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Hooray! Finally!

 

After waiting 7 ½ years and going through 6 house moves, 4 changes of marital status and 14 months of housebuilding, finally I have my own study/model railway room.

 

During one and a half years of fruitless house searching after viewing countless properties I was resigned to the fact that I’d probably end up in a dark and dusty loft or attic, or in a damp chilly garage, or in a draughty shed or outbuilding at the bottom of the garden. But after we gave up in frustration and decided that the only way to get exactly what we wanted would be to extend/rebuild, we were looking at the plans and the at that stage still to be Mrs TT-Pete considered what had originally been the living room and said the auspicious words “That could be your train room.”

 

After the initial elation it has been a long and difficult journey watching what was a perfectly habitable house gradually being ripped to shreds with no roof and open to the elements with rain, sleet and snow blasting through it.

 

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Before then slowly (OMG at times so slowly) then starting to take form again. A few months ago back in March the future study was still just a bare shell;

 

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But things have moved on nicely and oh my goodness – it’s actually finished now, we have moved in and there’s a nice big empty space waiting to be filled with trains n’ stuff;

 

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So, in summary:

 

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And now for the next big question - what to model?

 

I once worked out that if I were to build a separate layout for each one of my areas of railway interest or for odds and ends that I have just accumulated over the years, then I’d probably need about eight.

 

Being half-German and having had the good fortune to have lived, worked and travelled extensively abroad I’ve never really settled on one country, operator, era, gauge or even scale! You see I am cursed with a terrible affliction where a brief stay somewhere that even just peripherally exposes me to the local railway scene and where model railway shops exist triggers yet another Area of Interest to be born. (Such as 6 months spent working in Philadelphia and a trip to the Strasburg museum leading to an interest in the PRR, or long school Summer holidays spent every year with Mum’s family in Kiel the DB, or visits to a friend in Switzerland the RhB, or our honeymoon travelling on trains in Canada the Canadian Pacific – the list just goes on and on…)

 

For a good few years I focused primarily on pre-TOPS BR Blue-era diesels in 3mm/TT scale, but having inherited my Dad’s HO collection a few years back and with the passage of time and the passing of a number of family members and good friends my outlook on life in general has changed of late, and I find myself increasingly being drawn back to the memories and nostalgia of my youth in the 70’s and 80’s – growing up in Luxembourg.

 

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And also, let’s face it, I simply do not have enough time and resources to even consider building 8 layouts. So going right back to basics, what, I ask myself, at the end of the day is going to give me the most pleasure building, operating and watching?

 

Well, what I’d really like is a continuous run where I can sit back and watch trains go by that I remember seeing and travelling on, set in a landscape that if not an exact recreation, at least gives me the sense of a time and place that I loved and knew so well.

 

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But the first job is going to be locating and sorting all the bits, bobs, assorted detritus and cardboard boxes of railway modelling stuff and materials that in some cases have spent nearly a decade stored across various lofts, garages and garden sheds.

 

Parallel to that there is also the house move to finish off and a garden out there that has been growing wild for over 2 years that needs to be brought under control, oh and I’ve just started a new job.

 

I get the feeling that this may take a while…

 

 

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I can relate to your building frustrations Pete!

Know what you mean when you say a little time spent in a certain area or country inevitably results in the purchase of models from that region, I think over time you end up having little option but to pare stuff out and focus on your strongest interests.

 

Looking forward to seeing how this develops, and I imagine there is much more available for a CFL HO layout than there is for any sort of TT.

 

Best of luck.

Edited by E3109

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Looks good the room. I inherited the garage which I insulated and drylined. But I have to share it with Ruby the dog. So no dangling wires. Nothing on the floor as it would get chewed...

And by the way this is country number 3 and house number 10 for me... just give it a go. Life is now.

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I think over time you end up having little option but to pare stuff out and focus on your strongest interests.

 

Looking forward to seeing how this develops, and I imagine there is much more available for a CFL HO layout than there is for any sort of TT.

