Hixie's Natural Log

2005-04-06 00:40 UTC The ABC Railway: Photos from the early days

So! As I mentioned, I went out and bought some track and rolling stock for my model trains. People have been bugging me for pictures so I had a go at making some using a low-end USB camera I got free with my Dell laptop a few years back.

Oncoming train: Looking down the track at night, two lights stare back at us!

My series Re 421 and series Ae 6/6 electric locomotives: Two beautiful locomotives with powerful lights.

My Re 421 stopped on the yard lead while classifying the Knie train: A solid blue electric locomotive with "cargo" painted on the side, coupled to a flatbed carrying a Knie semi trailer and a brown boxcar.

The Knie train cars have stunning levels of detail.

Freight waiting at the freight yard: My coal truck and my other brown boxcar have lots of detail as well.

My BR 362 Diesel switching engine pulling coal from the a/d track: A short but still very detailed red locomotive coupled to the same coal truck.

Freight in the classification tracks: A short gray hopper and a short brown flatbed, a depressed well flat car with semi truck trailer, a gray flatbed, the three Knie cars, and long cars carrying wood cargo.

The wood cargo cars in closeup: You can see accurate lettering down to the car's serial numbers.

My Re 421: Again, beautiful detailing sets this locomotive apart.

The overall layout: Lots of track in the corner of the room.

There are several more pictures if you want to browse.

I'm quite happy with my actual layout, although I really need ten times more room to make it truly usable. I spent a few days during the Easter break studying how to make a decent freight yard, and so I was careful to include an arrival/departure track (with its own run-around), an engine services track, a team track, a long yard lead, three classification tracks off the ladder, a repairs-in-place track, and a run-around for the yard lead. There are decoupling tracks in appropriate places and my switching engine (a short red BR 362 diesel) has telex decouplers so it can decouple anywhere as well.

In addition I have three "towns": Avon, Bath, and Cuba. They are connected by a two-track mainline.

Cuba is a small end-of-line station with its own small classification yard. It has an a/d track, a yard lead, a run-around, engine services, and two classification tracks, but the whole thing is much more compactly built than the main yard and doesn't have a dedicated switching engine. (At least, not yet.)

Avon is simply a two-siding affair. It's very primitive, to the point where if you go into the first siding when you arrive, you actually have to pull back out into the main, then reverse back into the second siding, then reverse again to leave the station. I'm not expecting that siding to get much use.

Bath is built from the remnants of the pieces of track and points I had after building the yard, Avon, and Cuba, and frankly bears more resemblance to John Allen's Timesaver puzzle layout than to anything you'd find in the real world. It's also mostly built out of curved track, which makes coupling with freight there a real pain.

All the points (turnouts) as well as all the locomotives have built-in digital decoders, so I can control the entire layout via a computer interface. I've set up a little Web-based application to run my trains, it's pretty sweet. I'll talk more about that some other day, though.

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