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PUNTA BRAVA - RENFE HO - Spanish seaside branch terminus


Geep7
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I've always had a passing fascination with Spanish Railways since my first holiday to Spain in 1985 (at the tender age of 8), but recently during lockdown I stumbled on some videos of Spanish railways during the 1980s which spurred me on to dig out my father's old photographs from that holiday. I have been back and visited Spain roughly every decade since that first holiday, and on the last holiday back in 2015 I had intended to buy some Spanish HO stock from Rocafort in Barcelona, however, they were in the middle of moving from their shop near Las Ramblas and the model train department was closed.

 

I thought I would chance a search on eBay and the internet for Electrotren, and low and behold, eBay had quite a few items available. I knew I wanted a Class 269, as I remember these locomotives from my visits to Tarragona and Barcelona, and managed to get one in the rather attractive Blue and Yellow 'Mazinger' livery. I also found that Amazon UK stock rather a lot of Electrotren items, and managed to get hold of a Class 440 emu in Blue & Yellow. Also managing to get hold of half a dozen freight wagons, thoughts started turning towards somewhere to run them.

 

I fortunately had a couple of 4' x 15" baseboards sitting spare in storage already available, and negotiated with the household authority for planning permission to use them. It was agreed I could, plus a 2 foot overhang for a sector plate fiddle stick, but no larger. With the UT440 emu measuring just over 3' in length, fitting a decent layout into essentially a 7' length (10' less the 3 foot fiddle stick), almost turned out to be trying to fit a quart into a pint pot.

 

Having looked at quite a few Spanish stations on Google Maps and YouTube videos, it appears there are very few true terminus stations on the RENFE network, especially in the 80's and early 90's. Most seem to be of a typical pattern. 3 tracks, with 2 being passing loops for passenger trains and a third for freight trains to hold-over or run-round. Obviously not having space for a through station, I tried to see if I could adapt this plan to fit a terminal station. So taking bits from stations such as Blanes and Tarragona, i've arrived at the below track plan.

 

2073618027_spanishcostaterminus.png.8fdaa038ce2ad11d9d7d74462e793b92.png

 

The intention is to model the left-hand side with buffer stops, but leave me with the option to continue as a through station at a later date. The cassette fiddle yard will allow (if the layout is exhibited) for trains to be swapped out quickly, especially if having to handle 3 car multiple units.

 

The cassette section will be hidden behind a low retaining wall, similar to the approach to Tarragona, with either a road or low relief buildings on top, and there will likely be a road bridge hiding the entrance to the sector plate. Most, if not all, of the track will be electrified, which is rather daunting, having never modelled OHLE equipment, but will be a nice challenge, instead of laying 3rd rail. I have been able to get hold of some Vollmer catenary masts, which, whilst not looking exactly like RENFE masts, are close enough, and I can scratch-build the arms and wires out of brass.

 

The boards have been topped-off with foamcore board to allow for some vertical terrain changes below the track, and i've taken advantage and increased the layout width to 16.5" to give a bit more scenery at the front, probably with a nice low retaining wall, again like at Tarragona.

 

I mention Tarragona quite often, and probably will continue to, however, having visited the station quite a few times, it's sea front located and rather narrow track plan, it would make a great layout if I had the space. Maybe sometime in the future?

 

Constructive critisism is very much welcomed, especially with regard to the track plan. Be quick though, as i've already started laying track. :D

 

 

Edited by Geep7
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Tarragona is a nice station there used to be plenty of freight and variety of all passenger services and the double decker Barcelona Cercanias terminating not far away at St Vicenc de Calders.

I’ve not been for a few years since the AVE don’t know if this has any effect in service levels, again as I said in my post you can model prototypically correct trains like and  ARCO 252 and 4 coaches but remember some 440 like the service to La Tour De Carol only ran with no centre car as did some Interegionales units.

