Sunday, October 09, 2005

Train Room

If you happen to peruse any issue of Model Railroader or similiar magazine you're greeted with featured layouts belonging to lucky modelers from various parts of the country often with one very important thing in common, a large basement. This is something not often found in modern houses built in Northern California. Here you are more likely to see part of a garage that has been converted into a train room. Neither option was open to me and having been given my allotment of personal space which became a library that left me little choice for a location for my future pike. For the last few years I thought my dream would have to wait until which time I could afford a vacation house. One day while sitting in my library the thought came to me that I could build a decent layout on top of one of my bookcase as long as the blinds stayed closed and the sun wasn't allowed to melt all of my buildings. With this small caveat in hand I struck out to design my modellbahn. The following pictures show the state of my library a couple of years ago. Since then I have added more books as well as bookcase but still there is a location next to the window where I plan on building my layout.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Motive Power - Serie Ae 8/14 (SBB)

Prototype: Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) class Ae 8/14. (1´A)A1A(A1´)+ (1´A)A1A(A1´)wheel arrangement, built starting in 1931.

Use: Heavy freight trains on the Gotthard route. Model: Era IV.

The rail lines in Switzerland with their grades, tunnels, bridges, and curves are a special challenge for the locomotives that travel over them. Mastering the 240 kilometer / 150 mile Gotthard line in particular demanded extraordinarily powerful locomotives over the years. A freight locomotive, the Crocodile, became famous on this line. The largest and most powerful locomotives were however the three class Ae 8/14 electric locomotives. They were developed in the 1930s just for the demanding requirements of this steeply graded line. Each of these double locomotives had a weight of 240 metric tons. The 8 traction motors for the locomotive gave a starting tractive effort of 50 metric tons and an hourly output of 7,500 horsepower that was transmitted by the proven Buchli drive system from the Ae 4/7.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Vintage Railroad Posters

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Motive Power - Rail Car of the K.P.E.V.

Prototype: Powered rail car train 833/834 of the K.P.E.V. wheel arrangement 0-4-2 + B-2 + 0-4-2, built starting 1914.

Use: Main lines and branch lines, in part with additional passenger or freight cars.

Model: Era I, with digital connector, motor with flywheel, with close coupling between the units, 2 powered axles, 4 traction tires. Length over buffers 267 mm / 10-1/2”.

From Nieder Salzbrunn to Halbstadt In Silesia the constantly increasing number of passengers at the end of the Kaiser era could no longer be handled with the standard trains for the period. Consequently the KPEV procured a total of six three-part powered rail car trains in 1914, which were designed for the special line characteristics of numerous grades and narrow radii. The trains, which were initially designated as E.T. 501-506 had a striking visual design, which was based on the usual passenger train car of the time with fanlights, solebar truss, and recessed doors. The motor car positioned in the middle between the two cab control cars, guaranteed good running characteristics, even in particularly narrow and curving sections of the line.

Motive Power - Electric loco of the DB, class 194

During the thirties of the 20th century, the development of the electric loco made several large strides, in particular, with the new classes E 18, E 44 and E 93 modern locomotives were now available which were powerful and yet low-maintenance. The more powerful version of the E 93, represents one of the most famous locos of the German electric loco history – the E 94 was born. As opposed to the most famous E 93, the new loco was required to produce a top speed of 90 km/h at the same rate of perfomance. This meant an overall improvement of 30 per cent increased motive power would be necessary. On the 22nd November 1937, the makers AEG received a development and delivery contract for the newly titled E 94 loco from the Reichsbahn, to be made to fulfil the following running programme: 600 t at 50 km/h on a 25 Promille gradient • 1.000 t at 50 km/h on a 16 Promille gradient • 1.600 t at 40 km/h on a 10 Promille gradient and 2000 t at 85 km/h on the flat. Because of its top speed of 90 km/h the loco could be used on many more duties, thus permitting its use on express trains and fast goods as well as its basic duty of heavy goods hauage. July 1988 saw the DB getting rid of the last German "crocodile" (now: BR 194) whereas the DR (East) their service was ended at the end of 1991.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Welcome to Schwarzburg Modellbahn, an N Scale digital layout based on a medium sized town in Southern Germany. The actual layout is located in Union City, California. Why model German prototype you may ask? The short answer is that after living in Germany for four years courtesy of the United States Army I developed a deep affection for all things German, particularly their model railroads. So when I decided to build my own layout it wasn't a question of what I would model but rather what scale would I select. Because of my limited space the choice was between N or Z. While I love Marklin I didn't want to limit myself to one company and when I first started with N there was Arnold, Roco, Fleischmann and Minitrix. Unfortunately that selection has shrunk to Fleischmann and Minitrix. The space I mentioned is in my library on top of one of my bookcases. The dimensions of the layout is approximately 30" X 90" in the shape of a dog bone, the narrowest part being 15". Control is supplied by Fleischmann's Twin-Centre DCC system with some Viessmann and Uhlenbrock thrown in for good measure. The current status of my layout is that I have purchased most of the track and associated components and will shortly commence on the building of the benchwork that will be placed on top of the bookshelf.