Escaping the ‘beast’ #4

Last communique from Ron before he attempts to get back home.

 Question of the day

Name this ski resort. Clue: It has royal connections.


Another cold day. It is now snowing heavily here. Today’s jaunt Filisur – Davos – Klosters – Saglians – St Moritz – Alp Grum – St Moritz- Filisur.

Answer to question of the day is Klosters.

Between Filisur and Davos.

Post buses and trains at Davis Platz.

Between Davos and Klosters.

Train to St Moritz arriving in Samedan.

Upper Engadine and Davosse.

New terminal platforms at St Moritz.

The old ridings and lake at St Moritz.

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Change of address

After nearly five years of blogging, I’ve filled up my free WordPress blog space, and had to move onto a paid domain.  You may like to change your links etc., though I think that WordPress will automatically divert you. But just in case….

I have also added more detail to the modular system page, with the full specification for both N-club and N-mod systems.

I gather that there may be the occasional hiccup in access over the next couple of days as the transfer takes place.  But normal service will soon be resumed!

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Escaping the ‘beast’ #3

Ron’s daily quiz continues….

Question of the day

What passes hundred of feet below this town?

“The Swiss army tunnel network, that I understand makes the mountains a bit like cheese? Or more likely, some improbably long Swiss rail tunnel…”

Answer is the original Gotthard Tunnel.

“Mmm… not much point in poking your head out of the window of the gents trying to grab a photo of that!”

Switzerland Day 5

Woke up to find it was snowing. Went out of front door to see what it was like after breakfast. 30 minutes later all footprints had been covered. Was in and out of falling snow until mid morning. Trip today was round journey to Andermatt changing at Reichenau and Diseentis with the plan to stop at Disentis for a snack on way back but usual cafe appeared to be in darkness with no boards outside so came back to Chur for my snack.

View between Disentis and Andermatt including Oberalppass and view over Andermatt from the decent.

Chur and Andermatt stations (Andermatt was QUESTION of the day.) It was 1120 in Andermatt station and the Apres Ski Bar was well patronized. It was on front of my train back but did make use of it.

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Escaping the ‘beast’ #2

Well, ESNG didn’t escape – we just opened up for a cup of tea on Thursday evening, but didn’t try to run trains.  Just a few local stalwarts turned up…  But let’s see how Ron is getting on over there in Switzerland….

Today’s question

Snow on roof of St Gallen Hbf but where did I take photo from?

“Lying on your side on a different roof???????”

First of all the answer to the question of the day is “from the window of the men’s toilet in the Mirror Restaurant on the first floor of the main station building” I got a funny look from someone who walked in as I was taking it.

“Too much detail, Ron. Especially the funny looks…… 😊”

“Should’ve taken it from the window in the ‘Ladies’ Ron. Better view but you’d still get funny looks!”

Question of the day

What country am I in?

“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto??? From the car number plate, Italy??? Though of course the car could be just visiting.

Earlier picture was of the square outside Tirano Station just over the border in Italy.

Weather is still very cold though slightly warmer at around minus 15 degrees. I have done a round trip to Tirano, Italy changing at Samedan and Pontresina with a stop on the way back at Alp Grum for a bite to eat and a hot drink.

The Italian shunters were having trouble in moving the electric locomotive. From what I could see they had trouble releasing the brakes on the electric and then filling up the water on the shunter.

“Nice images of the overhead catenary in the first batch. I imagine these were obtained by using the technique you tried out yesterday, poking your camera out of the toilet window on the train? Love the little orange steeplecab in the last batch.”

With the exception of the station shot everything was shot through non-opening train windows.

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Escaping the ‘beast’ #1

As the UK shivers under the ‘beast from the east’, we are all dreaming of escaping somewhere – probably a tropical beach.  However, Ron has gone east on holiday to Switzerland.  At least they are used to it….  (Note for our USA readers.  I know that -5C isn’t really cold at all, but it feels distinctly parky to us Brits.)

From the Southern Railways site on Thursday morning:

Due to an 8 foot icicle in a tunnel at #Balcolmbe, services between Brighton and Gatwick are subject to delay. Engineers are working to remove this icicle.