Edited by Lovemymodelling
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On 29/08/2020 at 15:03, Lovemymodelling said:

Tarragona is a nice station there used to be plenty of freight and variety of all passenger services and the double decker Barcelona Cercanias terminating not far away at St Vicenc de Calders.

I’ve not been for a few years since the AVE don’t know if this has any effect in service levels, again as I said in my post you can model prototypically correct trains like and  ARCO 252 and 4 coaches but remember some 440 like the service to La Tour De Carol only ran with no centre car as did some Interegionales units.

Been reading about the railways around Tarragona the past few days, and it seems the new High Speed line is going to have a rather lasting effect. The coastal line through Salou and Cambrils was closed permanently from January, with trains from Barcelona now only going down the branch to Port Aventura Station. The regional trains to Tortosa are now being re-routed via the High Speed line.

 

The last time I was in Tarragona in 2015 there was still some freight traffic, although not much in the station yard, except some units stabled there. Having viewed some recent videos, it appears that there is even less going on now, with most of the tracks in the yard empty.

 

Returning to my layout, it's going to just be my small slice of Catalunya, a what might have been coastal terminus. Perhaps a holiday resort, as that might justify some extra passenger traffic. I've relented and now have a Talgo Pendula set coming, as I had a trip on one to Zaragoza back in 2002. How I'm going to fit a 6-coach Talgo set on the layout, I'm not sure.

 

I have a few other items of stock on my Spanish hit list.

 

I'd love another Class 269, either in original Green, Blue with yellow stripes or the Estrella livery. The last is due for release this year. I have my eye on a Class 276 in Green as well. I'm toying with maybe a diesel unit as well, a Class 592 perhaps.

 

But let's walk before I can run. I don't need a huge amount of stock for this layout, however I'm acutely aware that availability of Spanish outline is a bit sporadic.

Edited by Geep7
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I've progressed along with the layout slowly.

 

As I'm using Peco Code 75 Electrofrog points which have been modified for DCC, i've had to come up with a way to change the frog polarity. Now, usually I would use frog juicers, but as I am going for hand operated points, I didn't think they warranted spending that much money.

 

Therefore, I managed to get hold off some cheap SPDT slide switches, and created my own baseboard mount from plasticard and an actuation rod from brass wire.

 

PSX_20200906_121433.jpg.33ac4df00cfce905a1133c94aef87de0.jpg

 

PSX_20200906_121453.jpg.51a709b82faaa385dd4800737b720920.jpg

 

Here are a couple of photos of a completed example ready for mounting. The rough Omega loop allows a bit of adjustment.

 

Once in place, I'll create a pull rod from brass which will come out through the back of the baseboard.

 

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  • 3 months later...

Cartagena might be worth looking at for inspiration - I know it's not in your preferred area but I remember it as a smallish terminus with Talgo services.  I have a full Talgo set on display in the living room at home - unfortunately it is HO and my layout is N so I can't run it, although in N I do have a Pato plus a set from the Berlin - Moskva service - all great models and something a little different.  Maybe one day I'll get a model of one of the Kazakh versions together - definitely somewhere unusual to go for.

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  • 5 months later...
Posted (edited)

Well, it has been quite some time since my last post, and there have been some changes to the layout since I started.

 

The initial plan worked rather well, up until I bought a Talgo Pendular set. With a locomotive (even a short one like a 269), the 3' cassette was going to stuggle to even fit a 4-car Talgo formation, so the decision was made to dispense with the cassettes, and extend the layout to include a 5 foot sector plate fiddleyard. Initially this was designed to fit into our master bedroom (I live in a 2-bed maisonette), where I had an area of 12' x 5' I could use to put the layout up in a U-shape formation. This meant I had to use rather sharp 18" radius curves to curve around into the fiddleyard. I was never really happy with this arrangement, the class 440 emu's barely went around these curves, so I have finally settled on a more traditional straight layout, which just about fits along one side of the living room. I'm just glad I have a very understanding wife and son.

