Klausrl’s Weblog

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

009 model railroad

First of, I should explain what OO9 means. OO the scale 1/76 that is 1 inch represents 76. This is the common equivalent of the popular HO in the United Kingdom. HO being 1/87 and OO 1/76 there is a degree of sharing between the scales. People, trees, and buildings from one scale are usable in the other.
OO9 is OO (1/76) scale, but using the 9 millimeter gauge track from the N scale (1/160) manufactures. This results in a workable 2 foot narrow gauge, in the OO scale. Using the chassis from N scale locomotive, the bodies are replaced with 1/76th scale bodies, making a narrow gauge locomotive. There are quite a few good suppliers of kits for the conversions, and some manufactures make some full kits, with running gear.

<>Check out the 009 society web page, they have links to suppliers. Try their web site www.009society.com/ Look around but be sure to check the suppliers at the bottom of the links page.
Currently I’m building a traveling show layout, based on the Ffestiniog Railway, in Wales. This layout started small, but sections keep getting added until now it has grown to a 15X25 foot rectangle. In the style of show layouts, the operation is inside the box, and made to be best viewed from the outside.Taking a train on an imaginary trip from Porthmaddog to Ffestiniog would be a follows:
The Cobb

Leaving the Station at Porthmaddog, the train goes across the Cobb, a six foot long sea wall section. Next is a sharp left turn alongside Boston Lodge, the work shop, locomotive and coach storage areas. This section of the model is being extended slightly to include a scaled down representation of Port Merion, known to some as “The Village” from the spy, sci fi show, The Prisoner.

The Village


After Boston Lodge turn our train runs past Minnffordd. This is the site of the exchange yard with the standard gauge railway.

Penrhyn Level Crossing

Penrhyn Crossing

Mid 1980

After Minnfford there is a bit of forest and the level road crossing at Penrhyn. This is the section where the climb to the mine starts. Also the forest will become a lot more dense at this point. Thanks to a 009 member, John de Frayssinet , I now know that the stems of common sage, makes great trees. So now it looks like I can afford to have a forest that the trains disappear into. My current thinking is that a very dense forest is a good way to hide the points where the sections join together.

Leaving Minnffordd there is some question. Until a week ago the next section was going to be Ddualt, but since a trip to Wales, and a visit to Tan-y-Bwlch (take that spell check), we are thinking of adding a 6 foot section that would include the Tan-y-Bwlch station.

Tan-y-Bwich Station


Next would be the signature work of the new Ffestiniog , Dduallt. Dduallt was where the restoration team had to gain considerable elevation to clear a reservoir that had been built while the railway was inactive. This spiral, one of a kind in the UK is a great photo location, and had to be part of the model. At Dduallt the mainline makes the turn to run across the back of the layout.

At this point things are not yet set in stone, but some type of a festival is going to be going on, just a good excuse for all the odd stuff we can’t justify any other way.

Another turn back toward the front including the mine. At this point there is considerable height to the main, and the slate mine will have plexiglass sides showing the operation in the mine.

Then a hidden spiral will bring the mainline back down to Porthmaddog.

When complete the trains will take a 70 or so foot trip, hopefully creating the feel of actually going somewhere, rather than running in a circle.

The photo below shows the port area framework. Since this photo I’ve completed the 2X6 frame and trackwork for “The Cobb” The tracks have been proven using an N-Gauge locomotive that is larger than any of the 009 locos that will run on the layout.

Porthmadog area

Porthmadog framework

We have decided that rather than staying strictly with Ffestiniog locations, the some scenes will be “visiting” from other railways, such as the Tal-y-Llyn Railway.


December 1, 2007 Posted by | trains | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cars I’ve owned over the years

For some of us, our cars have a special place in our lives. I’m one of those people. For better or worse I like cars.

My first almost doesn’t count only had it for a few weeks before moving on, a 59 Ford Wagon. Bought from a friend that borrowed it back and blew out the trans while he was using it..

