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Hi all

 

This is the first of what hopefully will be a series of posts on my efforts to build an exhibition HOm depicting a 'what-might-have-been' branch of the Rhätische Bahn (RhB). Having sold my previous layout 'Hacienda Avenue' I felt the need to address the crate of BEMO and D&R stock that accumulated over the last 10 years or so......

 

Background

 

In 1909 the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) proposed constructing a connection from Zernez on its’ St Moritz – Scoul line out of the Engadine valley over the Fuorn Pass (or Ofenpass) and into Val Müstair area to Müstair and over the Italian border to Mals where it was to connect to the Italian standard gauge network. In reality, due to the First World War, the scheme never came to fruition. However, with the application of a little modellers’ license we will suppose that the line was built and, despite a suspension of service for two World Wars, serves the Swiss National Park (est. 1914) to the east of Zernez and on to Italy.

 

My Proposed Model

 

My planned model is of an imagined RhB station serving the real-life settlement of Santa Maria and it’s near neighbor of Valchava. As well as the regular passenger service the station also sees some timber traffic loaded in the station yard and also a small rail served distribution point (based on the Vaslar depot at Ilanz). To add a little more operational interest it is assumed there is a through freight service to Müstair and Mals.

 

The period of operation portrayed is between 2006 (when I first rode on the RhB) and 2008 to allow a good mix of regular loco-hauled trains as well as NEVA push-pull trains along with a mix of loco / coach paint schemes (and no Glacier Express!) Train formations (usually 5 coaches) are based on those running on the Lower Engadin route that I saw and photographed on my visits.

 

Baseboards will be Grange and Hodder kits - I've used these before for my US modelling and I have found them to be excellent value and a great time saver esp as I'm not the world's greatest carpenter. Track is PECO and catenary from Sommerfeldt. Train control will be DCC so there will be a few locos to convert over ;-).

 

Below is an outline trackplan with a rough indication of buildings. Each square represents 1ft (metric equivalent)

 

More to follow.........

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Edited by warbonnetuk
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As I'm waiting for the baseboards to arrive I thought I'd crack on with some stock. First up is a TM 2/2 shunting tractor. Fitted with a Digitrax DZ123 and working top headlights

 

 

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Nice plan. 

 

It might be worth relooking at some of the station point work, for me, it would look better if the line entered the station through the middle platform/track (platform 2).  I mention this due to the practice of having the first train that enters the station being closest to the building, with the next arriving train being behind that.  I make the assumption that platform 1 will be for shunting and not through running??  Or move the point a bit further back.

 

Some new decoders arrived for me in the post yesterday, so I'll be converting a few other locos in the coming days as well :)

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Gone back and consulted with the trackplan book and Mk2 drawn up

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How did you do the lights on the tractor? I have thought about this but it looks tricky even with the smds you can get. Like the plan - I would be tempted to widen the baseboard a bit and have it run at a slight angle to the front rather than parallel. I wish I had done that with mine!

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How did you do the lights on the tractor? I have thought about this but it looks tricky even with the smds you can get. Like the plan - I would be tempted to widen the baseboard a bit and have it run at a slight angle to the front rather than parallel. I wish I had done that with mine!

 

Thanks. Thats a good idea about slanting the track - will see it I can do something like that although I have already ordered the board kits.

 

For the lights I started by drilling out the light moundings to take a strand of fibre optics long enough to extend into the top of the cab. Using lap holes as a guide the front and rear of the cab was drilled out with some care as it's v close to the top. After removing the fibre optics a lens was formed on one end by inserting into a bit of alloy tube and gently melting the end with a heat source. The fibre optic stand was then glued in place with a dot of PVA and the cab end of the strand cut flush the inside of the cab walls. To provide light superglued a warm white 0402 SME to the back of the inside ends of the fibre optic. There is just enough room if the roof space to fir the 2 resistors required for each light and the wiring. The feeds to the DCC chip were fed down one of holes used to secure the roof. I also cut back the factory wiring on the chip and swapped it for thin DCC hook up wire (from ESU) to make it less noticeable in the cab. Once tested the bit if optic showing between the back of the light housing and the cab got a dab of black paint to prevent light bleeding through. The below pic show the fibre optics installed before the SME's went in.