 

498182198_spanishcostaterminusstraightextendedwithscenery.jpg.3f3af96fdba23d6ad11701e2fdaf4e3e.jpg

 

Above is the current trackplan (done in Anyrail), with some of the scenic details added. As you can see, the station area is exactly the same as before, although i've now added the buffer stops on the main board. There is a small scenic extension beyond the platforms which includes a road with bus / taxi bay, and a disused level crossing, with the railway leaving the edge of the layout, suggesting an old goods line to another part of the town. In the middle of the layout, the main line disappears under a large bridge carrying a main road, and to the viewer will look as though it curves away to the north under a raised park area, even though it continues straight to the fiddle yard. In front of this, there is a goods line, which leads to an off-scene dockyard (in reality the fiddle yard) and in front there are some double ended freight sidings, to enable the make up and break down of goods trains. To the right, in front of the fiddle yard, will be a large industrial building, served by some sidings, and perhaps some suggestion of it running into the dock area too, with inset track and the edge of the dock showing to the far right hard end.

 

As with Tarragona, I intend the dock area to be served by diesel locomotives, so only the main station area, and the 2 lower sidings will be electrified as far as the bridge.

 

With regards to operation, to make things interesting, i've decided that the town is served by 2 lines, one from the Barcelona direction, which is electrified, and one from the other direction towards Lleida (and possibly Valencia) which is not electrified. Therefore, a through Talgo, Intercity or freight service would have to change traction in each direction. Local services get either an EMU or DMU depending on the destination.

 

All the plain track and points have been laid, with the exception of the dock tracks on the right hand side of the plan. It is all wired up for DCC, and in a change to my most recent post last September, I am now using Tam Valley frog juicers to change the point polarity. Whilst the idea of using the slide switches was a good idea, I just couldn't get them to change accurately every time, plus I am now going to fit point motors with a switch panel, so I can operate from either side of the layout. Eventually, if exhibited, the idea is to have 2 operators. One operating the passenger services, and arriving / departing freight trains, and the other operation the freight yard and dock area.

 

That's all for now folks, but i'll be back soon with some photos of layout, and an update on the stock list. Oh, and the layout / town still has no name. :)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Geep7
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13 minutes ago, Geep7 said:

As with Tarragona, I intend the dock area to be served by diesel locomotives, so only the main station area, and the 2 lower sidings will be electrified as far as the bridge.

What are you thinking about with regards electrification? I have been wrestling with this for some time. The supply of catenary is extremely challenging with 87Trains now the last remaining manufacturer and not everything they show in their catalogue is available. Their posts are beautifully made and are very fine but I'm not convinced by their cable (I don't mind it being non-operational, it just doesn't seem the best solution). Their range is also limited with no double headed posts for example so even something simple like a turnout causes problems. I was thinking about diesel only but I have some electrics and few modern diesels are available.

 

It's caused me to put my project on a back burner until I can work out solutions.

 

John

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For the single posts, I have quite a few Vollmer catenary masts, with the intention to adapt them to look a bit more Spanish. The vast majority of the station will be electrified using multi-track spans, and i've just ordered some laser cut masts and headspans from Scale Model Scenery, which, whilst OO scale, I should be able to adapt to something Spanish looking. I'll let you know how I get on, as it's the one part i've never attempted before.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Geep7,

 

I too am planning an HO Spanish seaside terminus (although set in the South West and smaller than yours as in trackwork, sidings etc.) but this is all very interesting. Looking forward to your progress. I've still got stuff in boxes so threads like this are a great inspiration to pull my finger out and get started on the bare board.

 

Cheers, weave :drink_mini:

 

 

Edited by weave
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so I promised some photos of the layout. I currently only have the station board erected at the moment, so have taken some photos of the current scenic progress. It's all really slow going now summer is here, and i'm also doing some home improvements too.

