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A First Stab At French Modelling

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Hi all

 

Right here we go then...

 

Initial Ideas
Thanks to my parents, I have taken many a holiday in France, Spain and various other hotter places than this as they always felt they should well travelled children. Several of these holidays involved trips to the French side of the Pyrenees. For whatever reason, I fell in love with this part of the world as it has a charm all unto it's own. One holiday in particular was to the hamlet of Lapradelle in the commune of Puilaurens. This is sited towards the end of a valley in the Pyrenees between the larger settlements of Axat and Rivesaltes. We stayed in a house on the side of slope overlooking much of the centre of the commune. Part of the view was of a railway viaduct on the line that used to run from Carcassonne to Rivesaltes. These days, the line is operated as far as the town of Quillan with a tourist railway taking passengers from Axat to Rivesaltes. Naturally, I managed to persuade the rest of the family that a trip on part of the tourist line was a must and it was dually taken. It was a pleasant ride from Axat as far as yet another small town called Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet and then back again. All the time during the trip, I kept on thinking it would make a lovely model and upon returning home to Brighton, I drew up several schemes for layouts but none every came to fruition and other projects took over.

 

The Terror Of Youtube
As I said, none of these plans every came to fruition but the idea still stuck at the back of my head and a passing interest in French Layouts was born, Pempoul by Gordon and Maggie Gravett being a particular favourite. However, it wasn't until I was flicking through various YouTube videos on railway modelling that something happened. I stumbled across the videos of a chap called Renaud Yver. He has built a rather fabulous HO layout in his home in France and produces some pretty good "how to" videos on various subjects. I know they're good as I only speak a tiny bit of French but still understand what he is talking about! It was after watching several of these videos that something clicked in my mind. I had been thinking about how to fill the potential 8 or so feet of space available for some time and suddenly everything just fell into place.

 

Plans Are Drawn Up
The first plan to be drawn was not of something that I am likely to be able to build till I have a heck of a lot more space but exists as one of those "if only" layout designs I'm sure we all come up with from time to time. After this I then started on a plan for an 8ft layout based on the line that had stirred something in me back in 20-whenever-it-was. Having done a little research into the entire line (Ligne de Carcassonne à Rivesaltes for those wondering) and asked for advise and help on this forum, I felt confident enough to plow ahead with a firm plan. The plan is for a small passing station similar to that at Lapradelle somewhere between Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes and Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet. There is a small road called Bordé Crémade between these two settlements so I have decided to name my station Gare De Crémade. It will have a station building similar to ones used throughout the line which was a fairly standard design. Two variations were used throughout the line, one was a smaller design for the lesser settlements and another was a larger. Mine will be of the smaller design. There will be a minimal goods yard with a goods loop as was typical on the line and indeed in much of France. There is enough to Ready-To-Run stock available from the likes of Jouef and others to give me enough to run. Unlike much of France, track of the Compagnie des Chemins de fer du Midi (the company who built the line) uses Bullhead rail. As this is one of the more unique characteristics of the line I intend to go down this route, possible using the new Peco Bullhead track (I know it's not strictly correct for HO but once scenic-ed I think it'll look fine!).

 

Final Plan

Here's the plan. The first picture shows a slightly more technical plain track layout whereas the second includes some scenery sketching to give a general idea of what will be beyond the fence. The scribbled lines will be vineyards. Total size will be (just about) 8ft by 2ft split into to 4ft by 2ft boards. Small and simple as I don't have a huge amount of time on my hands so I need something that will fit around work. Apologies for the random notes around the design but this has just been photographed from my sketch book as this is how I plan layouts, no fancy technology here!

 

post-12048-0-09331200-1536489309_thumb.jpg

post-12048-0-52435400-1536489336_thumb.jpg

 

 

Sorry this is all a bit wordy but this is also forming the basis of a series of articles for my club's newsletter. This is all going to take quite some time and updates will be slow as I have to fit this round work and various other commitments so apologies for that but when there is stuff to update with I will do so!

