Monday, December 29, 2008

The corner...

Also been working on this desolate corner that has been in need of attention for a l o n g time now. The "fachwerk" style firehouse in the corner will stay but low relief models of a more (post) industrial nature will flank it, also extending down the left side parallel to the track. Built a few facades out of card from scratch using patterned papers from Scalescenes as well as modified images from Jowi background image CD. The seams on the backdrop are individual panels that can be removed for easy access to the layout from the back. A must!

Above, the corner as it was...

The corner with low relief and flat structures added. A gasometer will be added off the left edge of the image once I do more with the scenery, i.e. trees and shrubs...

This old industrial structure is in the process of being transformed into an arts center, a sign of the ongoing "strukturwandel" in the region that sees heavy industries being replaced by service industries and other alternatives. Though made of card from a photographic image, there are about four layers to the structure giving a good deal of relief to it.

There will still be more tweaks over time...

Working on the railroad, again...

Attracted by the low price and fun challenge I recently purchased two of the Roco "Bromberg" type 4-axle boxcars of the DR. Not too many parts and no sanding, grinding, gluing required. Parts went together quickly and easily.

After putting together the kits, I knew they needed to be weathered, so started out with a wash of black india ink in alcohol. This was followed by applications of the Bragdon Enterprises powdered "chalks," the rust color of which was disolved in alcohol as well, making it penetrate into the springs and other bogie details. It was then finished off with dry applications of the "chalks."

Having finished the two Brombergs, I went at the pair of Brawa Gags boxcars (at back) a more modern type of 4-axle boxcars and the pair of tank cars. All in all a fun afternoon that has left me looking to do more. First, I place them on the layout and ran around for a while behind my BR 120 Taigatrommel of the DR.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Frohe Weihnachten | Merry Christmas

Aufgenommen von Bernd Düpper auf dem Nikolausfest im DB Museum Koblenz-Lützel
30. November 2008.

Taken by Bernd Düpper at the Nikolausfest held at the DB Museum Koblenz-Lützel on November 30th, 2008.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some more Syracuse views from the summer...

Some more pics from this summer at the East Syracuse CSX yard. No CSX among this batch... An eastbound ethanol train with UP and SP power, UP caught with flash in daylight showing the reflective paint, and a westbound BNSF powered manifest.

The videos below were shot from near the Willis Ave Bridge in the Solvay part of Syracuse.

Westbound CSX power with empty coal hoppers.

Westbound CSX power with construction debris / trash.

And some noses from the Central New York Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society's collection. The GG-1 of the Pennsy and an E8A of the Lackawanna. The diesels were operational until recently.

Ethanol and AutorackTrains in East Syracuse

And another video... 2 engines, one protection car, and 100 tankcars loaded with ethanol. Video was taken in the East Syracuse CSX yard this past August.

Und noch ein video... 2 Loks, ein Schutzwagen und 100 Kesselwagen mit Ethanol... Aufgenommen im August in der East Syracuse CSX Yard.

And one of an empty westbound autorack train... Most of these seem to move around the rails empty...

Und einer von einem Autorackzug mit leeren Wagen. Die meisten scheinen einfach leer durchs Land zu fahren.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fleischmann BR94 aus 185101 Set

Pictures and video of the H0 Fleischmann GBAG set 185101 with the BR94 for Märklin. Notice in the videos that the engine gets hung up on the uncoupler tracks. Also jumps slight through the X-turnout and gets thrown off the track in one direction only on the 3-way turnout. Engine is factory weathered with a reddish hue, the cars less so. Aside from hanging up, this is a nice set to have, the engine runs smoothly with a Märklinish sound coming from the gears. Engine was run analog as that is what I have.

Bilder und Videos von einer Vorbeifahrt der H0Fleischmann GBAG 94er aus dem 185101 Wechselstromset. Auf meiner C-Gleis Anlage bleibt sie mit dem Schleifer auf Entkupplungsgleisen leicht hängen, humpelt durch die DKW, und schaft die 3-wegweiche nur in einer Richtung (wird richtig aus der Spur geschmissen - Hängt wohl mit dem Schleifer zusammen). Lok leicht in rostigem Ton gealtert, Wagen nicht so sehr. Abgesehen vom aufhängen und der 3-wegweiche fährt sie ganz schön im Analogbetrieb mit einem märklintypischen Sound von dem Getriebe. Digital nicht getestet. Im Ganzen ein schönes Set.

