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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all model train enthusiasts out there. As a good friend of ours summed it up: "You are all a bit touched but in a nice way!"

My name is Johan de Villiers and I am from Pretoria in sunny South Africa. No spring chicken any more in fact closing in on retirement. I have always been interested in trains and model trains but never had a set as a child. I got actively involved in model trains about 15 years ago and have enjoyed every moment since. I met my lovely wife Anne during 2001 and guess what ? She just loves the hobby and is also actively involved. (Lucky me heh?). Just imagine not having to smuggle my latest purchase from the hobby shop or swopmeet into the house but sharing it with somebody with the same enthusiasm.

We were members of a local model train club where I served as chairman for 5 years. The club adopted the modular system in HO-scale and I had 5 modules totalling 9 metres of a German town and station in Epoche IV. Unfortunately we are not members of the club anymore due to club politics. I will post some pictures of the layout in due course.

We were recently commissioned by the South African Railway Commuter Corporation to build a typical South African layout in HO-scale that can be transported to venues of their choice. This layout is 3m x 2m in size and consists of 2 modules. The building and commissioning of the layout was a nice challenge and we are proud to say that it was awarded the first prize at the last South African Model Train Convention in 2006. But more about this layout at some later stage.

Although I grew up when steam reigned in South Africa, we have decided to model the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) Epoche late IV and V (no specific place or region) for various reasons. European trains are much more colourful than those from South Africa and there is a vast selection of quality R-T-R European locomotives and rolling stock in HO-scale from several well known European manufacturers. The same can be said about the availability of buildings, structures, figures, vehicles and accessories. The situation with South African R-T-R models etc is just the opposite.

Since we have moved house recently we do not have a layout at the moment but it is in the planning stage. The layout room will eventually have an available space of 10m x 7m and we plan to eventually establish an operating group that will meet once or twice a month. Obviously the layout will be controlled by DCC that will allow us to have reverse loops. No more trains running round and round but trains leaving a station or yard and returning from the direction it left. We have opted for Digitrax DCC with which we had only good experiences and for the simple reason that our good friend John Burkhardt is the local agent for Digitrax and a fundi on DCC and sound. To us it is important to have the proper back-up when it comes to DCC systems. (I am not entering into the DCC discussion minefield and are trying my best to be diplomatic).

Having grown up in the steam era, we just have to have steam traction on the layout and that is why we will establish a steam preservation group on the layout. This group will preserve some of those beautiful German steam locomotives as well as some of the rolling stock and buildings. This is one of the big advantages of modelling the modern era. You can have your modern era trains as well as some trains from yesteryear on your layout but not the other way around. But then again, it is your layout and you are the station master so you decide what, when and where on your layout.

Our main interests in the hobby are the buildings and structures as well as creating the scenery but be assured that the trains do not stand in the back of the row. Every layout big or small should tell a story consisting of one or more smaller stories/scenes within the bigger story and the trains in that story should complement the scenery. The landscape was there before trains.

However, the beauty of this hobby lies in its versatality as it provides fun for everyone interested in the hobby. It also allows you to make up your own believable story.

We firmly believe in sharing our knowledge of the hobby with fellow hobbyists and newcomers to the hobby and from what we have seen in a short period of time in this forum we are quite excited about the forum and its future. The only way this hobby can survive is by sharing.

I have used much more of your time than I should have but at least you now know that the hobby is alive and well in South Africa.

Enjoy this wonderful, fascinating and rewarding hobby of ours to the fullest.

We are also "touched"

Kind regards from sunny South Africa.

Johan de Villiers
 

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Welcome aboard Johan.

We are a vocal bunch at times which usually means we get all points across!! Post some pics when you are able.

darren
 

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Please take some pictures of an operating session at John Burkhearts (the Toblerone Kid) and publish them here Johan so folks can see what a decent sized layout really is operating under Digitrax.
Also your contributions on Modual construction would be very welcome. We had a very long discussion on the construction of them back in October and this was never concluded.
regards at Home
 

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Welcome aboard Johan,

Get some pix posted PDQ so we can see what you are doing.

Regards

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi everybody,

Thank you very much for your welcoming words. I have still a lot of catching up to do on all the different interesting forums but will get there eventually. Must say that the bit I have seen already makes for some interesting reading and opinions. As DARREN mentioned "vocal sometimes" but the points most certainly do get across and that is one reason why we have this forum and it will continue to grow. Well done to the guys that started this forum. I will post some pics of my layout asap.

MAKEMINEADOUBLE - what a pleasant surprise to hear from you. Just shows you how much "smaller" the world got since the arrival of the Internet. We have an operating session at the Toblerone Kid's place on 23 February 2007 and I will then take some pictures of his 11m x 5m American layout under Digitrax control. Please let me know what aspects of modular construction you would like to be discussed. Should we maybe start a new topic?

DOUG - I must tell you that I really like your logo. I think I am correct when I say you that you are in love with South African steam locomotives. The Garrat has always been something special amongst South African steam locomotives. Rovos Rail, a privately owned luxury rail travel company is a stone's throw from where we stay and they have some beautifully restored South African steam locomotives. Class 6, Class 19D, Class 25NC and their latest aquisition a beautiful Garrat in the Company's bottle green livery. I will try and get some pictures of these locomotives for you. Please let me know should you need information etc on the South African Railways scene. I know a few people in the industry who might just be able to help. There are also a few modellers in South Africa that make South African locomotives and rolling stock not commercially available - a bit more expensive compared to similar commercial stock but that is to be expected.

It was nice chatting to and sharing with you all.

Enjoy the hobby.

Kind regards from Pretoria in sunny South Africa.

Johan
 

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Johan, welcome aboard!

I will now flaunt my ignorance (again!) - what scale / gauge combination do modellers prefer for what we in Blighty refer to as "Colonial Gauge" (3'6")? This question is also aimed at our Atipodean members who also have a quantity of this gauge.

60134
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (60134 @ 13 Feb 2007, 15:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Johan, welcome aboard!

I will now flaunt my ignorance (again!) - what scale / gauge combination do modellers prefer for what we in Blighty refer to as "Colonial Gauge" (3'6")? This question is also aimed at our Atipodean members who also have a quantity of this gauge.

60134

Hi 60134,

Thanks for the welcome.

The local modellers really involved in modelling the "Colonial Gauge" prefer HOn-scale and they use the HOn-scale track (rails 12 mm apart) from Peco instead of the HO-scale track (rails 16mm apart). They mostly use points made by Shinora (Shinohara?) and Bemo.

Most of the rolling stock and some locos are off the shelf Lima of which the bogies have been converted to 12mm. They also scratch build and cast their own rolling stock and locomotives.

Kind regards.
 

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QUOTE (Johan de Villiers @ 13 Feb 2007, 13:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...
DOUG - I must tell you that I really like your logo. I think I am correct when I say you that you are in love with South African steam locomotives. ...

Yes, for some reason I like these old brutes.

I have one in G-Scale (Darjeeling), two in HO scale (unmade DHJ kits of a S.A. GMAM and a British LMS) and one in HOe/OO9 scale (Ffestiniog K2). I'm always on the lookout for more.

I'll speak to you again about the Rovos Rail locos.
 
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