I just returned from a quick trip to Europe where I attended the 20th anniversary meeting of FREMO Netherlands. It was the largest meeting that I’ve ever attended and featured hundreds of modules and over a kilometer of track. The H0 Europa layout reached from Scandinavia all the way to the Alpine nations of Switzerland and Austria.
There were plenty of opportunities to operate trains – everything from little commuter rail buses in Norway to international express trains on the double-track mainline running from Denmark to Switzerland to mixed freight trains on a private branch line.
Check out some of the sights that I caught along the way:
H0 Europa Layout (click to enlarge)
FREMO USA, americaN, 0e/0m, 1:32 scale layouts
Steam engines in Thorshaug, Norway
Shunting in Steinhorst, Denmark
Rail bus waiting for service in Grimstad, Norway
The last VT25 from Arendal arrives in Grimstad at dusk
My favorite scene complete with express train at Vatnamot mountain in Norway
Freight train on its way from Hullebua to Krasnes, Norway ...
... passing a farm in Stussustuen ...
... gaining speed in Korsnes ...
... waiting for a green light near Sandnes, Norway
V65 ready for duty in the petroleum plant Rheinshagen, Germany
German workhorses waiting for permission to enter Rothenburg on the double-track mainline
Prototypical control panel in the Michelstadt, Germany fiddle yard
Local commuter train snaking down to Burg am Stausee, Germany
Austrian narrow gauge train in Niederoberzissen
The legendary Swiss "crocodile" peeking out of the shed in Weinfelden-Wildegg
Swiss Rhb 213 picking up transport wagons in Bietingen
Unit coal train and international express train meet in Czech Stará Paka
Micro brewery with its own siding on the FREMO USA layout
View more pictures on Thomas Woditsch’s page
I just returned from a very nice visit to Germany, where I stopped by the 2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 meet. Even though I didn’t run a single train during the operating sessions, it was great to be back, talk shop and catch up with friends and fellow modelers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The modular Proto:87 community seems to be growing quite nicely in Europe and I hope that we US modelers can soon start our own Proto modular system.
An ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg (click to enlarge)
The layout was compact but offered a few interesting features including a short narrow gauge set-up that crossed the standard gauge line on a few dual gauge modules. A completely separate test layout with two fiddle yards allowed for running unfinished projects, locos and cars from other eras/continents including my just completed Penn Central X58.
My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive
The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw was in wide use and seemed to help speed up coupling and uncoupling – otherwise quite tedious tasks, which tend to slow down switching and lead to time-crunches during operating sessions.
The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching
I left the meet inspired to pick up the pace on my modeling projects including a few converted Proto:87 engines. My goal is to help prepare enough era 4 German rolling stock to allow for an operating session with more modern material by 2012.
Below are a few more scenes along the right of way taken with my new DSLR. Enjoy!
Taking a breather on the front porch – a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout
VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach
Missed photo op at a level crossing
A local freight train on the way to Gutach
Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach
The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal
93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn
A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal
This weekend, I went up to Springfield, MA to attend the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show with two friends from college.
I visited Fast Tracks where I said hello to Tim Warris, who was featured in an interview on eisenbahnstudio last December. While I was there, I also picked one of his BullFrog kits which I plan to use to operate the manual turnout on my Fessenheim project.
Next, I stopped by the Rail Yard Models booth where Gene Fusco was holding three Penn Central kits for me. He was very helpful in telling me which one I should put together first and gave me a few tips on what to watch out for when assembling them.
Right around the corner, I got the matching paint, which is sold exclusively by the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society (PCRRHS). Penn Central Green used to be manufactured by Scalecoat but has since been discontinued. The historical society acquired the remaining inventory, which is available for purchase in the Scalecoat I (for wood and metal) and Scalecoat II (for plastic) variety on the PCRRHS website. I will report on the construction of the Rail Yard Model kits and subsequent conversion to PROTO:87 in the coming months.
ExactRail had a big presence and announced that with a full page ad on the back cover of the exhibition guide. I had seen their ads in various publications before and had also visited the website but never saw one of their models in real life – I was in for a treat. The detailing and finishing is superb and the prices very reasonable considering the superior quality of their models. I talked to co-founder John Pestana who passionately shared the history of ExactRail and his vision for the two-year-old company. He plans to make ExactRail the biggest model railroad company in the world and judging by the success of Omniture, one his other ventures which was recently acquired by Adobe, he might just pull it off.
My last notable stop was the North Shore Model Railroad Club where I was able to purchase a few cheap (read $3) undecorated Athearn freight car kits, which I plan to use to develop my airbrushing skills. Let’s see how that goes…
All in all, it was great to be back and it was nice catching up with my college buddies. I didn’t spend much time looking at layouts because many of them had been at the National Train Show last year. Hopefully, there will be a PROTO:87 modular layout on display in Springfield in the not so distant future!
Yesterday, my wife and I took the bus up to Hartford to attend the National Train Show. The trip to Connecticut’s capital was quick on the comfortable Megabus and the drop-off location behind the Wadsworth Atheneum turned out to be very convenient since it is within minutes of the new convention center on the banks of the Connecticut River.
There were a number of exhibition layouts that I had previously seen at the Amherst Railway Society’s annual Railroad Hobby Show, so it didn’t take a lot of time to zone in on colleagues focusing on protoype modeling.
My first notable stop was the booth of North American Railcar Corporation which is producing scale models of modern era Hawker-Siddeley cylindrical covered hopper cars. The workmanship, paint job and level of detail of their models was impressive and I am looking forward to seeing more of their work. When you visit their website, be sure to check out the prototype information page.
Another inspiring display of craftsmanship, was the collection of steam era freight cars by Connecticut-based Speedwitch Media. Along with several magnificent books on prototype modeling, they offer highly detailed resin kits and parts for various types of cars from that era. Even though I am neither modeling steam era nor American prototype, I am itching to get my hands on one of these kits.
Since moving close the site of the former 60th Street Rail Yard in New York City, I have been thinking about modeling an urban freight terminal some time down the road. Seeing Tim Warris’ Central New Jersey Bronx Terminal was therefore the highlight of my visit and is a wonderful encouragement for possible future endeavors. I haven’t seen a layout that offers nearly as much switching fun in such a small space in a long time. The track work is absolutely phenomenal and it ought to be since Tim is a co-founder of Ontario-based Fast Tracks Model Railroad Tools & Supplies. The only thing that I found missing were the tie plates…
While working on my blog recently, I found out that the 2009 NMRA Convention will take place in Hartford, CT this year. This news was particularly exciting for two reasons:
1) Hartford is like my home turf in the States;
2) I don’t have to go very far to attend.
While I am not a NMRA member as of yet, I can at least attend the National Train Show, which is open to the public and takes place the weekend of July 10 – 12, 2009. Along with the usual suspects, there will be a few European exhibitors, i.e., Märklin, ESU and Lenz. I will be sure to post updates and pictures following my visit.