Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ah, some progress!

It's been one of those good days: a day off from work and plenty of time to do some modeling. A nice day to make some progress on the road and trackwork of the downtown module :)

My initial plan was to use ballasted Tomix Finetrack, but as the new Tomix Wide Tram track was released recently, I decided to go for that. I gave the rails a dark brown coat of paint. The surface will get concrete colour at a later stage.
Next up were the sidewalk and the two platforms for the tram stop.

I also made some good progress on the Artitec building at the right. It's an incredibly fiddly job to paint all those window frames and architectural details, but I'm happy about it so far.

Ah, and I've also been in contact with Hobbytrain/Lemke. They think the new Düwag M6 will be released in about 5 to 6 months. Looking forward to it! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fresh tram news

From N-Gauge Information:
In spring 2011, Tomytec will be releasing a model of the 2000 series tram in Kyoto and Matsushima liveries. If I understand it correctly, a new chassis is being developed for this tram, which will be adjustable in lenght. This would make it great news for modelers, definately worth following!

And then there's also news from Modemo. Plans are to develop a model of a 5000 series Hiroshima 'Green Mover' LRV, a Siemens Combino. The tram will have a flywheel and working head and tail lights. A model which will undoubtedly look good on many European layouts as well.

Good modeltramnews just keeps coming these days :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ivanovo tram: just another sad story

I came across these videos (by Trolleway) shot on the last day of tram service in Ivanovo, a Russian city that has closed down its last remaining tram line in june 2008. Sadly a story in  more Russian cities, unwilling/unable to invest in track maintenance and new stock: Arkhangelsk (july 2004), Astrakhan (may 2007) and Voronezh (april 2009).

Last day of Ivanovo tram - cabview
Tracks on closed lines and last two trams in service

Monday, October 11, 2010

Work in Centre-ville

Lileau's first module will be a downtown setting with several late 19th century and early 20th century buildings. From the left to the right these are Artitec's Kaufhaus 14.160 (status: needs detailing and glazing), Faller's Stadthaus 232307 (status: done) and Artitec's Gable 14.140 (still needing a lot of time, but the time-consuming job of cutting out all windows is done!). There will be a fourth, very narrow, building, probably a modified DPM kit.
In front of the buildings, there will be a pavement and single lane road with some parking places and a bus stop. I have planned a tram stop in the front of the module, with platforms on both sides of the double track line, connected with a level crossing. I hope there's space for some trees left after all of this :)
When the track arrives from Japan, I'll probably cut slots in the plywood for it to fit in, in order to get the top of the rails level with the streets. That should give the track a bit more a tram-like appearance.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recent developments

I have gotten rather unhappy with my micro tram layout lately. Not only because some rolling stock doesn't like the tight curves, but also because of some design errors like the curved platform (causing huge gaps) and the limited room for buildings, giving the layout not quite the look as I wanted it to have.
Well, I decided that I won't finish it the way it was intented, but instead use the layout as a base for a new layout in G9 scale (1:22,5, running on 9 mm track). Read about these developments in the thread I've started on the Gn15 forum. Now I just have to find a nice prototype to model :)

On the N tram front meanwhile,  I'll go for the modular approach, using 15x35 cm modules which together will form a small tram network. This allows me to work on a manageable, small project at a time, while not having to compromise on urban look, curves radii and platformlenghts. I have just started on the first module, depicting a downtown scene, with a double track tram line in the front. The buildings in de background are just 3.5 cm deep. I'm very happy with the way things are looking so far!

The story*
As I think every layout needs a story behind it, here's mine:
Alfred Mongy is known for constructing the grand boulevards between the french towns Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, giving the towns a connection by tramway. However, little known is that he also did a similar project in Lileau, a town with roughly 50.000 inhabitants on the French/Belgian border. Finished just before the beginning of the 20th century, the boulevard and tramway (althought slightly less wide as in Lille) connect the city center with its suburbs.
Originally, two-axle vehicles drove the line, which were later replaced by 4-axle units. In the 1970's it became clear that much had to be invested in new trams, to replace the aging stock. However, the city counsel made plans not to do so and replace the trams by cheaper city buses. An end had come to 80 years of tramway history in Lileau...
...if it wasn't for the Lileau people. They were outraged and absolutely weren't going to lose their beloved tram. By the smallest possible majority the plans were rejected and the tramway was saved, be it that not much money was invested in maintenance and rolling stock. The community transport authority had to purchase trams second hand from many European and even a few US cities, making Lileau a favorite city for tram enthousiasts. Düwags, Tatra's and even PCC cars can be seen operating on a single network.
Things have been looking good for the tramway recently. Although mostly second hand stock is used, rumours have it that the transport autority will be investing in brand new light rail vehicles. A tram from Toyama has even been spotted during test runs...

*This story is completely fictional and not by any means final. It may be changed without prior notice ;)