The rest, and I’ll add to this as others come to mind.

The 57 Plymouth 2 Door. Bought from my Hi-School bus driver Lee Coates. Great old car and way up on my list of cars I now kick myself for letting go. A blood red 2 dr hardtop with the early version of the 318 motor, and a small 4 barrel carb. While not a quarter mile machine, it would cover freeway miles with ease.

The 60 Plymouth Fury Wagon. This monster, nearly 3 tons of overpowered metal, could tow anything you hooked to the back bumper. With a 361 inch engine, air conditioning, and a back facing seat in the rear, it was possible to put a great number of teenagers in there on $3 a car night at the drive-in. Picked up the nickname Sherman, due to its size.

The Lancer. A 1962 Lancer Wagon. This little grey wagon had an early aluminum slant six. Was a super highway car. Got well over 20 mpg, which in the 60s was about as good as it got. It was quiet, and smooth on the road, and very reliable. If I could find another like it I’d buy it today.

66 Valiants (note the plural) The first one lost in a hard roll over, did prove the strength of the car. Save for a door that came opened and was crushed, the body retained shape well enough that all the glass remained unbroken. Also learned a lot about the value of seat belts that day. Currently have one of these sitting in the garage, when time permits, it’s getting the trans from a 77 Aspen Wagon, overdrive 4 speed. And a bunch of other mods that reflect what I’ve learned over the years.

62 Valiant. This little black Valiant was found at a wrecking yard in Hillsboro, Oregon. In good shape but for a bad engine, the yard pulled the motor and we towed the car home. The first 66 Valiant having been in the above-mentioned rollover, the motor from the 66 was transplanted to the 62. Always seemed heavier than the 66, but that could have been shocks or spring rates, I’m pretty sure they were close to the same weight.

66 Dodge Coronet. This 2 door hardtop was nice, but nothing special. Did have the big chrome center console, but with a 318 2 barrel was never a performer.

67 Coronet. This car originally a 318 car had a 383 installed. Ran like the wind, but the breaking was scary. Rear wheels would lock way before the front breaks were doing anything. This car like many of its day was actually dangerous. Still, when you stomped down on the 383, 4bbl breathing out through a set of headers, and glass pack mufflers, well you would just had to have been there.

1971 Barracuda. Owned for a very short time, traded for the Challenger, never really got to know this car. Nice enough 318 auto car, had the Grand Coupe option group. All I ever found different was a small overhead panel, with a few warning lights in it. OK car but really a Valiant with a fancy body.

The Challenger. Well, what can I say? A 1970 Dodge Challenger 340 4 speed Convertible. This car was Fast, had it to a real 145 mph once. As I found out, at that speed there is enough air under the hood to bend it. Got hood pins the next week, but the hood always carried small marks of that night. This has to top the list of cars I wish I’d kept, really miss that one.

The Van. A 1971 Dodge Maxi-Van. Got this just after buying the Challenger, couldn’t afford it at the time but have kept it for all these years. Had a 318, then a 360 for about 10 years, back to a 318 due to freezing damage to the 360. But someday would like to take it back to a 360. This old van has been a super workhorse over the years. Did decide last year to cut some of the noise. Use an expanding foam around the top of the side wall, in the channel at the edge of the roof. May have been a big mistake as there is now rust where the foam was placed. Got a couple wrecking yards looking for a camper conversion roof, or an old ambulance roof. Always liked the extra headroom, and this looks like a good time to make the change.

Austin Mini. OK rally not owned, I rented this older mini while on vacation in the U.K. during 1980. Basic as a Go-Cart this little car got great mileage , and was a total kick to drive. Haven’t driven one of the new Minis from BMW, I’m sure their great, but for pure driving fun, it would be hard to beat an old Mini.

