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  1. Update from Austria: 931403, which is at Heizhaus Strasshof north east of Vienna, was repainted 2019-2020. See this photo of the loco in the Heizhaus. Thanks to @Michael W on the Kleinbahnsammler forum for this news!
  2. I agree. I'm fortunate to have a white wall in the room where I am (even more fortunately) able to leave the layout up at the moment. Sour grapes: it's a bit bright and dazzles the model in the foreground... Now that is the thing. This thing started as a project which I thought might be my first ever exhibitable layout. But then I came across FREMO and added an adapter so that the layout is also a FREMO station module. In regular layout mode there's a front and a back, and I am pondering the possibilities of having a banner printed -- something I've read about but not seen in use. In that case the operator could stand in front of the banner, or they could stand in front of the layout both to drive and operate the turnouts (almost all the signals are fixed). This idea assumes that a banner the right size is feasible. But in FREMO arrangements (modules bolted together for a multi-day meeting) there are no fronts and backs. Station operators (ie those regulating the services) and shunters generally stand on one side of the station and drivers accompany their trains in and out on the other side. This is for obvious practical reasons. There are no backscenes for that reason -- and because a big part of the fun is the shunting and the backscene gets in the way. Everyone's looking at the operation so the intrusion of the real world is not quite so noticeable. In the FREMO scenario, the banner concept could still work though, and if it didn't get in the way nobody would mind. Or, I could make something more conventional. In which case a labour of love would be to create a foreshortened backscene with hundreds of trees. In fact that reminds me that inspired by your recent post @Mikkel there is some florists' wire I ordered somewhere in the post :-)
  3. This evening I took some smartphone photos of my current layout project, something that I quite often do as it progresses to get a sort of scale eye view of things. I think of the layout, in scenic terms, as a set of cameos shaped by images and recollections. In the case of this layout, although I can contribute to the scenic setting from my own memories and photos, the details of the railway must all come from photos in books and online. Because I have been thinking about backscenes quite a lot recently, I decided to edit in a photographic background that would roughly match my imagination. It's a photo I took from a hotel window as it happens. The result is pretty rough and ready but I think this addition transforms the images. They become a lot more like sketches of the desired result. No apologies for the grainy photos or the fact that everything is far from the finished state I would like to reach. That's the point. And also, the fact that I've sliced out the background very roughly and the lighting angles and colour cast don't match. This is impressionism rather than documentary! Firstly, the station depicted by the layout is cut into slightly higher ground and the back of the layout includes the slope where the area cleared for the railway land meets the natural land level. The slope has been cut back to give space to a large shed that has something to do with the freight transfers that take place on the outermost track. These features are shown below. And again with the photographic background Secondly the station building at the very end of the branch. Here is is with the natural background And with the photographic background. Must straighten that whistle. And get on with the layout!
  4. I'm not sure what date is right for you but the current Modellbahn Union closed ferry van with sliding roof and ferry stake wagon are very nice models at an appropriate price. Prototypes disappeared during the nineties though. The MU blog post on the stake wagon. Disclaimer: satisfied customer.
  5. Picking up on earlier comments: photographic evidence of @Fat Controller's assertion should come from this 2018 photo. It shows the Dagenham service on the Medway viaduct of HS1.
  6. Thanks! Those who are responsible can take the credit. The canopy shot is aided by the fact that track height is 1300mm above the floor. It's great seeing it all come together, and one of the best ways to appreciate it is to drive a train service through it... several scale kilometers of travel.
  7. It was held in a school hall in Sussex. The majority of the UK FREMO group are local, for historical reasons. I brought my stuff from London, and that's the way these meetings are normally done. In normal times it's common for people to cross borders to attend a meeting -- it's a social event as well, and a chance to swap knowledge and techniques. As with a joint layout project, by coming along individuals get inspiration and encouragement for their modelling. I did much more to my modules and stock in the week leading up to the meeting than I thought possible, for example ;-)
  8. Following the lifting of legal restrictions earlier this month in England, and observing the good practice we have all got used to in the last 16 months, the UK FREMO group met last weekend (unofficially -- this was not a formal FREMO event). Over the period of the pandemic everyone has been able to make progress in various areas from rolling stock to scenery, timetables to waybills. The new abilities we shared made the event more enjoyable than the last one way back in February 2020. Slowly we are becoming closer to a fully-fledged FREMO group. Here are some of my impressions of the arrangement. One day I might be able to control the camera on my phone properly; until then everything is a bit more pointilliste than I would like. First up, a view of my own small branch station, Wasserbach. It's still a 'plywood desert' with foam and Bristol board providing only the broad outline of the scenery. I've left some of the curved fascia of the small end board in shot. This board is a semicircle of 300 mm radius that finishes the end of the station off quite neatly. The track and turnouts are now pretty reliable