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Die Ercallbahn - Fulfilling a childhood dream.


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200907-1.jpg

 

That's the track down. The buildings are just for effect at the moment but the railcar has arrived at the site of the branch platform under its own power.


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The catenary along the platforms will have to wait until the platforms are in place because of the cross spans, but as the main line doesn't go anywhere at the moment I can't see that being a problem.

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On 08/09/2020 at 09:10, St Enodoc said:

A few lots of Maerklin track on the Bay of Ease at the moment.

 

Rats, I thought that I had cornered the market. :sorry:

 

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Why is it that every time you lay track the baseboard develops these strange coloured stalactites underneath?

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1 hour ago, Mick Bonwick said:

 

Why not find a copy of Right Track 12 and find the answer there? :P

 

Perhaps some kind group will put it on line for the edification and entertainment of the masses. :rolleyes:

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20200916a.jpg

 

No plan survives its first contact with reality. At the bottom in the middle is the branch loco release road (blue) that doubles as a diesel refueling pont and trebles as a stabling point for the railcar. Now according to the plan there isn't space to make it longer but in reality I can just squeeze it between the main line and the wall.


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This not only means that the railcar can stay there all the time that it is not in use but, as a bonus, its trailer can sit at the end of the siding when it isn't in use.

 

 

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Up at the other end of the station the need for a small change has been thrown up by test running. The S-Bahn platform (green line) which serves as a useful extra run-round line for the branch can be made even more useful by adding an uncoupler at the branch end.


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This has meant some extra wiring and relocating a signal but that is a small price to pay for the benefits that it offers. I shall expound on these when I do a photo run through of the shunting operations.

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200917-1.jpg

 

So, with enough wiring done to get something moving, let's see how things work.

Looking across Neustadt the two sidings at the rear (with the canvas covered open and the container wagon) are the two unloading sidings. Coming forward we have what is nominally the branch run-round loop (which leads to the Shell depot and loco fuel point off to the left) playing host to two vans that are waiting for a trip up the branch. In front of that is the branch platform, then the S-Bahn platform (which serves as an extra run-round loop) and then the main line.


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The branch goods rolls into the platform line.

 


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The train stops over the uncoupler. This particular loco has remote couplings so could have stopped further up the platform.


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The S-Bahn platform is used as a run round track.


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The loco couples on to the rear of the train and pulls it out of the platform.


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Then it backs down onto the waiting vans and picks them up.


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The vans are then propelled into the platform line and left, with the guard's van. The wagons leaving the branch are put on the run round.


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The departing train is ready to leave.


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Peace descends once more.

I shall have to rename that run round as an interchange track.


 

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1 hour ago, Mick Bonwick said:

That really is very good. :locomotive:

 

If you enjoyed that then you'll want to wait around for its main line counterpart. :locomotive:

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200918-1.jpg

 

The Rangierbahnhof (marshalling yard) at Maifeld has two of these class 212 diesels that run trip workings to the nearby stations. This one has turned up with six wagons in tow, four for Neustadt and two for the branch. It has arrived in the branch platform.


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Now, that uncoupler that I put in at the end of the S-Bahn platform/run round comes into its own. Having left its train in the platform the diesel moves the wagons leaving the branch to the top of the S-Bahn platform to get them out of the way.


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It then collects up the outbound wagons from the sidings at Neustadt...


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...and adds them to the collection.Fortunately Neustadt doesn't get a frequent S-Bahn service - most runs don't get this far.


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Now the wagons for Neustadt can be distributed.


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With the interchange track clear it is an easy matter to access the Shell depot.


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Once the Neustadt wagons have been sorted out the ones for the branch can be put on the interchange track.


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The wagons heading for Maifeld are pulled out of the S-Bahn platform using the branch as a headshunt.


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They are then propelled into the branch platform and the loco runs round using the S-Bahn platform. All done and ready to return to the Rangierbahnhof.


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And just in time to clear the platform for the S-Bahn.

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200922-1.jpg

 

In an aquisitive mood recently I obtained another of the 6-wheel rebuild coaches, this time a composite. This, of course, raises the question of whether a three coach train of Umbau-Wagen will fit. There was only one way to find out so I fired up the P8...


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Plenty of room at Gipdeldorf/Schwarzfelsen but the carriage siding at Schonblick was too short.


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Fortunately that is easily sorted and by putting another uncoupler in the composite can be left at the end of the siding and the more usual two coach train operated.


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Whilst I was at it I looked at putting in an extra siding by the brewery. That will fit too.

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200923-1.jpg

 

Moving along the branch I've removed the unnecessary signals and been converting Gipfeldorf into Schwarzfelsen. Whilst I was at it a bit of remedial work was done on the goods shed. Originally I had put a small SMD LED in the roof with exceedingly fine wires running down to below the baseboard. Somewhere between fixing the roof in place and connecting the light to the layout one of the wires broke somewhere. As the rear wall is against the backscene no one will be able to see the bodge repair. I drilled a hole in the top of the back wall, inserted a pre-wired white LED and glued it in place. Job done.


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Flushed with success I took pity on the workers on the loading platform and gave them a couple of lights to help during the short winter days.

