Closing up the Mountains

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Felix 2 ready to be covered up
The mountainside line is mocked up

As I look at the bumps and lumps of Felix Two mountain, my mind is wandering back to the possibility of using traditional chicken wire construction instead of my planned metal lath which I fell in love with at B and Q last week. I don't know if the lath will be flexible enough to hug the wonderful contours that I have created! A test will ensue shortly.

The Mitholz branch plan.. yes it really is!


Catherine (right) and I have been back to the planning stage again to start looking at layout of Mitholz village and the lake. Yes the plan is a little scruffy, but then it was drawn by a 4 year 11 month and 2 week old. I think she made a good job, whether any of it ends up on the layout who can tell! On the plan above you can see the  Blue lake surrounded by trees, car park, branch line, childrens playpark, and toilet block ( Catherine insisted).
Daddy was heard to mutter 'not enough room... there's just not enough room'.
At times like these, those HO scale buildings seem so big.

Whoops another revision!
A mockup of the new position of the girder bridges

It has become necessary to consider a move of the two girder river bridges, because I have run out of space around the station, and there is absolutely no way a river is going to fit there, so a slide to the right will mean I can run the river under the tracks on the station approach curve. More ruddy woodwork! If I had a pound for the number of times those uprights have been in and out......) I think I'll tackle that next week (just as long as Catherine has another birthday party to go to!).
So another weekend and the river route just had to be sorted. Out came loads of screws, and road supports, and out came the jigsaw too. I felt a bit like Rufus Roughcut from the Whacky Races, (what do you mean that shows my age?!), hacking and slashing all that carefully lovingly built woodwork, but I've done it. The girder bridges are now in a more sensible place, so the Kander river can flow under them, and under the mainlines right in the middle to the front of the layout. I'm not raising the lines just dropping the river.. a bit rubbish I know, but I'm certain I want to keep my track level at that point!! A little jiggery pokery with the station track layout is needed to keep space for a road and path to the station. All should be well...I hope!.


The second mountain (covering up Felix One) looms up behind the main station.
Christmas has been kind to Carly with presents of point motors, point switches, a very expensive bottle of Woodland Scenics Realistic water, six buffer stops, trackbed ends, two tubs of Roco ballast and some great railway books and postcards. 
It soon became apparent that I had got the earlier formers in front of the Bietschal bridge wrong as they did not go up far enough, the mountain being in danger of looking more like a volcano! So they have all been taken out and are being replaced.

I've definitely made the decision to go with small gauge chicken wire in traditional 'closing up' practice, and the purchase of 10 metres of the stuff should put me in good stead to get on with closing up, which after all I was trying to do right at the start of this page!!  Mind you I'm a little concerned at the 'fiddly' prospect of attaching said wire to the formers. I'm going to try staples. Watch this space for expletives!!

Felix One now very nearly ready for chicken wire
I've managed to squeeze a little more space for activity around the station.

As I moved the girder bridges further away from the station, the curve to get the raised line into Felix one has been giving me some headaches, not having enough room to run a road to the station by the side of the tracks and trying to get a good angle for the tunnel portal into Felix One. But I think I've got it cracked now with some nice remedial work involving some 4" X 2" just behind the station. I am still finding it amazing (if not a little annoying!) that I have to alter so many things after doing them. The bridges, the formers, the roadbed... maybe it's just my lack of good planning (what do you mean 'or ANY planning at all'!?)


Turning attention to Felix Two a moment. This is of course the mountain where I intend to have  'mountainside' views of the train, so this requires some thought as to the roadbed etc. Mocked up, with track hanging in mid air, it looks like this.

Reviewing the entries on this page I noticed that I hadn't put up a photo of the new girder bridge position further round the station approach bend. Now the river is in a much better position avoiding the station area. To keep the tracks on the level at this point I'm going to create bridge sides and attach them to the base board and drop the river over rocks  as if the water is falling away under the tracks. It looks alright in my head!

The revised position of the girder bridges
Now there is room for a road to the main station... just!

Not a very good stiched panorama
Click for a bigger view.. as with all the photos!

And so to the chicken wire. As I suspected the electric staple gun didn't fire the staples properly most of the time and jammed time after time but I've made a start.


Whilst all my activity has been going on, in the other part of the garage Russ has been working on his layout. I thought you might like to see what he's been up to.
His layout is pre-nationalisation Southern Railways about 1945-1948. Click the pics.




Meanwhile back to my efforts, and the garage warmed up enough to make it bearable to get back to work! Filler and strips of my old bedsheet! Oh and rather too much paint in the mix.... it's all part of the plan. Anybody laugh and I'll be round there with the rest of the tin!


I'm glad to say that, despite the cold in the garage, the filler has dried up to be much less severe than the colour above! So I'm not panicking too much. It has been time to turn my attention to Felix Two my Wetterhorn-like mountain on the right hand side of the layout. This is alltogether a more complex alp, as traffic is fed on and off the viaduct at the top via a tight curve which is seen in places through a couple of breaks in the tunnel wall. Here by the way I intend to put my version of the BLS symbol which stands proud on the real spirals opposite Blausee Mitholz.
The traffic is then taken down 8 inches, the upline then makes an appearance through galleries on the mountainside, before darting back into the mountain for another couple of spirals down to 'ground zero'.


The mountainside appearance at this point was an idea that came to me rather late , as I realised that a lot of the layout action will be going on inside the tunnels and mountains, (in fact we may never see the trains again!), so a glimpse, albeit fleeting, of the up train out......


.... and in and up the mountain seems rather exciting ( little things!)


But of course it does mean yet another two tunnel portals to find. So far I have purchased two, both from Noch, although I will need quite a few more... actually excuse me while I pause to count ...... Blimey, 11,  I'm going to be a poor man. I could, like Russ, make my own, but I don't class myself as that good a modeller.... well that 'patient' a modeller more to the point. As I was discussing with Gerald, I wouldn't mind getting some trains moving soon


Layout nearing the end of March 2006
Click for a larger image.. please note the essential tea mug!

With all the work that has been going on, my mind is also turning to track works again, and in particular aquiring  the rest of what I need (a hell of a lot), especially as the Rocoline ballasted track looks like being discontinued due to copyright issues. Roco has effectively become a different company and the Rocoline design belongs to the now defunkt firm. I'm glad to say the new company is promising a transition piece to get you from Rocoline to their new ballasted track. However I am hoping that their will be sufficient supplies 'out there' for me to complete my track work in the old Rocoline. I've just got to get on with working out what I need.

Work continued for a few hours this weekend, enough time to say ' CLOSING UP IS COMPLETE! Which is not only good news for my sanity, but also I can at last proceed to a new page on the website...this one is now so big it is a little unwieldy.


Felix One at the rear of the station area is now covered, and I am pleased with the results as the formation of the lower tunnel entrance sits well.  I fear I will have to site my pre station crossover elsewhere as there is little room for it just outside the tunnel.Felix Two had a lot more work to do, but that too is now complete, and again I am pleased with the two lower tunnels,  the Mitholz single track branch, and the double mainline (seen below with just one line entering temporarily)


Liz has christened Felix Two - 'Wetterhorn' as the shape is not dissimilar to my favourite Bernese Oberland giant... more luck than judgement I feel! There is still colouring of both Felixes to do, but  now if you can stand the excitement lets move on...... to the portals!!

Next - The Tunnel Portals

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