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Bregenbach im Schwarzwald, electric locos in the hills of the Black Forest


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Bregenbach wasn't going to be started until I'd got Hawthorn Dene sold, but the lockdown has changed everything. There is a limit to the amount of shed tidying that can be done after all.


Much more to follow- but seeing the virus coming (correctly) and thinking I might be classified vulnerable and required to lock down for an extended period (incorrectly) I decided to make a start earlier.  


Rationale of the layout-


1.  German, Black Forest region again. "Son of Furtwangen Ost- NOT"

2.  Real location that never had a railway- not quite the same as Furtwangen Ost and No Place, which are fictional post histories of closed railways.

3.  Overhead electrics (something I've not done with trains).  Pantographs touching the wires- not picking up.

4.  Period to be some time between mid eighties and today.  

5. Dimensions to be 8 feet by 2 feet on two boards travelling face-to-face.

6.  DCC possibly with sound

7.  Electric points out front and in the fiddle yard.

8.  Controls for the points on both boards with only the track bus and the cab bus crossing the board join.  This eliminates a major area for problems of the sort I seem to attract.


The rationale behind number 5 is that the car will take Hawthorn Dene or Croft Spa, the latter with three trestles, but the steel trestles don't take as kindly to being underneath the layout in the car as the wooden ones do, so at least one will have to travel in front of the layout in the car meaning the boards will need to be shorter.


The location is to the West of Furtwangen on the road that leads over the pass to Freiburg (eventually).  Bregenbach isn't a place it seems, but would appear to be the name of the stream that flows through Furtwangen at the bottom of the Bregtal (which gave its name to the Bregtalbahn, the branch line from Donaueschingen to Furtwangen).


No track plan to show you as quite a few weeks into the build it hasn't quite evolved.  First pics next post, together with more of the fictional story of Bregenbach and its railway..




Edited by Les1952
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Actually there were sketch plans, the trial version of a computer planner couldn't cope with the gradients and tight curves.


The original sketch looked lkike this-




The blue lines to be at a higher level, with separation a bit like in Furtwangen. The station would probably have ended up with three tracks and maybe a spur as an interchange siding. while the plan was to get the fiddle yard as long as possible to give four trains in each direction. The main line at the bottom would be electrified while the branch not- being a Privatbahn it would need a shunter and a railcar or two to work it.




The V36 and possibly a relettered N Gauge Society Hunslet would be the motive power for the branch goods.


How small can I go?   The video shows a test of some of my German stock on Tomix tramway radius curves.  Not everything ran round this sharp ( 6.5 ins radius) but keeping the sharp bits out of sight should allow a workable layout.




All for now.  More later




Edited by Les1952
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The inconsistency about trackplans between the first and second posts was due to my getting my scanner working after post 1 and before post 2.  Having had to get a new computer (old one terminally dead) I've still not found all of the peripheral drivers on the web.


The two baseboards were ordered in advance of the looming lockdown from Grainge and Hodder.  Not quite far enough ahead as a week from the best estimate for the delivery date we were locked down and Grainge and Hodder closed down for the duration.  This got me into a bout of shed tidying.  Those personally acquainted with my shed will know it has't really been tidied since it was built in 2011. The job isn't completely finished but it isn't bad.



Then the boards arrived......

Edited by Les1952
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The shed tidying didn't get finished...


Grainge and Hodder boards are incredibly easy to build and almost proof against muffins like me mucking them up.




The first board upside down while the glue sets on the cross members.  This was the point at which I realised that there was no way I was going to get Bregenbach built with Peco track, and turned to idea number 2.  Having used Tomix Finetrack on Furtwangen with a good degree of success I decided I was familiar enough with it to be able to build the layoput with it.



there are three-way, Y-points and double slips available.

The point motors are concealed in the bed of the points

Can work well from Kato point sweitches which can mount on the backscene.



Has to be sourced from Japan

point motors are direct current.


So off went a number of orders to different Japanese suppliers.  Nothing to my preferred supplier, Plaza Japan as they had closed for the lockdown.