Ron’s holiday this time has been enlivened by a certain amount of email banter from those he is sending the photos to.  So here we go!

Switzerland day 1

Arrived Zurich by plane and made my way to Filisur by train. Wanted photos at Zurich HBF but battery had died. Please find photos of the view up the Albula Valley, my hotel and the 5pm crossing at Filisur Station all taken when it was snowing.

“I assume you have gone to Switzerland for the warm weather….”

Have got my thermals on. Maximum temperature this week is forecast to be minus 10 and it was snowing when I arrived.

Not sure whether that is Centigrade, Fahrenheit or Kelvin?

Switzerland day 2

A very cold day. According to my phone temperature was hovering around minus 20 degrees all day so kept mainly to trains. Did round trip from Chur to Arosea and then returned to Filisur via Klostera S, Vereina Tunnel, Ramadan and the Albula line.


[Sorry, it gets a bit surreal here. Ed.]

Where is the lake in this photo?

“I don’t know.”

“In the middle of the photo, behind the ice wall and in front of the buildings, but under the ice and snow. If you turn the photo over you’ll probably be able to see it on the back.”

“I don’t know about your’s Ron, but my picture’s thawed out now and the lake is clearly visible!”

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Peckham Rye

There is something interesting (to me at least) about the traditional carriage sidings.  They used to hold an interesting array of coaches, of differing types, and perhaps even some non-passenger parcels stock.  The only trouble in modelling such a prototype is its size, even in ‘N’. Operation is not especially varied, but like modelling a loco shed, there is a constant flow of stock in and out, for cleaning and maintenance, and to the terminus for the next train out.

Following the lines of South London around the wonderful National Library of Scotland mapping, I came across an interesting site – Peckham Rye maintenance sheds.

These were built originally for the maintenance of the LBSCR overhead electric trains for the South London Line (of which this is a part.)  They are relatively compact, as the large shed is only about 2ft long in ‘N’ and the small one shorter still.  Compression would be needed to make a reasonably size layout, but the sheds themselves would have to keep their length to hold a full EMU.

There’s little on the internet about them.  But I did find that the Peckham Rye EMU maintenance sheds closed around 1965, and the work on PUL/PAN/COR/BUF and RES units being transferred to new maintenance sheds at Selhurst Depot.  Units were still stored here until April 1967.  The site was demolished in 1969.  Here are photographs of the two main structures – again they don’t seem to be well photographed.  No doubt access was difficult, and discouraged with live rails about.

Immediately to the east, and if you had the room, the station at Peckham Rye is an interesting one, with a two-level goods yard and diverging lines at different levels. The station building was, and still is, a most impressive structure, and drawings can be found on the internet.

A final worry – so many of the layouts I am finding from the wonderful London mapping from the National Library of Scotland are four track prototypes.  Am I experiencing an N-mod renaissance?  This may be a topic to think about in some layout planning posts next month.

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Different strokes for different folks

I was amused by a couple of snippets from this month’s model railway magazines.  Firstly, Hornby magazine, and the most excellent Mansion House.  Stephen Grant says:

One of the advantages of a city location is that it is much easier to model bricks and concrete than trees and grass…..

I found designing and building the railway’s built environment one of the most rewarding tasks of the whole project.

Meanwhile, in Model Railroad Journal, Jas Millham writes about his equally excellent, but much smaller, Abbey Street, a small ‘S’ scale urban terminus:

I know what I’m doing with a country branch; I’ve extended Yaxbury several times and managed to produce a convincing model at each phase.  I’m satisfied with Three Mills, but an urban setting is a different kettle of fish altogether.  Most of the prototype stations that I have researched have no habitation in sight or are on the outskirts of town.  An urban line that worms its way through a townscape to a cramped site in a built up area is something else.

My sympathy is with Jas Millham – it seems easier (and much quicker) to put together a field scene than a city street.  But again it shows the varied nature of our hobby.  We all have aspects that we are good at, and others where we struggle.  The test must be when to play to our strengths, and when to set ourselves a new challenge.

Talking of challenges, here’s a ‘believe-it-or-not’ moment for your station…..

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