IT'S COOL TO
PACIFIC NORTH WESTERN
MAKE DRY WATER
CAN YOUTUBE SAVE
It's all about trains both on & off tracks...
ISSUE 1 JAN 2017 FREE
A stunning 493K
Preserved class 640
FOR THE WORLDWIDE RAIL FAN - MODELLERS, SPOTTERS & TRAIN GEEKS
04 Italian Stallion Class 640
06 French Fancy - Mallet
34 Museo Pietrasa - Italy's Train Museum
08 Southern Pacific Port Costa in HO
30 How to make dry water
16 Northwestern Pacific Ghosts
20 Gare de Lyon-Paracche
22 Italian legend's last run
24 Norway High 493km by train
08 The youtube phenomenon
OFF THE TRACKS
ON THE COVER
picture Doug Wallace
It sounded like a good idea at the time. How many of us have thought that only to perhaps ponder their self-spoken words of wisdom later. I had this idea of producing a digital, free magazine, from the inspiring and fascinating train and railroad content that instagram manifests.
Wouldn't it be great to see more and perhaps study it a little bit more leisurely? Scrolling means that many great images and superb model railway creations only get a few seconds of attention. And if you're following a few hundred other "traingramers' well, it's probably only a few nanoseconds of attention.
Me, I've been wowed by the rail-oriented content on instagram and intrigued. Now I'm a magazine editor (sports & fitness) in the real world - the light bulb came on and I thought "magazine". How hard can it ? I started to contact some of the people I followed and made the suggestion of perhaps sharing through a magazine project. It was great that virtually everyone responded positively. Obtaining content, by arm-twisting made me a feel a little like a school teacher asking for their pupil's homework. Hopefully, I' didn't chase too heavily!
Off the Tracks is very much a work in progress and a sampler of what it could be. I'm hoping that you guys will like what it's all about: the world of railroads (okay railways for us Brits), both on and off the tracks in prototype and model form.
Many thanks to all our contributors and many thanks to you for taking the time to have a look. Please copy the link left to distribute.
If you would like to supply material (words and pictures) on anything relevant to Off the Tracks then do let me know (I may go through this labour of love again!) and do make any comments.
John Shepherd aka modelrailroaderUK
Off the Tracks is a FREE digital distribution magazine
USE THIS LINK TO SPREAD THE WORD
The images and text belong to their creators and should not be re-produced without prior consent. The publisher has tried to ensure the accuracy of all content, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies. Reproduction (other than digital distribution by the official link) is not allowed. Rail Tracks Magazine accepts no liability for any products or services directly or indirectly promoted. This was a fun project to promote railroading. model railways and its derivatives worldwide from instagram inspiration.
Class 640 Steamer
Words Francesco Bochicchio
The 640 is a development of the 600 class of steam engine of the Italian Adriatic Company
In 1905 with the dawn of Italian State Railways, a need became apparent for new motive power and an express passenger locomotive. Before the 640 class came the 630's with their saturated steam and simple expansion system - the 600 class providing the foundations. In 1907 the 640's were developed and they manifested a major departure from the 600 and 630 classes in that they adopted the Schmidt super-heated system. The Italians were in fact swayed by the German manufacturer Schwartzkopff Berlin to do this. As well as super-heating the loco had two cylinders, simple exapnsion and reduced boiler pressure, which enhanced economy.
By 1911 the 640 class amounted to 169 units. They were well received by the state railway and their crews. And the design was very much a sea-change in Italian steam locomotive design, marking the way for simple expansion, superheated steam systems to become something of the norm.
Image (C) Francesco Bochiccio
Ooh-la-la!La Petite Mallet
This 0-6-6-0 Mallet has been toughing it out in the gorges and climbs of L'Ardeche, France since 1903. With 14 Bar boiler pressure and four double acting pistons the boiler operates at 200 degrees C and contains 4,000 litres of water. Listed as a historical monument - the locomotive was restored in 2013.
