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Welcome to my first thread on this website, I do have a railway modelling thread somewhere else too so I am not a complete novice. I must admit that a few weeks ago I never expected to end up posting in the Swiss Railways section here on RM Web, but here goes!

 

I was planning a post Covid European road trip and this got me investigating a diversion via Switzerland whose many narrow gauge railways have always confused and fascinated me - I dont think that idea ever worked anyway, its not like you can swing through for a day on the way to somewhere else. This however, did initiate some researching and discovering some wonderful lines I had never heard of with the AOMC/ASD around Aigle among others catching my eye. Initially I quite liked the idea of a modern light metre gauge railway terminus serviced by a 2 car unit shuttling back and forth as a possible compact layout. I had heard of the RhB but knew very little about it and it was about this point I stumbled across RTR Kato N gauge Swiss Rhb and also the excellent RM Web thread Bonsai RhB in Nm9 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/138689-bonsai-rhb-in-nm9/ by PaulRhB. The seed was sown! A spontaneous purchase off ebay of a Ge 4/4iii and lockdown provided the impetus to build something! As a long term 4mm scale modeller a photo plank would allow me to get something built quickly, try out a few things and get my "eye in" for Nm9 before possibly moving onto something more ambitious or giving up and going back to the armchair or my 4mm scale narrow gauge project I am supposed to be working on!

 

I decided that the front end of a engine shed would make a ideal subject to pose my new purchase on. Inspired by the snow scene in Bonsai RhB, I plan to make it a snow scene too. I researched suitable prototypes for inspiration. The glazed doors found on most RhB sheds was a bit off putting but I plowed on, deciding these could be cut as a overlay, painted, glazed and stuck onto the front wall. I found a suitable example of a shed - albeit a five road shed. A sketch drawing for the building was developed scaling off photos. It is not intended as a exact model of the shed located in a place beginning with a P ending in an a.

 

Progress was made with what I had at hand including cardboard sheet that needed laminating to get the thickness I needed. A last minute  change of plan with the laminating meant I ended up with twice the component parts I needed, so instead of modelling a single road of the shed I decided to make it two of the roads instead. Happy drawing and cutting out parts from cardboard continued with little thought of buildability! I had not allowed for the portion of the building between board level and the top of the track in my measurements! The board was from a off cut of plywood (200x150mm) and was 12mm thick as I did not have any 6mm kicking around! I screwed/glued a book end so that the shed walls could be suspended at the right level and ground level can be built up to match.

 

So far the photo plank has cost nothing to build and I even traded a couple of unwanted Peco N gauge wagon chassis I had in stock for a length of code 55 track from a fellow modeller.

 

Slow but steady progress with card and PVA glue on the shed is happening with parapets and copings left to fix. The cutting face to the side will be formed from a polystyrene off cut that I have seen somewhere around the house or in the garden shed. A low wall at the front of the cutting shall be laminated with stone embossed plasticard which will be my first purchase - well not including the locomotive which started all this in the first place! 

 

Nigel

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Edited by Gook the Goblin
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Paul and his Bonsai has a lot to answer for - it takes a lot of effort to avoid getting sucked in....... Looks like you are making a great start to your project, many thanks for sharing.

 

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6 hours ago, Frutigen said:

 I think you’ve caught the character nicely with that door. 

Thanks Keith. I must admit I was not looking forward to cutting out another one and put it off for a few days. I am wondering if it would have been easier to stick the double sided tape to the rear before cutting the windows out, but that may have risked a tear with the extra thickness as the window bar is only 1mm wide between windows. All done now and no problems, but it feels like I cut out four of these!

 

Found the polystyrene. Now for the mess!

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I have read about fancy methods of cutting polystyrene on this forum, and others. I would like to try them out and probably will one day. However, I am cheap, the amount of polystyrene I needed to cut was small and I did not want the to wait for an order and postie to deliver. I therefore resorted to my tried and tested method of using a razor saw. Importantly, this needs to be done outside and usually under cover of darkness (the last point is optional but seems the norm for me) as the mess is considerable. The evidence of this activity lingers for a few weeks so it is helpful to choose somewhere discrete and not heavily trafficked I find. 

 

The piece of polystyrene found in the house was almost the perfect width and short work was made of cutting it as all I needed was a constant graded slope. In my first effort the slope looked a bit sedate by Swiss standards - must be my inner civil Engineer. So I pulled the retaining wall back and steepened the slope slightly and I am happier. The retaining wall is the piece of 5mm foamboard which will have embossed stone stuck to it.

 

The slope looked a bit bland and I always like to over complicate things which is why my model projects often get unfinished. I could see the backfill to the large external retaining wall to the side of the shed was done in rock and was not completely covered in grass. Should I replicate that or use modelers licence / rule 1 and ignore it? I decided I am going to make some 1:150 scale rock using either modelling clay or polyfiller. These can simply be stuck on top of the polystyrene bank as the snow will hopefully cover everything except a vertical face.