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200924.jpg

 

Hmm, I must be doing something wrong. The old backscene had wrinkled so, istead of using the self-adhesive facility this time I used some double-sided tape along the top and left the rest to dangle. Guess what...

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The garage is currently impassable so I thought I'd have a rumage through a box of goodies that I won for a low bid on eBay. First up is this Br 24. Took the top off, removed a large quantity of fluff, added some oil and a new bulb then spent some time tweaking the front coupling hook back to shape. All good and ready for service. This means that the small tank locos are surplus to requirements on the branch and will be rehomed in due course as this loco can deputise for either the P8 / Br 38 on passenger services or the Br 86 on freights.


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Only one wagon to retain in the box - a bogie companion for the 4-wheeled tarpaulin-covered one already on the books.


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And a V200. My intention was to combine the best of both my existing model and the new acquisition to make one better and one for resale. But look - they have different numbers (remember those numbers are cast on the body, not additions or transfers). After all, you can't have too many V200's, can you? Four new traction tyres, a new bulb and a tweak of the reverser and good to go.

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201020-1.jpg

 

Whilst I was adding more lights to Schwarzfelsen I tipped the board on its back to make life easier. I can't do this with the other boards of course, they are far too big for that. When I wasn't wiring I was thinking - how much easier it would be if all the wiring was like this. I have been thinking along these lines for a while now and have come to the conclusion that the lower level baseboards will have a sort of cable conduit along the front - about half as deep as this. All wires will come out to a connector at the closest point and thence to a gizmo, common terminal or catch the bus to the control panel. Fault-finding and revisions should be made much easier and the whole lot can be hidden behind a facia panel. I commend this solution to the house.


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The new coastal backscene isn't quite right. Due to the eye-level positioning the horizon is about half an inch higher than it should be in order to get land all the way along. This gives a rather unsettling imminent tsunami effect. I hope the crew have a good head of steam for a quick getaway.


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Despite appearances the station isn't on a pier, just close to the coastline on two sides. You would be able to see Billshafen across the bay if it wasn't for that giant wave.


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The two holiday cottages only ever seem to get bookings from rail ethusiasts and, for some reason their families don't want to come with them. The hills on the backscene are too big too.


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The two hikers are saying (in German) "This place looks familiar."

 

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Whilst I was restoring light to the goods shed and adding the lights for the loading platform and holiday cottages I also rewired the station lights. When I built it I put two on the platform, one in the covered area between the two buildings and one in the main building - each an LED wired through its own resistor to a 12V supply. I had come to the conclusion that the lights were just too bright and the light from the covered way spilled out onto the backscene. I have now disconnected the light in the covered area and connected the two platform lights in parallel then the to the interior light in series which has reduced the overall lighting to a ore reasonable level.

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201026-1.jpg

 

The two three-way points forming the entrance to this end of Schonblick have been causing problems. Whilst a large part of it can be put down to operator error (not resetting BOTH blades to straight before trying to select a branch route and it being difficult to check that the one on the main line is correctly thrown because of the goods shed blocking the view) sometimes the front pony truck of the steam locomotives just doesn't want to play nicely with them - so up they came.


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To compound matters due to a stunning lack of foresight the necessary connections on the terminal strip were blocked by the baseboard levitation system. The wires had to be cut, sockets added and labelled for the uncouplers that needed to be temporarily lifted and the replacement points.


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A rough idea of the new layout. All single points and by way of a bonus the wiggle on Gleis 1 has been removed.

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201030-1.jpg

 

The new track layout is in position but  haven't yet reconnected the point motors and uncouplers yet in case anything needs to be lifted and tweaked. Time to run some trains to test it all.


201030-2.jpg

 

In other news, it appears that I need to self-isolate as I recently acquired a Köf.

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201104-1.jpg

 

Having procrastinated for as long as possible I finally plugged the soldering iron in and put wires on the switches for the Schȍnblick and Neustadt.

 

The Schȍnblick panel only needs seven wires connecting and it will be ready for use.

 

The rotary switch allows the station to be controlled from its own controller, the one at Neusdat or the one at Schwarzfelsen. The idea being that trains running to Schȍnblick are controlled from Schonblick and those leaving it are controlled by the destination station as it is easier to stop a train in the right place when you are close to it.

 

The toggle switch is for when the Schȍnblick controller is doing its party piece and operating an automatic shuttle. This will normally be the railbus but can also serve to test or run-in a locomotive. Normally the victim will shuttle between Neustadt and Schwarzfelsen with a pause at Schȍnblick but the switch allows this to be changed to run straight through or reverse at Schonblick.


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The Neustadt panel is a little more complex. This is because it has to interface with the automatic operation of the main line.

Individual sections can be connected to the main line controllers (one for the track, one for the catenary), local control or isolated. In addition the automatic main line signals can be set to not turn green, two of the track sensors can be disabled and the local control can be switched between the Neustadt and the Schȍnblick controllers. There are a lot of wires to connect!


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But first I have to connect the switches up. More knitting.

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201109-1.jpg

 

OK, I'm bored with this game now. I'm going to play something else...


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...just as soon as it is wired in.

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