More info trainardeche.fr
RAIL MODELLING PHENOMENON
You take a look, like what you see (or not) and then make a decision whether to follow that channel or not, or just pop back from time to time to see what's been uploaded. If you follow a channel then you’ll get a notification of new programmes and uploads.
So who do you follow and who do you like when it comes to model railroads (and railways) on YouTube? Here are some that have entertained and inspired Off the Tracks
Subs 63,024 Views 4,066,504
Luke is perhaps the go-to "scenery guy". His videos are of top quality in terms of editing, delivery and pace. He must be good if 21,000 people watched a hedge making video in just two months - and there was not even a Big Boy in the background.
EricsTrains aka Eric Seagal
Subs 23,406 View 12,590,730
Great O gauge presentation with slick production. Uses tech to its fullest - has begun broadcasting live and has webcam access to his modelling days. Another younger face embracing and attempting to spread the word. Occasionally takes his show on the road - we are looking forward to his planned Lionel visit.
Info correct as at time of writing
Monster Railroad aka Al Mayo
Subs 15,000 Views 3,599,398
Breathes life into a hobby that can come over as stale. Music needs to be turned down sometimes - we guess, if you’re not an R’n’B guy, you may disconcerted! The world of railroads is however made up of many types and the soundscape beyond that of our decoders and our hobby should reflect that.
From Eric’s Trains to Monster Railroad, who’s getting your likes?
Today anyone wanting to find out about model railroading is blessed with a plethora of sources - one of which is of course instagram, the inspiration for Off the Tracks. The digital revolution has opened up a world that those a generation ago would have thought impossible and within the realms of Sc-Fi. YouTube is of course the main on-line repository of the meaningful, mindless, mad, manic and magnificent. As model railroaders YouTube can be a great source of inspiration, creativity, product knowledge and source of past and present railroad modelling information (not to mention a few million minutes of cats jumping up and down!).
32,458 Views 6,477,977
Perhaps the best "how to" man on the web. Richard Warren has been featured in the UK model railway press as the “Internet sensation”. Just a read through of his followers' comments will show you how much love there is for his OO Everard Junction and his channel. Richard is one of the youngest, “big” model railroad/railway YouTubers out there
SP IN THE UK
Well, my fascination with trains began when an uncle presented me with an old Triang set of odds and ends over 40 years ago. I can still recall setting up the gray plastic track on the backroom floor as my parents and brother looked on. Of the four of us it was me that got hooked. Like many boys growing up in the seventies I ended up with a substantial Triang/Hornby collection. Decades passed and I decided to get back into the hobby that had been such fun. I'd started going to heritage railways at home and abroad and that's what partly got me re-inspired, plus an uncle, who'd come into my life when I was an adult, who had a loft layout. So why American when it could have been British?
Well, when I was a boy, I recall going to the local sweet shop and seeing a model railway magazine. Together with my haul of sweets I grabbed the magazine and ran home. It was only when home that I realised I'd picked up a copy of Continental Modeller! What? And what was I looking at? To this day, despite I'm sure some great European content, I can only recall the Denver Rio Grande & Western layout depicted in glorious black & white - or perhaps that's my memory. There were huge locomotives - which at the time made no sense to me. How can they by 2-6-6-4, or whatever? I was even going to write to the editor. However, the impression had been seared into my memory and, so it was decades later that the idea of creating my own U.S. outline layout was born.
So it's the Southern Pacific then (of which more later) and specifically the transition era and elements of the Western/Coast divisions. It's amazing what you can learn when you have a bit of a passion and the internet and books. Ask me where Port Costa was a few years back and I'd have had no clue, now I even know about its importance at the time to the SP and have built a model of its now long gone roundhouse.
Words & pictures John Shepherd
port costa 1955
Port Costa is in Contra Costa County, California. The town's up and down existence was based very much around the railroad - first the Central Pacific and then then the S.P. The town was founded in 1879 as a ferry terminal to ferry trains and traffic across the Carquinez Strait. The first ferry the Solano was later joined by the Contra Costa. Trains ran via Port Costa from Benicia to Oakland Pier.
