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Pete 75C

"Caleta" semi-fictional Costa Brava in N

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Now first of all, forgive me... there is no layout yet, but there most certainly will be. I've started this thread as a means of gathering my thoughts and sounding others out on availability of stock etc. Also, a handy place for me to consider track plans and get advice from others.

 

A move to Spain beckons in the not-too-distant future. We'll be trading in a large ramshackle Victorian house in Norfolk for an altogether more bijou typical Spanish home of approx. 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms with *maybe* a garage and if I have my way, most definitely a pool!

This leads to problem #1... do I jack in this railway modelling lark or do I "downsize" my interests and embark on something altogether more manageable and transportable? Give it up? I don't think so...

 

During the renovation of the old Victorian wreck house, we bought a couple of bi-fold doors that we never managed to find a use for. These consist of two panels approx 6'6" long x 15" wide, joined by hinges along the longest length, effectively giving a baseboard size of a standard door... 6'6" x 2'6". Now, I'm not suggesting using one of these doors to build the layout on, but I do like the folding idea. With the hinges raised to accomodate scenery, a box the size of a small coffin would easily fit into the back of the van when we do make the move. I see myself driving down a couple of times with personal effects and I'm sure I could slip a model railway into the van without the management noticing...

So, N gauge. Yup.

 

A trip to Calella on the Costa Brava a few years ago revealed a single track coastal Renfe route that I was unaware of. Low-rise apartment buildings on one side, railway line punctuated by multiple level crossings and pedestrian crossings and finally the beach on the other side. That sowed the idea of something that I've since wanted to recreate a slice of.

Whether or not it's possible to make it believable in such a small space remains to be seen...

I'm thinking that if I could get the framework built, the track laid and wired BEFORE the move, stock could be sourced locally in Spain. I need to read up on available N gauge stock and I should point out that I'm not a stickler for accuracy... if I find a nice little EMU or DMU that has never been seen anywhere near the Costa Brava, that's fine by me.

I'll update this thread from time to time with potential track plans and other ramblings, but if anyone has any ideas or advice, please feel free to chip in!

Those of you that know me will appreciate that the OO gauge 3rd rail SR layout I'm working on right now (West Croydon) is not likely to make the move with me, as it comes in at approx. 11' x 5'! I doubt I'd have a snowball in Hell's chance of slipping that one into the van. Besides, when it is time to make the move, a fresh start demands a change of layout, surely?

 

post-17811-0-36587600-1436617880.jpg

© Copyright Diari Maresme

 

Edited by Pete 75C
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I remember that line from the late 1960's before it was upgraded for the Barcelona Olympics. In those days the track was totally unfenced and some trains were loco hauled with clerestory coaches that looked like something from the Wild West!

 

I will follow developments with interest,

 

Regards,

 

Dave

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It's been a very long time since I was last in Spain (35+ years!) but I remember a company called Ibertren who did N gauge models.

It seems they're still going! http://www.ibertren.es/en/

Then there are the Hornby owned Electrotren and also Roco do many 'Spanish' models - as far as I know, these are all H0 scale.

Personally I'd stick with H0, it's very familiar for a "00-er" and stuff works pretty damn well but I've not tried N for many years either.

Good luck!

John E.

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Have a google for Don and Shirley Rowe's Catalunya. I think it is based on the line you are talking about. The emphasis is on the town, with lighting changing from dawn to night. AFAIK it's still in Pecorama in Devon and well worth a look.

 

Ed

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Not Spanish, I know, but from a bit further east around the Mediterranean, there is a model of an Italian littoral line that has been published on here which is worth seeking out.

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Happy to help you with site visits Pete, I'm quite cheap to run.

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Happy to help you with site visits Pete, I'm quite cheap to run.

 

I'm quite cheap to run as well Colin. I can usually manage at least 500 miles on just beer and chips... Same can't be said for the Transit van. Asking it to cover a couple of round-trips from Norfolk to Southern Spain hassle-free might mean an upgrade to something a little newer. I'll probably drive it back, sell it and hop a one-way to Alicante once the move is complete.

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Funny enough, I have been contemplating a similar move to the Czech Republic, albeit in about four years time. However, we are intending to have our own house built........to include a railway room and study.....of course. Anything else is down to the Memsahib.

 

As a consequence, I have started buying the occasional Czech loco and travelling around on as many branch lines as I can when over here...I will stick to HO though.

 

Rob.

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Thanks for your comments folks.