but as is obvious there is a lot more for me to do. The buffer stop is a massive one designed to slide on the rails and take up the energy of a heavy train running into it. I hope to swap that out for something much more lightweight. One suitable model is available from Auhagen. Unfortunately the kit that just arrived has turned out to contain N scale mouldings in a box labelled H0! Happily, elswhere there was plenty of nicely finished scenery. Here's a 'joker module' -- a small board, in this case 400mm in length, that can be used to make transitions between distinct scenic areas on larger modules either side. Joker modules are often used between hill profile and flat profile modules, for example. This one features the classic trope: a second railway line running at a picturesque angle under the track used by trains on the arrangement. Some deer graze in the rough pasture alongside the track on this 1800mm stretch which is scenically complete, and, as used this time around, formed a picturesque curved stretch for trains to be viewed in the landscape on their way to Wasserbach. There are two boards making up this section and though they were designed and built together and pair nicely in a single curve, they could be connected to form an S bend or split and used in different parts of the arrangement -- that's up to the arrangement planner. I'm happy to say that the two modules I've built that are similar in proportions to these ones were included -- their first outing, and no issues were revealed. By far the busiest station was Schwarzhausen, which was the junction station for the branch line to Wasserbach. The stationmaster and shunter were kept extremely busy breaking up and re-forming the local goods services passing through. In shot is a good variety of stock, and a couple of loaded wagons are visible. The loads will be removed on arrival and might end up going out again on a later service. There were quieter moments at Schwarzhausen, as here with a railbus waiting at the platform, but these were few. Finally, more timber awaiting shipment in the sidings at Werfen. Covid-19 kept two of our group away and prevented visitors who are still shielding from coming along, but it was a good weekend and I feel hopeful that the next meeting will not only be to a higher standard still but also accessible to the whole of the UK FREMO group and any visitors.
  9. Apologies; as they say, 'it worked for me'. It's a thumbnail gallery of wagons and coaches; let me try again: https://www.zsr.sk/sluzby-verejnosti/ine-sluzby/archiv-zsr/albumy/ministerstvo-dopravy-vozove-hospodarstvi.html The first link needed rescuing -- as you say, the address takes you to the background page but doesn't display the image. Perhaps the web developers were all out drinking beer/watching trains go by when they should have been finishing the job.
  10. A great archive photo of a spotless, presumably brand new 498 4-8-2 loco on the Slovakian Ministry of Railways web site: https://www.zsr.sk/sluzby-verejnosti/ine-sluzby/archiv-zsr/albumy/lokomotivny-park.html#&gid=1&pid=24 It's from their locomotives archive album: https://www.zsr.sk/sluzby-verejnosti/ine-sluzby/archiv-zsr/albumy/lokomotivny-park.htm There are some interesting photos of wagons and coaches too https://www.zsr.sk/sluzby-verejnosti/ine-sluzby/archiv-zsr/albumy/ministerstvo-dopravy-vozove-hospodarstvi.html Apologies if everyone knows about this site. I've just seen it through a link shared on the FREMO forum (credit where it's due). Make sure you are not looking at the English language version of the site, none of this is visible. Ben
  11. Something very steampunk about the 3D print. Definitely makes me see the component parts of a wagon in a new light.
  12. Here's that bullhead track in Blumberg, in 2016 after it had been removed from the tunnel.
  13. I don't have much to add to what has been said about German track above, but I have built several Tillig Elite turnouts. They are not hard to make and look good. The Tillig rail is 2.1mm and is pre-blackened (even the running surfaces). This helps it to look a bit finer -- unless and until you take the trouble to paint the sides of the rail in rust colour. Tillig and Weinert turnouts, unlike Peco, don't have anything to hold them in position so you need to find something, a motor or a manual lever, that will do that job. Both Tillig and Weinert offer their turnouts ready made, but (to take the Tillig ones I have experience of) it's quite a nice task to build them and using kits will save you quite a lot of money if you need more than a couple. The weak point of Tillig turnouts is the little projection on the end of the switch rail that connects it to the tiebar. This is a fairly commonly discussed topic. One solution I have heard of is from Weichen-Walter who supplies a more robust alternative tie bar. I haven't tried it. I think that the sleeper bases and rail for both Tillig and Weinert plain flexible track can be bought separately and self-assembled. I've done this with Weinert track base which uses Peco IL-3 code 75 flat bottom rail. I am not sure I would encourage anyone to do it -- the ready made flex track is not much more expensive. I simply wanted to prevent the need for posting an awkward item (900mm lengths of track) from abroad which is silly really, it doesn't generally cost more. And couriers love awkward and delicate parcels! Ben ps. I agree with the recommendation to avoid bullhead track. I know that it was used in the tunnels of the Sauschwänzlebahn in the Black Forest but elsewhere in Germany it was extremely rarely (if ever) used. But you will find lots of it in France, and looking a bit harder also in Spain and Austria, not to mention outside Europe. So the next time?
  14. And how far do you need to cut into the wood to make sure the brass is cleanly cut? Does it need to calculated or, say, an extra 0.1mm depth allowed in setting up the work piece? Thanks Ben
  15. I discovered that, as shown in the photo above, the Tillig (ex-Sachsenmodelle) Pwg carries polystyrene dust from its packing wherever it goes, spread around its body like pollen on a honeybee. I threw away the (enormous) box to cure the problem.
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