Germany has always been one of the more respected Railway countries in Europe. Their transport system, combining ICE, IC and Regional trains with busses, trams and metro’s, has always been a fan favorite in Europe, definitely if your country shares their longest border with them. But even the Germans had some issues with the profitably of certain routes. As a solution, in 1950 the Uerdinger Schienenbus was introduced. In the year that the first ones are becoming 67, and thus reach (future) legal retirement age in Germany, Florian (Flogo) has managed to recreate one of them in our beloved bricks.
For several years I’ve wanted to write a set of articles covering the design and building of a LEGO® train layout from start of finish. With the new year and the launch of Brick Model Railroader, I have the opportunity to do so. This post is the kick-off to a series of articles that I’ll write as I design and build a new layout: Matson’s Landing.
The original Matson’s Landing is an HO scale layout designed by modeler Jack Matson. I discovered the layout years ago while scanning through “Micro/Small Layouts” at the Carendt.com blog. While many model railroading publications feature the grand basement-filling layouts of master modelers, Carendt.com focuses on small track plans that fit into a minimum amount of space. The designs on this site perfectly capture what S scale modeler and author Trevor Marshall defines as “Achievable Layouts”. In other words, layouts that are small enough to be worked on in a reasonable amount of time, but large enough to be entertaining. Given our large track scale, Achievable Layouts are perfect for the L-gauge builder.
As can be seen in the original track plan, the Matson’s Landing layout offers lots of opportunities for a LEGO builder. The display contains two scenes, divided down the center of the plan. One side showcases a waterfront logging camp, where logs are off-loaded into the river/lake to be floated to a mill, while the other side of the display features a wooded landing area where logs are pulled out of the forest. While not a lot of space is allowed for train cars, there is plenty of room for switching a few loads of logs with a small steam or diesel locomotive. The setting of Matson’s Landing could also allow for some steep grades with lots of brick-built scenery.
My initial plan is to scale up the HO design to fit L-gauge track size and geometry. For the article series here on Brick Model Railroader, I hope to cover the following topics:
- Benchwork – The base of the display
- Layout Design – How the track geometry is planned
- Landscaping – Everything visible above the base, covering brick-built hills and valleys
- Locomotive Design – Planning, testing and building of a small steam-driven logging locomotive
- Car Design – Planning, testing and building of log cars, and possibly others
- Scenery – Covering trees, water, shrubs and other natural features
- Building Design – The logging camp area features a couple of small buildings that are perfect for the LEGO medium
- Operations – How the layout is run, and various options for running it differently
During the process of building this layout, I encourage readers to offer suggestions as we go, making it a community project. I look forward to everyone’s feedback, and welcome the opportunity to learn from other builders.
After having seen several old-school trains here on Brick Model Railroader, it’s now time for some contemporary models, like this Pesa Dart. It is owned by PKP Intercity, part of the Polish State railways, designed by Mateusz Waldowski.
Poland is a very interesting country when it comes to modern motive power to model. Thanks to the privatization of several repair & service workshops after 1989, a vivid train manufacturing industry has been set up. Just as back in the days, you can now see on Polish rails again EMU’s, DMU’s and modern locomotive power, all made domestically. The best known one is currently Pesa, and the most recent addition in their fleet has been a 160km/h EMU for PKP Intercity.
Understanding LEGO® track geometry, and best track layout practices, can be a little tricky for fans new to the hobby. And even veteran builders can learn new things about how the various LEGO track pieces can be used to create new layouts. Fortunately Hungarian LEGO train builder Ashi Valkoinen has written an excellent PDF on LEGO track Geometry, which we are happy to share with our readers here on Brick Model Railroader. It’s a great resource for any one who wants to understand better how to work with LEGO track.
You can read the PDF here, or you can download Ashi’s original PDF on LEGO 9v Train Track Geometry from the link bellow.
And if you are invested in seeing more of Ashi’s work be sure to visit his Brickshelf gallery and Facebook page though these links.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ashivlegorailway/palyaepites_beta_EN_v1.2
I Scream Clone and his son (Trainiac) decided to try their hand at building a narrow gauge railway. Originally built for the April 2016 Sydney Brick Show, the steam engines and coaches were based off a failed LEGO Cuusoo design by Concore, the diesel design was all ISC and his son!
Some of the most interesting railway subjects to model can turn up when you start digging into all the experimental and prototype designs that have been tried over the years. Such is the case here with this set of 1914 Prussian, electric demonstrator train equipment by Falk Schulz (a.k.a. bricknerd of Flickr).
Without a doubt, everyone is aware of the trinity of geared steam locomotives: the shay, the heisler, and the climax. However, even some of the greatest railroad aficionados will fail to mention this geared-hybrid locomotive: the Davenport Duplex locomotive.
In essence, the Davenport was designed as a hybrid mix between a conventional “rod” locomotive and a geared locomotive. There are two configurations: a duplex and a fixed frame locomotive. Featured in this article is the duplex design, pictured above. The boiler, cab, and tender rested on a single frame, which was powered by two independent trucks, complete with both steam cylinders and a sealed, oil tight, gearbox.
Rob Hendrix of LifeLites has taken inspiration in the Davenport design and created one in the brick for his second EVER steam locomotive MOC, and has done a fantastic job at it:
This locomotive, D.K. & S. No. 3, serviced the Doniphan, Kensett, and Searcy Railroad in White County, Arkansas in 1913. Rob has managed to capture the spirit and vivid detail of the duplex Davenport in his model.
The model uses BlueRail Bluetooth control and sound, LifeLites, and an 11.1 volt LiPo battery powering one L-motor.
For me, the best way to build is to have an end goal in mind. Putting bricks together is great and all, don’t get me wrong. But if you don’t know where you want to end up, how do you expect to get off on the right foot?
That said, there should be some thought that goes into a model before the building process is begun. I usually start a model with extensive research on the prototype. For the purpose of this article, the example model will be a Pennsylvania Railroad BM70m baggage-mail car.
Sunday Afternoon Tea Train to Tetley: A Diorama by BrickBaron
Outside of the world of LEGO® Trains, I’ve always has a bit of love for well done G Gauge trains and train layouts. It’s the whimsy that always seems to find it’s way into them. With the scale itself being so large, the modelers tend to pick relatively small trains to model to keep things manageable. Thus the trains take on an almost caricature like quality that brings out the fun in model railroading. That is exactly what you find here in BrickBaron’s scene, Sunday Afternoon Tea Train to Tetley.