 

Cheers

Nestor

 

 

 

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Looks like a great start. It will be easy to include these boards in a bigger scheme when you get the necessary space.

 

Will be interested in how you model your vines. Will they be in winter or with foliage in summer?

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Looks like a great start. It will be easy to include these boards in a bigger scheme when you get the necessary space.

 

Will be interested in how you model your vines. Will they be in winter or with foliage in summer?

Don't forget to orientate the rows as close to east-west as much as possible- you need the sun's help as much as possible.

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Don't forget to orientate the rows as close to east-west as much as possible- you need the sun's help as much as possible.

 

Actually, no!

 

If you want the best exposure to the sun (as we need here in the UK), you plant the vines north-south, on a south-facing slope. Planting east-west (like one of my varieties) still works OK but then leads to difficulties with using a tractor..

 

Down there in Languedoc-Roussillon, there is, especially nowadays, more sunshine than you want or need. So you just plant the vines in whatever way seems most convenient. And around the area that Nestor is modelling, the vineyards either side of the line are on reasonably flat ground.

 

I am looking forward to him having the space to model some of the more scenically spectacular parts of the route, but there are no vines at those altitudes. A personal view, but probably the best station to model on the route is St Martin Lys with its associated stone (powder) traffic. Need to work out how much space it would take but it is a site tightly confined by the gorge and river. (Edit to add: After a quick look at Google Earth, it needs 4.31 metres to model St Martin Lys between the two tunnel mouths if working to scale at 1:87. But it could probably be done in 3.3 metres without the compression being too much.)

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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Actually, no!

 

If you want the best exposure to the sun (as we need here in the UK), you plant the vines north-south, on a south-facing slope. Planting east-west (like one of my varieties) still works OK but then leads to difficulties with using a tractor..

 

Down there in Languedoc-Roussillon, there is, especially nowadays, more sunshine than you want or need. So you just plant the vines in whatever way seems most convenient. And around the area that Nestor is modelling, the vineyards either side of the line are on reasonably flat ground.

 

I am looking forward to him having the space to model some of the more scenically spectacular parts of the route, but there are no vines at those altitudes. A personal view, but probably the best station to model on the route is St Martin Lys with its associated stone (powder) traffic. Need to work out how much space it would take but it is a site tightly confined by the gorge and river. (Edit to add: After a quick look at Google Earth, it needs 4.31 metres to model St Martin Lys between the two tunnel mouths if working to scale at 1:87. But it could probably be done in 3.3 metres without the compression being too much.)

In terms of vine direction, I'll copy the pattern of the ones that are there which seem to be more or less at eight angles to the railway so facing south-ish.

When I have far more space, I'd love to do a model of the lapradelle complete with the viaduct over the river and main road. But space is not expansive unfortunately.

 

Nestor

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Hi everyone

 

Having found some time in my week, baseboard construction has finally begun in my usual slow way. I will share some photos when I have something more to share.

I never says this was going to be quick....

 

Nestor

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Nestor,

 

possible using the new Peco Bullhead track (I know it's not strictly correct for HO but once scenic-ed I think it'll look fine!).

 

 

What are you planning on using for your turnouts? Guessing not Peco Long Radius? Currently trying to work something vaguely similar out for my plans which will involve Bullhead rail. 

 

Thanks

Ralf

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Nestor,

 

 

What are you planning on using for your turnouts? Guessing not Peco Long Radius? Currently trying to work something vaguely similar out for my plans which will involve Bullhead rail. 

 

Thanks

Ralf

Hi Ralf,

 

If you are up  to a bit of assembly, the SMP 3' radius plastic based kits could be an option. As explained in Nestor's other thread, French modellers have used SMP to represent Midi Bullhead carving the thin sleepers to give a more rustic appearance.

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Hi guys

 

I was going to use Peco long radius. As it's an overall impression I'm going for, I decided these would be a fine option.

