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The Kotanga Tramway Thread

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The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 7:36 am

I thought I'd start this thread to record developments now that the tramway itself as well the township of Kotanga is starting to take shape.

First of all I thought I'd kick things off with an official photograph of the Kotanga Tramway's Staff just so you will know who everybody is.



Mr MacDonald the Stationmaster wasn't entirely pleased with the final result because for some unknown reason Wally brought his broom with him to the photo session and despite telling everyone they had to wear their proper uniforms the four members of the locomotive staff wore non-regulation headgear and Olivia arrived late with only her uniform cap which she forgot to wear.

Mind you it wasn't really Olivia's fault as I'm waiting for her uniform parts to arrive legohappy
Oh and in case you were wondering Lego really do make purple peaked caps, but even though Gloria the porteress has one they most probably won't become general issue.
As for the loco crews' headgear, James the senior driver saw a picture in a book of the French footplate crew of an express locomotive and they were wearing racing goggles (totally true I assure you, French express crews in the steam era did wear racing or aviator's type goggles). Well that was enough for James and he got himself a pair that very afternoon. Alfred his regular fireman saw the goggles on George's cap and came to work the next day wearing a Tam O'Shanter because that was what the firemen on the King Class express locomotives on the Great Western Railway always wore. James and Alfred crew the 'Improved F' class loco No:1 and their progress across the Tumeke Plains on the early morning passenger run to Masonsville has become the stuff of legend.
George and Alan on the other hand have no particular story attached to their chosen headgear. George likes his bowler because it used to be his grandad's and he says it's more practical than a cap and better protection from a bump on the head. As for Alan he arrived for his job interview wearing his red baseball cap and he's continued to wear it ever since. There's a rumor going around the township that Alan even sleeps in it.

I'm planning on making some custom caps for female tramway staff by modifying some spare hairpieces and attaching them permanently to the caps. I used to do this with my British steampunk troops for Brikwars. A bit of a fiddly job, but it's worth it,

I think I've already mentioned that Harry the Guard lost his leg in a dreadful shunting accident some years ago which is why he has a wooden leg.

Sooooo that's the staff for the moment, though as things go along their numbers will most probably increase and I'll need to take another photo legohappy

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Kaila on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 9:16 am

Looks to be an interesting thread in the making legohappy

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 12:28 pm

Thanks Kaila, yes I hope it will be.

Construction on the engine shed is at a pause at the moment while I do a little redesigning to make it a double shed as well as obtain the bricks and bits to complete the build. While messing around I got out some of my farm sets and laid them out beside the loco shed just for a bit of fun. They won't be staying there though because I want to build a turntable on that spot once I can get the design for that all figured out too.. Wow it's starting to look like Kotanga is becoming a railway hub lego8O

I think I said that I was going to build the layout from the engine shed outwards, only I ended up building a cafe and the small memorial park next door to it. It was a nice change to be making buildings and scenic stuff after all the railway rolling stock I've been working on up until now.


The 'Best Friends Cafe' interior is still a WIP so no pictures yet, but I was reasonably happy with how the little park turned out. I'd never built a Lego tree before, but after about four goes I ended up with a tree that filled the bill. The tree is a local landmark and is named the 'Peace Tree'. You see I used to brick wargame at one time until one day I came to realise that I didn't want to war anymore. So after finding a really nice large pure white brick in my big tub of 'grandma' bricks I decided it would become the Brikwar Memorial and it would be placed under the Peace Tree.

Just as a 'for your information', grandma bricks are those mixed lots of bricks that can be found for sale for cheap at garage sales, school fairs, on-line auctions and the usual tale behind them is that grandma kept a pile of plastic bricks at her house for when the grandchildren came to visit. When the grandchildren grew up and considered themselves beyond brickish things, grandma would gather them up with a sigh and they would be either sold or donated somewhere.for charity.
Grandma brick collections will contain bricks from every plastic brick construction system known to humankind; - and I can assure you some of those brick systems are very strange indeed legoscared
Why am I mentioning this? - mostly because a lot of my money is having to be spent on medical costs & etc at the moment and I can't afford to buy the 100% pure and unadulterated Lego article at this time in the quantities I need. Building stuff with plastic bricks is very much helping to keep me going at the moment, sooooo if I show off pictures of my builds and you can see clone bricks have been used I'd like to ask you to be polite about it and not tick me off. Ok, - are we good on this?

