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Die Ercallbahn - Fulfilling a childhood dream.

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No need to apologise. Retrievers are always welcome.

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So far I have been considering Gipfeldorf in isolation. Now, as it is planned as part of a larger system this will have an impact on how it is worked when the rest of the layout is up and running.

Hmm, let me think...

Gipfeldorf is situated on the hills at the head of a valley with breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside. The name means 'Summit village' and was a small community that made its living from the livestock that grazed the hillsides. The Roden ('clear') river rises near Gipfeldorf and makes its way down the valley, over the impressive Hufeisen ('horseshoe') waterfall and through the settlement of Schonblick ('lovely view') about halfway along the valley. The people of Schonblick farmed timber rather than livestock but both communities were reliant on the market town of Neustadt ('new town') where the valley opened out to the plain as both a source of supplies and income.

Gipfeldorf is the older of the two communities and it is a long running bone of contention that the later settlement took the liberty of naming itself for a beautiful view that the Gipfeldorfers felt was theirs. Over the years rivalry between the two places has varied from friendly banter to bitter feuding depending on how good or bad times were and whatever the latest advantage gained by whichever party was. Gipfeldorfers maintain that the Schonblickers can't see what is in front of their nose whilst the Schonblickers claim that the Gipfeldorfers are mentally defective due to altitude sickness.

When the railways came to this part of Germany in the late 1800s Neustadt was conveniently situated on a main line but provision for the two villages was not so easy. A proposal for a branch line to Schonblick with a narrow gauge line onward to Gipfeldorf was unacceptable to Gipfeldorfers whilst the alternative of a branch line to Gipfeldorf with an intermidiate station for Schonblick some kilometers distant from the village along a steep and winding lane was, not unreasonably, unnaceptable to the latter. Somehow the railway company was prevailed on to run a branch line from Neustadt that split part way along with one line going to Schonblick and the other to Gipfeldorf.

With a newfound accessibility the smarter residents of Gipfeldorf decided that they could farm the various tourists and hikers that came up on the railway to experience the scenery. Not to be outdone the Schonblickers used the waters of the Roden river for brewing and used the railway to send the resulting beers across the country.

Bringing the story upto the 1970s Gipfeldorf is now virtually a tourist theme village. It consists mainly of inns, cafes and hotels. An early morning railbus brings workers in from Neustadt with the bulk of the day's tourists coming in on the mid-morning train. A goods train brings supplies up in the late morning and a lunchtime railbus caters for any mid-day travellers. The goods train takes any empty wagons back down the line in the early afternoon and the late afternoon passenger train takes the tourists away. Finally an evening railcar takes the workers back to Neustadt.

Schonblick lacks the same level of tourist trade but does have the advantage of a large brewery to provide employment. There is an early morning passenger train to Neustadt to convey people to work with a railbus service later in the morning cheifly for shoppers. Mid-morning sees a goods train take loaded beer wagons out along with any empties. A mid-day passenger service and early afternoon railbus are followed by a goods train bringing in supplies for the town, locomotive shed and brewery. Finally an early evening passenger service beings the workers and stragglers back from Neustadt.

Having been a market town for centuries Neustadt had already developed into a sizeable community before the arrival of the railways. Having the fortune to find itself on a main line industrial development quickly followed and a variety of traffic now flows through the station. A local goods working from the marshalling yard at Billshafen terminates here mid-morning with an early afternoon return and apart from traffic to and from the branches it also serves a Shell fuel distrubution depot, a small container terminal and local goods.

Edited by ian

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Sehr gut, mein Frau in Roden geboren vos.

 

Roden in Shropshire?

 

In diesem Fall wird sie wissen, woher der 'Ercall' in der 'Ercallbahn' kommt.

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Yes, and I worked out the Ercall bit. Now I’m worrying that Gipfeldorf is Little Wenlock!

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The town names aren't based on real locations, but evolved with iterations of the master plan.
 
Initially there were three main-line stations: Neuhafen (new port), Mittelstadt (middle town) and Oberesdorf (upper village). The steam operated branch was added and ended up perched on a mountain so would have had a beautiful view, hence Schönblick.
 
