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Raffles Quay, Singapore HO Marklin Layout

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I've been itching to play Marklin. The first model train shop that erected in Indonesia was a Marklin and Trix shop. At the time we weren't really well off, so my parents gave me the entire Minitrix Catalog of 2006-2008 (I think) and told me, if I study it, they'd get me a starter set. Well the catalog was in shambles and I placed them into a binder. Each time I flip the pages I became enamored with german and european locomotives. It's woeful that despite my (arguably lazy yet ambitious efforts of that of a 10 year old) to be acquainted with the system, I couldn't get my hands on a Marklin. Even after the Marklin shop went bust and the contract fell into the hands of a stockist and the community, I still gaze in awe and envy every time I go to that shop. I don't know, but there's something about Marklin that makes you think that it's different from the other manufacturers. Its detail? I don't know. 



Well about 12-14 years after the catalog. I finally made enough in the business to start a Marklin layout. This will primarily be the testing layout for both AC and DC HO locomotives that I would encounter. As well as the home of my two Marklin locomotives other than the Acrylic Boxes I made for them, The BR 44 2-10-0 Decapod Heavy Goods Locomotive and the SBB CE 6/8 Crocodile. (All of whom, in total, I got for 120 bucks, not bad for Marklins) I have a lack of space so making a loop layout is certainly out of the question apart from laying them on the floor (Which I currently do not have), so a shunting layout will do. 




The layout is a 1200x300mm. I've designed it in a way that there would be enough space for the decapod and the crocodile to shunt a small wagon or a small carriage. I don't think it would have the capability to shunt long DB wagons like the transeurop or the pullman nor shunt some containers. But small boxcars and wagons would be enough. I don't plan to make this too big. The yellow tracks are M track, and the black ones are C track. I've gotten a couple of C tracks for free from my mechanic, and I've bought some M track from the community as well as a dinosaur controller. You'd also notice the gray track, that's Triang Series 4 track I normally use to test HO trains. I have an experiment that I'd like to do on those (Those tracks are so fiddly and abysmal, no wonder no one likes them) It features two points, a righthand and a double slip.





The baseboard I used is some used cardboard glued together. Once then covered up with glue and toilet paper to get rid of any creases and holes from the sued cardboard. At the moment it's a flat surface but things might change soon. 



This is such a nasty and old Marklin Controller for Delta locomotives. I spent the afternoon basically snipping the jacks from the double slip and fitting them unto the controller. Which would run some cables unto the soldered piece of track made out of can. I can see why Marklin is such an exclusive club, this heavy controller does pack quite a lot of voltage and I'm just amazed at the state of the controller. But, I'm not complaining. In the future I might try to take it apart and see if I could fit the gyzmos within into a better box. 



The double slip also had its problems. Mainly that one of the points on the top left quadrant refuses to follow if its straight. It caused some derailments, and I had to be extra careful. Might have to take it apart again, and perhaps lubricate the thing. I've also cracked a part of the C track so that it would fit unto the joiners. But the pickups would need to be soldered into the wire running below the C track. This track also screams for a cleaning, and I'm ordering some track rubber now. 



The biggest challenge for the Triang track was fitting them into the joiners of the Marklin M track. I didn't have much modeller tools but I do have surgical tools. So Imagine me being in my desk under my study lamp trying to use Artery Clamps, Needle Drivers and tissue tweezers trying to open up the joiners and drive every piece of steel into the joiner. Whilst cutting away the beds to fit. Now of course, why the hell do I try so hard on this. Well, after making the base equal to the M track, the idea would be to cover the middle of the track with some Polystyrene strips and create a slab track. Which would run a copper wire between the middle tracks over the strip to enable the pickup shoe to pickup power. If this works, I would experiment without using a polystyrene strip and instead use a thicker copper wire soldered between middle tracks. The reason being that if I manage to pull this off, then I could potentially create a layout in which it could run both AC and DC. That was the thought. 