 

I'm currently using the little time I have by having a stab at building a station building. When I have a longer slab of time I'll carry on with the baseboards.

 

Cheers

Nestor

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Hi Ralf,

 

If you are up  to a bit of assembly, the SMP 3' radius plastic based kits could be an option. As explained in Nestor's other thread, French modellers have used SMP to represent Midi Bullhead carving the thin sleepers to give a more rustic appearance.

  

 

I was going to use Peco long radius. As it's an overall impression I'm going for, I decided these would be a fine option.

 

Thank you both, looking for shorter than short radius for industrial use so beginning to think C&L assembly is the way forward although this re-entry into modelling for me is supposed to be fairly simple but must admit pondering on DIY points - and while I'm there I could go EM then it all turns into a beginners snowballing nightmare!!

 

Thanks

Ralf

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Thank you both, looking for shorter than short radius for industrial use so beginning to think C&L assembly is the way forward although this re-entry into modelling for me is supposed to be fairly simple but must admit pondering on DIY points - and while I'm there I could go EM then it all turns into a beginners snowballing nightmare!!

 

Thanks

Ralf

You'll be modelling in S Gauge before you know it!!

I think it all depends on what your aims are with the finished product. If modelling a dirty industrial layout with some pretty grotty and worn out track then hand built is definitely the way to go. For me, as it's an overall image with plenty of scenery, the Peco bullhead track will fit in fine.

 

Nestor

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Hi guys

 

A little quiet here due to work being busy and prep for the exhibition I help organise.

Just a quick question regarding stock. Whilst I intend to my passenger traffic to be provided by a couple of Autirails and possibly some four wheeled stock I'd love any advice or knowledge on freight formations in this part of France on By-ways during the late 50s and early 60s. As I've said I'm still pretty new to the French scene so any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

Nestor

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Hi guys

 

A little quiet here due to work being busy and prep for the exhibition I help organise.

Just a quick question regarding stock. Whilst I intend to my passenger traffic to be provided by a couple of Autirails and possibly some four wheeled stock I'd love any advice or knowledge on freight formations in this part of France on By-ways during the late 50s and early 60s. As I've said I'm still pretty new to the French scene so any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

Nestor

 

Despite living here I have no idea either! But most shops' websites tend to give an era for the model and its livery. So I suggest Eras 3/4 might be the sort of time-frame. See what they have on offer for that era, and you may get some ideas. Rural France, just like much of the world, thrives on grain and similarly seasonal traffic. Elevators etc provide a very ready focus for freight operations, therefore. 

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Despite living here I have no idea either! But most shops' websites tend to give an era for the model and its livery. So I suggest Eras 3/4 might be the sort of time-frame. See what they have on offer for that era, and you may get some ideas. Rural France, just like much of the world, thrives on grain and similarly seasonal traffic. Elevators etc provide a very ready focus for freight operations, therefore.

Thanks

 

In terms of passenger stock I kind of know where I'm sitting with Epoch III/IV but I'm stumped on train formations for freight workings.

i have a vague idea of the kind of wagons that would make up a pretty generic short goods for a French rural layout but it's the specifics of the region which are proving a little tricky.

 

Nestor

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As Ian says look for Epoch 3/4 models, I'd also suggest a strong bias for ordinary opens and vans, mostly plain brown, unless your layout has a particular industry that need special stock. One signature type is the UIC Type 1 open wagon, modelled by Piko & Roco

 

This is a Belgian example which lacks the pressed door panels of the SNCF ones.

 

post-7218-0-83456600-1540031030_thumb.jpg

 

SNCF also had the more commonly modelled UIC Type 2 open wagons with a single set of doors each side.

 

Continental Modeller ran a very informative three part article back in the 80's by Andy Hart of the SNCF society which gave a very useful over view of SNCF goods stock, in addition Benno Weismueller wrote several profiles of UIC wagons for CM. I'll try and find some references for them.

