[LVLC] New Logcars (part 2)

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 21 May 2019 (Comments Closed)

Let’s continue with the logcars. Unfortunately, I forget to make pictures of the assembling part.

The couplers are screwed to pieces of thin plywood together with the cover plate from brass. This sub-assembly is glued into the pockets at the end of the center beam. the log bunks are also glued into place. all wooden parts were stained with thinned acrylic paint.

Once the glue is dry, the remaining hardware is installed with nails or Ozark-NBWs. The brake wheel and ratched were Ozark parts as well. With the trucks in place, the first car was ready to form a 6-car test train with caboose, freight car and Shay. The train-length looks plausible and will fit very well to my layout.

The following evenings, I assembled the other six cars. Still missing is the airbrush-weathering, which will be done some day in the future. With all new cars finished, I ran the first 12-car-train with Shay #6. Looks pretty cool in the long S-kurve.


[LVLC] More Logcars (part 1)

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 with 2 Comments


since the exhibition in Lille has passed, I’m back on my garden railroads. When I introduced my 3-truck Shays some while ago, I noted the need of mode skeleton log cars to run longer trains.

I spend a lot of thinking, using the same pattern from the first cars, or a different one. Finally I decided to make a new pattern based on cars build by Pacific Car & Foundry. The basic dimensions are the same, so I can run all cars together. As I already had 5 cars, I started a new batch of 7 to get a total of 12 cars. This allows two trains of 6 cars, which will fit into the runaround loop at Ronja Springs together with a Shay, caboose and freight car.

As usual, I used bulk-production and made all parts for all 7 cars at the same time/setting.

I first cut pieces from brass sheet for the coupler covers and trusses. Once the edges were cleaned with a file, I clamped a steel angle to the milling machine, aligned it properly and dialed it in relation to the spindle. Now I can simple drill the pilot holes with a center-drill by using the absolute coordinates from the center of the angle. The workpieces are simple exchanged and are aligned by the angle. So it’s very fast and easy to drill repetitive holes in multiple work pieces.

The cover plates above the couplers got some nails and screws added. They are soldered from the back side and filed flush afterwards. The short pieces of rail will become the stop blocks on the log bunks.

The timbers were cut on my table saw from scrap wood and finished on the band saw. the pockets at the ends will hold the Kadee-couplers.

The first setup gives a feeling for the new series of log cars. I still had some more Kadee archbar trucks and couplers on backorder. Once all parts are collected, I’ll start with the final assembly of the cars.

[WBE] “Trainsmania 2019” in Lille

Posted by Gerd on Wednesday, 8 May 2019 with 8 Comments

Hello folks,

a year ago, my friend Bernd was invited to attend the model train exhibition “Trainsmania 2019” in Lille, France. The invitation came from Francois Fontana, head editor of the “Voie Libre” narrow gauge model railroad magazine.

Such an invitation can’t be denied, so Bernd and I started to France last week to show our Hon30-layouts at the exhibition in Lille. The “Trainsmania” is a medium-sized model train show, but had several wonderful layouts and especially lot’s of dealers with small detail parts, laser kits and others. Also on the market stands, there were several exquisite brass models and kits available. And the candy stand with white nougat was also very tempting ;-)

As we traveled to Lille on Thursday, we had set up the whole layout the same day to be prepared for the opening on Friday. As Bernd had his new station “Espagnac” fitted between our layouts, we changed the wiring to use Espagnac as Interchange station between our layouts and power-sections. This resulted in a great layout for switching, operation and the fun of train runs.

We were very surprised by the popularity of our layout at the show on both sides, the visitors as well as the other exhibitors. Even the language-issue, I for myself don’t speak French and Bernd only a little, was no big problem, as we were able to chat in English or German and we met many nice people.

Bernd created a special “show-module” with an acrylic glass plate on top, a Peco turnout, our standard turnout mechanism and the plug/socket connectors installed, which was perfect to show the techniques even without any words.

At the end of the show, Mr. Fontana took photos for an article in the Voie Libre.

Finally, we had a great weekend and model train show. It was so much fun to operate our layout and it’s a good feeling to get so much feedback

On the way back home, we discussed some ideas for future events like higher tables for better sight and especially some solution for proper lighting. There were also some ideas for future layouts.

[MLC] Equipment Flatcar & Boxcar

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 30 April 2019 with 1 Comment


here’s part 3 of the rolling stock rebuilt. First I ripped down my old tool & work car. The shack and open workbench got scrapped, while the detail parts got sorted. Those that are still useful and matching to the new scale got stored or added to the caboose interior. The new”Supply & Equpiment Flatcar” will be used to haul logging equipment for log loading and others.