 

Best of luck.

 

Thanks, only opening the first 2 cardboard boxes and I've already found rolling stock I'd forgotten I had, eBay beckons methinks...

Actually there's a surprising variety of TT available (kits in UK outline, RTR in Continental outline) and new models being released from Piko and Roco - hence the conflict in deciding between HO and TT. Early days yet, but to quote Baldrick; "I have a cunning plan"...

 

Looks good the room. I inherited the garage which I insulated and drylined. But I have to share it with Ruby the dog. So no dangling wires. Nothing on the floor as it would get chewed...

At least dogs tend to stay at ground level;

 

post-20196-0-61837500-1535221239.jpg

Bell code 6: "Line obstructed".

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Luxembourg is a good county to model as depending on which bit you chose you can also operate SNCB or SNCF or DB.

 

Always fancied modelling Kautenbach in Luxembourg on the Liege line, tunnel one end of the station cutting at the other for scenic breaks, small station with both diesels and electrics running through.

 

Neil

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Luxembourg is a good county to model as depending on which bit you chose you can also operate SNCB or SNCF or DB.

 

Always fancied modelling Kautenbach in Luxembourg on the Liege line, tunnel one end of the station cutting at the other for scenic breaks, small station with both diesels and electrics running through.

 

Neil

 

Neil

 

All of the above!  :)

 

Try this clip at 4:40

 

But I prefer it back in the days before all that OHLE gubbins cluttered everything up:

 

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Peter

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Great ideas, great railway room. What kind of carpet will you have?

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Thanks for posting the Luxembourg pics, they brought back memories of when I visited in 1982. At that time the station hosted a wonderful variety of trains. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicks_trainstuff/albums/72157693195890055/with/39444667484/

 

Nick

 

Nick,

 

That looks like the Palais Royale behind the tram, I lived in Brussels from 1992 to 1996 working for IBM at La Hulpe but I didn't take a single photo of the trams, railways or metro on any of my many Belgian explorations, something which I now bitterly regret.  :cry:

 

I was worried about my photo collection as it has spent 2 years in a pile of cardboard boxes at the back of a damp garage, but I opened it up a couple of weeks ago, got my scanner installed last weekend and luckily they have survived their enforced hibernation;

 

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Peter

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Hi Pete,

Thanks for the info, I've updated that caption. I only took a few pics on my trip and the ones on Flickr are the ones that cleaned up ok.

 

Glad your pics survived, that shot emphasises the scale of Luxembourg station at the time.

 

Nick

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Hello from Greece!

Like you, I have travelled and worked in many places, it really is hard to settle on one place.

Luxembourg is a very interesting place, I watch with interest, good luck.

G.

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Great ideas, great railway room. What kind of carpet will you have?

 
Dava,
 
A good question!  :mail:  Knowing the dirt, dust, cuttings, splodges, blobs and globs that end up on the floor, and knowing Madame's ballistic reaction to the merest of crumbs being dropped, I said I wanted a hard-wearing tight weave cord carpet in the room. But I got overruled, so I've now got the same pile carpet as the rest of the house and I've put down a sacrificial rug that will hopefully bear the brunt of my droppings (so to speak :prankster: ).
 
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This week's challenge has been getting the old kitchen units that will support the baseboards. They were the first things to be taken out of the house during the strip-out Summer last year and were stacked at the back of a windowless tin shed in the garden and subsequently entombed behind a solid 10 foot linear wall of assorted salvage and junk.
 
So I waited for my strapping 6 foot 7, 2nd row Rugby-playing teenage son to be down for the weekend to give me a hand, only to be told "I'm not going in there, there might be spiders."
 