On the completion of the memorial park a concert was held to celebrate its grand opening. A lot of people came and everyone in the community pitched in to make it a really great night. The local Police guys came by to make sure there weren't going to be any ner-do-wells hanging around the concert wanting to cause trouble, but in the end they parked their bikes outside the cafe and went in for doughnuts and coffee.


The gardens in the park are a bit bare as I've run out of flower stalks, - though I did discover a neat way to make giant sunflowers just recently so they might have to do until I can afford to do another Bricklink order.



Next on the list is plotting out the groundplan of the railway station so I can plan the rest of the township.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Fri 08 Mar 2013, 12:54 pm

Even though everything around the Kotanga Tramway is still under construction there are starting to be quite a few visitors to see the line and the steam locos and other older railway equipment in use. There is no proper station at the moment and the short bay siding near the engine shed is being used for passenger trains even though a temporary platform is still being built.
Today Gloria the porteress was almost overwhelmed by luggage and she had to call in one of her friends to give her a hand.


Visitors come from all over to see the tramway and today the teachers from the Klickie peoples' school brought some of their pupils to the tramway on a field trip.

(When i was still into 'G' scale I used to use Playmobil 'Klickies' as the people on my layout and I still own quite a few of them. These are only some of the children from my Klickie collection, but for some reason it was mostly the barefoot ones I could find today)

There's been a rumor around the tramway that an inspector from the Transport Authority is supposed to be visiting soon. By all accounts he's a right grumpy sod......


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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 1:43 pm

I took delivery of a large lot of grey era track today including a level crossing base which is something I've been wanting for a while as i need to get the road (when it is built) across the mainline. The black Oxford type track was only temporary and will be replaced with the grey era track because I like it better. The wide radius Oxford curves aren't really needed anymore as all my larger locos will be articulated ones.

A crossover needs to be installed between the mainline and the MPD and the goods sidings which will be a wee bit tricky as I will need to cut the points to fit. Before anyone starts hyperventilating I deliberately purchased a pair of damaged 12volt points just for this crossover as 12volt points are getting to be a serious price for good ones and involve too much wallet wounding if i was to cut them up.

I didn't get anything much done today as I had bad pain and muscle tremors and it seemed to take ages for the meds to start working. I did managed to order a whole lot more flowers and flower stalks though so I can finish off the park and put some flowers around the cafe.
I should be able to start work on the engine shed again as I've now got some more tan bricks and black and grey roof tiles. I should be able to get one half of the shed complete at least and a start made on the other half of the double road shed before the bricks run out and I need to save up to order some more.

My plan for Kotanga was to have a modern era main line alongside a working preserved railway/tramway, but when a not really wanted high speed train loco came my way I decided to combine it with a RC train base and motor block and a load of other bits to create a steam electric loco. In my little corner of my imaginary railway world the steam electric loco was refined into something very useful, practical and efficient. And of course one or two of these pass through Kotanga most days as a part of the regular timetable.
The advantage with a steam electric being that I don't have to put up poles for overhead wires for electric trains as I'm getting to be a little too clumbsy to have all that sort of thing on a layout just waiting for me to knock it flying.

'What were you thinking of woman?' protests Harry the guard, but Olivia isn't worried as she knows that true genius isn't always recognised at first.

The inspiration for my MOC/MOD.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Lightningtiger on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 2:15 pm

Cool and funky designs you have got going there 'Annie'.....keep them coming and Brick On ! legohappy

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 12:38 am

Thanks LT. I would love to make a MOC of the original steam electric loco, only there's some tricky shapes in that loco body that I don't think I could reproduce very easily.