Afterwards, I took care of the boxcar i.e. camp & crew car. The photos above are showing the car as it was before the work started. My first plan was to cut off 35mm at the top of the side walls as I did on the caboose. But I came to close to the windows and had to replace them as well, which started to become very difficult. I also had to rebuilt the small section above the door, which made the whole job much more complicated. Best would be to cut at the lower end, but the floor from plywood is screwed and glued to the side walls and the boards on the outside are longer to cover half of the frame below.

Finally I decided to go the more complicated “easy” way and removed the whole body from the chassis. The chassis got an all new planking from boards I cut years ago for my new BCL&RR flatcars which never got built.

Back on the boxcar body itself, I placed new nails at the lower portion of the boards and lined out the cutting lines all around. I used my circular saw for the cutting, which worked perfect. I added some enforcement braces across the door area to secure the wiggle section above the doors.

Since the car now features a detailed floor, I decided to spend some attention to the plain plywood walls on the inside as well. I painted bord-joints with a pencil and hot-glued thin stripes in place to represent the timber-framework.

Once the car body was mounted on the flatcar, I cut off the doors as well and reinstalled them with all the hardware. Ad on the previous rebuilds, the car now looks longer and wider, just perfect for a 24′ long 3′ gauge boxcar.

By now, the car has no further interior, as I use it regularly to hold all the steam-up equipment on meets & events. But with the new details inside, it’s a pleasure to run the car with open doors..

Cheers, Gerd

[MLC] Rebuild of caboose #7 to 1:7-scale

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 (Comments Closed)

And on we go….

the last week, I rebuild caboose #7 to the new scale of my 5″-gauge trains. When I build this caboose for my Bear Creek Lumber & Railroad, I had the unusual 4-wheel cabooses of the Uintah Railway in mind.

So the tiny and low placed windows are coming from the Uintah design. When I removed the copula during the last rebuild, I had plans to enlarge the windows on the top, but finally I didn’t. I was just to lazy for this additional rebuild. Finally, this will now turn into a benefit…

First I removed most of the interior before I started the rebuilt. The wooden strips on the outside are simply nailed in place, so it’s easy to lift them off for changes. I replaced the original fake doors with new ones in 1:7 scale.

The center photo above shows the cutting line. The black marker line is only for the photo, there’s a true pencil line for exact cutting below. The whole caboose got reduced in height by 2.16 inches.

Once the side walls were cut down, the roof immediately fits into place as before. As on the Shay, the model of the caboose has well won in “mass” while losing the “toy-character”.

I topped up the paint as necessary and started to reinstall the interior. I added some parts from the work caboose as well, as the work caboose will be rebuilt into an equipment flatcar later. As before, the caboose features interior lightning, but I didn’t reinstall the red lanterns yet. I’m looking for a new solution for the end-of-train marker light.

At the entrance to this post, I mentioned that I skipped the rebuilt of the windows last time… As we see today, this was a very good decision. One could even think, that there was some subliminal inspiration somewhere in my back head, that one day, I would switch scale as I do right now… Remember, the Shay finally was also a very simple rebuilt…

Last week I also evaluated the existing 20′ logging flatcars, which will perfectly fit as 22’6″ flatcars for the new scale of 1:7 without changes.

Next project will be the camp & box car, which might be a bit more difficult.

[MLC] Shay – Re-gaugeing the other way

Posted by Gerd on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 with 2 Comments


after I checked my other 5″-gauge rolling stock for useability in 1:7 scale as well (and they will look great, promised), I couldn’t wait to get the re-gaugeing started. Usually, re-gaugeing means the change of wheel-gauge on a loco, but in my case, I just cut the cab down to change the scale, which will transform my “out of scale” 30″-gauge 1:6-Shay into a “plausible scaled” 3’gauge 1:7-Shay.

Since the height of the armrest was already correct, I just head to lower the roof of the cab. So I removed the cab from the loco and spend a visit on the table saw. The rood was then mounted to the base with stripes of flat steel bar and screws.

The front windows got resized as well. The window on the engineers side more than on the fireman side. The photo below is missing the window frames and glass, which got installed later.

To fit the cab back to the loco, I had to do just some small changes. The pressure gauge was relocated, the bell rope was switched to the engineers side and the fake whistle at the cab got relocated. Last important detail were the half-size windows on the side of the cab.