There were a number of kit buildings that I wanted to use. One was the Faller B-111 Neustadt station, which fitted at Oberesdorf - so that became Neustadt.
109111.jpg
 
The kit that I wanted for the branch station was this one:

 

6959065313_b6be2a03f5_b.jpg

...and look at the name on it! What are the chances?

 

Of course Neustadt meant a change of name for Neuhafen which became Billshafen in honour of my late father who started it all. The middle station became Maifeld (May field) after the street that housed the juvenile railway.

 

When an extra steam railway terminus was squeezed in it was initially called Höhererplatz as it was higher than Schönblick but it mutated into Gipfeldorf.

 

So now you know!

 

 

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I think I had a B103 for Christmas 1963. I have no idea what happened to it.

 

It was the station on my first layout - long departed this world, so another one was a necessity.

 

The Neustadt was an unfulfilled catalogue lust.

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The wolf was asleep long enough for me to grab the opportunity to play trains. So, here's a little update on developments:

 

DSCF4013sml.jpg

 

Two hikers have arrived at Gipfeldorf. They may be serious hikers who have walked up and are waiting for a train down, less dedicated hikers who caught a train up and are planning on walking down, or a couple of lads hoping to hang around the cafes trying to impress the girls.

 

DSCF4014sml.jpg

 

A bargain purchase has added a timber wagon to the roster. Now there is nowhere to load it at Schonblick so I may have to revise the backstory to allow Gipfeldorf some timber traffic. Getting one of these with all the stakes and logs plus its box for under a tenner and a half was an excellent result.

 

DSCF4015sml.jpg

 

Ooh look, new coaches! These are fun; modern 6-wheelers. These are very strange to British eyes as the 6-wheel coach disappeared quite early in British railway development. If the UK had built a 6-wheel version of the Mk.1 it would be the equivalent of these beasties. There was, of course, a logical reason behind them. Like everyone else after WWII the German railways were clapped out and there was very little money available to sort things out. Their solution to the coaching stock problem was to refurbish old coach chassis and fit brand new bodies to them - hence these mid-1950 design bodies on much earlier underframes.

 

Of course, the light detector is in the wrong place for these. Do I move it or build a second one?

Edited by ian
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A liitle bit of hobby time has been spent constructing buildings for Scohblick. As the track needs to fit around some of them it is necessary to get the size before the track is laid.

 

First up, to save you flipping back, here is the station plan:

Shonblick2.jpg

 

Shonblick3.jpg

 

There won't be no engine shed as it is much nicer to have the locos out where they can be seen!

 

The workshop will be a clone of the engine shed from my childhood years.

 

DSCF4030sml.jpg

 

The Pola kit was even designed to take Marklin track.  (The gap at the top of the doors is for overhead catenery if you feel that way inclined.)

 

DSCF4032sml.jpg

 

The coaling facility is another Pola kit. I saw one on another layout and thought it was ideal for the job, a quick google and voilla.

 

DSCF4031sml.jpg

 

The kit comes with a water crane and, with typical German efficiency, a loading gauge to check that the tender is in gauge. I can't recall seeing such a thing on a UK shed layout.

 

Still to come is the station building. Again a clone of the childhood one, hence the rather unnecessary overall roof.

 

DSCF4033sml.jpg

 

I know that these things were produced for years,but what still amazes me is how many unbuilt kits there are still around. Mind you - there will be fewer when I have finished!

Edited by ian
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The workshop is now structurally complete.

 

DSCF4036sml.jpg

 

There was a small hiatus as I couldn't find where I had put the tall chimney. I searched my desk a number of times, along with the kit box. It was right in front of me, in the middle of the desk standing upright in the middle of a reel of solder. : :banghead:

 

I was toying with powered opening doors and a smoke unit but decided against. As it is supposed to be a workshop the doors don't need to open very often - it is a destination for deliveries rather than somewhere to house a locomotive. As for smoke units - they generate a lot of fallout and reaching over the layout at high level to fill the chimney is an accident waiting to happen.

 

However I will add a figure with a falshing welder inside the building - and turn the lights down a bit too.

Edited by ian
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Your recent posts do not seem to have pics in them, I’m afraid. Clicking on the apparent link doesn’t do much, either.

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Your recent posts do not seem to have pics in them, I’m afraid. Clicking on the apparent link doesn’t do much, either.

Browser cache caught me out there.

 

Corrected - I hope.

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Work is now underway on the station building.