 

Lastly, I'd suggest joining the French railways Society as they're much more knowledgeable than me. http://frenchrailwayssociety.org/ 

 

You mentioned vineyards, I recall Andy Hart did an article on inproving the Jouef "bifourde" twin cask wine tanker.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Wine-Barrel-Wagon-SNCF-SCW-574781-Jouef-6430-H0-1-87/1130028046?iid=201143396787&_trksid=p2047675.m4096.l9055

 

The main flaw in the model is that it was fitted to a standard chassis which needs shortening

 

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-old-tank-wagon-for-wine-mulhouse-railway-museum-france-5657299.html

 

All the best

 

Nick

Edited by doctor quinn
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Nick's comment about opens is a good one. A few years back, one of the French model magazines was offering such a vehicle - loaded with beetroot! I suppose this apes what we were doing in the UK at the time - I recall watching sugar beet being loaded to minfits at Lavant in 1967. 

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As Ian says look for Epoch 3/4 models, I'd also suggest a strong bias for ordinary opens and vans, mostly plain brown, unless your layout has a particular industry that need special stock. One signature type is the UIC Type 1 open wagon, modelled by Piko & Roco

 

This is a Belgian example which lacks the pressed door panels of the SNCF ones.

 

Uic open wagon Maldegem Steam Centre (37).JPG

 

SNCF also had the more commonly modelled UIC Type 2 open wagons with a single set of doors each side.

 

Continental Modeller ran a very informative three part article back in the 80's by Andy Hart of the SNCF society which gave a very useful over view of SNCF goods stock, in addition Benno Weismueller wrote several profiles of UIC wagons for CM. I'll try and find some references for them.

 

Lastly, I'd suggest joining the French railways Society as they're much more knowledgeable than me. http://frenchrailwayssociety.org/

 

You mentioned vineyards, I recall Andy Hart did an article on inproving the Jouef "bifourde" twin cask wine tanker.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Wine-Barrel-Wagon-SNCF-SCW-574781-Jouef-6430-H0-1-87/1130028046?iid=201143396787&_trksid=p2047675.m4096.l9055

 

The main flaw in the model is that it was fitted to a standard chassis which needs shortening

 

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-old-tank-wagon-for-wine-mulhouse-railway-museum-france-5657299.html

 

All the best

 

Nick

Hi nick

 

Thanks for that, I'll take a look at those!

I plan to join the society when I get a chance

 

Nestor

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Despite living here I have no idea either! But most shops' websites tend to give an era for the model and its livery. So I suggest Eras 3/4 might be the sort of time-frame. See what they have on offer for that era, and you may get some ideas. Rural France, just like much of the world, thrives on grain and similarly seasonal traffic. Elevators etc provide a very ready focus for freight operations, therefore. 

Given the location you're looking at, wine-tanks (the steel-bodied type) are a possibility. Others, in the Aude area, might included covered hoppers or sheeted opens for unspecified mineral traffic, and fruit vans for 'Primeur' traffic to the north of France, and the Paris region.

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I am not that sure about stock for 1950s/60s on that line.

 

Certainly there would be some wine tanks, not bi-foudres with wooden barrels by that time, but 4-wheel tank wagons. I think Jouef used to do one.

 

Not much of the wine would have been going out in bottles at that time. But some would in standard 4-wheel vans.

 

There would also have been forestry traffic on flat trucks with stanchions. Might be four-wheel or bogies.

 

Not sure at all what the mineral traffic would have been carried in at that time.

 

You are lucky starting modelling this era now. 20 years ago there was almost no suitable era stock available other than reliveried German types. In more recent years, quite a lot has been produced r-t-r. Not cheap, but very nice models.

 

I am down there again next month. I could try and see if the local library has any documents/photos/etc.