That set off a nest of problems-


Japan all-but closed its air space.  This forced some of my orders to be cancelled- with a sudden mysterious hike of 500 to 600 percent on export prices to discourage foreigners like me buying from Japanese suppliers.  Others were given a delivery date of "some time in the next three months".  This meant a rethink.  Sticking with Tomix track would mean the layout getting built in 2021,  or 2022,  or 2023.....





Meanwhile this old Minitrix E44 appeared on eBay, already DCC fitted.    There was one of these (actually an E45 with extra braking) kept at Freiburg, though it seems to have moved to Seebrugg.  In addition I photographed one at Hermeskeil so it is a "must have", but puts pressure on to backdate the layout a little.


It is photographed on a picture plank I knocked up on the test oval while waiting for Grainge and Hodder to unlock.  Just a bit of leftover balsa, sky left over from NO PLACE and trees and fences left over from Croft Spa.  I photographed all of my N-gauge locos on it to start a (so far unfinished) catalogue.




What happened next?  Watch this space...





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Getting the boards together was the easy bit.


As I'm still short of space I decided that for the duration of the build I'd rest the layout on Croft Spa's trestles, on the grounds that both layouts can't be using them at the same time.  For shows I'll get a third trestle of the metal type under NO PLACE, and it can share with that layout on the same basis.  Hawthorn Dene doesn't have trestles but takes up a substantial amount of space in the workshop.





I remembered that Fleischmann track can operate with its point motors turned upside down.  The geometry seems to work, and although there isn't a wye point there are curved points and a three way.  A dealer in Germany had three way points in good order on eBay, and Contikits had a pair of curved electric points.  Selective purchases from these plus Osborns, DM Toys and Winco brought enough p[ointowork to do the job.


What about cost I hear you ask. Like a lot of people I'm not made of money, so eBay has been put into action to thin out derelicts, impulse purchases and leftovers.  Bits for the new layout are ordered every time the PayPal balance will stand it.  Progress is therefore a little erratic.




Working on the basis that I'm not that familiar with Fleischmann track I've been setting up temporary loops and running all combinations of stock round with loco at front and at the back.  


First casualties- the curved points.  Too many locos won't run through on the inner option.  They will be on eBay before long (they came from Contikits rather than eBay..  This in turn has forced a rethink.




The fiddle yard is going to end up shorter, which means shorter trains.  In addition I looked at the clearance I would need to run pantographs under the wires and raise fully when out of sight.  This would make the branch line a little steep.  


The N-gauge journal came to the rescue with some pictures of a 5 foot by 2 foot folded figure eight tail chaser with steep gradients (Union Mills locos = no problem). I can use this general idea replacing the lower station with the fiddle yard and putting the industry at the upper station, abandoning the branch.





You will notice that this one is also called plan A- senior moment when annotating it.  High level line is in blue  I tried out the curves and the high level returns are still mostly radius 2 with alternate pieces of radius 1.  The fiddle yard becomes 5 roads, feeding five trains in each direction or something similar (two longer versus three shorter roads), and the gradient would be 1 in 25 using Woodlands Scenics risers.  Maybe 1 in 33 on the bends.  Next test is to see if 1 in 25 is acceptable for the locos and heavy continental wagons, and how high do I need to lift the high level station.


More to come.



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The problem of ready ballasted track is making it look real.  Fortunately Fleischmann do a ballast scatter and there is paint etc.  The aim is that by the time the front is finished it will be very difficult to tell that it has been done with sectional track.


I've put an order in to Osborns for some curves and added a pack of Fleischmann ballast to do a trial section.  If it looks wrong it will be back to the stuff I used on Furtwangen Ost, which I seem to remember came from Gaugemaster.





As the first set of Woodland Scenics risers have arrived it is time to see how high I will need the upper deck to be.   The picture shows the Europe Vectron with one of its pantographs at full travel next to the top end of a two inch rise.  That isn't going to give me enough height for safety so 2.5 inches (65mm) seems to be the comfortable minimum.  If I go a little bit higher and use three inches (75mm) then there will be plenty.  It does, however, mean that each incline will be 7 feet long to get there, interesting to arrange on an eight foot long layout.





Having ordered eight 4% slopes and no one inch level risers in the first batch I realised there would be two slopes left over, allowing me to make a start on the first slrise.  This is the trial positioning to see just what the space looked like.  Track here is set up as a temporary test oval.