 

Re: N gauge... John, I have dabbled in the smaller gauge before and I am quite comfortable with it. I do seem to have a bit of a passion for roundys over end-to-ends. I know space may be an issue, so I do definitely think it will be a return to N for me.

Dave (Danemouth)... I've always thought the line a little unusual but the current traffic patterns are, shall we say, a little monotonous. Definitely room for some creative thinking there!

Ed... "Catalunya" rings a bell with me... I'll have to take another look.

Brian... I think I know the layout you mean. Pretty sure it was also in CM a while back. Very similar with the line bordered by apartments on one side and beach on the other.

 

At the moment I'm thinking single track with maybe 4 loops off-stage. No station, so as stock will be moving continuously, I may even go back to basic DC with this one and have stock alternate by using a shuttle module. Definitely a layout to watch trains go by. Good chance to up my game scenically too.

 

I have a track plan in mind, but with no station or visible pointwork and just a handful of loops at the back, it's not exactly rocket science! There will definitely be one vehicle level crossing, one pedestrian crossing and in Calella, there was a very low bridge over a pedestrian only walkway leading from the main town onto the beach. Nice to be able to fit that in as a centrepiece.

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I posted on here a while back about a model railway shop in central Barcelona.

 

I was quite surprised at the range of Spanish stock available these days. More in HO of course but quite plentiful in N with several new artisan manufacturers.

 

Track gauge should, of course, be 10.5mm rather than 9mm.

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I posted on here a while back about a model railway shop in central Barcelona.

 

I was quite surprised at the range of Spanish stock available these days. More in HO of course but quite plentiful in N with several new artisan manufacturers.

 

Track gauge should, of course, be 10.5mm rather than 9mm.

 

That's a coincidence as I posted on another thread today asking if anyone knew of any model shops around Alicante or along the Costa Brava!

With regard to stock, I've spent a little while online this afternoon brushing up on just what's available. Ibertren, Roco and Kato have offerings in N but the biggest surprise was the sheer amount of Spanish traction and rolling stock on offer from Arnold. I now need to do a little prototype research, but the lack of a station and interchangeable road vehicles should allow for multi-era operation.

I remember a layout in Model Rail a while back called Gullant (based on Golant on the Fowey estuary). Door sized, single track loop with storage at rear and realistically, that's what I'm looking at as a track plan. 6'6" in N might seem like a lot, but having to factor in the curves at each end doesn't really leave a lot of room.

I won't be making any kind of start on this until West Croydon is 90% (well maybe 80%) finished but a definite pipeline project.

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I do worry for you Pete in terms of the boredom factor. You seem to move quickly and I wonder how long a layout with no operational interest will satisfy you for. Just sayin, feel free to ignore me. I'd suggest waiting to see how much space you get.

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That's a coincidence as I posted on another thread today asking if anyone knew of any model shops around Alicante or along the Costa Brava!

With regard to stock, I've spent a little while online this afternoon brushing up on just what's available. Ibertren, Roco and Kato have offerings in N but the biggest surprise was the sheer amount of Spanish traction and rolling stock on offer from Arnold. I now need to do a little prototype research, but the lack of a station and interchangeable road vehicles should allow for multi-era operation.

I remember a layout in Model Rail a while back called Gullant (based on Golant on the Fowey estuary). Door sized, single track loop with storage at rear and realistically, that's what I'm looking at as a track plan. 6'6" in N might seem like a lot, but having to factor in the curves at each end doesn't really leave a lot of room.

I won't be making any kind of start on this until West Croydon is 90% (well maybe 80%) finished but a definite pipeline project.

 

Aided by a mug of tea, memory has now kicked in. The shop name is Rocafort.

 

I think Mabar still have a Barcelona shop but that is in the inner suburbs (but close to a Metro station) and I have not been there for many years.

 

Like you, I was surprised by all the Arnold models for Spain.

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I do worry for you Pete in terms of the boredom factor. You seem to move quickly and I wonder how long a layout with no operational interest will satisfy you for. Just sayin, feel free to ignore me. I'd suggest waiting to see how much space you get.

 

I spent a couple of years in the Canaries Colin, and you tend to live outside. Indoor hobbies are by no means essential. I spent most of my time working and failing miserably trying to cultivate a veg patch using some kind of red moon dust that had zero nutritional value. Combine that with the daily pool clean and trips into town for fizzy lager at a euro a pint. In Spain (and the Canaries) there's usually a fiesta or festival every 12 minutes that demands attendance and copious consumption of aforementioned cheap booze. A bit of tapas at least 5 times a day also comes highly recommended.