 

So starting with the left-hand side of the layout we have the road and ex-level crossing.

212099513_roadcrossing.jpg.512747d4fccc93c11c256d9d26a279eb.jpg

The paths are Slaters 7mm Granite Setts, and the road is cereal packet card, sprayed with Humbrol Grey Acrylic Primer, and the markings were masked up, and sprayed with Humbrol White Acrylic. The bus in the "bus stop" (more likely to be a taxi rank) is from Otero Scale Models, and is a Pegaso 6038. It currently shows the destination of Gijon, so this may have to be changed if I want to have the bus going in the opposite direction.

 

1240587641_stationbuilding.jpg.a6f0683cf0ec37e2ab1ae8f73ef7f7de.jpg

Next up is the station building, rather grand for a small station when you compare it to British railways, but seems to be typical in Spain. It is very loosely based on Blanes station building, but in mirror image and reduce in size. The windows are of a different style, as they were the only commercial ones I could get hold of, however, next time i'll make my own, as I am doing with the rest of the buildings (more of which below).

 

buffer-stops.jpg.1f3e48626b31f7623a8fab1b48b2058e.jpg    buffer.jpg.ae34726b73e4cfa2e14f5c86da9251ac.jpg

The 2 pictures above show a couple of styles of buffer stop. The first, on the left, is the concrete style, which can be seen at many Spanish stations. These were scratchbuilt from plasticard, with the buffer shanks being modifed MJT whitemetal items, and plasticard buffers in the rounded off square style of RENFE equipment. The one on the right, is probably a bit more freelanced, although I know there were some rail-built stops. This is modified from a Peco Bullhead buffer stop kit, with added buffers as per the others.

 

1688663681_platformswalls.jpg.00a4fa6a3930fbb86dfac3630e702eba.jpg

 

This photos shows part of the station platform and the retaining wall. The platform is created from a sandwich of 5mm foamcore board and 1mm balsa, topped with Slaters 4mm Granite Setts on this part of the platform or plain 40thou plasticard at the right hand end and around the station building to represent plain concrete. The edging along the top is Slaters 40thou embossed paving cut into strips, and then the edge added using 10thou microstrip, and painstakingly scribing the grooves in.

The retaining wall is made up of Wills 'crazy paving' sheets, blended together with plastic filler. I cut a few of the sheets into random sizes and rearranged them, to give them a bit more randomness. The shell of the retaining wall is artist mount board. The inspiration for the this wall, as mentioned in my first post, coming from the similar wall behind Tarragona station.

 

viewacrossstation.jpg.1784162ea866e2a4addccbc11918b04a.jpg

A wider shot of the retaining wall, showing the starts of some buildings. A temporaily shortened Class 440 EMU is in the bay platform (Via 2), with a Class 276 C-C Electric locomotive in the stabling loop. The bottom part of the retaining wall will have the back of some buildings with the archway suggesting a narrow street / alleyway.

 

backscene_buildings.jpg.101820793032dac9e48b2facb64ed944.jpg

Here are the startings of some buildings for along the backscene. It is envisaged that this is mainly pedestrian only street, with vehicle access to the garages. The tallest building will have a small bar on the ground floor. The buildings are initially made from artist mound board, and then clad in 20 thou plasticard. The archway to the left, is again the Wills crazy paving, with the arch made from individual strips of Slaters 4mm brick plasticard.

The building themselves are loosly based on real buildings I saw and photographed whilst on holiday in Torredembarra. At the time, my wife questioned my wanting to photograph them, but as it happens, they have come in useful. Below is the photo of the prototype buildings.

torredembarra_buildings.jpg.43d7973998fc4f77f9fbc08d330780e6.jpg

 

Obviously I still have a lot more detailing work to add, including the decorative window surrounds and sills, plus make my own windows, doors and shutters.