M.G. Midget. A 73 Midget, bought from a wrecking yard, with a bad trans. Had the trans repaired a enjoyed the heck out of the little car. The memories of the 73 Midget, led to the purchase of one of the current fleet, a 78 Midget. This is a fun little car, although not quite as quick as the 73, it does seem to have more torque than the 73. This car a work in progress should be very nice when we’re done.

The Hondas. Two Honda 600s on a Sedan looking much like an Austin Mini. The other a Coupe kind of a strange looking car. These where good runners, the 32 cubic inch engine a little small by U.S. standards. But they would run down a freeway at 70 all day and would run over 300 miles on a 6-gallon gas tank, and still have a little in reserve. They were small and noisy, handled well, and in a strange way where great fun. Oh, and you could always find a parking spot.

Fiat 124 4 door wagon. This unassuming little box on wheels was roomy and cornered like a go-cart. Would have kept it longer, but a family member not knowing the difference between oil and ATF , put transmission fluid in the crankcase. This was a nice enough little car that if I’d had access to a wrecked 124 Spider the little wagon would have got the engine and 5 speed from one of them. Actually, that is what the Fiat repair shop we sold it to did. Made a nice parts runner for them.

The Volvos. Two in a row, the first a 73 142 was a really nice runner. Handled well was smooth, not American car fast, but held its own. With the Volvo, I had one of those interesting moments. Having decided that I wanted a sunroof to open up the car a bit. I bought a high-quality roof and yes it went in perfectly, but there was that moment, standing by the car power saw in hand, wondering if this is really a good idea. This car was traded for a 71 Wagon because the 73 didn’t have backdoors. The wagon was tired and was always being worked on. Was never really happy with the wagon although to its credit, it did continue to run until it was sideswiped while parked on the street.

1976 Aspen Wagon. Although not a cool car, this Aspen did a great job for me while I had it. Slant six, automatic, it ran well, rode smooth, and had very few problems. Notably one day the power dropped off and it would just barely run. Turned out that the catalytic converter had plugged up. Being a weekend, I just took the converter lose, and jambed a big screwdriver through the ceramic honeycomb. Put everything back together, and forgot about it, until it came time to relicense the car. Turned out it passed the smog test anyway. This was also the site of an interesting look into the mind of a child. While driving my oldest daughter, then 6, home, don’t actually remember what we had been doing that day. We stopped at McDonald’s for some Chicken Nuggets, a big favorite of hers at the time. Well honey being what it is, sort of ran out of the little dipping cup, and all over the front seat. I looked over and commented on this being a real problem, Avrila (my oldest) said while holding up the other cup of honey, “It’s OK daddy, I have another container.”

1993 Dodge Caravan. Pretty basic little mini-van. Notable only for its demise. Got a call at home one Sunday morning that June and the girls had been in an accident. Jumped in the big van, and went to the scene. Some guy, not paying attention had made a left turn, hitting them almost head-on. Hard enough hit that the Caravan and the Chevy Caravan he was driving were both totaled. The girls where bruised, and it took some time to get June out of the Caravan, the dashboard having been pushed back far enough to pin her to the seat. Several days later we went to look at a replacement vehicle, I’d found a nice all wheel drive Caravan with nice seating, the four bucket, and rear bench layout. June sat in the driver’s seat, broke into a cold sweat, started shaking. We ended up buying anInterpid that the dealer had.

1993 Dodge Intrepid. The replacement for the above mini-van. This car is a great driver but has had a checkered history, so far as reliability is concerned. The transmissions on these cars seem to be a weak point, now at 190,000 miles we think we have a handle on that. A local trans shop put a first class overhaul, and upgrades on the trans. The car is in a shop in Susanville, California waiting for a head gasket replacement. It is after all 14 years old and approaching 200,000 miles. Getting close to serious work, or being traded for something. Newer or older? Good question. My feeling is that the new cars on the market, are great drivers, but may not age well. We will see what ends up in the next entry.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Cars | , , , | Leave a comment