Slower pace of life??? There weren't enough hours in the day! I think what I'm trying to say is that I probably won't want to commit to anything major in the model railway dept. Once I'm there, something simple that can be folded up and put away may well be all I want. It's also quite well known that I have a fear of shunting and authentic operation, so just watching a couple of trains whizz round for ten minutes when the mood takes me is quite appealing!

Edited by Pete 75C
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Agreed, a nice stretch of line with potential. I did an article in the incontintental modeller in jan/feb 84 about it, though zilch on suitable N models. Shirley Rowe, very accomplished modeller saw article and off to Spain. Her model of line was in Model Railways, May and June 91. Stress was on buildings. Also appeared in c.m. Feb 93 and March 94. Now on display at pecorama in Devon. The Italian coastal line referred to in this thread is truly inspirational see Litoranea.

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The Italian coastal line referred to in this thread is truly inspirational see Litoranea.

 

Thanks for that. After Brian mentioned it above, I couldn't find the layout but it certainly was Litoranea:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/image/33223-zona-est-panorama-02/

A single track tightly constrained by buildings on one side and beach on the other. Lovely to see it again.

Fantastic work by the Rowes on Catalunya and very inspirational. As usual with me, my efforts will be based on commercially available flexi track, RTR stock and kit-bashed buildings etc but it doesn't mean I can't aspire to something greater! It will be limited in size to around 6'6" x 2'6" as I do like the idea of folding it in half and being able to store it relatively easily.

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Whilst waiting for paint and plaster etc to dry on my OO layout, I have a little time to give some serious thought to what I want from this N gauge project. Colin's perfectly correct (and far too polite) but the ruthless truth is that it has zero operational interest. I'm actually OK with that. I see it more as a diorama with the occasional moving train. Almost like one of those old Hornby coin-operated layouts encased in perspex. Put your 20p in, and a train runs round for a couple of minutes.

A door sized layout in N allows more scenic potential than an 8x4 in OO, but there still won't be a lot of room. Not having been to Calella for a year or two, I refreshed my memory by walking the little yellow Streetview man around and grabbing a handful of screenshots. Realistically, I think I can include a vehicle level crossing (access to the beach for parking), a pedestrian crossing and finally as a scenic feature at the left hand end of the layout as the line curves away, the low railway bridge over the pedestrian subway. There is also a rather interesting footbridge akin to a miniature suspension bridge that would be good to replicate. This section of line does run really close to the buildings along the seafront and something about that does capture my imagination. I could be lazy and opt to exclude the knitting, but a lot of the available Spanish N gauge traction is electric, so I think I'll have to include dummy masts if I can find any that come close to Spanish pattern. The Dapol masts would be an easy solution, but sadly look totally wrong.

 

A few screen grabs:

 

post-17811-0-99600000-1436687757.jpg

post-17811-0-97090600-1436687758.jpg

post-17811-0-74510900-1436687759.jpg

post-17811-0-62721100-1436687760.jpg

post-17811-0-27215700-1436687761.jpg

 

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Whilst waiting for paint and plaster etc to dry on my OO layout, I have a little time to give some serious thought to what I want from this N gauge project. Colin's perfectly correct (and far too polite) but the ruthless truth is that it has zero operational interest. I'm actually OK with that. I see it more as a diorama with the occasional moving train. Almost like one of those old Hornby coin-operated layouts encased in perspex. Put your 20p in, and a train runs round for a couple of minutes.

A door sized layout in N allows more scenic potential than an 8x4 in OO, but there still won't be a lot of room. Not having been to Calella for a year or two, I refreshed my memory by walking the little yellow Streetview man around and grabbing a handful of screenshots. Realistically, I think I can include a vehicle level crossing (access to the beach for parking), a pedestrian crossing and finally as a scenic feature at the left hand end of the layout as the line curves away, the low railway bridge over the pedestrian subway. There is also a rather interesting footbridge akin to a miniature suspension bridge that would be good to replicate. This section of line does run really close to the buildings along the seafront and something about that does capture my imagination. I could be lazy and opt to exclude the knitting, but a lot of the available Spanish N gauge traction is electric, so I think I'll have to include dummy masts if I can find any that come close to Spanish pattern. The Dapol masts would be an easy solution, but sadly look totally wrong.

 

A few screen grabs:

 

attachicon.gifcalella_01.jpg

attachicon.gifcalella_02.jpg

attachicon.gifcalella_03.jpg

attachicon.gifcalella_04.jpg

attachicon.gifcalella_05.jpg

You don't need to do screen grabs.

