new arrivals

Nov 2013 14

A foreign visitor

Utrainia's relationship with Japanese railway technology is well known, but recently a new face has been sighted in Utrainia:

What is this splash of orange with the super-hero mask you ask?

It sure doesn't look very Japanese. Nope, this is the TGV: Train à Grande Vitesse. French technology (from 1981!) is now rolling the rails in Utrainia. (The platform at Raparapa might need some yellow safety striping installed.)

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Nov 2013 7

Closing the loop

Big day here in Utrainia, and the result of many days work. First of all though, a little bit of background...

While building the bridge module I could feel that I was very close to making a complete loop of modules, all I needed was this and one more corner module. At that point I realised I had another corner module, my previous base for the bridge module. So I had the required number of corners, however neither had track, and it would take me a while to complete the bridge scene. I felt frustrated that I was so close, yet so far.

Then it struck me that I could cheat a little... if I tacked down some track on each module, they could act as stand-ins until I got around to completing them. Hmm...

So that night I quickly made up a pair of spacer modules. The first one I just put down some track over the existing foam, on the second one (the new bridge module) I made some joists out of 3mm MDF and a tack base from some foam board. End result was two corner modules...

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Sep 2013 4

Catching the Shinkansen

"Shinkansen! High line! Now!" yelled the voice into my ear.

I needed no further encouragement. I killed the computer, grabbed my camera and keys, and jumped in the wagon. We tore up the highway and soon the sky was darkening. Hmm, I flicked on the radio and picked up the emergency broadcast system. "SEVERE PRECIPITATION, FALLING AS SNOW ABOVE 1200 METERS FROM 1800 HOURS" droned the robotic voice. Checked the clock. 1625. Curse. Squeezed the gas pedal a bit more.

A couple of minutes shy from 1700 I slammed on the breaks and yanked the steering wheel to the left. Power slide. Forgot about the ice here. Gunned the gas and the tires dug in. We fishtailed up the access road, snow everywhere now. I winced as some buried ice attempted to reconfigure my transmission. Two more turns. One more turn. Last corner. Mashed the brakes. Felt the wheels skid.

Grabbed the camera bag, whacked the horn. Cripes. Loud up here. Jumped out of the car and into thigh high snow. Checked w...

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Feb 2013 26

Sunset at the grain elevator

They say there is nothing better than Summer in Utrainia. I'm inclined to agree. Coming home one evening I saw some activity down at the grain elevator. I pulled off the road, grabbed my camera and went off to investigate.

Turns out the hot new kids in town were doing a spot of shunting, and the lighting was just perfect.

I clicked off a few shots and then headed for home. A friend in a chopper (a Robinson R22 I believe) forward this to me, I'm surprised I'm not in the shot!

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Feb 2013 26

San Luis and Rio Grande SD90s

New motive power is rare is rare here in Utrainia, but this morning I got word that some very eagerly awaited locos were heading out for a test run. I made a quick call to the San Luis and Rio Grande yard office and found out their plans for the day. Seems they were scheduled to haul the prestigious Ski Train! To see the Ski Train running was great news, but with a pair of fresh SD90/43s on the front! Oh boy!

I immediately put all other plans on hold, topped up the car with gas and hit the road. I knew exactly where I could catch it, a nice little clearing up north where the double track turned into a single track section. As I got closer I noticed the weather closing in and soon there was snow at the sides of the road. Luckily I had chucked my All Weather Railfanning Crate in the back with plenty of warm socks, mittens, arctic-grade jacket and so forth. Winters here in Utrainia are known to be unforgiving, so it pays to be prepared.

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