Weiter gehts bei / Continued in Slider Modifications On Fleischmann

A train you can model | Ein Moba gerechter Zug

Seen heading east on October 26th from Syracuse NY's CSX yard towards Kirkville. A nice short freight that would work as a model.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A trip to Binghamton, NY to the Canadian Pacific/Norfolk Southern Yard

On October 12, I headed to Binghampton Yard with a trainspotting buddy where we caught some different action than our usual CSX stock. Our location was at the west end of the yard, in the middle of the map where the entrance to the yard forks off of Holmes Pl.

Am 12. Oktober fuhren ein Kollege und ich zu den Bahnanlagen in Binghampton (ca. 100 km südlich von Syracuse) wo wir mal was Anderes als die üblichen CSX Sachen sehen wollten. Wir waren am Westlichen Ende der Anlagen wo die Einfahrt zu den Anlagen links von Holmes Pl abbiegt.

First in was this manifest freight heading south headed by this Norfolk Southern and four others including one still in Conrail paint. Shot some video too.

Als Erstes sahen wir diesen Zug der in südlicher Richtung fuhr, angeführt von dieser Norfolk Southern Lok und vier Anderen, darunter eine noch in Conrail blau. Habe auch ein Video gemacht.

Then, coming the other way was this manifest pulled by two Canadian Pacific units. The first picture is by my friend Scott.

Aus der anderen Richtung kam dann dieser gemischte Zug angeführt von diesen zwei Canadian Pacific Loks. Das erste Bild stammt von meinem Kollegen Scott.

After hanging out at the CP/NS yard we came by the New York Susquehanna and Western yard where there was no action but some engines, including the black SD-40. Pics by my friend Scott.

Nachdem wir einige Stunden dort verbrachten fuhren wir zu den New York Susquehanna and Western Anlagen wo nichts los war, aber wir einige geparkte Loks sehen konnten. Mit dabei diese schwarze SD-40. Bilder stammen von meinem Kollegen Scott.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Great New York State Model Train Fair" in Syracuse

November 1-2 featured an appearance with the Central New York Chapter of European Train Enthusiasts at the "Great New York State Model Train Fair" in Syracuse. Despite the gorgeous weather we had good crowds and interactions with the public. The overall show layout was different making our Center of Progress Building seem more open (empty) but the extra space allowed for better visitor movements. Below are some videos of our modules at the show including a round trip on the Bend Track based modular layout. Descriptions of our family's modules can be found here.

Diagram of the overall layout

Follow the ore train pulled by a DB class 220 on a tour of the modular layout. Modules are (in order)by Mike Nataluk, Sofia Verheyen (game farm), Hope Kuniholm (abandoned quarry end loop), Sofia, Mike Nataluk, Peter Verheyen (2, incl end loop), Mike Nataluk ("T"), Brian Hilgenberg (Hauptbahnhof), Mike Heines (90 degree corner), Gordon Davis (split scene), Charles Grover, Tom Lynch (end loop), and back down.

A tour of Gordon's, Charlie's, and Tom's modules.

Sofia's module from both sides. The module depicts a game farm and playground. Sofia built it early this year at the age of 10 with very minimal assistance from papa (laying track, the fence around the deer, and some of the playground details). She's enjoyed sharing it with her peers.

The DB class BR65 pushing a local headed by a mitteleinsteigswagen and followed by four 3-axle umbauwagen, all of post-war construction. The steam engine in the back was controlled via the Hagenuk telegraphic system, much as on ships...

An eye-level shot of the ore train heading along my modules by going through an underpass before crossing the bridge and finally disappearing under the end loop. A DR class 175 diesel railcar comes towards the viewer. This was the pride of the DDR's fleet.

Final picture of the ore train and a TEE heading around my modules with a very tired Sofia sitting on her mother's lap.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Minoa end of the East Syracuse CSX yard

Decided to try out some new venues for train-spotting in the Syracuse area and discovered the pedestrian overpass at the Minoa end of the East Syracuse CSX yard. Nice view of the trains even if through a chain link fence. The warm air from the diesels was also welcome on this chilly day. Foliage is past peak, but still nice.