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A little more progress last night. The parapet to the shed was glued double thickness and only the coping now remains. A little fillet of polystyrene was added behind the shed retaining wall.

 

The code 55, N gauge track was laid in position and the packing depth required to lift rail top to the underside of the shed doors measured. 0.5mm plasticard strips were cut and glued to form the track bed. 

 

DAS modelling clay rocks were made up. This was a bit easier than expected as the DAS had dried out a bit and was fairly crumbly forming a nice rocky texture. I made more than I needed as some may be no good once dried out.

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On 26/01/2021 at 13:04, the Goblin said:

 

I have read about fancy methods of cutting polystyrene on this forum, and others. I would like to try them out and probably will one day.

 

Well if you do this bit of kit comes highly recommended as you can take the U shaped cutting tool out of the stand and use it freehand too. 
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253160438428

 

;) 

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On 21/01/2021 at 17:39, the Goblin said:

 

 

I was planning a post Covid European road trip and this got me investigating a diversion via Switzerland whose many narrow gauge railways have always confused and fascinated me - I dont think that idea ever worked anyway, its not like you can swing through for a day on the way to somewhere else. 

 

Progress looks great! 

 

Just on the point above, it *is* possible to take in some Swiss narrow gauge as part of a bigger trip. 

 

In 2019 we went to Innsbruck as a family holiday, and I wanted to visit some of these for the first time, we overnighted at Mulhouse in France (great railway museum) then went south to Brig and the MGB to connect across to the Rhb. 

 

We did one Swiss overnight in Ilanz then carried on to Landquart and back onto SBB and a Railjet from Buchs East

 

It should also be easily possible to do a North-South transit, overnighting in Germany around Lake Constance and then Tirano in Italy.

 

I really want to try the latter sometime in winter as I think that could be a way to experience the Rhb in the snow without too much risk of actually being in the snow myself. :D

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3 hours ago, Glorious NSE said:

 

Just on the point above, it *is* possible to take in some Swiss narrow gauge as part of a bigger trip. 

 

 

Intriguing. The road trip needs to tick a number of family boxes. So this leg starts off with a Rhein cruise near Boppard / Koblenz and ends with a beach somewhere on the Med coast. It will need to be broken somewhere for sure into 2 days - maybe 3 to include Switzerland. Mulhouse or Lake Constance could make good stopovers, the former more suitable for a South of France destination, the latter the Italian coast via Milan.

 

A full trip on the BEX would be top of my list, sadly a return trip from Chur at around 9 hours and with a early start would be hell with teenage children! Maybe something to do when they have disappeared off to college. A short return trip from Thusis to Samedan or even St Moritz - possibly broken for an hour in Filisur - may be more possible to swing and a nice little taster. This could be incorporated into a leg from say lake Constance to say Lake Como and with a promise of a visit to Milan en route to the coast somewhere.

 

Doing the Bernina in winter with the snow sounds excellent.

 

Thank you Martyn for the fresh inspiration.

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No worries. Don't forget you don't need to do the BEX as a special round trip if it's also your mode of transport South, its an international rail line connecting through to Italy in its own right. 

 

If you're on the BEX southbound then that gets to Tirano in the middle of the day so you could leave the RHB in Tirano and take FS onwards to be in Milan that evening. 

 

Or take the Rhb bit slower and there's plenty of accom in Tirano to break it there - Tirano to the Med should be doable the next day. 

 

You'll know your teens better than me obvs, but they might also think the regular trains with big opening windows (and/or open cars in summer) are more fun than the BEX panoramics. (Though maybe less if its in Winter! :D

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1 hour ago, the Goblin said:

 

Intriguing. The road trip needs to tick a number of family boxes. So this leg starts off with a Rhein cruise near Boppard / Koblenz and ends with a beach somewhere on the Med coast. It will need to be broken somewhere for sure into 2 days - maybe 3 to include Switzerland. Mulhouse or Lake Constance could make good stopovers, the former more suitable for a South of France destination, the latter the Italian coast via Milan.

 

A full trip on the BEX would be top of my list, sadly a return trip from Chur at around 9 hours and with a early start would be hell with teenage children! Maybe something to do when they have disappeared off to college. A short return trip from Thusis to Samedan or even St Moritz - possibly broken for an hour in Filisur - may be more possible to swing and a nice little taster. This could be incorporated into a leg from say lake Constance to say Lake Como and with a promise of a visit to Milan en route to the coast somewhere.

 

Doing the Bernina in winter with the snow sounds excellent.

 

Thank you Martyn for the fresh inspiration.

 

I had a week in the NH hotel at Bingen a couple of years ago and enjoyed cycling to Koblenz and stopping and taking photos whenever I fancied. Koblenz has a pretty good range of hotels for all budgets, and has the Electric loco collection from the DB museum. Just north of Koblenz is the narrow gauge at Brohl. 

 

Lake Constance is interesting (either side Swiss or German) I liked the idea of the Zeppelin rides from Friedrichshafen above the lake 'til I saw the price. The German side of the lake will also be a lot cheaper. You could look at Singen for a hotel as well, and I'd divert to see the Rheinfalls if I was in the area. The area south of the lake is mostly rolling hills (all with regulation green grass) rather than mountains, but the Appenzellerbahn is interesting.

