Useful Website: OpenRailwayMap

Regular visitors may have noticed that wherever possible I use open source images and maps when creating posts on my website. Once I’ve identified an area with some interesting operations I’ll use the transport layer maps on OpenStreetMap to get a better understanding of the layout of the tracks in the area.

As an example, here’s an OpenStreetMap transport layer map of an area of Basel, Switzerland with some interesting intermodal (ship to rail) facilities:


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The OpenStreetMap map is great but today I stumbled across an open source mapping website that focuses specifically on railways and covers the entire World!

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T-Trak Modules

You may have noticed that over the last year, I haven’t actually built any modules despite doing the design work and finding suitable plenty of suitable locations. Unfortunately, my plan to have a space to build those modules hasn’t come to be… yet. However, I’ve still got the desire to build something and practice modelling techniques but to make this a realistic prospect anytime soon, it’s going to need something small, relatively cheap and easy to store.

Johnstown – Oheygi T-Trak Module (Paul Ohegyi) by Topherson – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0, View Image

I’ve talked in previous posts about wanting to create small modules or cameos; where the scenery is of equal importance to the trains and where the scenic elements are used to frame a scene. T-Trak modules might be the answer…

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Interesting Ideas For A Module #3

Here is an interesting photograph of a swing bridge over the Fox River in Appleton, WI.

Appleton, WI Swing Bridge by Unknown, CC0, View Image

It looks a bit rusted but those modern relay cabinets on the bridge deck made me think it might still be in use. A quick search revealed that it is an active bridge on a short Canadian National line. It’s not a mainline, so trains using the bridge will be shorter locals that are serving industries further east.

According to a website called Bridge Hunter it’s what’s known as a Warren through truss bridge and interestingly it’s only about 330ft (100m) long. Scaled down to N scale, the bridge would only be about 2ft (60cm) long, perfect as a centre-piece on a river crossing module.


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For some reason I’ve always liked the CN livery and Appleton, WI looks like it has some interesting rail served industries (scroll the map above easteards) so it might be somewhere I’ll take a closer look at in the future.

Interesting Idea For A Module #2

If you’ve visited the site before you may have noticed one of the background images is a fairly typical North American rural grade crossing.

It’s another example of a photograph I found on the public-domain photo sharing website Pixabay. I choose to use it not only because it’s a particularly nice photograph but because it also reminds me of a similar crossing, although perhaps not quite so photogenic, that I stumbled across whilst out for a drive in Tennessee.

I’d always thought a simple grade-crossing scene like this could make a great module to watch-the-trains-go-by.

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Annacis Island Industries #3 (Western Transloading Corporation)

I remember when I started getting interested in North American N gauge I used to see adverts for the North American Railcar Corporation Hawker Siddeley cylindrical hopper wagons everywhere… and I remember really wanting a rake or two.

CP 608386 Cylindrical Hopper Car by Pete Hughes – Own work,
All rights reserved by creator – Used with permission.

They’re beautiful looking models and just like the real wagons they are produced in a range of colourful liveries. You can see the range on the Pacific Western Rail Systems website by clicking this link.

So you might wonder why I’m mentioning these models in a post about Annacis Island industries?

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Annacis Island Industries #2 (Ebury Place Transload Dock)

While researching the Vancouver area I’ve found a couple of examples of shared transloading docks like this now defunct example in the Marpole neighbourhood.

Marpole Spur East by Chris City – Own work, Used with permission, View Image

Presumably shared docks like this gave any of the nearby industries without dedicated spurs the opportunity to have a car spotted at the dock for loading or unloading of goods.

Although it’s even more rudimentary than the Marpole example above (it doesn’t even have a roof) there is a transload dock on Annacis Island too…

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Getting Onto Annacis Island (The Annacis Island Swing Bridge)

Having introduced Annacis Island in previous posts, this time I thought it would be worth taking a  look at how trains actually get onto the island. That’s because they make use of a rather interesting road and rail bridge known as the Derwent Way or Annacis Island swing bridge.

Booms by Glen Ritchie – All rights reserved
Used with permission, View Image

The slightly cryptic image above doesn’t reveal a great deal about the bridge itself (it’s a view from the control tower of the bridge as it opens/closes for passing river traffic) but it has the potential to make a very interesting module and scratch building project…

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The Letchworth Model Railway Exhibition

Happy New Year.

It’s been a while since my last post and I thought I should get on and finish the post I started many months ago about a local model railway society exhibition I attended back in November 2017.

This annual show is organised by Letchworth Model Railway Society and usually has a really interesting mixture of trade stands and layouts in a range of scales, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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Annacis Island Industries #1 (SSAB Hardox®)

The first Annacis Island rail-served industry I thought I’d take a look at is SSAB Hardox. Here’s a picture of their building, spur and unloading facilities taken by Chris City:

SSAB Hardox by Chris City – All rights reserved
Used with permission, View Image

It’s a simple but has the potential to be quite an interesting and relatively compact module.

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