Hatte Lust mir mal an einem anderen Ort Züge in der Syracuse gegend anzuschauen und entdeckete die Fußgängerbrücke in Minoa am östlichen Ende des CSX Rangierbahnhofs in East Syracuse. Guter Blick auf die Züge wennauch durch einen Zaun. Die warmen Abgase von den Loks waren auch gut an diesem kühlen herbst Tag. Die Herbstfarben klingen ab, sind aber noch schön.

Location of pedestrian bridge | Ort der Fußgängerbrücke

Stacktrain heading east | Containerzug nach Osten raus fahrend

The same train on the other side of the overpass | Der selbe Zug auf der anderen Seite der Brücke

West-bound manifest freight | Gemischter Güterzug in westlicher Richtung

Eastbound UP manifest freight in East Syracuse | Gemischter Güterzug in östlicher Richtung mit Union Pacific Loks

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Choo Choo's End

As a bookbinder, model railroader, and lover of children's books focused on railroads, Virginia Lee Burton's Choo Choo is a natural to bind or interpret. It was also begging me to create an artist's book based on it. In the book, Choo Choo bored by his hum-drum life of pulling locals makes a run for, loses his tender, and runs out of steam in the dark woods. In "Thomas" speak, he was not a helpful engine that day. As luck, and fate would have it, he is saved by the big, bad streamliner in the form of a stylized Union Pacific M10000 who pulls him out backwards. Though mending his ways, Choo Choo will inevitably be rendered obsolete by the streamliner.

The structure of the book is called a flagbook and while not really my bag, a lot of fun to view and handle. The image for the interior was found online thanks to the help of some friendly ferroequinologists and that on the covers was taken from the book. Overall, in terms of "finish" a passable prototype...

A fun project and one I have owed my friend Karen for some time. She makes fantastic use of the structure.

Two other examples of combining bookbinding/book arts and trains are the bindings on Carsten Ramcke's A Christmas Tale, and Other Short Stories, a compilation of some of his Märklin / railroad short stories.


I really need to do more of this...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Playing with the Modules

In preparation of our club's work-session and open-house next weekend, I decided to set up our modules in the living room and run some trains. Highpoint was being to run my ore train (15 cars) and the BR65, all models I had been waiting for for a very long time. It's been a lot of fun to watch them. It's been a lot of fun to watch them endlessly going in circles.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Baseball in Syracuse

Went to a Syracuse Chiefs yesterday (Sunday) even though I'm not a big baseball fan. They even have a steam loco in their logo and an engineer as a mascot. As I said, I'm not a big baseball fan, but the tickets were free, my daughter brought a friend the the stadium is right by the main CSX east-west line here in Syracuse, NY. About a 1/4 mile west of the stadium a line down from Canada merges into the mainline in an 18" h0 radius turn. Very tight and they go real slow. Although the line is CSX one can also see engines from other lines such as UP, BNSF, and NS. During the 2.5 hours of the night game (Syracuse won 5-4 after a homer with one on in the bottom of the 9th) 13 trains with an average car number of 90 passed by. Lots of stacktrains and intermodals but also two Amtraks and a few mixed freights. The view from the stadium, behind the visiting team dugout is best, allowed for slightly less than the length of a Dash-9 between the trees, not a lot. Distance to the tracks from our seats was about 450'. Pics were taken with a 2.1 megapixel... Here an overview via Google Earth.

Bin gestern (Sonntag) zu einem Baseballspiel der Syracuse Chiefs gegangen... Haben sogar eine Dampflok im Logo und einen Engineer als Maskot. Baseball mag ich eigentlich nicht so, aber die Karten bekammen wir gratis, meine Tochter hatte einen Freund dabei, und das Stadion ist direkt am Bahndamm von der CSX Ost-West Hauptstrecke in Syracuse, New York. Ca. ein halber Km westlich (von links im Bild, sieht Ansicht unten) mündet das Gleis von Kanada in einer Märklin R1 Kurve in die Hauptstrecke. Obwohl CSX sieht man dort auch Loks vieler anderer Firmen, z.B. Union Pacific, BNSF, und NS. In den 2.5 Stunden die das Spiel dauerte (Syracuse gewann im 9. dank eines Homeruns 5-4) fuhren 13 Züge dabei. Durchschnitts Zuglänge war um die 90 Wagen, viele Stacktrains und Intermodal, aber auch 2 Amtrak und Sonstiges. Das Blickfeld vom Gleis hatte ganz knapp die Länge einer Lok, was Aufnahmen erschwerte. Distance von meinem Platz zum Gleis, ca 150+ Meter. Kamera ist eine kleine Olympus mit 2.1 Megapixels. Hier mal eine Übersicht mit Google Earth.

