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Die Ercallbahn - Fulfilling a childhood dream.


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With the necessary anti-gravity devices in place attention can turn to trying some track for size on the new board.

 

neu1.jpg

 

In early iterations of the track plan the main line went twice around a hill to try and add a few seconds to the time between a train leaving one platform at Neustadt and arriving at another. The idea was to have a removable hill top over the access well.

 

 

neu2.jpg

 

Originally I intended to use a version of 'tab on car' freight forwarding and would have two freight trains running round the main which would drop off and pick up wagons at the yard along with two more freight trains in hidden storage which would swap with the first two each operating session. This would give a rolling storage system so that wagons wouldn't run every session. With the experiment using a traffic generator on the branch the need to reform the main line freights so that they could drop off wagons that were needed meant that some sort of off-stage marshalling facility was neeeded so the loop lost its up and over and gained two sidings instead. The inner siding was for arriving trains to be taken off the track with the outer siding for ones being put on the track; everything else would use the loop. When I came to lay it out the arrival track was way too short and the whole arrangement looked a mess.

 

 

neu3.jpg

 

So on to version 3. The outer loop can either serve as a storage line if I go for the tab-on-car system or, by getting an uncoupler in, it could act as a re-marshalling track. Other trains would use the inner loop.

 

 

200730.jpg

 

It ends up looking something like this (the signal is on the outer loop - not the branch) and yes, the railbus did get there under its own power.

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200731-1.jpg

 

The mainline trackage can't be fixed in place until Neustadt is laid (which can't happen until the next baseboard is built, which...) but a little experimentation shows that it is at least the right size.

 

 

200731-2.jpg

 

Passenger trains run to three coaches plus loco - in this case part of the Rheingold set along with a heretofore unphotographed member of the stud. It is a DB 03 class express loco which was acquired as there was nothing suitable for pulling these fancy coaches. In the Ercallverse it is, of course, a special working carrying people getting as many mainline steam miles in as they can before the end.

 

 

200731-3.jpg

 

The through freights run to six wagons and the other train is the class 44 heavy goods loco with the six longest wagons on the roster.

 

Looks like it is a good day to be trackside with a camera!

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Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

The layout plan has evolved over time and a quick audit of sidings revealed that I would need either more or longer (or both) freights calling at the yard to drop and collect sufficient wagons to service all those industries. Very quickly a great big snag reared its head.

 

On the initial layout sketches I worked on the basis of a three coach train - an E41 plus three tinplate bogie coaches comes in a shade over 35.5 inches. A similar loco plus six short wagons comes in around the same. So that was the rule of thumb when establishing what was possible.

With fleet and feature bloat it is now possible for a six wagon freight to achieve 50.5 inches (the BR44 and longer wagons in the previous photo). Guess what? It won't fit in a number of the blocks, in fact even the standard passenger would have to stop on a sixpence in some of them - mainly due to attrition as things were added. Ah well, back to the drawing board.

 

 

200802.jpg

 

Meanwhile work is underway in Gifpfeldorf for its move to the coast. The trees have been felled and a hill has been flattened to provide a site for some nice holiday cottages. In its new guise it will be Schwarzfelsen (Black Rock) a small coastal community known for its beach Schwarzfelsensand (Black Rock Sands) which attracts many tourists.

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Progress is, as ever, glacial due to the heat and other things needing time and effort as well as re-jigging the master plan to increase some of the block lengths.

 

The good news is that passenger train lengths can be increased as a result - with a bogie electric or diesel a 5 coach train should be possible where needed. By pulling the two bogie opens out of the regular freight stock 8 wagons should be possible behind the longest loco, the BR44.

 

200812.jpg

 

Meanwhile, as a bit of light relief, I have started to put together Neustadt's signal box. This is another copy of one of the original buildings.

 

Having no glue suitable for the glazing to hand I quickly got as far as I could go with the signal box so had to turn my attention to something else.

 

200812-2.jpg

 

The station building for Neustadt falls into the 'I always wanted one when I was young' category. Mind you I shall have to break out some paint and speckle some of the bricks as the wall section propped up on the box demonstrates. Do you think I could sue for misleading advertising all those years ago?

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200819-1.jpg

 

The second board for Neustadt is now in place (on the left). This one has a removable hatch in the corner to provide access in cases of need,

 

200819-2.jpg

 

Popping up through the hatch allows the current extent of the line to be surveyed.

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15 hours ago, Mick Bonwick said:

"Popping up" looks to me as if it requires a certain flexibility of body parts!

 

Good progress, though.

 

It's an access hatch rather than an operating well so some mild contortion is acceptable. I'm now looking forward to filling the area with track. :D

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Hello Ian, Have to say progressing well and suddenly the room looks very spacious!. Those LED light units look good as well and certainly seem to really light up the place. Should be a good comfy place to while away some Winter evenings, forget about the rest of the World and get going on the rest of the line.  Looking forward to seeing what else you have planned. Woody

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The sense of spaciousness is due to all the resident clutter having migrated out of camera shot to enable me to put that baseboard up!