By yesterday evening I was starting to feel a lot better so I got the Lego out to make a start on a project I've had in mind for a while. Sometime ago I purchased a My Own Train series tender loco from a Bricklink trader. No box, had been opened and assembled, but it did have the instruction sheet. All the parts were there, but a couple of small substitutions had been made and some of the stickers were crooked. A good basis for putting together a MOT loco for Kotanga I thought. It's funny though, most of my steam locos are based on MOT construction techniques, but I hadn't actually built a real one yet.

I thought I'd make this my very first PF loco as I had two PF motor blocks already, only when I came to thinking about the build I decided I didn't want a strange steam loco sitting on diesel trucks so I fitted the PF motor blocks with BBB medium wheels and raided my Technic bits to make some siderods. This meant that I now had the basis of a 'Meyer' locomotive, - all good.
PF means a battery box has to be put somewhere and the standard MOT tender is a poor little under fed four wheel thing at best so it was plain it was going to have to be enlarged and made to ride on a pair of four wheel bogies. All my steam locos except for the steam electric loco are built 8 wide, so I built the tender 8 wide too. The battery box is an older 9volt one that takes 'AA' batteries and occupies the full length of the tender. To my mind the inset '317 panels look much better on a larger tender and I'm very pleased with the result.
When it came to the loco I decided to make the cab 8 wide and larger in size since it's going to have all the PF cables and the receiver unit inside it, but I did decide to leave everything forward of the cab 6 wide. I did this with the 'Almost Climax' geared loco and I liked the look. The cab is now two studs longer than standard not counting the roof overhang and the fall plate and I made the boiler one stud longer. Somehow I have to get four cylinder blocks and their associated connecting rods fitted in place too, but I think that might prove to be a WIP as I get the loco running properly on PF.
Since No:317 is now the top engine on shed I gave it a 'brass' steam dome and a grey cab roof. I make my own custom chimneys for my locos, only this time I nicked the 'peashooter' chimney from the 'Improved F' as it will now be getting a spark arrestor chimney so it can work on the logging branch. (Poor 'Improved F', suddenly demoted from being top engine by the new interloper...... sniff...)

Still quite a bit to do. I'm waiting for the PF receiver and control gizmo to arrive as well as a 9volt to PF adapter cable. The tender to loco coupling still needs work and the cab roof is a bit half mast since I changed the curved slopes around so i could fit a roof ventilator. Anyway here are the latest WIP pictures, - enjoy...... legohappy

James (Jim the Cannonball) and Alfred (Fred the Fury) are delighted at the prospect of soon having a powerful new loco to drive. 'Old No:1 was all very well and a good enough engine,' says James, 'But she would run out of breath sometime when I was looking for a wee bit more speed.'


A general view of the loco sidings with several Kotanga locos being prepared for the working day.


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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Red_Five on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 3:23 am

Locomotive Annie wrote: ...
The inspiration for my MOC/MOD.

Now THAT is an interesting prototype. legohappy
According to my research it existed for real in France.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 4:13 am

Red_Five wrote:
Now THAT is an interesting prototype. legohappy
According to my research it existed for real in France.

It did and it was very successful too. Unfortunately it needed a three man crew and that was a sticking point with the bean counters.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 11:33 am

No: 317 at close of play today; - we're getting there....


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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Fri 15 Mar 2013, 11:45 am


Steam electric loco on test today in the Kotanga station yard.

This morning I gave the steam electric loco a test run and because I hadn't used a RC control transmitter before I thought I'd broken my loco. It just plain wouldn't go and if it did it was very weak and watery about moving itself. Fortunately one of the older and wiser members on the Eurobricks Train Tech forum explained how the control transmitter worked and suddenly everything was great and my newly built loco was able to show of its mettle. Three coaches made up the test train and i think this would be a fairly typical load on most timetable runs. I might fit a second motor yet, but I would need to get another slightly longer cable to power the second motor.
Something I noticed right away with the RC system in this loco is that the red 'on' LED has a lovely firebox like glow and if I was to turn the main loco plate around it would be in just the right place to line up with where the firebox would be and nicely complete the illusion.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by brickie on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 6:56 am

LA, I love the steam electric loco.

It certainly has a 50s look about it.