On Boxing day 1978 I managed to blag my way into Trier workshops to view the plinthed loco there.  I speak little German, and didn't have with me a member of my host's family as they were shopping with my wife.  The gate guard didn't speak English.  We negotiated that I needed to sign an indemnity form basically saying it was my fault if I fell off the loco and injured myself.  Having filled in a few of these for the National Coal Board throughout the previous ten years helped.




My first real German steam loco (apart from the BR64 at the Nene valley), and it didn't disappoint.  Consequently Plandampf trains will have a BR86 on the front, albeit an East German one.  A new factory DCC-fitted loco by Fleischmann.





This takes me up to the third week in April, I think.  When each day is much like another (apart from shopping on Wednesday mornings and clappy-clappy Thursdays) it gets hard to remember what happened when.....


More to follow.

Keep safe.



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While waiting for bits I spent some time looking through my pics taken in and around Emmendingen to see what weathering to apply.


Dirty engines?....




Ourside our twin school, the Markgrafenrealschule in Emmendingen.  Some roof dirtying needed but a clean class 110.  More muck on some of the silberlingen than on the loco.




Not been in the shops for some time, still blue with an unremodelled rain strip, 13 years after turquoise & beige was introduced, but clean.....




A little muck on the front and a bit matt, and at the wrong end of Germany according to the experts....  This was the nearest to a dirty engine I found.  Even the Class 151 was cleaner.




My avatar pic at full size, one of a procession of clean 110s, 140s, 103s and even a stray 151 photographed over the course of an hour at Kollmarsreute.


All these pics were taken in April 1987 on an exchange visit.  It looks rather as if weathering of locos will be minimal, and basically involve toning down the bright colours on the roof and darkening the red pantographs.  Goods stock on the other hand can have a goodly amount of grot applied.   I think I'm going for 1987-1989 as the main period modelled, but I'll try to give a bit of leeway to run older and newer.




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The layout is giving me a few new challenges in that the footprint isn't generous fort what I want to do, the technology of using Fleischmann points and track pieces is not what I'm used to (Peco allows much more "give" as the trackplan unfolds.


So- plan of attack (more or less in order)


1.  Get the fiddle yard laid in with droppers and leads to the point motors.  Get Cab bus attached to layout.

2.  Test this trackwork to ensure everything runs including trains with the loco at the back.

3.  Install power bus beneath layout, and connect all droppers so far.  Make sure it still runs.

4.  Cut the track between the baseboards and make sure it still runs.


concurrently with that start building the ramps to the upper level, temporarily laying track to ensure the curves work.  Test each new piece as it is laid.


5.  While track is extending up the slopes get points wired in and working.

6.  Source and build as appropriate one curved viaduct and one straight or curved girder bridge.  The girder bridge to carry the ramp at the front over the lower track and the curved viaduct for the right-hand end of the upper station to bridge over the lower track. The lower track from the right hand end of the fiddle yard emerges from a tunnel near the board front, passes under the plate bridge then in cutting passes under the curved viaduct.  It then enters a tunnel through the backscene and climbs behind the backscene.

7.  When clear where the ends of the slopes are, build upper deck and design station layout appropriate to space.  If space is tight make a wayside halt with sidings to the industry, and forget the concept of crossing trains here, relying on shunting and plenty to look at to keep interest on a single-line layout.




So far so good.  One cab panel installed and a temporary power feed to the power bus made.  I have no power breaker in stock so that can be added when I need to use more than one cab and loco simultaneously.




The fan for the left (looking from front) end of the fiddle yard.  Trains leaving here climb the slope at the front and enter the top station from the opposite end of the layout, travelling in the same direction as they were travelling in the fiddle yard.


Confused?  You're only looking at it....


More to follow.




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The other end of the fiddle yard.  Now I know the width I can confidently place the start of the hidden incline.  This will be taken by trains exiting the fiddle yard at this end, and will result in them travelling through the top station towards the camera.  All track laid at this point has dropppers at every second rail joint, wires soldered to the underside of the fishplate, so each fishplate feeds the rails on either side of it.




