Inspiration (Kato HB-E300 “Resort Shirakami”)

Do you know that moment when you see a new model and it just makes you want to create a whole new layout just so you can run it in the right place, even if it’s not something you’d normally think about modelling?

Well I’ve had one of those moments and the cause is the Kato HB-E300 “Resort Shirakami”:

I love the paint scheme on this train. Simple as that!

Plus it turns out this train runs on a beautiful coastal secondary-line in the north of Japan called the Gono Line. It’s still quite rural in that part of Japan so the line passes through lots of small farming/ex-fishing towns with equally small stations, each with there own unique and interesting station building… …some are even right on the edge of the beach.

So not only do I want to model the Gono Line, taking a ride on the actual line is going on the bucket list too.

Rail Served Industries In Europe #3: Aurubis, Hamburg, Germany

Here’s an interesting real-World track layout for you…


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It’s in the grounds of the massive Aurubis copper production and recycling facility in east Hamburg. It’s a sprawling site but this section of track in particular caught my eye because it’s similar to the track plan of a significant number of model railways…

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Rail Served Industries In Europe #1: Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel, Hamburg, Germany

I was taking a virtual tour around the railways in Hamburg via Google Maps today and spotted this interesting looking building at the end of a seemingly abandoned line in an industrial area:

From what I can glean web searching and Google translating, this is part of the Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel facility that manufactures and sells a range of steel products, some of which, despite the state of the track in places, still appear to arrive or depart by train. A potential shelf layout here I think…

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Modelable Intermodal Facilities #5 (Schwedenkai, Kiel, Germany)

After a long break from posting anything on this website I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by taking a look at an interesting little intermodal facility in the German port-city of Kiel called Schwedenkai.

Hafen Kiel/Ostsee by BAW_Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau – Own work, CC BY 2.0, View Image

Schwedenkai is one of eight terminals that are part of the wider Port of Kiel. As you many have guessed from the name, Schwedenkai is the terminal for passengers and freight heading for Sweden. In the picture above, it’s the area between the water and the tree lined road from the bridge at the bottom, up to and including the flat areas around the Stena Line ship in the centre of the picture.

The compact nature of the rail-freight handling facilities at Schwedenkai means they could be built as a stand-alone module/cameo, as a small shelf-layout or even as part of a larger German-themed static layout. Read on to find out more…

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Terminal Combiné Chavornay SA, Switzerland

It’s been a while since I wrote a post about a modelable European intermodal yard so today I thought we could take a look at the Terminal Combiné Chavornay SA (TERCO) intermodal yard in Chavornay, Switzerland.

In lieu of any photos of the complex, here’s a satellite image of the yard and its immediate surroundings:

So far so ordinary perhaps, but this yard caught my eye because it’s indirectly connected to the Swiss national railway system by an intriguing little Swiss short-line called the Orbe-Chavornay railway.

Read on to find out more…

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Zwijndrecht & Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Following on from my post about a bridge over the Savannah River in Georgia, USA, this week I thought I’d take a look at the area another bridge; this time the giant lift-bridge between the towns of Zwijndrecht and Dordrecht in the Netherlands.

“Grote Kerk Dordrecht” by bertknot is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In case you haven’t guessed, it’s that white, futuristic looking structure towards the rear of the picture 🙂

I’ve probably said this already in previous posts but I’m not entirely sure I’m a fan of modern Netherlands architecture, however… it’s definitely a bridge that makes a statement, it’d be a very interesting scratchbuilding project and it’s shear size means it would make it an eye-catching model on an exhibition layout.

So let’s find out a bit more about the Zwijndrecht, Dordrecht and the bridge itself…

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Bridge Over The Savannah River (Savannah, Georgia)

I first spotted this interesting bridge a few years back when Google Map exploring the railroads and industrial spurs around Savannah, Georgia.

Something about the control tower and massive counter-weight structure appealed to me and I have always thought it would make an excellent North American river crossing module and scratchbuilding project.

I’ve also wanted to do a post about it for ages…

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Grain Silos & Feed Mills In Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

The town of Mount Joy in Pennsylvania, USA has been on my must research list ever since I found this photograph of the Wenger Feed Mill:

Wenger Feed Mill by Jim Epler – Own work, CC BY 2.0, View Image

You might think that’s strange because a closer look at the picture reveals there isn’t actually any track in the picture. While that observation is true, it’s still a very interesting and attractive jumble of buildings which would make a very nice scratch-building or kit-bashing project.

I don’t have a photo to show it but the facility is still rail served, it’s just that railcars are currently loaded/unloaded on the other (north) side of the facility. However there’s no reason why we couldn’t apply a little modellers license, add some track and create the option to model tracks on both sides of the facility.

There’s also something else not visible in the photo above that makes this location somewhat rare and interesting, at least in terms of US operations…

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