 

This brings us to the edge of board no 1 (technically board 2, and the road and crossing are on a small separate extention board). On board 2, the retaining wall continues along the rear until a bridge carrying a main road. There will be more buildings along the backscene. One will definitely be a hotel, with balconies, but i'm unsure of the rest. Perhaps a church, or a small supermarket?

 

I appreciate this is quite a long post, so i'll stop here. Next i'll probably show some closer up shots of the buildings as I detail them. The whole rear retaining wall can currently be lifted off and worked on away from the layout, so this is probably what I will do to start getting some street details in place. Until next time, stay safe.

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14 hours ago, Geep7 said:

 

 

A wider shot of the retaining wall, showing the starts of some buildings. A temporaily shortened Class 440 EMU is in the bay platform (Via 2), with a Class 276 C-C Electric locomotive in the stabling loop.

 

 

The RENFE EMUs were known as 'Metallico' and me and my brother always called 440s 'Stags Metallico' due to the livery resembling the colours of Mansfield Town (nickname the Stags) where we grew up.

 

We also are both familiar with Salou, home town of a well known Spanish railway enthusiast and photographer who is a friend of the family.

 

Edited by Gordonwis
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On 03/06/2021 at 12:56, sulzer27jd said:

 The supply of catenary is extremely challenging with 87Trains now the last remaining manufacturer and not everything they show in their catalogue is available.

It's caused me to put my project on a back burner until I can work out solutions.

John

 

Perhaps you aren't aware of MAFEN products. They do mostly N scale which is why I know the brand, but they are a Catalan  company so do HO RENFE overhead:

 

https://shop.model-fab.com/en/46-renfe

Gordon

Edited by Gordonwis
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16 hours ago, Gordonwis said:

 

Perhaps you aren't aware of MAFEN products. They do mostly N scale which is why I know the brand, but they are a Catalan  company so do HO RENFE overhead:

 

https://shop.model-fab.com/en/46-renfe

Gordon

 

Thanks Gordon. They are the manufacturer I refer to earlier but their range is somewhat limited and their products are mostly unavailable. I am using their standard posts for a little diorama that I am doing but it is not possible, for example,  to anything with a junction - like that being suggested in the original posts - with what is available.

 

John

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5 hours ago, ianmianmianm said:

I know you're probably a happy scratchbuilder, but have you seen some of the apartment kits made by Parvus??

 

Yes I have, and they're very nice looking kits. I was very tempted to get one of the station buildings, but I needed something to fit at an angle, and if i'm honest, I wouldn't have felt happy butchering one of those kits.

 

I am most definitely a very happy scratchbuilder, and I really enjoy making buildings. This whole layout project started off as a distraction from the lockdown situation (i've been working at home since March 2020, so the idea of a layout set in my favourite holiday destination seemed a perfect antidote), so i've been taking my time with this one, and scratchbuilding most things helps with this.

 

As an aside, whilst I am building this layout with public display in mind, i'm not sure if it will ever go to an exhibition. If Continental Modeller is anything to go by, Spanish based layouts seem to be very thin on the ground, so i'm not sure if they're that popular. The only other I know of in the UK is currently on display at Pecorama. But maybe it's a USP that some exhibition managers might go for?

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3 minutes ago, Geep7 said:

Whilst I am building this layout with public display in mind, i'm not sure if it will ever go to an exhibition. If Continental Modeller is anything to go by, Spanish based layouts seem to be very thin on the ground, so i'm not sure if they're that popular. The only other I know of in the UK is currently on display at Pecorama. But maybe it's a USP that some exhibition managers might go for?

 

Chris

 

As you know, I have a similar situation with my Chinese HO exhibition layout. Being Spanish or Chinese is both a strength and a weakness when it comes to getting invites to shows. 

 

But you can adapt my joke which I often use in my situation ..........................

 

"My proud boast is that I have the best Chinese HO layout on the exhibition circuit, but I also have the worst Chinese HO layout on the exhibition circuit, because I have the only Chinese HO layout on the exhibition circuit! "

 

Usually gets a laugh!