You can embed the image.

e.g.

https://goo.gl/maps/aJufP

 

Use short URL mode

 

Keith

Edited by melmerby

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Whilst waiting for paint and plaster etc to dry on my OO layout, I have a little time to give some serious thought to what I want from this N gauge project. Colin's perfectly correct (and far too polite) but the ruthless truth is that it has zero operational interest. I'm actually OK with that. I see it more as a diorama with the occasional moving train. Almost like one of those old Hornby coin-operated layouts encased in perspex. Put your 20p in, and a train runs round for a couple of minutes.

A door sized layout in N allows more scenic potential than an 8x4 in OO, but there still won't be a lot of room. Not having been to Calella for a year or two, I refreshed my memory by walking the little yellow Streetview man around and grabbing a handful of screenshots. Realistically, I think I can include a vehicle level crossing (access to the beach for parking), a pedestrian crossing and finally as a scenic feature at the left hand end of the layout as the line curves away, the low railway bridge over the pedestrian subway. There is also a rather interesting footbridge akin to a miniature suspension bridge that would be good to replicate. This section of line does run really close to the buildings along the seafront and something about that does capture my imagination. I could be lazy and opt to exclude the knitting, but a lot of the available Spanish N gauge traction is electric, so I think I'll have to include dummy masts if I can find any that come close to Spanish pattern. The Dapol masts would be an easy solution, but sadly look totally wrong.

I can remember that line from about 1969/70 when the track was not so crowded in and trains like this used to travel along it:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Gr0YDgvJraI/UQQ3UKTbCcI/AAAAAAAAo88/6ai6NsCEb2I/s1600/RENFE+Talgo.jpg

 

Most of the line north of Calella was unfenced, running alongside the road and from our hotel the only way to the beach was straight across the track!

 

Keith

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An excellent idea and I shall follow with interest, there might not be a lot of operational intrest, but then does there need to be a layout with excellent senics and trains running around can entertain for hours.

I often find HHB a little dull when operating as its just trains trunddling around a loop and unfortunatly half the time you can not see them, however in stark contrast I could sit and watch Rowlands Castle for hours.

With your modelling skills from what we have all seen with your Croydon layout, I see an excellent layout developing and something different. I hope the move goes well all the same and I am sure there shall still be time for modelling along with all that beer and tapas.

 

Benjamin

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Keith - if I'm honest, the Talgo (available in N) was one of the catalysts for this idea. I've always been struck by just how damned unusual it looked. Now, I don't pretend to know a huge amount about Spanish railways (willingness to learn, though) but isn't there (wasn't there) two distinct versions? The earlier more rounded looking set that reminds me of an American Airstream caravan, and a much newer more "boxy" set? As mentioned, I've no problem stretching timeframes on the model and as there is quite a bit of Renfe stock available in N, I'd be daft not to...

Benjamin - I think one of the reasons I just want a simple layout to take with me is because past experience shows that I may not have a huge amount of free time and I probably won't want to spend it indoors covered in track pins and PVA!

 

post-17811-0-07786600-1436771110.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Keith - if I'm honest, the Talgo (available in N) was one of the catalysts for this idea. I've always been struck by just how damned unusual it looked. Now, I don't pretend to know a huge amount about Spanish railways (willingness to learn, though) but isn't there (wasn't there) two distinct versions? The earlier more rounded looking set that reminds me of an American Airstream caravan, and a much newer more "boxy" set? As mentioned, I've no problem stretching timeframes on the model and as there is quite a bit of Renfe stock available in N, I'd be daft not to...

Benjamin - I think one of the reasons I just want a simple layout to take with me is because past experience shows that I may not have a huge amount of free time and I probably won't want to spend it indoors covered in track pins and PVA!

 

attachicon.giftalgo.jpg

It was the roundy airstream type back then, matching diesel loco on front.

This type:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_Talgo#/media/File:Bww_M._Las_Rosas,_353_005_%C2%BBVirgen_bien_Aparecida%C2%AB.jpg

 

I was quite impressed but also a little bewildered seeing a sleek, fast train racing along a single track along a beach!

 

Nice Youtube of a set running through France with a SNCF electric loco:

 

The full articulation of the complete set on single axles really stands out as something unusual.

 

Keith

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Pete, Dominik on ER's knows quite a bit about Spanish stuff, and has an H0 collection.

 

Ed

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