In the image below the train on the left is eastbound, train on the right westbound.
What a lucky shot!

Der Zug unten links kommt vom Westen, der von rechts von Osten. Glück gehabt!

Two videos. The speed of the game was synchronized to that of the trains!

Zwei Videos. Das Spiel hat sich dem Tempo der Züge angepaßt!

The regional farmers' market is also directly by the tracks, next to the stadium. Hard to get a clear view of the tracks, but lots of action.

Der Wochenmarkt ist auch direkt am Bahndamm, neben dem Stadion... Hier ist es wirklich schwer klare Sicht vom Gleis zu haben.

Werde demnächst noch ein Spiel fest einplanen.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

A weathering challenge...

"The -best- weathering is subtle. But then again it's not only how you weather (materials/tools/techniques) but what you are weathering. Here are a few examples: A BR44 at the end of epoch 3, DB, a work horse, is a lok I weathered heavy, not last legs, but not run thru the 'lok-wash' :-) BR10, very little, it was still a flagship at that time for the DB and well taken care of. The running gear of a dampflok was dirty, so that is were most of the weathering applied. One can also consider the era, where as 1-2 epoch loks were will taken care of, still, coal, grease, water, oil, and the weather had some effect. Even an e-lok is going to have dirty boogies and carbon on the roofs. If modeling epoch 4 dampfloks,... well you can go to town!" Sent to the Märklin Bar and Grill by Dr. Dirt, aka Kevin Brady, May 27, 2008.

Inspired by Dr. Dirt, went to work on my BR 44, epoch 3 markings, but at the end of that or early epoch 4, not yet with the DB signet, missing smoke deflectors and perhaps close to retirement... In looking at the picture I see some spots I want to touch up, mainly the wheels. For some images of steamers during that period go here.

Also my BR 10 001, at then end of epoch 3 or very early 4, perhaps sensing that it would soon be replaced by an 110 electric or 220 diesel in 1968... Images of the BR10 002 in 1967 , and in 1968 and 1972, the year of it's demise... This was years before the engine they were supposed to replace, the BR 01.

There were only two of these "black swans" built. 10 001 survived and can now be viewed at the Deutsches Dampflok Museum, DDM in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg, Germany.

Monday, May 26, 2008

More weathering

Kept going by weathering the Roco BR114 DR (Ost) and immediately ran into trouble that I may yet be able to get out of unscathed... While the Dullcote I had diluted caused no problems with the Brawa engine, it did cause the paint on the Roco to run, including in the area of the markings on the side of the cab... Once dry, a hair dryer helped stabilize things fast, I continued weathering, the alcohol wash being ok. Overall, the engine looks good, and while I had not intended to use the brass etched plates, they will get applied now in place of the smudged markings... Pictures of that when I have them on. In the meantime I learned a high-stakes lesson about testing in an inconspicuous spot (like the inside) first...

Not one to be deterred, I immediately grabbed another engine off the layout, this one a Märklin BR38 DB and proceeded to weather. First the Dullcote, then only very selective alcohol washes with a fine brush, then the powdered pigments. The wheels and undercarriage got a diluted wash of india ink. Goal here was not to overdo it.



Finished it off by adding real coal to the tender.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Clean up and filth...

After having the HVAC ductwork cleaned in the house (and not having done any maintenance in 6 months or so) the layout was a complete mess with dust and dirt everywhere. It was so bad the trains wouldn't run, and that's with the supposedly utterly reliable "3-rail" AC Märklin... As usually happens, the true extent of the mess was discovered when company wanted to see trains run... So, got to spend a whole weekend blowing and vacuuming dirt up and cleaning track. Then cleaning all the stock on the layout as well... Next time the ducts get cleaned, the layout gets covered, despite the contractors assurances. This was not the kind of weathering I had in mind!

