About the blog

This rambling blog is about building a couple of simple layouts in HO, the available space is rather small but the prototype was not built on the grand scale, most stations were merely a curved loop and a siding.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Practical modelling - 2

The old fiddle yard has been replaced with a six track system - enough for my needs, there will be a view block and a some sidings in the foreground. Unfortunately, I have exhausted the stock of Posidrive screws and tracklaying has ceased - two hundred screws have been used and another fifty are needed to complete the job.


 All turnout motors will be surface mounted for easy maintenance, just like the example below.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Bavarian peat burning locos

The use of peat on the Bavarian railways.

 Bavarian is not a coal bearing region, consequently the Bavarian railways used, at least in the southern part of the state, peat to replace coal in some of its locomotives from the mid-nineteenth century until around 1875, when it was abandoned due to high production and personnel costs. Peat is a product that is obtained directly in wetlands and wetlands, composed of a mixture of plant detritus in the process of becoming charcoal, with a carbon content of 60% in the best of cases, and with a high humidity degree (90%). For its use as fuel the peat must lose that moisture, so it undergoes a process of drying and compaction, presenting itself for its final use in the form of small bricks or "briquettes". Peat bogs are abundant in some areas of Bavaria, however the use of peat was ultimately unsuccessful due to its low calorific value and high processing costs.

In 1845 the engineer Karl Exter developed the first machinery necessary to burn peat, and applied to the locomotives of the line Augsburg and Donauwörth with positive results, consuming the fuel extracted from the then deep peat bogs of Haspelmoor  Advances to produce the "briquettes" in a more effective way were developed by Exter but were excessively expensive and complicated: The Haspelmoor peat processing plant cost 300,000 Marks, with four presses, and Aiblinger's, with only two presses, cost 240,000 Marks. Although the advanced production of peat fuel created wealth, both in industrial development and in generation of labour,  the private K.Bay.Sts.B. and the kingdom of Bavaria could not afford the costs of peat as a fuel. The end of the 80s can be considered as the final date for the use of peat in the Bavarian locomotives, date for which the increasing interconnection of the railway networks between the states allowed the transport of coal from Saxony, Czechoslovakia and the Ruhr area . In addition locomotives like this B VI that we are concerned were replaced by more modern locomotives, which began the beginning of the new century with a less uncertain future than these designs of the mid-nineteenth century.

The B VI "Steinach" of 1866, it is coupled to a three axle TMW. This version of "Steinach" is not the same as that reproduced by Märklin. Photo collection Dr. Scheingrabe.

Another additional cost, no less burdensome, was caused by the way the fuel made its way from the peat processing plants to the locomotive depots. The peat briquettes were very sensitive to moisture, so in all the way they made their final destination should be protected from rain and snow, unlike the coal, which supports fairly well exposure to the weather. Along the main routes in Oberbayern, covered fuel depots were provided, in addition, the loco also hauled a covered wagon (better known by its abbreviations TMW, "TurfMunitionenWagen") that carried the briquettes for their protection from water. For the transfer of fuel from this wagon to the tender of the locomotive was necessary the presence of an operator, which raised the crew of this type of trains to 3 or 4 people: The driver and up to two stokers (one was responsible for the fire, while the other was responsible for collecting the briquettes provided by  the fourth operator who transferred briquettes from the TMW. This substantially increased costs, worsening the railway company's profit margins. Later it was decided to eliminate the TMW by installing high walls and waterproof covers to the tenders, as we can see in some Märklin-Trix models.

BVI Klopstock with peat tender

 TurfMunitionenWagen - TMW

Monday, 27 November 2017

Practical modelling - 1

In May, all the 1:45 track was removed but the scenery remained.

The trackbed was thoroughly steam cleaned and all rough surfaces prepared with a powerful industrial sander.

Today, the last piece of track was laid and now the turnout motors must be installed, wired and tested. O Gauge steel track template were used to ensure smooth curves, no curves less than 1,2m, the average radius is 1,5m. The concept is small trains with big curves should result in perfection.

To secure the track during construction #6 18mm Posidrive screws are used, once the track is tested, it will be painted, ballasted and then the Posidrive screws will be removed.