The first pack of 4% inclined risers now in place and glued down.  Note that each riser stops at the board join in the middle.  The roadbed is running ahead as I'm waiting a delivery of straights and a pair of extender tracks. One fiddle yard road is not quite an exact number of track pieces in length- the joys of flexi denied by cross members....


The locos have been tested on a 4% grade and every one is quite capable of taking the longest practical train up such an incline.  They will also happily run round a 192mm radius curve, even an ellok propelling a rake of coaches.  Whether they will cope with 4% grade and 192mm radius at the same place is yet to be determined.  The only casualty is one of my 6-wheel umbauwagen which has a defective coupling and won't stay on the track.  However it might find a siding-end position like one I found at Emmendingen in 1987.






I knew if I looked hard enough I'd find a kit for a curved viaduct with a generous radius.  This is a laser-cut kit from DM Toys/Modellbahn Union.  It doesn't look that easy for a ham-fisted idiot like me but should look the part when finished.  I've bought two as I'm not sure what angle I will need the viaduct to turn through- a longer viaduct will mean a shorter station, but that makes more industry and less village at the top, which might be a blessing.  Bregenbach isn't meant to be a town but a hamlet. 


The height is 85mm to the top of the railings, which means a height of three inches for the upper level.  That gives plenty of space underneath to clear the overhead of the lower level, meaning I can have continuous wires from the fiddle yard back to the fiddle yard with just a lift on the incline behind the backscene to avoid having to fit a removable wire here when the layout is set up.


Intellectual progress if physically still held up waiting for resources or for the Paypal balance to recover.....



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The viaduct will either be two or four arches, depending on how the end turn at the top of the front incline works.  Using a computer program gave no sense at all, apart from telling me it couldn't be done.  A ground level mock-up with the curves I have amassed decided it could.....




The heavy parts are the frame while the black form the arches and extend upwards to make the railings, with the embossed brown being overlays- at least that is the story with the first few instructions.




With half of the fiddle yard laid with droppers in place I decided that two things needed to be derermined-

1.  Can I use the slitting disc to cut through the Fleischmann track base?

2.  Hadn't I better get the two boards connected only through the connector and test if it works?


So - slitting disc in hand- yes I can cut through the Fleischmann track and nothing in the first three roads has yet disintegrated (the expanding track for road 4 hasn't yet arrived).  Test.  Does a typical train propel over the cut rails at warp speed without derailing.  Yes it does, repeatedly in different formations and with different motive power.  


Next stage, layout onto its back.  Those nice people at Grainge and Hodder thoughtfully provided small holes in the front and back of the layout, so a length of binder twine looped through one connected to a bungee cord looped over the shed rafter keeps the layout from falling on me while I wire it.  At 2' depth rather than 2'9 it also will stay vertical on the trestles.  No soldering upside down this time...





Looks like spaghetti at the moment- and this is the point at which I discover that those cross-members preclude a sensible path for the two sides of the power bus.  Idea 1 was copper rod, but the pieces that arrived were far too heavy and didn't take to solder even after being given a heavy sanding.  So- back to the dolls house copper tape.  There are a couple of places where I've put in a jumper wire so rather than each tape being a ring main it is a ring with a couple of chords.  If there is a failure at any point there should be more than enough redundancy to by-pass it.


This was the point I realised I should have laid in the power bus BEFORE putting in the cross-braces. 




The connection between the two halves of the board.  One kettle-plug extension lead cut in halves to give a heavy duty plug and socket.  The cut ends of the lead are stripped and taken to chocky blocks through one of the lightening holes.  I will look for a way of holding them more securely. From the chocky block a thick wire feed then goes to the power bus tape, heavier than the individual dropper wires.


Simples- wire it in, solder all droppers so far to the power bus, put layout back on its base and test.  Does a loco cross the board join and keep on going?  Of course it doesn't.


Up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, swear at it,  up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, up, check, reseat wires in chocky blocks, down, test, swear a lot louder, have a cup of tea, think about something stronger, up, bare wire ends and tin them again, reseat chocky blocks, down, test, BINGO!  it works.


