Martin's Spur 80, part 1

I'd like to share some models built by a friend I met in Switzerland. We've been speaking to each other now for about 6 months, and I met him through the Mason Bogie class, because he's building a Mason from my drawings, but all in wood and at a scale of 1:11.25..or 'Gauge 80'!!
They are quite amazing, and everything works! To date he's built five 2-4-4T Mason Bogies and has embarked on the big 2-6-6T from the class.
Running the Masterclasses at MLS has had it's trying times and it's joys. Its often said that if one sticks their neck far out enough, it's likely to get chopped off, and I can definitely say that is true, however I wouldn't give up any of it. I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the finest people through the two Masterclasses, as well some of the most extraordinary model makers. The success of the on-line model building adventure goes far beyond the written articles, because it is primarily the result of what class members have contributed to each other. I never cease to be amazed new techniques people bring to the class, and some of the unusual model making methods. However few to date are as amazing as what I'm about to present.
I'd like to introduce you to Martin Rindlisbacher, of Switzerland. Martin is a studio technician and shop teacher at the Studio of the Viktoria Foundation, a school dedicated to teaching skills to the underprivaleged. Martin doesn't work with styrene, brass, metals or castings. He runs a largescale railway, of a mear 1:11.25 scale, running on 80mm gauge track, called 'Spur 80'. The trains are all battery powered and the entire system, including tracks, signals, bridges rolling stock and locomotives are all hand made in wood by Martin. This is also what he is teaching to his students, and as a result a massive transportable railway is emerging, all powered by our beloved Bogie Locomotives of the Mason Machine works. None of the models are painted, rather the natural textures and colours in the timbers are used to contrast elements. Along with a series of box cars, log cars and cabeese, Martin has to date built 5 Mason Bogie 2-4-4T locomotives, and has now embarked on a huge 2-6-6T developed directly from the Masterclass drawing set. we'll be showing updates of the 2-6-6T as work progresses.
In the mean time, lets take a look at the Viktoria-Stiftung Foundation, Switzerland, it has existed since 1856!
Till 1988 was it a home only for girls and young women with problems (neglect, family troubles, etc).
In 1988, the institution opened four new divisions (groups). The closed group for girls, the closed group for boys, the semi closed group for girls and the semi closed group of boys.
Then, in year 2003 came additionally the open group for boys.
Today, the institution (the closed divisions) is a special (and rare) home for actual “heavy” girls and boys in the age from 12-18. I work since more than 15 years in the studio (we say atelier) with maximum five girls in close scope. Most of these girls break away from an other institution (open system) or at home and lived on the “street” before they came to the Viktoria-Stiftung. In the worst case they come escorted by the police and normally their biographies are terrible and sometimes catastrophic. Sexual harassments, a mixture of alcohol, drugs, violence, psychic problems, generic addiction, war traumata, incredible deficits in safety, security and attachment. The girls are first taken for three month to the closed group. During this time, we try to stabilize them and to find the best possible therapeutical continuation. In the first six weeks, they are “employed” in the “atelier” in the framework of a working training/therapy. The Spur80 model railroad, our premium product, is manufactured with the aid of these girls, in very low quantity. It takes quite some time to manufacture them and depending of the capabilities and the age of the girl, is the work manly a therapeutic context, as the coaching of the girls is the main priority. Therefore it gets clear that it will take probably two years to build the 2-6-6-T DSP-Mason. Luckily do I have the marvelous plans from David Fletcher. They saved me already much time. I’m always very pleased to see e.g. an very concentrated and engaged girl drilling very small nut-dummies or to manufacture and integrate the very complicated side wall with the aid of a supporting form.
Our institution is headed and managed since many years from the couple Jörg and Rita Aschwanden. Their modern, flexible and humanly concept, that has to be successful against our competition (and also is), forms our base. The daily work with “difficult” young people is demanding for all employees, ranging from the psychological coaching over to the practical, daily work.
Now, lets take a look at the works of Martin Rindlisbacher, Spur 80,of the Viktoria Foundation, this series of photos show his most recent 1:11.25 scale 2-4-4T Mason. The model is entirely made from wood, with metal fixings, is battery powered on the main chassis and tender truck, and is based on an early 2-4-4T of the Mason Works.