Fortunately I had had the presence of mind to number the units with a marker pen as I was dismantling them, so I grabbed the parts for 6,7,8 and 9 from the front of the pile once we had cleared out enough cr*p to get at them. Having now cleaned them up I have discovered that; One, the shed wasn't as watertight as I had hoped and some of the edges have got a bit damp and the chipboard has swelled, and Two, numbering them "1 of x", or making a note of what the unit actually was, e.g "Corner unit with doors and drawers" or just taking a photo before I took them apart - would have been a very good idea.
 
What I have now got effectively is a pile of numbered 3D jigsaw puzzle parts where not only am I not sure that I've got all the right bits (it was a jumble in the shed, dark and full of spiders - alledgedly) but I've also no idea of what the picture on the front of the box of what I'm supposed to be making is!
 
I then had an "Eureka" moment in the shower this evening; Why am I even bothering attempting rebuilding the units in their original configuration? Who cares?! I'm building layout supports and storage, not a fitted kitchen. Any leftover bits at the end will be going on the bonfire anyway. As long as I can get enough bits to go together as functioning units - what matter what numbers are on them?
 
Now just for the small matter of finding that green plastic carrier bag I remember filling with all the feet, screws, cams, catches etc...

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Glad your pics survived, that shot emphasises the scale of Luxembourg station at the time.

 

Nick

 

Hi Nick,

 

I'm planning a trip back there late October and intend to take some "Then and Now" comparison shots. The station has been heavily re-developed in the last few years (<sigh> where hasn't?) so scenes like this are consigned to history:

 

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Peter.

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Things are moving on apace.

 

Having a generous space of 4.25m (13’ 11”) by 2.21m (7’ 3”) to play with the first job has been re-constructing my 3D puzzle salvage kitchen units for the base on one side of the layout with a 4cm x 2cm stripwood ladder placed across the top for the baseboards to be placed on.

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The first 3 baseboards are salvage and come from a modular "portable" TT layout I first started building in 2004 that went through several rethinks and modifications (track being laid and then ripped up again at least 3 times) before deciding that I really was getting nowhere and them then spending the best part of a decade stacked up at the back of a garage.

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Part of the problem was that I had massively over-specified them with thick timbers and ply tops so although being very solid they are heavy and unwieldy, but now not an issue as they have a rock solid foundation to sit on and aren't going anywhere. 

 

And with lots of cupboard space I can now start the very enjoyable process of unpacking the moving boxes and sorting through the stock, a lot of which I haven’t seen in years  :sungum:

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Hello Pete,

Congrat's on getting a permanent home for your railway, I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers,

John.

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I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Hi John,

 

Thanks. Loving it.  :yahoo:

 

Although I am finding that any vacant flat horizontal surface disappears under a wave of clutter faster than you can say "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch"

 

Peter 

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The Turtle Moves

 

I’d forgotten the temporal compromise necessary between work, domestic harmony and time spent on model railways, so progress has not been blistering.

 

Using re-purposed/salvaged components means things are the size that they are, not what you might have wanted to design, so putting them together has required a certain amount of time-consuming adaptation by taking things apart again to adjust/pack out/reinforce, reassembling and re-measuring.

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The next set of boards being used are also reclaim, being the nascent stage of a modular 3mm TT layout left to me by a good friend a few years ago, but unfortunately not very sound  now having lain fallow in a damp garage for a couple of years. (I hope he wouldn’t mind that at least they are getting some continued use, even if not quite what he had originally intended…) Kitchen units are also still coming out of the woodshed in the garden, so correspondingly the number of boxes left to unpack is going down.

 

Just about everything to come out of the boxes so far has a history of it’s own, such as two half-used rolls of Brawa Schaltlitze 12v wire that still have their Giesecke price stickers, proudly stating 3,50 DM.

 

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Giesecke being the big toy/model railway shop on HolstenStrasse in Kiel and a childhood haunt. Even though they sadly went out of business in about 1998, twenty years later their digital ghost still haunts the internet: http://spielwaren.freepage.de/giesecke/

 

The track is a mixture of Jouef and Roco flexi lengths and a heap of used and new Jouef electric turnouts that I’m a little dubious about. It’s salvage from Dad’s layouts over the past three decades, so not all of it is in tip tip condition… But I do remember that the Jouef points on our attic layout were the least problematic and suited the range of different manufacturer’s stock we had the best (which is not to say that they weren’t entirely without derailments…) One of my aims is to repurpose or use salvaged material on the layout as much as possible, so I’ll try them out in what will become a storage yard first and see how I get on with them.