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Hi Nestor,

 

I see that you follow Renaud Yver, you might like to have a look at Biscatrain too - http://www.biscatrain.fr/ . The original owner had to give up on his layout in 2017 (I missed the details of why - but it involved a move to a smaller property) and he passed it on to someone else who has reassembled it all and is carrying it on. Biscatrain had a lot of helpful items on 'how to do things' that may help you in your endeavours too.

 

The layout IMHO, was excellent.

 

Good luck in your efforts.

 

Oh BTW, whilst there are a number of French modelling mags, you could try 'Le Train'. They do a mix of 'real' railways - modern, steam and pre-nationalisation and a number of layouts in each issue. They had a series on autorails which may have been of use to you. They also do 'one-offs', steam, autorails, electrics and the like - oh and DVDs.

 

Cheers,

 

Philou

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Hi Nestor,

 

I see that you follow Renaud Yver, you might like to have a look at Biscatrain too - http://www.biscatrain.fr/ . The original owner had to give up on his layout in 2017 (I missed the details of why - but it involved a move to a smaller property) and he passed it on to someone else who has reassembled it all and is carrying it on. Biscatrain had a lot of helpful items on 'how to do things' that may help you in your endeavours too.

 

The layout IMHO, was excellent.

 

Good luck in your efforts.

 

Oh BTW, whilst there are a number of French modelling mags, you could try 'Le Train'. They do a mix of 'real' railways - modern, steam and pre-nationalisation and a number of layouts in each issue. They had a series on autorails which may have been of use to you. They also do 'one-offs', steam, autorails, electrics and the like - oh and DVDs.

 

Cheers,

 

Philou

Hi Philou

 

Thanks for the link, I've come across Biscatrain before but not given it a proper look as yet. But I will now!

 

I will also look into Le Train. Unfortunately my French doesn't extend far beyond some very basic tourist level understandings which makes this all a little tricky but i'm getting there.

I'm actually heading to Paris week after next so intend to pop into one or two model shops and see what's available magazine wise and wagon wise. I've ordered a kit to build the station building as my attempts at scratch-building currently leave a little to be desired... I have also ordered an autorail (a Renault VH) by MISTRAL.

 

That's all for now

Nestor

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Well ..... I didn't have too much luck in finding a train model shop in Paris when I was there - like London it's yuuuuge. However, and depending where you are, here is a starter for 10, there is Au Pullman adjacent to Gare St Lazare, in rue d'Amsterdam, La Vie du Rail in rue Clichy (next street east of Au Pullman) and Transmondia (+Trans Europ Trains) near opposite the Moulin Rouge in rue de Douai.

 

There are others of course, and your mileage may vary ;) .

 

In respect of the ads in Le Train (especially the larger retailers), they seem to indicate the epoch for all stock. I suppose in your case it'll be a matter of what went where. One thing I will say, Le Train is NOT set out like BRM/RM, as it deals with railways in a much broader way. There is also 'Rail' - more like BRM/RM.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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I don’t know if you’re aware there’s a website similar to RMweb in France. You can do a lot of research on it from home, which might save some shoe leather in Paris. What you need to know is sure to be on it, it’s just finding it! Here’s a link to one thread on the PO-Midi.

http://forum.e-train.fr/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19849

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Hi Philou

 

Thanks for the link, I've come across Biscatrain before but not given it a proper look as yet. But I will now!

 

I will also look into Le Train. Unfortunately my French doesn't extend far beyond some very basic tourist level understandings which makes this all a little tricky but i'm getting there.

I'm actually heading to Paris week after next so intend to pop into one or two model shops and see what's available magazine wise and wagon wise. I've ordered a kit to build the station building as my attempts at scratch-building currently leave a little to be desired... I have also ordered an autorail (a Renault VH) by MISTRAL.

 

That's all for now

Nestor

It might be worth having a look at this place on the outskirts:-

https://www.maketis.com/fr/

It seems to be on the South-Eastern side, which would give a chance for passing Villeneuve St-Georges yard...

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