And there she is, my “new” Shay in 1:7.2n3 scale. And I’m very happy/proud with the result.

Next I’ll re-scale the logging caboose. Photos and report will come the next week.

Cheers, Gerd

[MLC] Measuring and calculating on my Shay

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 16 April 2019 (Comments Closed)

Hello my friends,

when I looked at photos of my 2″-scaled live steam Shay in the past month, I interfered with the proportions of my loco, compared to typical Shay locos. To match the already existing rolling stock of my railroad, I build the Shay in 1:6-scale, as my back-in-time Bear Creek Lumber & Railroad was designed as a 30″-gauge railroad

As reference for my loco, I used plans published by Al Armitage in Nov/Dec 1988 issue of the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette. These plans were showing a freelance 3′ gauge 14ton T-boiler Shay, based on typical Shay-components. On such smaller Shay designs, the basic dimensions and proportions were mostly the same, equal for which gauge they were build, especially on gauges between 24″ and 36″. This allowed the company to use standard parts for most of their locos. This means, a 30″-gauge loco in 1:6 scaled should have a length of frame of 125cm (49.2″). Due to different reasons, my loco was built with a frame of 100cm (39.4″) length.

As I’ve long-term and deep interests in Shays, I may see proportional differences much more difficult as others. And of course, Lima in Ohio build Shays to nearly each size by customer request. But my Shay couldn’t convince me in her toy-like appearance, compared to “real” Shays.

A few days ago, I got the mentioned issue of the NG&SL gazette into my hands and found the drawings. I did some measuring and calculation, until I cam to the result of “7”. Within a few micro-seconds, this result started a chain-reaction.

I immediately opened an Excel sheet and entered some typical dimensions and proportions from the plan and the same from my Shay model (column MLC). The block in the center shows the prototype dimensions related to the scale of 1:6 and Excel calculated the matching with my loco in percent. I did two columns for different tolerances (10% vs. 5%).

Next I did the same (right block) but related to a model in 1:7 scale, representing a 3′-gauge prototype. The correct scale should be 1:7.2, but for the first overview, this would be enough. As the Excel shows clearly, my loco has much more common with a 1:7 scale Shay than with a 1:6 scaled Shay.

So if I would cut down the cab by 4cm (1.6″), what would my loco look like in the smaller scale? Fastest way to get a first idea was Photoshop…


On the left, my loco as build in 1:6 scale. At the right the same loco with lowered cab roof to represent a 3′-gauge loco in 1:7.2 scale. The first look might be strange for some of you, but for me, this looks exactly as a Shay should look like, which ich working hard in the woods on step grades and handling heavy log loads.

And it took less than 24h from the initial idea, to the first result. But that’s a post for tomorrow…

[Exhibition] Trainsmania in Lille (France) May 3rd to 5th 2019

Posted by Gerd on Saturday, 13 April 2019 (Comments Closed)

Hello friends,

here’s a quick reminder. My Hon30 modular logging railroad “Waldbahn Eusserthal” will be on exhibition during the “Trainsmania” in Lille, France from May 3rd to 5th 2019. As before, Bernd Irion will join me with his layout Waldbahn “Grand Rommelstein” as he did last year.

Read more…

[Garden Railroad] Grass is growing at Ronja Springs

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 9 April 2019 with 1 Comment

Hello folks,

since I missed to post an update last week, here’s the latest progress on my garden Railroad.

Last year, I did some experiments with some cheap artificial grass on my layout which was not the beet one. This year, I found a new material with nice grasses which looked much more promising. So I overhauled the area at the water tower and I was very impressed by the result.

Finally I ordered some more of the same stuff and added it all over the station area. I added some more sand stones here and there as well a pile of rails and some sticks. Maybe I’ll use the same technique for the grade to the upper meadow.

The grass border has to additional functions. Dirt and gravel will no longer be washed away by rain, but the integrated drainage let water run of the baseboard.

Step by step, Ronja Springs turns into a well detailed “outdoor shelf layout” just as it was in my imagination when started with the project ;-)


[LVLC] Log run with Shay #7

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 with 4 Comments


after some while, I have a new video from my garden railroad for you. New Shay #7 headed out into the woods to haul a load of logs down to the saw mill.

With the new 3-truck Shays in service, it would be great to have more log cars. The capacity of tracks at Ronja Springs allows log trains with up to 10 cars. So it’s time to enlarge the roster by some more log cars, let’s say up to 20 skeletons at all.

Cheers, Gerd