DSCF4039sml.jpg

The windows come with an impressionistic interior design and a black paper mask for the walls so that they don't have a radioactive glow when the building is illuminated.

DSCF4040sml.jpg

However the designer overlooked the roof. I discovered this AFTER I had stuck the LEDs in place so masked the roof with some sign-makers vinyl. It is flexible, sticks well and is easy to cut when in place. Far quicker than finding a pot of black paint.

DSCF4042sml.jpg

There is a printed interior for the booking hall which has yet to be fitted. It fits onto a plastic 'plug' that can be removed if you need to change the bulbs - you can just see one of the bulb mounts in the first photo.

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Meanwhile a little terraforming has been taking place.
 
DSCF4053sml.jpg
 
An Art Printers backsecene of Bavaria, a couple of foam hillocks, some Busch trees and a little scatter.

DSCF4054sml.jpg

DSCF4055sml.jpg

DSCF4058sml.jpg

 

There is more to go along the goods yard - but it is progress.

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I decided that I'd put the goods shed at Gipfeldorf - despite it being a squeeze. So, a few evenings work and...

 

DSCF4062sml.jpg

 

It has got to go somewhere on the layout - it is a copy of one from my original layout - and there is absolutely nowhere else for it

 

DSCF4065sml.jpg

Needless to say there is a light inside and a figure.

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Bearing in mind that Europe is due to be cast adrift in the near future the strategic stores have been acquiring one or two items that will be of use as things progress. These include a second example of the rather excellent 6699 controller which will be used for shunting whilst the old-fangled ones run the main line.

 

Now, it appears that the 6699 had a big brother, the 6600 which has some good party tricks.

 

 

DSCF4074sml.jpg

 

Like the 6699 it has a potentiometer under the big knob and electronic gubbins to sort out the power. It also has three extra knobs amd three push buttons for the magic.

 

Firstly you can have momentum - acceleration and braking. The rates are set by knobs 1 and 2 respectively and turned on by button 4.

 

Button 6 is an emergency stop for those moments when you have mis-calculated the stopping distance and would rather like the train to stop now rather than when it has ploughed through the buffers and over the edge of the layout.

Knob 3 and button 5 are for automatic operation .

Combined with two inputs on the back you can connect detectors in the track (or switches on the panel) so that you can slow a train to a halt, wait and then accelerate away, and/or reverse it. This allows you to have a rain running around a loop stopping each time at the station or shuttling back and forth along a strectch of track. (Using the ability to automatically switch points you could have a train traverse all three arms of a tuning fork layout and then reverse the sequence.) Knob 3 sets the dwell time and switch 5 turns it on or off.

 

Sadly these units are often found to be faulty - usually the op-amp IC's inside have given up the struggle - but this one is in fine fettle - so I couldn't resist.

 

Now all I need is something to shuttle and somewhere to shuttle it. I feel that Maifeld may gain an S-Bahn. :scratchhead:

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The garage is currently virtually impassable. Clutter just seems to accumulate there. This has made access to the railway somewhat fraught. Whilst I can get to the station the fiddle yard is exceedingly difficult to reach which has acted as a brake on operations.

 

However with some unseasonably warm and settled weather I broke out the trestles and took Gipfeldorf for some fresh air.


DSCF4101sml.jpg

 

When the layout is on its lofty perch you can't see that the rear ground is missing between the hill and the unloading platform. (Well, you could if you were 6'6" or so, but I'm not.) However I do need to fill it in to allow some development.


DSCF4102sml.jpg

 

So, to work...


DSCF4104sml.jpg

 

Ah, yes, I also needed to make a little change to the track. Did I forget to mention that?


DSCF4106sml.jpg
 

This is a contact section. When the pick-up shoe pushes it down it sends a pulse to an accessory. (Well, to be accurate it completes the circuit of an accessory to ground - but it comes to the same thing. Train runs over track and accessory operates. They are directionally sensitive - what happens going one way can be different to what happens going the other. Clever stuff.)


DSCF4107sml.jpg
 

Meanwhile at the other end of the station...


DSCF4108sml.jpg

 

A foam cutter was used to whittle away a bit of the hill.

 

DSCF4109sml.jpg

 

The damage was quickly painted over and another conact section added. A layer of card infill was fixed covering the raw baseboard.