Thinks- when I put the strengtheners on the two haves of the cross-board lead I'll replace the chocky blocks with tag strips and solder.  I'd forgotten two frustrating afternoons spent with the late Trevor Webster tracing a dead section on Parnhams, which seemed to involve reseating every possible chocky block connection at least a dozen times- slight exaggeration but that is what it felt like at the time...


Now I can confidently finish the fiddle yard and get on with the slopes.


More to follow



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Once the three upright bits of the frame are glued to the curved deck the next job is to add the black sides.




Then the two overlays are glued to the sides, leaving the railings showing at the top.




I can't show you the next step as I've used my picture allowance for this post.


More to follow.



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Only two images again this post as they are pushing the size limit.  IMG_4562.JPG.a715eb5ac405e4a82722e639c7b34bc3.JPG


The pier bases come in two sizes, one for the ends and a wider one for the middle.  There are also bases for higher level approach walls, which I may or may not use depending on the results of getting plastered  plastering later.




The central one has four overlays and the outer ones have three.  The theory is that the piers then sit inside the bases with more overlays to disguise the joins.  They haven't reckoned on ham fisted idiots like me.....




There is a freight spur that leaves the Donaueschingen to Freiburg line in the Western Suburbs of Donaueschingen, and heads North for a short distance. This is the remains of the Bregtalbahn, which ran to Furtwangen and closed in the seventies. 


THIS history has the Bregtalbahn owned by a group with big ideas.  Having avoided Nationalisation, and escaped becoming part of the prewar Deutsche Reichsbahn (which it did) some upgrading was done and the line was electrified and extended up the valley beyond Furtwangen.  At this point the going becomes steep.  Beyond the top of the valley on the other side of the hill is the Ibental, a valley with a stream that decants into the Rhine eventually.  The stream along the Bregtal ends up in the Danube (Donau- Donaueschingen) I believe.


In reality there wasn't a railway up the Ibental from Freiburg.  In THIS reality there was, and under common ownership with the Bregtalbahn the divide was tunnelled and the two steeply graded lines joined.  This gave a through route from Freiburg to Donaueschingen, which had one advantage over the more Southerly Hollentalbahn in that the whole length was wired, whereas trains on the Hollental route had to change traction at Neustadt.  The disadvantage was that the DRG didn't own it.  


Surviving into the sixties the line was modernised again and came under the mantle of the Lander, and  though still independent of the DB it was mostly worked by the National concern.  Through traffic was intermittent while local trains were short due to the gradients, even with 4000 horsepower of electric loco on the front.


Bregenbach is the name of the stream along the bottom of the Bregtal.  The location of the fictional station is possibly Neukirch or even Gutenbach but could be neither.  




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Now it has reached its full height I know approximately where it will land up, and more importantly that the inclines will need to go to three inches.  Coach is a new addition, a Minitrix Silberlingen push-pull control coach.  Hopefully when I've got the umbauwagen sorted out (one doesn't like curves) I can get up a prototypical if rather odd push-pull train with this on the front and the BR78 on the back.  Hopefully that will take attention away from the Rowa/Minitrix model having the wrong bogies- not that I knew until someone pointed it out on another forum.....



Pic also shows one of the feeds to the fishplate.  This will disappear under ballast eventually.  I'm still waiting for the loose ballast.






An aerial shot taken while the layout was on its back for some more wiring underneath.  The incline behind the backscene has reached its full length , but still needs its third rise on the top, while the incline at the front has got to 2 inches.  I'm waiting for a laser-cut bridge kit to span the gap at the top before I plot the top curve at this end.  I think (mind I SAY I think) I have enough track pieces to complete, though may yet need another expansion.


All of the points are wired in but trying them out today didn't get the ones at this end to fire.  I'll source a pair of CDUs to give the motors a bit more punch. This pic also shows the whole size of the fiddle yard.  All of the track shown is laid, wired in, and tested.  The gaps have been cut between the two boards on the five fiddle yard roads, but those on the slope not done yet.  The two little blocks beside the track on the incline are bases for the masts either side of the board join, where the contact wire will lift high enough for pantographs to safely reach full travel, meaning there is no wire across the board join at this point.


No more pics tonight, I've reached my upload limit (again)…..