I was intrigued by this small facility, sandwiched between land and the Carquinez Straight with its numerous engines being serviced when I first came across it in pictures. This enthusiasm was further piqued by John Signor's excellent book SP's Western Division and by the fact that Banta Model Works also makes a laser kit of the roundhouse.
The Port Costa engine terminal was also of the right size that with some astute modellers' eye pruning might just be able to fit into what space I had available. In various pictures I'd seen cabforwards and MT4s, and various second generation diesels running by in the era I wanted to focus on - the transition one (mid fifties). I'm building my engine roster and am trying to stay reasonably true to the period I'm focusing on.
Broadway limited SD9 and AC4 an Athearn Genesis MT4 and Atlas SD11.
I have a P10 Pacific on order in Daylight colours (which when it takes up pride and place on the layout will be slightly out of era - the "baby Daylight" (often called as such when compared to the much larger 4-8-4 GS class) will sport Southern Pacific Lines on its tender and not the later years Southern Pacific. It'll run in its oh. so Californian sun - red and orange colours (something else that got me excited about the SP).
There is something appealing about the "color" of the SP (and I'd guess other U.S railroads) to a British modeller.
As I indicated previously I'm very much learning as I go along and am just ready to start to build the layout in part of my loft (the pic on the right is from there). I'm lucky that much bench work exists as my uncle had a OO gauge layout in the same loft in the property I've inherited.
Modelling the S.P and U.S outline has began to fulfill that enthusiasm I had when as a boy I picked up that Continental Modeller in error. Hopefully, I'll build something that does that enthusiasm proud, and my uncle should he be watching down - although what he'd make of a cabforward compared to his beloved British 0-6-0 Great Western Railway pannier tanks, I'm really not sure!
This strategic importance meant that Port Costa was on the main route of the transcontinental railroad. Up until 1930 traffic surged - bolstered also by the fact that the surrounding region was a major wheat producer. It was in this year that the S.P built the Martinez railroad bridge across the Carquinez Straight - reducing the strategic importance of both the town and the railroad facility and significantly speeding up traffic.
The original pre-bridge facilities included significant facilities for running passenger trains onto the ferries. Other infrastructure included a hotel and merchant shops and docks for the ferries. After 1930 these were either removed or fell into disrepair. Parts of the old passenger building were moved to add a freight building to an adjacent spur. The engine terminal remained with its 90-foot turntable and small two stall roundhouse and serviced engines for the rest if it's history. It became part of the SP's Western Division. Today nothing remains of this once vital facility.
WALKING THE LINE
At one time considered to be the most expensive to operate in the world, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad traversed the seismically active unstable slopes of the wild and scenic Eel River on its route paralleling the San Andreas fault to the heart of redwood country in far northwestern California.
The NWP opened in 1914 when the Southern Pacific Railroad and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway combined 42 railroads upon realising there would be only one route through the Eel River canyon. S.P took full ownership in 1929 and moved freight and passengers along the 271-mile line. But steep slopes constantly eroded trackbase and slid debris onto the tracks. Maintenance and operating costs skyrocketed. At times men would have to walk the track in front of the locomotives to ensure it was safe to pass.
By 1969 passenger service ended. Before the end of the century nature prevailed and landslides doomed the friable northern 200 miles of the line, leaving abandoned equipment and failing infrastructure, some 20 years after its demise. Today these aging relics are trapped, unwanted, and succumbing to the elements, yet exuding character as they mark the passage of time.
Words & pictures Doug Wallace aka La_Vida_Rhombi)
Gare de Lyon-Parrache
A visit to Lyon two years ago allowed for quite some train watching and some surprise discoveries. Who'd have known that tucked away in a corner of Gare de Lyon-Parrache they'd still be this old loco terminal and roundhouse.
You can take a TGV to Paris and Marseilles, for example, from Lyon-Parrache and the station is the end of the LGV Sud-Est line.
The station was build in 1855, and despite its grandiose appearance (it was built in the classical style), is no longer Lyon's number one station - that's now Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu, where we took a direct Eurostar to London Waterloo.
