Klausrl’s Weblog

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

Welsh Highland Golden Spike

Saturday, February 2009 the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways will be linked in a golden spike ceremony, in Porthmadog, Wales. Actually a golden clip, they do things a little different over there.

Now the work begins for those of us in the U.S.  Time to spread the word, with the world economy going in the tank, it would be a shame for the Welsh railways to fail after all they have done to restore the lines.

I know that not everybody can afford to take off every other year or so, but, for a relatively inexpensive trip Wales works.

Give it a thought. Castles, little trains, mountains,sea,and great people.

I’ve been to London several times (big city) and York (old city) great trains museum there.  But if you would like to visit an area that lets you turn your mental clock back 50 years, it’s got to be Wales, OK Scotland was pretty cool to.

I’m going to work on a trip plan next time I get home, but I’m thinking there’s a loop from Manchester west along the north coast, then south to Aberystwyth (ask Avrila) then back to Manchester.  Train travel is very reasonable, and fast.  If you rent a car, try Avis, avoid National.  Someday I’ll have to tell about the Vaxhaul, $1600 for two weeks (OUCH).

Might be a good year to go if you can afford it. Lots of people are going to stay home and there might be some good deals to be had.


February 28, 2009 Posted by | trains, Wales | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Finally made some model trees.

After years of putting it off, I got the bits together and built a couple trees for the model railway last night.

For the Ffestiniog model I need quite a bit if forest, and at 10 bucks for a pack of 4 ready made trees, it just was not going to happen.

Big tip of the hat to Tom Fassett, and his site http://www.trainweb.org/tomfassett/models/trees101/.
Finally got me going, and it’s easy. My first two are a bit on the large size for a 009 layout, but I want to create the feel of the trains running through rather than past a forest, so these slightly overscale trees will be just fine.

As you can see their on the large size, got to remember to have one of the locomotives on hand whenever I build bits for the railroad.

These took about 10 minutes each to make, and look more real than the offerings at the hobby shop. I really didn’t need a forest of clones.

August 18, 2008 Posted by | trains | , , | 2 Comments

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