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Well, the pictures of the kit looked good BUT for a bridge that sits right on the front of the layout it is too big and not detailed enough. The Model Railway Club will find a use for it- meanwhile back on to eBay to find a replacement.  Plenty of wiring to do in the mean time, and I was able to judge the gap and positioning so can start on the incline beyond the bridge. 






I found out the hard way on both Furtwangen Ost and Hawthorn Dene how difficult it is to run droppers from an upper level board to a connection under the baseboard.  To avoid making most of that mistake again I've run a loop off each side of the main power bus under the layout to a strip of doll's house tape on the upper surface.  Eventually this will be hidden under the bank between the front line and the upper level, but not until after all wiring is completed.






A picture from Hermeskeil museum in 1992- at that time it was a nice little roundhouse with restored engines and a Barry Docks type yard full of BR50 and BR58 2-10-0s in a poor state with a few oddments of other classes thrown in.  646527518_244066-4Hermeskeil13aug92.jpg.28f306e545f06b9c5e7a19103e19b500.jpg



In amongst the lines were a couple of electrics, of type  E44 and this E94 which impressed me more than a little..  That makes it a rule 1 type.  eBay had a similar type from Minitrix listed, so I now have a German Crocodile on the way- only shame is that I bought an E93...


That's all for today.




Edited by Les1952
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17 minutes ago, Les1952 said:




A picture from Hermeskeil museum in 1992- at that time it was a nice little roundhouse with restored engines and a Barry Docks type yard full of BR50 and BR58 2-10-0s in a poor state with a few oddments of other classes thrown in.  646527518_244066-4Hermeskeil13aug92.jpg.28f306e545f06b9c5e7a19103e19b500.jpg



In amongst the lines were a couple of electrics, of type  E44 and this E94 which impressed me more than a little..  That makes it a rule 1 type.  eBay had a similar type from Minitrix listed, so I now have a German Crocodile on the way- only shame is that I bought an E93...


That's all for today.





First time I went to Berchtesgaden was behind one of them!  Makes me feel old ....


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The top corner of the front bank- it looks sharp but hopefully it will work.  Just the third rise to add to this when the replacement bridge arrives.   The switches are for the points on this board.  The points on the other board will be switched from the far end.  The middle switch is for the tree way, with the other two fiddle yard points to one side and the upper level points to the other side.  Two point motors controlled by each switch.




Knowing the approximate length of the bridge has allowed me to plan the gap, and to check the clearances needed underneath it for raised pantographs.  The front incline may need a short section that is a bit steeper.  In the mean time some ballast and a couple of extra curved pieces are on order from Osborn's.


The E44 is an eBay purchase, second-hand and already DCC fitted, but I've already described it.....


All for now.



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Duly arrived and positioned to get the effect.It is going to need the embankment lengthening and its gradient continuing to get the clearance over the lower line, but that shouldn't be an issue, and it takes incline off the sharp curve further on- in fact the sharpest of the curve will now be on the level, which can't be a bad thing.




A comparison pic showing the E44 in about the same place, with more than enough headroom for the overhead wires.






The points at the right-hand (from the front) end of the fiddle yard are now wired in.  I realised I didn't need the CDUs I'd bought after I discovered the pins in the DIN plug from the Gaugemaster power supply (shared with Hawthorn Dene's signal and NO PLACE's points) were wired at right angles to the way I thought I'd wired them.  The point motors fire quite happily from the Fleischmann sweitches.  The one on the right will switch this end of the top level eventually.


However with the policy of keeping each half of the board electrically separate I've worked out I'll need a second floor-mounted transformer for the other end.  




In the mean time the gradient at the other end has reached the summit.


Four pics tonight as I'd remembered to reduce the size of the first three before I started.  Next jobs are-


1. at this end get the curved part of the backscene into place- that is the simplest part as it hasn't any holes in it. 

2.  At the other end sort out the gradient onto the bridge

3. Finish the curved risers to the start of the viaduct.

4.  Build the second viaduct to make a 4-arched version

5.  cut ply to make the long end of the upper deck.


More progress to report later.

Keep safe



Edited by Les1952
typos as usual
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There are plenty who will say that is where I've been for years, but the climbs at both ends are getting there.




There is rather more Radius 1 at this end than I like.  I'm going to have to think of a way of safely overhanging the track below if the curve is to be totally manageable.  As it is the push-pull rake doesn't like the bend.  More on this to follow.