 

With the events of a wet Saturday and the cancelling of mother-in-law’s birthday party synchronising, the opportunity came to try out a Traksetta template for the first time, get a few metres of test track down, wire up a controller and actually see something moving.

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So NMJ Topline Models early CFL livery Nohab 1603 gets the honour of being first loco running.

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And just to prove that indeed, it moves

Edited by TT-Pete
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Road Trip

 

"It's 480 miles to Luxembourg. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses."

Leaving home at 05:30 with a brief trip on an ocean wave...

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...gets me to Brussels late afternoon in good time to visit Mini Model Rails http://www.minimodelrails.be/
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The shop is run by Pierre, a genial retired Belgian Post Office fonctionnaire, more as an extension to his hobby and as the model railway club meeting room and workshop. He's got a good selection of stuff and the prices seem quite good, particularly as I am sorting through a box of -20% Promos.

"Vous voulez un cafe?" is the invitation for spending the next hour sitting in the workshop discussing model railways, SNCB trains/traction old and new, railway preservation and the general state of government, politics and 'elf n' safety Belgium vis-a-vis the UK (both equally loopy). It's only when he suddenly realises that he should have shut up shop 20 minutes ago that we tally up. If it's part of his sales technique then it's certainly sucessful, I leave having spent a bit more than I had intended, but less than I could of...

The evening is spent considering the itinerary for tomorrow, including a pilgimage to a place called "Stockem" en-route, whilst happily re-aquainting myself with quaffing draft Belgian beer.

 

Stockem is a large MPD and works adjacent to the Namur-Luxembourg main line and was an eagerly-awaited landmark when taking the train home, being on the outskirts of Arlon and the last stop in Belgium before the Luxembourg border. There was always an interesting selection of units, stock and locos arrayed in the large yard outside the shed and even though the train would already be slowing for the Arlon stop, it always flitted by far too quickly.

http://rail.lu/lignesbe/depotstockem.html

It closed in September 2016 with the opening of a new maintenance depot in Arlon;

http://www.belgianrail.be/fr/corporate/sous-la-loupe/nouvel-atelier-de-traction-Arlon.aspx

There had already been plans afoot since 2014 for the old Stockem site to be re-developed as a Park+Ride for cross-border commuters travelling to Luxembourg, initially quoting 10,000 parking spaces. A subsequent feasibility study reduced this to 3,000 spaces with SNCB then finally reckoning that actually 1,000 spaces would be adequate. Plans have subsequently dragged on for years, in an RTL radio interview in early 2017 the Luxembourg infrastructure minister Francois Bausch blamed excessive Belgian bureacracy (!) and a lack of communication and co-ordination between Infrabel (the infrastructure company) and SNCB (the TOC).
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In an article from Summer this year I read that P+R Viville (Stockem) is scheduled for opening in December 2019 so I imagine that work will be starting (or maybe has already started) soon. The last time I was there the works had already closed and the shed was massively run-down, but still had roads connected and was being used to store electric locos awaiting disposal. I wonder what, if anything, now remains?

 

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Hello Pete,

That sounds like a truly wonderful shop!

Enjoy the rest of your trip, fact finding mission, inspiration, etc.

Bon Voyage.

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Hello Pete,

That sounds like a truly wonderful shop!

Enjoy the rest of your trip, fact finding mission, inspiration, etc.

Bon Voyage.

 

Hi John,

 

Thanks. Yes, Pierre is definitely on my "to return to" list, as my daughter is currently in her first year at Uni in Brussels I may well get the opportunity at some point(s) over the new few years... :yes:

 

Peter.