Martin's Mason Bogie is approx twice the size of the models we're building for Masterclass 2002! The models are battery powered, with drive mechs to all wheels.
Many of his models have working brake rigging!
Here's Martin's words on the workings of his Mason Bogies:
As source of strength tension is installed in the boiler the replaceable accu with 12Volt. In the firebox are the receiver, the travel automatic controller and the noise electronics. In the cover the main switch is inserted.
The Engine (Graubner speed 720 BB torques) is revolving inserted with the truck. To the Motor a 2.8 :1 transmission is flanged on. A further reduction of 3:1 takes place at the toothed belt.
The driving power is transferred over a chain to the two fitted with springs truck axles. The drive wheels are equipped with detention tires, which arecut from Mountain Bike tubes. They must be replaced regularly.
Wood has other adhesive properties than metal. In the curves I have the problem of the higher friction between wood on wood, than shearises with metal on metal.
With the adhesion at the drive wheels it’s completely different. The wood fibers are smooth-brushed by the friction. The result: The locomotive does not move a bit!
Three methods can help:
1. Silicone spray on all flanges (locomotive and car).
2. The described detention tires.
3. Additional ballast of 1,5 kg iron within the range of the truck.
On even distance five-six cars can be pulled. But don’t forget, that the radius of 175cm is very narrow!
The coupled wheels are inside connected by gear wheels. The bushings of the Rods have much play. Wood reacted as well known to humidity and is never the right lenght!.

The rails are all made from wood and are also hand made. The track gauge is 80mm. The track is entirely modular, using clips to hold the sections together. Working switches are based on the stubb switch concept.

The railroad is demountable and can be set up for special exhibitions at the Viktoria Foundation. Here are some views of the Spur80 railroad in action. Note the Mason is one of his early version 2-4-4Ts, with no external valve gear, a pre 1874 Mason design.

Martin makes all the rolling stock too, trucks are fully sprung and many of the wagons have working brake rigging. Here is a sample of his 30ft box car and shorty caboose!

These series of photos show his stock car, skeleton log car and another view of the caboose. As Martin explains, these wagons do not have working brakes, but the brake system he has designed in wood has been applied to a special flat car who's load is not allowed to roll away! Martin is always experimenting new ways to power models, and new detailing methods.

This is Martin's beautiful US outline logging 2-6-2T similar to locomotives found running in Washington State. The model is powered via an earier chain design and does not run as well as the Masons do, however Martin is always trying new things, and with every model, better systems evolve. Note the detail on this tank loco, including brake detail, pin jointed side rods, air lines and brake hoses all made from wood!

Here are images of his steam steet car and trailer. A similar steam tram can be seen at the Museum of Transport in Lucern. As Martin writes: "In 1988 in Berne (Switzerland) an original Steam Tramway got restored and reopened. This event inspired me to build a steam tramway. The wheels are made of rubber. Length: approx.. 150cm."

Prior to the beginnings of Martin's Spur 80 railroad, work on a Massive wooden working model of a Mississippi steam stern wheeler, with fully detailed interiors was what brought the attention of the Viktoria Foundation. It was this model that won Martin the role as teacher for Apprenctice at the Studio of Viktoria Foundation. You'll notice the great detail in the working redition of the stern wheel steam engine. Note the typical Mississippi in-line compound cylinders powering the stern wheel.

Martin's work at the Viktoria Foundation began with the teaching of the making of wooden toys, this would later evolve into the fully working wooden railroad, as Martin explains:

The first tramway with Steamlocomotive and two trailers, without rails. At the Viktoria-foundation I started with constructing of wooden toys. Amongst others there were models that later on leaded me to the Spur80 models.

This tramway, an old, electric tramway, just used during summertime, here the large model. I did it for kindergardens.

This tramway is made like the electric tramway in Berne. It has flangewheels and has a railsystem (straight and curved). Without drive, but already with lots of details.

Martin's Live steam experiment!
"These photos contains my life steam experience. This free lance steam truck, built together with my son, connects old and new construction units. The blackened and punched strap irons originate from a Märklin metal component system from approx.. 1910. The boiler (converted) and the two-cylinders v-steam engine are of Wilesco, Germany.

The drive will individually transfer a differential over a gear wheel reduction, and afterwards with chains to the rear wheels. It’s is heated with an alcohol fuel paste. The truck is radio controlled. Length: approx.. 45cm."

Here is a car made by Martin of a 1931 Duesenberg J at a scale of 1:11.25!

Martin's Spur 80, [ part 1 ] - [ part 2 ] - [ part 3 ] - [ part 4 ] - [ part 5 ] - [ part 6 ] - [ part 7 ] - [ part 8 ]