Words Francesco Bochiccio Image (C) Francesco Bochiccio
The "Ponente Riviera" is an Italian territory between Genoa and the French Cote d'Azur and it's part of the Liguria region. On 1st November 2016 a historic train ran to commemorate the closure of the line between San Lorenzo al Mare and Andora by the coast after 144 years...
The idea to run a vintage train came from a collaboration between the Italian Foundation - the Italian institution that deals with preserving historical trains - and the Liguria Region, A new line almost all underground, begun operating this December.
The old coast line was completed in 1872. Steam powered traffic until May 1931 when it saw three-phase electric locomotives run until October of 1967. Up to closure the line saw the fastest electric locomotives - the E.444 class, jokingly called “Turtles”, and E.656's, called "Caymans".
The historic train was puled by E.264 locomotive no. 294 and E.428 class no. 202 with carriages "Corbellini" and "Centoporte" in original colours called "Castano-Isabella" - two different browns.
The Ligurian Coast, with its charming architecture and mystery has for years been a magnet for both rail fans and curious observers.
Unfortunately for us train fans the historical railway by the coast will remain an indelible memory.
The construction of the line was a monumental achievement by the navvies and engineers. There are more than 20 kilometres of tunnels, often hewn through solid gneiss and in very remote locations. The line is also so steep in places that the trains are fitted with multiple braking systems. In 1908, the first train completed the journey from Oslo to Bergen.
The whole route takes about seven hours, and for at least one of those you’re above the tree line and well away from any sign of civilisation. During the winter months the train is often packed with skiers, but even in summer it can be full. The summer is the ideal time to travel on it to reach hiking trails that have no other means of access – you’re likely to see substantial snow at the higher altitudes. When constructing the railway, the navvies carved an access road into the mountains for transporting materials, which is now known as the Rallarvegen (the Navvy Road). Cycling along it from Haugastøl all the way down to Voss is great fun, especially if you choose the downhill route when very little pedaling is required. You can hire bikes at the start of the Rallarvegen and also at Finse station.
At Myrdal there’s a junction with the Flåmsbanen branch line – one of the steepest railways in the world with eight stops for just 20 kilometres of line. The descent to Flåm station on the edge of the fjord below is so unhurried that the train even stops for passengers to look at a waterfall!
Whether you stay on the train and just admire the breathtaking views or alight at all of the mountain stops and explore, this is not only a voyage you’ll never forget but also one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. We take a look at some of the stop en-route.
Once a farming community, Lysaker is now a residential area and part of Stor Oslo
Words Ben Love
This train journey will give you a great natural and real high! Starting from either Oslo or Bergen, the 4,893-kilometre line works its way up mountain valleys and over Europe's largest mountain plateau, the Hardangervidda
Finse... during the Second World War the Norwegian resistance sabotaged trains at this station on numerous occasions
(Greater Oslo). Just a short walk from the station, you’ll see several beautiful waterfalls on the Lysakerelven and indeed Oslo is one of the few places in the world where white-water kayakers can run significant urban rapids. During the Second World War the Norwegian resistance sabotaged trains at this station on numerous occasions. You can find out more about this in the Resistance Museum at the Akershus Fortress. The train now leaves Oslo’s city limits.
The town grew up by the river of the same name (Drammenselva), where it widens to become the Drammenfjord. The river was once used for logging, and timber, paper and cellulose production were all important industries in the area. Nowadays you mainly see small boats and canoes on its waters. Since 2011, the city (Norway’s eight-largest) has been heated by a water-source heat pump that draws water from the Drammenfjord.
The section of line between here and Drammen is known as the Randsfjordbanen, (Randsfjord was the town’s old name). Historically, the main industry was paper and pulp, but the area is now better known as a centre for ski-jumping. Although the line doesn’t start to climb yet, the scenery becomes progressively more rugged and mountainous. During the summer a steam railway operates on a branch line from here.