Edited by TT-Pete
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Road Trip - Friday

After a leisurely breakfast the first stop of the day is a diversion off the E411 to Wavre Modellisme where I save myself a couple of hundred euro;
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The one item on their website that I was particularly interested in turns out to have a small, but very significant, error in the description and so (aaaargh) isn't what it is described as at all. He's got a lot of stuff, but the prices of the same larger items I bought chez Pierre yesterday are a good 20 euro more, wagons 5 to 7 euro more and even little scenic items 2 or 1 euro more.

 

Frankly and frustratingly there's nothing here that I cannot live without at the price that it is, so a few minutes later I am back on the road again and reflecting on salesmanship; despite having multiple openings with the website item and me asking "C'est combien?" several times, the shopkeep remains in hiding behind a display case on his counter with arms folded and offering only terse monosyllabic answers, but then this in my past experience is unfortunately not an atypical customer experience in Belgium.

A couple of hours later over the Ardennes "Autoroute de Soleil" http://wegen-routes.be/doss/ardf.html and the Stockem exit beckons, what will I find?

Turning into Rue de Neufchateau and Hooray & gawd bless excessive Belgian bureacracy :-) a beached whale hoves into view - it's still here!
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And no gates, fences, keep out signs or anything. I start off by cruising around the site and apart from two baseball-capped skateboard-carrying feral youth who leg it at high speed into the bushes as I approach, the site is deserted.
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That lovely expansive yard that was so chock-full of goodies - is now but a wasteland.
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The shed still has two roads connected, but it's clear that nothing has been this way for quite some time.

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The windows are either boarded up from the inside or so opaque that you can't see though them so I only get tantalising glimpses until I find a broken window low enough to point the camera through.
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One thing that strikes me is how thoroughly the site has been cleared with hardly any clutter, rubbish or railway detritus. But hang on - what's this I spy down at the back of the shed?
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Marooned forever on a truncated siding...

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One last "on tip-toe arms outstretched overhead firing blindly" shot through a broken window reveals a tantalising glimpse of the interior.
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Continues/...

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Stockem - continued
 

The what would appear to be admin/stores, changing rooms/canteen/social club block is in a lot worse state and has obviously been adandoned a lot longer.

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Creepy and very post-apocalyptic in a I am Legend/Walking Dead/Planet of the Apes kind of way...

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It has been comprehensively stripped of everything, the glass in every window pane is missing - yet there is not a shard of broken glass anywhere to be seen.
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It turns out that the local youth (representatives of whom who fled on my arrival) have made themselves an indoor skate park.
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The upper floor is grander but much more ominous with the floor littered with large chunks of concrete fallen from the ceiling. I creep around as quietly as possible so as not to trigger anything, with one eye warily cocked upwards the whole time and get back down those stairs as quickly as possible.
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I don't bother with the basement. (Good things never happen to people who go into dark ruined basements on their own in the movies...)

Adieu, Stockem. Only ghosts left here now.
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I head off back towards the E411 and the last few remaining km to Luxembourg...

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Friday afternoon - Luxembourg

 

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First stop is the MBS-L emporium on the Route d'Arlon in Strassen. Huge stock on display, you name it, they've got it. Largest French and German language railway/modelling magazine titles offering I've ever seen. (Prices to match, though.) I don't know if I'm just becoming more scrooge-like in my older years, but no matter how exquisite a model it is I just can't see ever being able to justify 500 to 600 euro for an HO loco to myself. (But still manage to find myself a bargain all the same.)

Just cruising around Luxembourg city re-familiarising myself with the road layout, I decide to check out the Tram & Bus museum location. It's on my list as a vague "might go there if there's time" option for tomorrow as it's only open to the public on Thursdays and Saturdays, but still be useful to be able to find it anyway.

It was the late 80's when I last visited and the museum is still in a corner of the Hollerich bus garage/workshop site, but now in it's own purpose-built building with a short running line outside.
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The gate is open and the lights are on, so I just wander in.

