit perfectly to my existing Valkenveld layout with lots more of switching operations. I did not include the ferry as this would take away too much room. However, I am thinking of a quayside allowing shiploads to be transfered to freight cars. The layout is 250 cm long and on the L 110 cm deep. The curved track furthest to the right on the L is the main coming into the yard. This track could lead to a cassette-style fiddle yard or even the existing Valkenveld layout.

Montag, 23. Januar 2017

Inspiration: Modelspoordagen Rijswijk

Last year, I was very enthousiastic about the Modelspoordagen in De Broodfabriek in Rijswijk. One of the smaller event, but with high quality layouts and a sales area that does not overwhelm you. Just right for a few hours and lots of inspiration.

This year, it seemed there were fewer layouts and I missed essential stands with products I was looking for (there was little in high-quality scenery materials and paint). But my overall impression is still positive. There were a few layouts that I found really inspiring. Most of these had been shown on earlier events like Ontraxs, but were new for me. Anyway, seeing a great layout back can never do any harm. There is always something new to discover.

I particularly liked:

Midsommar pa Högskogen: a simple, Swedish themed oval layout with only three switches in the visible area but still interesting operations and very nice detailing.

The Fridge: a US themed switching layout that uses cassettes as fiddle yard on both ends. I am currently exploring if cassettes could be an option for me as well. 

Western Rhapsody: another finely detailed US layout, however much bigger with longer trains running.

Het Venhuizer Spoortje: the track layout of this Dutch layout is a bit too simplistic for me and operations did not grab my attention. However, the scenery detailing and reflection of Dutch countryside was sublime.

Here some videos shot by other hobbyists (mainly from Ontraxs) and some own images:

Cassette system on The Fridge

Het Venhuizer Spoortje

Midsommar pa Högskogen