DSCF4110sml.jpg

 

The other contact section was bedded in. The red plug for the connection is somewhat obvious from this angle.


DSCF4112sml.jpg

 

The other end showing the truncated hill, card infill and contact section (with a yellow plug this time).

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DSCF4114sml.jpg

 

Boring photo. I've cut some infill pieces from 5mm foamboard (the 5mm foamboard and 1mm card bring gound level up close to rail level - this is a station not open line after all), painted them brown then added Woodland Scenics ballast to them - buff on the left to (sort of) match the track and grey on the right for the goods yard area.

 

DSCF4115sml.jpg

 

There's a railway in there somewhere! :scratchhead:

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Electricity has now reached the depths below the site for Schonblick so work can now start on that station.

 

As a result on Saturday Andreas and his team from the S&T department took the drasine up to Gipfeldorf to look at the signal there.

 

His plan had been to follow the mid-morning passenger service up, wait outside the station whilst it ran round and then pull into the loop to clear the main line. As there is no freight service on Saturday the drasine could sit there for a couple of hours and then follow the mid-day railcar service back down the line.

 

DSCF4220sml.jpg

 

Unfortunately he had reckoned without the possibility of a wagon being left in the loop. Whilst the locomotive had no problem moving it when running round it is beyond the drasine's capability to shift and there was not much clearance for the departing train. He had also omitted to tell the station master Herr Bolwieser that he was coming. Herr Bolwieser spent quite some time telling Andreas just what he thought of him. Helmut was instructed to wave a red rag to make sure that the train did not try to depart in the interim.

 

DSCF4223sml.jpg

 

Once the Drasine had been moved closer to the wagon Herr Bolwieser allowed the train to depart and then insisted that it was moved to the end of the line with Helmut, and his rag, to stand guard.

 

DSCF4226sml.jpg

 

The team (less Helmut) examined the signal and then waited for the railbus to arrive. They then piled into the drasine and followed it back down the line.

 

------

 

The drasine is a non-working Brekina model of a DB Klv 20. These had VW engines and bodies on a railway chassis. They were solely rail vehicles and had no road capability. A lifting frame was fitted underneath that, when lowered, allowed one person to turn the vehicle through 180 degrees so that it could return from whence it had come.

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On 24/09/2018 at 23:11, ian said:

There were a number of kit buildings that I wanted to use. One was the Faller B-111 Neustadt station, which fitted at Oberesdorf - so that became Neustadt.
109111.jpg
 
The kit that I wanted for the branch station was this one:

 

6959065313_b6be2a03f5_b.jpg

...and look at the name on it! What are the chances?

 

Of course Neustadt meant a change of name for Neuhafen which became Billshafen in honour of my late father who started it all. The middle station became Maifeld (May field) after the street that housed the juvenile railway.

 

When an extra steam railway terminus was squeezed in it was initially called Höhererplatz as it was higher than Schönblick but it mutated into Gipfeldorf.

 

So now you know!

 

 

 

How we loved those kits back in the 1960s! It was a novelty to have the coloured plastic parts!  I still have an old Faller catalogue and a couple of their ‘How to build scenery..’ books - somewhere in the attic!

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Train services to Gipfeldorf have been suspended for extensive works.

 

DSCF4298sml.jpg

 

The station baseboard has been lowered 1" in prpearation for installation of the Schonblick baseboards (the first support bracket for which is now in place).

 

This has put Gipfeldorf at a much improved height - that extra inch was just too much but was dictated by the track for the shelving brackets holding the fiddle yard. Track level is now 62.5" and all the bits of baseboard that weren't properly covered are now very visible.:mad:

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"Then they crossed a mountain range and saw the final plain"
sch01.jpg


At eye level it looks like a vast space that is waiting to be filled.

 

sch02.jpg


 

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sch03.jpg


Hmm, it doesn't look such a large space now.

 


sch04.jpg

 

The admin block (red brick - between the goods shed and station) was supposed to be behind the sidings by the engine shed but was too 'in your face' there.

 


sch05.jpg


The sight lines work well this way. Shunting moves at the goods shed and brewery are visible.

 

 

sch06.jpg

 

The carriage siding needs attention though - if the coaches were at the uncoupler the coaling stage and engine shed wouldn't be visible.
 

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