First attempt at making an upper deck baseboard- some spare 3mm plywood that has been sitting spare at the back of the shed for dome time.  Not really suitable as it has warped and it looks as if it isn't going to sit down satisfactorily.  Another rethink here due.


So far two stages begun, two big rethinks....






The left-over bendy plywood from Croft Spa is enough to make a curve at one end of the layout only.  At the other I'll have to improvise.  This nicely hides the incline along the front of the fiddle yard, and protects it enough for me to do some catenary experiments later.  




The push-pull rake with the BR78.  No problem with this now I've disconnected the pickup wipers from the driving trailer (and carefully stored thm in its box).  Before I did that its resistance was enough when being pulled to make the BR78 slip to a standstill and when being propelled to derail the 6-wheelers on bends.  I've four more six-wheelers coming so I should be able to get accurate pairs- hopefully....


More later





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I remembered that when Trevor and I boarded out the workshop in 2011 there was a goodly amount of the fibre insulation board left.  Three complete sheets went up into the loft to bolster the insulation there while the offcuts were just dumped in the garden shed.  Not that difficult to find and oddly enough not that difficult to clean off the dead spiders, though some insect sh-one-t is still visible when you look hard.  As this stuff is an inch thick it rests on two bits of Woodland Scenics riser to get the three inch height of the upper station.




The difference between the two boards on the left after cutting and the uncut board on the right are startling.  The join here is the join between the two baseboards on the lower level.




Duly stuck down the other end has been cut to size and laid down.  Temporary track installed across the top and a train run all the way round for the very first time.




Hopefully this link will work.


More later,  including better vids eventually...



Edited by Les1952
Link didn't work and needed re-doing
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Having decided the piece of ply was no good for the upper level base I tried cutting it to make the backscene for the viaduct board. It took a lot of doing and I'm not happy with it.  However it can stay in place while I think of something better.


Next silly- the viaduct needed shortening from four arches to 3 and a half- the idea being that I'd do the right hand end.  Measure several times (of course) and then cut - the wrong end.  The good news is that it fits the space and the arches line up with the track below.  The bad news is that the half arch looks a bit scruffy and a bit silly. However there is a slope to put in and a lot of trees so when I've finished you won't be able to see it- I've needed to do this on four exhibition layouts so far so why should this one be any different?


Next problem.  I've started wiring in the points at the left hand end of the fiddle yard and there is an issue with the three way switch.  Pressing any of the buttons gives a loud buzzing.  Taking the wires off the back of the switch and connecting to a pair of single switches makes the point motors perform perfectly.  One replacement three-way switch ordered (the only one I've found on eBay UK) but I can't wire in the points at that end of the fiddle yard until it comes.  


Also ordered a pair of points- again I needed a left-hand electric point and the only option was to buy a left and right pair on German eBay.  Not an issue but another delay while they arrive.


The point motors on Fleischmann points clip on the side and can be turned upside down to be hidden.  The only problem is that when inverted you need a right-hand motor for a left-hand point and vice-versa.  The pic shows the right-hand point at the entrance to the top station, complete with left-hand motor upside down. Any gaps underneath track when I've got finished will be hidden by ballast.  The rail on the right does fit (or at least will when all is fastened down, the pic is a trial fit.





Time for bed, said Zebedee....





Edited by Les1952
Failed my Rees-Mogg punctuation exam...
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After the thick end of two days chasing why pressing any of the point operating buttons on the station board caused a loud buzzing and one or more blades to vibrate rapidly I've FINALLY found the problem.  BOTH of the motors on this three-way point have short circuits inside the housing.  I've now removed them and all other points on the board function.


Progress at last.  Pics and other updates to follow.  In the mean time two brand new point motors to order for the three-way.  I also have three working but redundant Fleischmann switches to put up on eBay at some stage.


Knackered....  But at least the only wiring left to do as far as track and pointwork is concerned is the three wires form each of the new motors down to the tag strips on the underside of the layout, which are already wired back to the switch.