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 "It's free admission, but we're not open." Says the chap at the ticket counter. "Are you interested in looking around our museum?" I nod. "Go on then". So I have my own private museum for the afternoon.
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The main hall is very compact, the items are not so much exhibited as just parked in a garage. Not good for photography or actually seeing stuff, but very much the feel of a working collection rather than just being stuffed and mounted.

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The last Luxembourg city tram line 10 to Beggen closed in 1964 and two motor driving cars and two trailers have been preserved.

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I have particular fondness for the old AEC and GUY busses which I can remember being bounced around in and the crunching of the gear changes. They were taken out of service in 1977.
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In 1978 myself and school chum Paul blagged a guided tour of the old Limpertsberg Tram/Bus garage and workshops by the simple expedient of going to the gate house and asking "Can we come in and have a look around please?" (amazing the places that got is in to...).
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After the main workshop the foreman showed us the scrap line at the back of the garage where several of the AECs and GUYs stood awaiting scrapping. Seeing our intense interest he lent us a screwdriver and a spanner and let us unscrew as many signs, plaques and bits as we could carry. I liked the "Defense de Cracher" sign (No spitting), but my pride and joy was the GUY indian chief mascot from the front panel.
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Some 15 years later I was looking for my little collection of bus bits and asked Mum if she'd seen them. "That?" she asked, "Oh that! I cleared all that junk out years ago when you left for University." Nooooooooooooooooooo...!!!  
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I have always coveted the tram models... :-)
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Oh look, they've still got theirs...
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It would seem that the museum is more of a social club for the adjacent bus garage as just after 17:00 there's a flow of office workers and drivers through the office chatting, drinking coffee and wishing each other "Gudde Weekend - Merci, gleechfals.", so it's probably time to head off.
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A very enjoyable little visit and nice when serendipity drops something into your lap that you weren't expecting.

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Saturday - morning

After an evening spent at one of my old haunts from the 80's, both as customer and as being on the wrong side of the counter, which the expatriate community knew as "pub in the Grund", the day dawns grey and cold. On the way to the Gare Centrale for taking photos of trains I call in at the Ronseal-inspired "Model Shop".  https://modelshop.lu/
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Friendly and chatty, plenty of stock to browse and a good second-hand selection very sensibly priced - what's not to like? :-)

WARNING - Do not park in the multi-storey car park at Luxembourg station. A day's parking will cost 3 and 1/2 times more than the day rover ticket with unlimited travel across the country on train and bus for 24 hours.

But this unhappy revelation was still a good few happy hours in the future as I eagerly scamper along the platform, camera at the ready.
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At the North end of the station the rugged sandstone cutting has been tunnelised and built over. So, in an ancient and iconic historic city and with the advances in construction and materials technology, Fuehrerbunker/Atlantikwall was the architectural style chosen?
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It's still a very busy station with a lot of French/Belgian/German cross-border traffic and a few loco-hauled services, but mostly just multiple units.
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The old bay platform in the background where the old GM/Nohab 1600's used to depart with Nordstreck Troisvierges/Liege services is filled in and the only sound of diesel is the faint rumble of the shunter in the adjacent yard that frustratingly doesn't come close enough to get a decent picture of.  
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Anyway, time presses on and I've got a ticket to ride...

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(But first, a brief intermission...)

Whereas Stockem has not yet been obliterated, Luxembourg Works most certainly has.
http://blog.cfl.lu/en/construction-worksprojets/once-upon-a-time-cfls-old-workshop

The original roundhouses and sawtooth profile of the Central Works, damaged during and rebuilt after
WWII, were the backdrop to any photo taken facing away from the station building.
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Gone. Space for 3 new platforms and no doubt lashings of lucrative office/retail space.
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Only one small section of the old side wall ironwork still remains for some reason.

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Fortunately the classic roundhouses are unaffected and will be retained.
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