Certainly a good use for an RC base.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Mon 18 Mar 2013, 7:13 am

Thanks brickie

RC would be Ok if it wasn't for that awkward base. Then on the other hand they seem fine for building steam electric locos on

Just tp provide a contrast I decided that the Kotanga Steam Preservation Society should own a steam electric loco as well, - only their's would be a much older one.

Considered to be of neither use or decoration by the 1930s No: 514 was fortunate to escape the scrapping that the other 5 members of her class suffered and was purchased by the pre-preservation era Kotanga Tramway. No: 514's light axle loading enabled her to work trains across the single lane combined road-rail Waiwai river bridge which had been long due for replacement. Once essential strengthening work on the bridge had been completed by the county council in the early 1950s No: 514 saw little use, though did see service during the bad 1954 Winter storm season as an emergency generator.
From 1958 onwards No:514 was kept on display on a concrete plinth near the town's volunteer fire brigade station, but was noted to be in a 'sad state' in the council minutes of April 1970 and it was proposed that advertisements for tenders for No:514 scrapping and removal be placed in the 'Kotanga Herald'.
BUT at the eleventh hour the members of the newly formed Kotanga Steam Preservation Society literally held the scrappers' gas torches at bay until their counter-offer for purchase could be heard by and eventually accepted by a special meeting of the Kotanga County Council.
A photograph of the twin Misses Jones valiantly holding back a burly workman with a crowbar in his hands at the points of their umbrellas made the front page of many daily newspapers and a framed copy of the photo can still be seen to this day hanging above the bar at the Kotanga Tavern.


A contrast in steam electric locomotives ancient and modern. No: 514 hasn't been motorised as yet, but that will be happening soon.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Thu 21 Mar 2013, 10:52 am

Olivia's Mum and Dad have arrived in Kotanga and she was just so happy to see them she kicked up her heels. Not always a wise thing to do when you're 13 feet up in the air on top of a tender.



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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 5:21 am



After many complaints from workshop and permanent way staff an elderly steam crane is being overhauled to go into service on the Kotanga Tramway. This crane is based on my hazy childhood memory of a steam crane that was stationed in the Auckland area and is more than likely wonderfully inaccurate as a model. The Banbao boom is a placeholder until I can find something better btw. Would you believe it came from a helicopter set left over from my brick wargaming days

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Kaila on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 7:19 am

This is certainly becoming a busy layout Annie, nice work. Though Olivia should be unemployed from all the WHS breaches so far legephew

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 7:38 am

Kaila wrote:This is certainly becoming a busy layout Annie, nice work. Though Olivia should be unemployed from all the WHS breaches so far

True enough Kaila. Back when i was a serious wargamer I used to heavily modify and even completely build figures from scratch and I've been thinking about using these skills to mod some spare Friends body parts into a proper set of overalls and safety boots for Olivia. I don't think anyone really noticed, but Olivia is already modified so she can move her legs independently. That was a little tricky to do and involved delicate works with sharp modelling tools to achieve, but I'm very pleased with the result.



Thanks too for the comments about the crane as it's going to be very much needed over the next few weeks when I start laying track properly for the mainline as well as generally tidying up the loco depot and station yard itself.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 11:12 pm



After a lot of modding and trying out different ideas this is where I'm at with the new Steam Crane. The boom raises and lowers really nicely now though it took a bit of fettling to get all the Technic bits to behave themselves and work together.

On another note Olivia is now a Health & Safety girl with her nice new shiny workboots and her hardhat. I still need to have a hunt about to find all my model figure making stuff so I can give Olivia a nice pair of overalls. I'm hoping that all my paints haven't dried up though as it's been a long time since I last used them.

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Re: The Kotanga Tramway Thread

Post by Locomotive Annie on Mon 25 Mar 2013, 2:15 pm

Big jobs down at the loco depot and goods yard as I decided to use grey era 12volt track and points for this section of the layout. I like to shunt the yard with my layouts and in the interests of reliability using nothing but grey era track and points (with some blue era until I can find replacements) is going to make for more fun than using RC track which has been converted to use the 12volt conductor rails.

The crane works a treat and the stabilizing struts really do a great job of holding the crane in place while it's in use. Nothing like indulging in a little play value while relaying track


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