The train is now travelling through the Hallingdal Valley, which features large areas of mountain wilderness and numerous hiking trails. The Hallingdal museum is one of the oldest in Norway and has a fascinating collection of buildings and artefacts. During the last week of August a ladies’ market is held in the Kjerringtorge – all the stallholders are women and everything on sale is produced by local women. Although chilly in the winter, the town holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Norway - 35.6 degrees C in June 1975.
Norway’s first ski resort, this mountain town is still one of the country’s largest and during summer the many activities on offer include rafting and canyoning. From here, you can follow numerous marked trails of varying lengths and explore the vast wilderness of Hardangervidda National Park. During one of the most daring raids of the Second World War, Norwegian SOE agents parachuted on to the high plateau. After spending a winter in hiding, they successfully destroyed the Vemork heavy water plant near Rjukan. After Geilo the train finally leaves the Hallingdal Valley.
High mountain ski resort and the finishing point of the Skarverennet cross-country skiing race. For summer visitors, there are several marked hiking trails as well as great opportunities for canoeing on the Ustevatnet lake. The area features around 800 old mountain huts and strict Norwegian planning regulations make it almost impossible for new ones to be built. As the train leaves the station it follows the shore of first Ustevatnet and then Sløddf until the next stop.
Finse is a mountain village on the shore of lake Finsevatnet that is just on the edge of the Hardangervidda. At 1,222m above sea level it is the highest railway station in Norway and the line is the only means of access as there is no road. On the opposite side to the station building you’ll see a museum about the construction of the railway line and two old snow-clearing engines. The members of Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole trained here and there’s a monument outside the hotel. About 5km from the station you'll be amazed by the beautiful blue ice of the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, but don’t venture onto it without a local guide. Based in the village, an alpine research centre run by the universities of Oslo and Bergen carries out valuable research into the ecology of high mountain areas.
Located on a mountain pass between two tunnels, Myrdal station is the junction for the spectacular Flåmsbana (Flåm Line), often described as one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys. This branch line descends 861.6m over 20.2km and takes you through some of Norway's most dramatic
scenery to Flåm Station on the Aurlandsfjord. The line has eight stops, 20 tunnels and one bridge. Its maximum gradient is 5.5 percent and at least 16 kilometres of the line has a 2.8 percent gradient, which makes it one of the steepest railway lines in the world. The train is not permitted to go faster than 30 kilometres per hour downhill and 40 kilometres when climbing back up.
The first town station you arrive at as you descend from the mountains. Voss, a centre for adventure sports, holds the Ekstremsportveko (Extreme Sports Week or "Veko" as the locals call it), every year at the end of July and people come here from all over the world. The town has numerous cafés and bars and is a great place to relax after spending time in the mountains. The Rallarvegen, which started in Finse, finishes here (unless of course you’re doing it the hard way round). From Voss the line runs alongside Vossevangen lake and then follows the Vosso river as it flows through two lakes before heading south to Dale.
The terminus of the Bergensbanen is Bergen stasjon, the main railway station in Bergen on the east side of the city centre. The station building, by the architect Jens Kielland, is listed and considered one of the best examples of the Norwegian national romantic style popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bergen is also referred to as the gateway to fjord Norway .
With many thanks to Wild Things Publishing for use of the above extract. Wild Guide to Scandinavia £16.99, wildthingspublishing.com
Water surfaces have typically been either made using acrylic paint on a flat board with a cover of multiple layers of high gloss varnish. This method is great for ponds, or similar small still water filled areas. More advanced modellers have then added waves using artistic gels in combination with acrylic colors. The result can be amazing with the right skills... but for many others they don't make a splash!
In the later years a number of "water making" products have been launched into the modellers' market by manufacturers such as as Woodland Scenic and Noch. They are in general based on one or two component transparent plastic, which can be poured into the water area, or applied using a brush. Waves can be created by blowing air through a straw once the plastic starts to set but the result really is not that convincing.