 

I have purchased a shed for the bicycles which have now been evicted and boarded some more of the loft which has allowed some things to be relocated. It is now possible to actually make some progress.

 

The LED panels (2x 4'x2') are absolutely wonderful and were worth every penny.

 

When Neustadt is in place the branch (or should I say that branch) will be complete and then I can move on to a different part of the line.

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200821-1.jpg

 

A test fit of the track and buildings shows - it works! The V200 is on the main line (Gleis 1). The station building roof shows its intended location.


200821-2.jpg

 

From the well inside the return loop you can see (from left to right): the V200 on Gleis 1 about to enter the loop. The main returning from the loop (Gleis 2) which runs under the signal box. The next line is for terminating S-Bahn trains (Gleis 3) with a platform on either side. It is also useful as an extra run round track for the branch. On the other side of the far platform is the branch (Gleis 4), then the run round and freight sidings.


200821-3.jpg

 

There is a goods shed at the back with a container crane in front of it.


200821-4.jpg

 

The Shell depot is on the lifting hatch with its siding on the baseboard alongside the hatch. In front of that is a short spur for the loco fueling point and the sharply curved bit is the loco release for the branch platform.

 

Gleis 1, 2 and 3 will have catenary but the sidings and branch will not.

 

I love it when a plan comes together! :D

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Sectional track - far quicker to throw down than flexible or hand made varieties.

 

Mind you, each aged piece has now got to be checked, fettled and cleaned before it can be laid. And then there's thw wiring...:rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Mick Bonwick said:

Blimey, you don't hang about, do you?

 

This is vastly different to what I recall seeing just a short while ago. Well, it seems a short while ago.

Quite. This thread started out in modest fashion with B103 Schonblick (umlauts not readily available on my iPad) and a rather limited track plan. It now appears to be aping both sides of the Rhein at once. But it’s all good fun, and a welcome universe away from some of the uptight stuff elsewhere on RMweb. 

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I have to admit to laziness - I know the umlauts should be there but with the faff of getting them to appear I usually just ignore them. They appear on station signs and control panels though.

 

As for fun - that is the key. After years of dabbling with UK outline getting ever more tied up in details and self-imposed difficulties this is a great release. Plonk and play.

 

Come on in, the water's lovely!:D

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WOW! More progress in a few days then I have made in a few years! Got to admit I just love the way this is coming together Ian. The only thing that looks to be worrying to a Luddite like me are all those wires! Good thing you bought that wire stripper with labelling facility! As you say, Love it when a plan comes together! Cue A Team theme, cue Faller road system  Mr T van, cue Preiser bad guy figures! I really need to open the window when using this glue!

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It really is a tonic to be able to progress so quickly, Nick.

 

Last night I strung catenary around the reverse loop - and when I connect the wires it will work. After that I added some LEDs to the last of the platform sections and it wasn't a long session in the garage either.

 

As for the wiring, Marklin has a colour code.

Red wire/plug - track power

Brown wire/plug - return

Yellow wire/plug - lighting

Blue wire - points/signals with red or green plug for thrown/normal and orange plugs for special occasions

For things that are not on that list there are grey plugs and wires. I'm using them for track sensors.

Edited by ian
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It has taken half a century for that loco to actually run under OHLE, previously it has only ever been fed from the track.

 

Despite that once the switch to change to pantograph power was flicked it trundled off - without any attention or care needed on the pantographs. Clunky maybe - but it certainly does work. :good_mini:

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16 hours ago, ian said:

Clunky maybe - but it certainly does work. :good_mini:

Stud contact seems an anachronism in a two-rail world, but Märklin sells and sells because it is built to be robust. How many RMweb posts concern locos or layouts that just won't run? Unlikely with this brand.

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Hard to believe that the loco dates from around the moon landing. Certainly outlives the Saturn 5 rocket! Lovely to see how this is all taking shape Ian. Many would have simply left it all in a box and just concentrate on the new detailed models which I some how doubt will still be going in 50 years. Just shows how the design and build of all those years ago might not have the fitness of today but it had awesome 'play' value and could survive more or less anything. 

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22 hours ago, Woody C said:

Many would have simply left it all in a box and just concentrate on the new detailed models which I some how doubt will still be going in 50 years

 

Of which I was for far too long guilty as charged.

 

200902-1.jpg

 

Two-thirds of an iceberg is under the water. I wonder what proportion of building a layout is hidden? Like wiring a control panel...

There is another panel to build for Neustadt as well. Long-standing readers may recall that the idea (well, one of them) is for trains to circuit the main line under automatic control whilst I faff about shunting freights and running branch line trains. This is all well and good but this is one of the points were automation and faffing about must interface. Whilst it would be possible to do it all with things from the Marklin range of the era it is far more elegantly achieved with a bevy of toggle switches. This will mean cranking up the soldering iron so will be avoided for as long as possible.


200902-2.jpg

 

Still, now the main panel is done I can get back to track laying.

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