 

Interlaken has some interesting railway options, and a fair bit of outdoor activity for teenagers for a few days (or weeks).

 

I think I'd suggest Chur-StMoritz across the Albula if you can only do one bit of the RhB,  I've stayed Sargans if you want a (slightly) cheaper base near enough to do the RhB, but not in the Klosters/Davis/StMoritz price bracket! 

 

Alternatively there are some round-robin options. from somewhere in the Zurich-Lucerne area the Gotthard North ramp to Göschenen, up to Andermatt on the cog, Andermat via Disentis to Chur and back to your origin, or same area, include the (original) Gotthard tunnel to Domodossola, on the Centovalli to Locarno (who wouldn't want a ride on the FART! ) and return from there?

 

Jon

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Getting my hopes up that I may actually get to use my unused Eurotunnel ticket from last year and see some sun in 2021! We had a shorter road trip planned last year which got cancelled due to Covid, we had a hotel booked in Boppard. The plan was to avoid international air travel this year and simply extend the road trip further South.

 

Thanks Martyn and Jon. Return trips will be the order of the day this time as we will have the car with us.

 

Brohl looks interesting and on route, I may need to cherry pick though to maintain family harmony. 

 

Thanks for the Singen and Sargans tip and the opportunity to tick off Liechtenstein with the latter. I agree Chur or Thusis to St Moritz allows a taste of the RhB through the Albula.

 

Interlaken was my original non Rhb target as lots going on there, but it seemed a bit off route. Maybe not now with the Italian route. Lots of ideas there for future trips, especially the FART (not heard of before) but it is in my new book - more of that in my next post.

 

Nigel

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4 hours ago, the Goblin said:

return trip from Chur at around 9 hours and with a early start would be hell with teenage children!

A day return Chur - Arosa might fit the bill. Lovely journey each way, walk round the lake, some lunch or a visit to Barenland makes a good day out and not too taxing.

 

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More progress last night with the shed parapet copings glued into position. The lower sub-base for the concrete shed apron has been cut and glued and finally track has been laid! The gap at the back of the polystyrene bank has been filled with a modelling clay slurry and will be sealed with PVA.

 

No sign of the embossed stone plasticard I ordered a week ago. I think some out of stock items are holding up the dispatch. However, a copy of "metre gauge railways of south and East Switzerland" by John Marshall - recommended on another thread on here - did arrive from ebay. This looks to be a good purchase with some wonderful plans and elevations of some of the large structures. It cost £6.50 new when published in 1974, my ebay copy cost double. Must remember to mention that books increase in value when the authorities moan about the number of railway books I have!

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Shed concrete apron sub base has been built up to top of sleeper level with card and modelling clay in preparation for the finishing layer. This will hopefully be a 1.5mm layer of modelling clay and will hopefully meet the bottom of the hanging walls. No problem if it does not as some drifting snow will be able to disguise any gap.

 

A selection of rocks have been glued down to the bank.

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Yesterday's progress saw the modelling clay placed onto some wet PVA to form the concrete shed apron. The clay was quite wet still as I had reconstituted it from some almost gone off clay earlier in the week. So more of a plastering technique was used than the preferred icing method. A surface wet pallet knife helped. Hopefully the clay will provide more of a texture than if I used card or plasticard. I chickened out from the section in between the tracks. It could have worked but I think for this I will use plasticard strips.

 

The apron meets the walls and the doors were test fitted and a little fettling was needed for the right hand road. The clay will take a couple of days to dry out, hopefully it won't shrink much.

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A voice in my head is saying "are you mad"! The concession in the previous post about using card or plasticard between the rails has been grating at me. With the prospect of at least another week before the damned embossed stone plasticard I ordered for the retaining wall being dispatched. I have time on my hands. I am resisting the obvious option of carving some stonework in modelling clay. I have done this in 4mm scale and it looked pretty decent. Carving stonework in 1:150 scale and for a length of around 200mm does not appeal much, we shall see. 

 

Back to the madness. The modelling clay to the concrete apron "cast" on Sunday has dried out and it looks quite good with some subtle undulations reminiscent of some poorly laid concrete. A dead flat plasticard or card infill between the rails might stand out like a sore thumb (possibly caused by scribing stonework in DAS). I have started building two open topped 25 x 7*mm plasticard boxes motivated by finding some unopened 1mm microstrip in the materials box (bought for building a 4mm scale farm gate I recall). The idea is to fill these little boxes with a shallow layer of modelling clay, the microstrip representing the steel angle forming the edge shutter. Progress was started at lunchtime - I gave myself the night off on Monday night to battle uploading two photos to the RhB forum - before I could come to my senses, swiftly cutting out the base in 0.5mm plasticard and gluing the long edges. Actually the bases had to be trimmed to 6.5mm wide to clear the plastic chairs, fortunately discovering this before gluing the microstrip.

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