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There are a few specialist exhibitions that feature layouts depicting parts of the world other than the UK. The German Railway Society 'GlobalRail' exhibition, and the Solent MRC 'EuroTrack' exhibitions come to mind.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Geep7 said:

If Continental Modeller is anything to go by, Spanish based layouts seem to be very thin on the ground, so i'm not sure if they're that popular. The only other I know of in the UK is currently on display at Pecorama.

How could I forget there was (or should I say is) also the rather delightful San Maria Gandia, which i've seen a few times at shows (when they were happening). For those who are unaware, the layout at Pecorama is Shirley Rowe's Catalunya, a stunning piece of modelling, of which I can only aspire to be a good as. Well worth the visit to Pecorama alone.

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11 hours ago, Geep7 said:

As an aside, whilst I am building this layout with public display in mind, i'm not sure if it will ever go to an exhibition. If Continental Modeller is anything to go by, Spanish based layouts seem to be very thin on the ground, so i'm not sure if they're that popular. The only other I know of in the UK is currently on display at Pecorama. But maybe it's a USP that some exhibition managers might go for?

I’ve exhibited Industrivej at Globalrail and the European Railways Society show in Birmingham, both are excellent shows with a level

of interest in European prototypes “baked in”. For club shows, I would hope that the quality of your concept and modelling as well as an unusual theme will gain invitations.

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On 29/06/2021 at 09:28, Geep7 said:

FIf Continental Modeller is anything to go by, Spanish based layouts seem to be very thin on the ground, so i'm not sure if they're that popular. The only other I know of in the UK is currently on display at Pecorama. But maybe it's a USP that some exhibition managers might go for?

 

On 29/06/2021 at 10:07, Geep7 said:

How could I forget there was (or should I say is) also the rather delightful San Maria Gandia, which i've seen a few times at shows (when they were happening). For those who are unaware, the layout at Pecorama is Shirley Rowe's Catalunya, a stunning piece of modelling, of which I can only aspire to be a good as. Well worth the visit to Pecorama alone.

 

I'd like to model Bunyola on the Soller Railway, but am not sure how interesting the operation will be and I have too many modelling distractions and unfinished projects as is. The Cinq Ponts viaduct is another possibility as a small test track but with even less interest...

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Operational interest on a Spanish layout seems to be difficult to replicate. Whenever I've been to Spain, I've never seen any shunting of freight, just long block trains going from one main yard to another. The most I've seen operational wise is a freight stopping to allow a faster passenger train to pass or do a crew change. I think it's been like this since the 80's.

 

Once I have the space, I have plans to build a continuous run layout, rather than a terminus. Possibly on a single track section of line, like the sadly closed line through Salou.

 

Back to the current layout, I've been working on detailing the buildings, and a wall for the end of the platform. Progress has been slow, as I've had other tasks, mainly re-decorating, to attend to, plus I seem to have been drawn into watching some sort of football competition. And it's also been back to back weekends of the F1....

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1 hour ago, 298 said:

 

 

I'd like to model Bunyola on the Soller Railway, but am not sure how interesting the operation will be and I have too many modelling distractions and unfinished projects as is. The Cinq Ponts viaduct is another possibility as a small test track but with even less interest...

This is a good point. Catalunya, whilst being a beautiful layout, doesn't have much operational interest. I think it's based on a real town on the Mataro - Girona line, Sant Pol De Mar, where the station isn't much more than a passing loop.

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25 minutes ago, Geep7 said:

This is a good point. Catalunya, whilst being a beautiful layout, doesn't have much operational interest. I think it's based on a real town on the Mataro - Girona line, Sant Pol De Mar, where the station isn't much more than a passing loop.

 

Conversely tho, there is the option of fairly easy automation...

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  • Geep7 changed the title to PUNTA BRAVA - RENFE HO - Spanish seaside branch terminus

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