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Looks good.

 

Plausible / might have beens/ nearly were's are my favourite type of layout

 

.

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I like the plan Dan and looking forward to results :)

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Hi Dan,

Long time no see!

I like the plan Mk2 very much and that little tractor is very pretty.

I shall follow with interest.

Cheers,

John.

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Hi Dan,

Long time no see!

I like the plan Mk2 very much and that little tractor is very pretty.

I shall follow with interest.

Cheers,

John.

Hi John

 

Hope all good with you and the layout is still giving u some entertainment. Just taking a sabbatical from the US HO for a bit for this project. Thanks for the kind comments

 

Dan

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Missed this so far. I too have the ubiquitous Tm 2/2 (note the use of lower and upper case matters in Swiss classification!) but have forgone the installation of lights. Having said that, using the top light isn't prototypical: shunting lights are always the bottom right light when looked at from behind with the vehicle moving away from you. The other lights (including the ones you've illuminated) are only used when the Tractor is used on the open (main) line and even then only the front ones in the direction of travel.

 

My Tm 2/2 has nr 62 and was chipped in 1994 with the first generation N-scale decoder (2 digit addresses only!) from Lenz, which came in 2 parts, connected with wires. It still works ;)  (but admittedly doesn't get much exercise these days, for lack of a layout to run on)

 

Thanks. I do remember coming across a link in the past to Swiss headlight codes but couldnt find it when I can to do this project. From the bits of footage I could find on YouTube I could find seemed to show the top light in use but guess I misinterpreted that.

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Thanks. I do remember coming across a link in the past to Swiss headlight codes but couldnt find it when I can to do this project. From the bits of footage I could find on YouTube I could find seemed to show the top light in use but guess I misinterpreted that.

Hi Dan! Thanks for sharing your lighting method! I asked the lights question and it's in this forum - RhB locomotive lights - Which lights and when? Has all the answers you need (I had red lights on during running when apparently they are only used when stopped as a warning - the RhB do things differently!) 

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At your distribution depot you could perhaps have some mixed gauge track? I was at the SRS meeting in Derby and Cotswold rail had some Tillig track on display with points and dual gauge track. 

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A bit of progress with Grange and Hodder delivering the baseboard kits for the layout. As I was away over Easter this the first chance to have a proper look and start grouping components up

 

Dan

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At your distribution depot you could perhaps have some mixed gauge track? I was at the SRS meeting in Derby and Cotswold rail had some Tillig track on display with points and dual gauge track.

 

Hmmmm......a good idea but as the actual village I'm using as am inspiration is a long way from any standard gauge connection I'll be sticking with just metre gauge

 

Dan

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Since my last update the layout has pushed on a good bit. With some fairly drastic building work in the house imminent the G&H boards were assembled with just sides and cross members glued and decks and bracing loose pending confirmation of the position of point motors. With track and points laid down to check clearances holes in the deck were cut to clear the supports for the flexi MDF backscene with the decks the being glued and pinned down. Softwood pockets were also added to take the layout legs.

 

And there progress has stalled on the layout itself pending the completion of building work and the removal of the stored furniture from the garage. In the meantime, when time has allowed over the summer, some stock weathering has taken place.

 

Cheers

 

Dan

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Since my last update I'm please to say that Santa Maria has progressed although not as quite as quickly as I'd have liked. The original backscene height has been lowered to be able to get the 3 pairs of baseboards in the car and these have been secured. Underlay to the has been laid down and the track laying has commenced

 

After a lot of thought I'm still working through the design for the catenary. Having read the Sommerfeldt book on numerous occations I'm still trying to get my head around where to site anchor masts and tensioners along with linking spans over the pointwork. One issue I have fixed was around the distribution warehouse siding - having revisitied it the separate point didnt seem very realistic so close to the station for the track plan has been amended slightly to one shown below.

