Samstag, 11. November 2017

Open Dag OMC 11 November 2017

Preparations are in full swing for the Open Dag of the Omroep Modelspoorclub Hilversum. Visit Valkenveld and the club layout on 11 November. All information here.

De deuren van de Diependaalse kerk gelegen aan de Diependaalselaan 138 1214 KE te Hilversum staan die dag wagenwijd open van 10:00 tot 15:00 uur.


Still a lot to do, but our modular layout is getting shape.

Freitag, 29. September 2017

Artitec Dg 2519

Whilst planning for the new ÖBB layout “Puchstein” is in full swing and I actually already started with the construction of a station building, I cannot resist to add rolling stock to my current “Valkenveld” layout. Especially not when Artitec finally launched the long promised NS DG caboose. I bought art. no. 20.214.02  with NS number D 2519. It will be a nice new feature in my Inglenook operating sessions.

First service of D 2519 to Valkenveld.

Artitec No. 20.214.02

Per coincidence, I also found the same day reading material for the coffee breaks of the crew in an antiquarian bookstore: two "Dick Bos" comic books; No. 54, Hulp op komst, and No. 62, Erfgenaam gezocht. Both date back to 1966, perfectly fitting the Valkenveld time period.

Dick Bos was a famous detective character of Dutch artist Alfred Mazure. The books were published between 1940 and 1967. The real story of how Alfred Mazure developed and published his comics during German occupation is a fascinating story in itself (see here).

Samstag, 16. September 2017

Planning update: PUCHSTEIN is born

UPDATE 2 March 2018: Puchstein will not be built. I still like the concept (a lot), but I have ultimately switched to a new layout: WREDE, a small terminus in the North-West of Germany.

The original entry:

It has been very quiet around here. But lately not on my planning desk. Months of exploration of ideas have finally led to a concrete theme and plan for the new layout. I refer to it as “Plan 56a” which shows a bit the struggle (read: fun) in coming up with a final theme and plan.

I considered three options:
  1. An industrial layout as Valkenveld inspired by the former Distelweg line in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, set in the mid 1960s;
  2. An Austrian-based, ÖBB serviced layout set in the suburbs of Vienna, inspired by stations like Simmering Ostbahn or Donaukaibahnhof;
  3. A terminus at a single track ÖBB line in Lower Austria/Styria, inspired by lines like the Neubergerbahn, Gutensteinerbahn or Schneebergbahn, set in the late 1980s, early 1990s.

The first theme was tempting but felt like “more of the same”, especially when I keep my Valkenveld Inglenook layout in operation. The second would have provided great freight switching opportunities in an urban setting. But all plans felt very “squeezed” and unnatural on my available 250 cm layout length. The third, however, would provide the potential for passenger and freight operations following a real timetable in a scenery very familiar to me from my childhood.

So option three it is. But which prototype to follow? Ultimately I have chosen for "proto-freelancing", a concept where one does not replicate an exact prototype, but instead tries to capture the atmosphere and essence of a station or line that could actually exist in reality. This offers the opportunity to add elements one particular likes rather than strictly sticking to one, particular prototype station.

The name for the new layout is similarly "proto-freelanced": PUCHSTEIN is a mix of the stations Gutenstein and Puchberg am Schneeberg.

One of the images that resembles the spirit of my to be built Puchstein is this shot of Neuberg an der Mürz, taken in 1981:

Busy times in Neuberg an der Mürz, Austria on 21 May 1981. GmP Z 72055 (freight train with passenger service) has just arrived from Mürzzuschlag. The unusually high weight of 250t and a train length of 190m made it necessary for locomotive 2062.48 to support the regular 2060.77. In the background sits DMU 5044.21 of trains 2985/2984. The track in extension of the freight train engines leads to the saw mill of the “Österreichische Bundesforste”, on the other end the line reaches after about 12k Mürzzuschlag on the Südbahn. Source: Schienenverkehr Aktuell, image by Mr. Leirer

Here all comes together:

  •        A single track line terminus
  •        Quite extensive freight traffic
  •        Passenger service with DMU’s
  •        A mix of many different locomotive types
  •        Set in a mountainous, typical Austrian scenery

I still have original timetables from Neuberg in the 1980s, so could operate according to a real-life time-table. My line to Puchstein would, however, see more freight traffic than the Neubergerbahn with also heavier locomotives, like the 2143 series. In my imagination the line has a couple of industrial clients to serve, very similar to the real situation along the Gutensteinerbahn and Schneebergbahn.

Timetable from the same year as the above image: ÖBB line 53 from Mürzzuschlag to Neuberg, winter 1981/1982, including the GmP, a “Güterzug mit Personenbeförderung”.

Puchstein track plan (No. 56a)

Three stations in Lower Austria and Styria formed the inspiration for the track plan: Türnitz, Neuberg and Kernhof.

Rough scenery plan of Puchstein.
When some freight cars arrived too late in Mürzzuschlag they were added to the passenger service. Something that would be great to feature on the layout. DMU 5044.22 and 2060.67 in Neuberg on 23 April 1981. Source: Schienenverkehr Aktuell
The same train as it arrives in Neuberg, 23 April 1981.

It’s all over for the line from Mürzzuschlag to Neuberg. On 30 December 2009, my brother and I were looking at the beautiful Neuberg station building and the sad state of the overgrown tracks. More on flickr.

A grand building for a small station, due to the fact that Emperor Franz Joseph traveled in style to his hunting grounds in the area.

Apart from the line from Mürzzuschlag to Neuberg I draw inspiration for atmosphere, scenery and operations from the two lines not far to the North, the Schneebergbahn ending in Puchberg am Schneeberg and the Gutensteinerbahn ending in, yes, Gutenstein. Both lines are still going strong with freight trains serving industries along the line and hourly passenger trains.

Still going strong. 2143.051-7 ready for departure in Gutenstein on 16 August 2016. More of the Gutensteinerbahn on flickr
Overview of the lines to Gutenstein and Schneeberg in 1897. The Neubergerbahn is situated a bit to the South of these lines.
An idea of the atmosphere of the layout to be built.

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