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As promised pics of updates- first the bad news (for me).  I've been running the V36 in the first post and it is getting slower and slower.  take out the decoder and run it analogue- runs perfectly. I've decided it doesn't like its decoder.  The one inside is the only one that fits the space available.  So it is off to eBay with the decoder in the random decoders box waiting for re-use.  Bad news for me as it will never fetch what I paid new, but good news for someone who wants a low mileage V36.


On to progress pics.




As the bank is now protected by the backscene I've erected a length of test catenary.  I wanted to see how well the pans run into the overhead, and how much side-to-side wiggle room I've got.  


Results are encouraging so far- all locos run in well and follow the wires.  The only concern is that single arm pantographs will have to run with the pantograph elbow leading as it is too easy to snag the wire with the elbow trailing. Not an issue except someone is bound to point out "that engine is running with the wrong pantograph up", and it means the push-pull passengers which will run both ways round the layout will have to have locos with diamond pantographs.


Now the snag- I HAD intended that the wires would be continuous up the bank and round the top corner - expensive for wires and masts but less messy in many ways.  However I can't get the masts far enough from the track to avoid locos catching them.  This test length will be dismantled (eventually) and the trains will run off the wires as they go out of sight as they leave the station.  There is more room on the outside at the other end so I'll see if I can get away with it there.




This pic shows just how tight the curve is.  The good news is that the pantographs will run in even where the curve is silly like this (it is the radius 1 part).




The three way point devoid of its motors waiting the replacements to arrive- one from the UK and the other from Germany- availability dictates source.  Oddly enough the price including postage is the same for both.  Thank goodness eBay business is brisk to pay for all these mistakes.





A couple of views of the viaduct now I've painted it.  Imperfections to the fore but nothing a little smoke and mirrors won't fix.  That grotty backscene is going as soon as the replacement bendy plywood arrives.


More next time





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Another frustrating day.


The two new point motors arrived in the same post (the one from Germany took exactly the same time as the one from within the UK)


Put onto the three-way, wired in and --




So there is a short to earth somewhere on the feed to the point motors which is being hidden by the motors having one side in common.


Next stage is to shorten roads 4 and 5 by a half straight and replece the three way with a right-left pair.  At least that will help with the diagnostics.


BTW -- NOTHING is wired to anything it shouldn't be, so the short seems to be within a component.


More overhead wires arrived today.  I now have vastly more than I need- more eBay fodder when the layout is finished.




It also means I can sell the point motors I took out rather than binning them.


Edited by Les1952
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Source of buzz not yet found....


So I got on with extending the backscene instead.  A 2ft by 1 ft piece of bendy plywood has made three bits to extend the backscene.  There are some A4 sized pieces on the way to finish the job.  I expect to use two of a pack of five, though might need all 5 if I make my usual ham-fisted mess....





First piece is 2 feet by 7.5 inches and is the first bit to the right of the centre join.  Looks a lot better already.  Yes there is a 1mm discrepancy at the board join but the layout name will be over that, Croft Spa fashion though not the same shape....  There will be a small scenic board behind the track going up the slope as well as in other places where the tracks pass through the main backscene at an angle.  I don't want punters looking through holes in the backscene and seeing the fiddle yard.




The second piece extends the backscene on the right to the board front.  The ground level this side of it will be raised to three inches above layout datum and some buildings and trees will hide the fact that the turn on the upper line is silly sharp, while the lower line will enter a tunnels somewhere about where the red power feed comes down through the polystyrene of the riser.  The catenary along this lower bit will need to be installed and working before the cover is applied.


Still plenty to get on with while waiting for inspiration and deliveries-

The last piece of this ply might fit to the right of the first one as the ground cover will be well high at this point.

The scenic backscene can be applied on the ply backscene on this board

Rail sides need weathering before the eextra ballast arrives to disguise the Fleischmann rails

The first slopes to the right and in front of the viaduct can be laid in with plaster bandage.

- and the first two building kits (for the brewery area) are arriving shortly.






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I've changed the three way for a left-right pair and----




At least I know which motor is connected to the short.....   I'm leaving the left-right pair in place as one or two locos don't like coming off the bend onto the three way to turn left.


More to follow.






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  • Les1952 changed the title to Bregenbach im Schwarzwald, electric locos in the hills of the Black Forest

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