 

So around 5 months till it's debut at the Rotarail show in Fareham and plenty to do.....

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The separate point was ok, as is the new arrangement. The Valser Depot near ILANZ even has its own loop off the mainline. There are more examples of sidings off the mainline at various locations Davos, Arosa for the cement works and Thusis Industrial Park.

There are many more directly from a station loop but they aren’t rare to be half a mile or so away.

Is that Rotorail at the end of April? I’m there with Lulworth so look forward to seeing it.

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Thanks Paul.

 

Am using a combo of the Valser warehouse at Ilanz and the drinks warehouse at the south end of Pontresina.

 

Yes, its the same show as I saw Lulworth on the layout list on UKModelshops

 

Dan

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 Sooooo.......

Since the last update the layout and stock have pushed on a bit on the realisation that I now have 3 months until it's first show.

Christmas was a bit of a write off as we were in Germany visiting friends however it did give the chance to collect more catenary and some stock I had ordered from local dealers.

Since then the track laying has been completed, copper clad installed either side of the board joints and the rails cut. Additionally the Tortoise switch machines and DCC Concepts decoders have been installed and half the layout wired (Thanks to Roundhouses for his assistance).

Of course any project will have its problems and, having done a trial pairing on baseboards for transportation, one end of the curved backscene will prob have to be straightened to get the boards close enough to get them all in the car. Hey ho!

On the rolling stock side all of the current loco roster have had DCC decoders installed with the standard  bulbs replaced with nano LEDs. I've also started working through the coaches and freight stock adding brake blocks and pipework and along with weathering

 

 

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Like this build - not dissimilar to where I am. I have a pair of Ge 6/6 II's still to digitise and wonder if you have tackled those? Currently I am planning to fit 2 decoders, one for each motor on each side of the articulation as I am concerned that the current with 2 motors would need a high power chip and I simply cannot see the space in there for one. Any thoughts?

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Hi Jim

 

Have not got my hands on Ge 6/6 II mainly as, for the period I'm running, I need a 'modernised' one with single arm pantographs so I'm prob have to buy new. Thus I'm expecting to find that it will be DCC ready with a NEM 651 socket.

 

Thinking aloud if you model was new enough to have the 5 pole motors there would be a possibility that the current draw wou;d be too bad - if you Google measuring stall current there are anumber of diagrams for how to wire a multimeter into a track circuit to measure what the max current draw would be. Alternatively the belt and braces approach would be a you suggest and go for 2 small ones. I'm using Digitrax on mine - either DZ146 for hardwiring or DZ126IN for NEM 651 interfaces

 

Cheers

 

Dan

 

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On 02/02/2019 at 13:30, JimFin said:

Like this build - not dissimilar to where I am. I have a pair of Ge 6/6 II's still to digitise and wonder if you have tackled those? Currently I am planning to fit 2 decoders, one for each motor on each side of the articulation as I am concerned that the current with 2 motors would need a high power chip and I simply cannot see the space in there for one. Any thoughts?

I did it with one decoder - one of the small Digitrax - and it was no problem. Well - except that when I powered it up it made a lot of noise and went nowhere. Then when I realised that the motors were going in opposite directions - and reversed the leads on one of them - all was well. Didn't cook the decoder and it seems that there is enough slippage between the two mechanisms in normal use that it doesn't affect the running. 

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Thanks guys, both of these are older models with the 3 pole motors but one has the classic pantograph and the other modernised single arm - so don't give up on your hunt. No sockets on these so it will be hard wired.Think I will try with one and if successful, do the second. Exhibition running does tend to bring out the weaknesses though!

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