Then I discovered a method where waves can be created in the bottom layer using toilet paper soaked in a mix of water and glue. The advantage with this method is that the material is of course really cheap (if you are not happy with the result, you can simply rip it off and try again); the curing time is very long (a lot of time for trial and error); and since the waves are created in the bottom layer, the shape and look is very easy to get realistic.
The surface is then painted using acrylic colors - green, black, white and burnt umber. This can done as soon as the waves in the surface created from toilet paper have dried. Shallow water is painted in a white/brown colour blend, while deeper water gets more of a green and green/black colour mix. The deepest water is painted almost entirely in black. The color shifting between the more shallow and the deeper
How to make great looking water features
Words & pictures Martin Tarnroth aka Marklin_of_Sweden
areas are blurred using a clean soft brush and clean water. This is made by moving from lighter coloured areas to darker areas.
The paint is left to dry and then covered by a layer of high gloss varnish. Once the varnish is dry a layer of water-based wood glue is applied to smooth the surface and to add more of depth to the water effect. Then once that is completely dry, it´s time to finish the creation with four to five coats of more high gloss varnish.
Watch the video (right) to see how it's done
And for more tutorials & great modelling,
Website in development
The Italian Pietrarsa railway museum is located on the eastern outskirts of Naples, in the San Giovanni neighborhood, bordering the towns of Portici and San Giorgio a Cremano. It is located adjacent to the Pietrarsa train station. Francesco Bochicchio has a look around
Words & pictures Francesco Bochicchio
PIETRARSA RAILWAY MUSEUM
Use was made of the old sheds. The inauguration took place on October 7 1989
The railway museum was built on the site of the Royal Bourbon factory Pietrarsa. It was designed by Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1840 for the steel industry. In 1845 it was converted to a steam locomotive factory. Building began with the on-site assembly of seven locomotives, using components built in England.
In 1853 Pietrarsa increased production with 700 workers and for this reason the "Opificio" became the first and most important Italian industrial area. This was more than half a century before the birth of Fiat and 44 years before the Breda.
The building had a big influence world-wide. For example, Czar of Russia, Nicholas I, used Pietrarsa as a model for the railway complex of Kronstadt.
With the unification of Italy in 1861 Pietrarsa entered a difficult phase. Grandis - an engineer's report - commissioned by the Piedmontese government negatively portrayed the activity and profitability of Opificio and even recommended its sale or demolition.
However, despite the partial decommissioning of plant in the next decade more than 150 locomotives were still produced. In 1905, following the nationalisation of the Italian railways, the building became part of the basic infrastructure of the new Italian State Railways (FS). It became a top facility in particular for the overhaul of steam locomotives. With the advent of the new electric drive systems and then diesel, it began a slow but inexorable decline, which culminated 15 November 1975 with the closing decree. But railways would not desert the facility because the Pietrarsa
became Italy's National Railway Museum in effect. Use was made of the old sheds. The inauguration took place on October 7, 1989 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Italian railways.
The museum has seven halls covering a total area of about 36,000 square metres and houses steam, diesel and various electric locomotives (three-phase, direct current) as well as, trucks, passenger coaches and railcars.
The first pavilion is dedicated to the preservation of assets of the "past" including the historical reconstruction of the first Naples-Portici train which ran on the first railway built in Italy in 1839. Other steam locomotives and three-phase electric locomotives are waiting their turn for restoration.
The second pavilion brings together a broad representation of carriages and wagons and items commonly used on railways.
The third pavilion is home to the old machinery of the former workshop, as well as locomotives representing the "recent past", namely diesel and electric railcars, carriages and electric locomotives.
Of particular note is the Royal Train that is made up of of eleven coaches and was built in 1929 for the wedding of Umberto II of Savoy and Maria José of Belgium. There's also the recently acquired presidential car donated in 1989 by Francesco Cossiga - Italy's eighth president and 42nd prime minister.
Locomotives of note
Steam - Class 290, Class 835, Class 480
Electrical - direct current Class E.326, Class E.626, as well as three-phase electric locomotives, the jewels in the crown Italian railway history.
Address: Traversa Pietrarsa, 80146 Napoli, Italy,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS & HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!