To preserve my librarian's pallor I left the sunshine of this Memorial Day weekend and headed into the basement to get back into developing my weathering skills and trying something new. To raise the stakes I selected my nice and shiny Brawa BR 132 of the DR (Ost), a beast of a Russian built diesel-electric. The plan was to create a faded dirty appearance like that below taken in the early 1990s after DB and DR had merged into the DBAG. The DR had plenty of engines in that state though too. Notice how clean the windows are, even on the sides.

Here's a view of the canvas... I do not want as intense a fading as in the prototype image above, but do want to show that this is an engine in heavy use with less than exemplary maintenance.

First I removed the shell and all windows. Then I brushed on dilute Dullcote (1:3) and when that was dry gave it a wash of 90% isopropyl alcohol to create the faded effect. When the shell was dry I began working on the sides first with some soot weathering powder, then in some areas a little darker gray. The roof received the same treatment. The bogies received a wash of the dilute Dullcote and when dry a wash of black india ink with a touch of burnt umber ink in alcohol. Finally some dark rust was lightly applied. Finally, everything was put back together. My windows are clean too, just like the prototype.

Next up, a way too shiny Roco BR 114 of the DR (Ost).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Want to show a major industry but don't have the space?

Want to show a major industry but don't have the space? Coal mining is one of the favorite industries to model on a railroad by providing plenty of excuses for long unit trains pulled by BR44s, 221s, 120s, and 132s (the latter two being DR-East). To accurately model a major active coal mine like those that existed all over the industrial Ruhr, the Saar, the area around Aachen, or in the Braunkohlenrevier of the DDR would require huge amounts of space. However, what about modeling a coal mine that has closed either because it was no longer profitable or simply because it was time to follow the coal seams in another direction.

Roland Keller posted a great series of images from the Alsdorf region around Aachen in far western Germany. In response to a question regarding time frame and suitability for modeling, he responded saying that the mines in this region started migrating north even before WW II leaving behind the mine heads and various outbuildings required for ventilation and pumping out the groundwater after closing. The first major zechensterben (mine deaths) in Germany occurred in 1958, then again around 1962. The imagery would remain similar, with few abandoned structures remaining, and nature reclaiming the rest very quickly. The process would repeat itself again and again into the current time. The series of images continued here, and here. Another amazing series of the mine operations in this region by Martin Welzel can be seen here.

This would be fairly easy to compress into a smaller area or the background with trains rushing by in the foreground... Finally an prototypical use for the small Faller mine head... Maybe I wasn't "that far" off base when I placed mine... ;-) (These mines were very often in urban areas).

The first photo above is from Roland Keller's series in the Historische Bahn forum of Drehscheibe Online. The series can be viewed at:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My First Entry: Introduction based on activities of the past few years

Over the past 18 or so months, the N-scale module project based on a variation of Bend Track has utterly dominated my/our modeling time at the expense of the H0 layout. Cleaning the dirt from a recent HVAC duct-cleaning off the layout revealed just how much it has been languishing despite being fired up once a week or so... The N-scale project was something we got into as a ETE CNY Chapter project. I had initially thought "one module, and that's it." Well, then my wife (and end module at that) and daughter both decided that they wanted to build one, too. Well, guess that meant I needed to build another end module so that we could run the trains we had mysteriously acquired in the interim. Amazing how that happens... You can read all about our module project here. Anyway, the modules will likely be the dominant feature at shows for the foreseeable future, but my efforts will go back to the H0 layout. Still lots to (re)do there. Otherwise it'd be boring. Below is a Google Earth (TM) view of our family modules.

View of my end module with Sofia's ghost (rather long exposure with no flash)

Links to images of my/our main layouts and information about the Central New York Chapter of European Train Enthusiasts can be found at left. Participating at train shows in the Central New York region is a big part of what we do as a family, as well as being something we enjoy. In the recent past that has been with our n-scale modules, the last show having been the Finger Lakes Railfair in Ithaca, a show we fear will close for good. We've also brought an H0 scale switching puzzle and small z-scale layout to past shows, both being very popular with the younger set. Below some pictures of those.