Several Hurdles identified. There are major problems right now. Other than the track begging me to clean them, there are some dips here and there, as well as less conductive joiners. This caused the pickup shoe to not conduct as well. Here is a video of the crocodile and the steam train crossing each other in the double slip. Also the steam train might need a thorough cleaning and a fix since it hasn't run ever since JFK was still president


Perhaps the largest problem right now is how these trains are operated. For those of you who don't know, old Marklin (Delta) works using AC relay. The controller is similar with Mehano in which you would need to switch it to zero and further in order to get the train to turn. If I'm not mistaken this is regulated by the relay in every locomotive. Now the largest problem is that everytime you need to turn on the relay of an old Marklin, it sends nearly the maximum allowable voltage to the train, causing them to jolt and jump. Now I have no problems if this were a loop. But this being a shunting layout, I would imagine the train jolting some wagons unto or off the track before moving off the other side, if they themselves behave and not jolt too far. The trackplan is a bit too short to accomodate the jolts, and expansion is a way to go. Another way would be to create a strong enough cart buffer to absorb the momentum from the wagons and the jolting train. Hydraulic buffers are an option, but so is creating a structure strong enough to absorb impact. This would be the largest challenge in the shunting layout, as I could not have wagons derailing off the track due to jolts from the relay trying to change directions. 

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I've been brainstorming the themes for this layout. Currently HO is one of the most common gauges in Indonesia, with most modelers playing Rail King. If you don't know Rail King, it's basically an HO scale battery powered train that costs 10 dollars for a set. They'd normally take the shell out and instead craft ones out of PVC. Indonesian locomotives mostly. Cheapest way to get into the hobby and the modelling. 


It is not a wonder that Faller, Tyco, Noch, Vollmer and Kibri is rather abundant along with the local made buildings. However I know that most of the laser cut buildings are either European or American. The local made are rather expensive as well, and do not do the layout much justice. I spent quite a while as to the theme. I wanted to go British since I'm always a sucker on British Train transport, or Turkish. Somewhere middle eastern or somewhere in the Iberian peninsula. 


I then decided to stick with the Southeast Asian theme, while keeping a little bit British. Singapore, was the mix of Southeast Asian with British and Japanese influence. I'm going to model the area based on Clarke Quay and the Singaporean river market of the old. 



(from http://www.robertsonquay.com/singapore-river.html)



(from http://activeage.co/explore-novotel-singapore-clarke-quay-and-its-vicinity/)


Judging from the photos there will be a quay concrete wall siding with the river in which it would enable river merchants to load and unload products transferred by the river. This is also one of my favorite places when I go to Singapore, it's so vibrant yet so calming at the same time. Now you may think, why would you want to model it in Singapore? Singapore is known for their Mass Rapid Transits, not their freighters and shunters. As a result, Singapore doesn't have trains by the Quay.


True. But If you walk a bit further. You'd notice another inspiration of mine. 




I've always felt like Vietnam is like Indonesia, but communist and cheap. Particularly the railway path going to Hanoi station. I've stayed in the area once, near the baguette factory for Banh Mi. I remember sitting so close to the tracks drinking a coconut whilst a passenger diesel crawls right past me. The idea would be to merge the two into one. 


I'm planning to draw something on sketchup soon. But the idea would be to have a quay shunter next to a vibrant Singaporean community. The distance between the population and the tracks would be so close, and thus would make up for the small space. The theme? Well maybe we could do a traditional fishing boat unto the quay, which would load fish unto refrigerator cars. The train would then couple itself unto the refrigerator cars and shunt them to the track next to it, where it'll be a hawker's center. 


I'm still polishing it up. But that's the main idea so far. Thoughts?

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Great idea — quay scenes are always a delight!

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I haven't got the measurements since it's four in the morning in Indonesia and I napped too much today. 




I found this old building in Mackenzie Road Singapore, which was the first stall Old Chang Kee first opened. The shape of the windows is quite old town Singapore and the buildings are quite bright and colorful. 



I wonder if I could replicate the style in this old vollmer house I found in the online shop. The type of doors for this house is the type of hawkers and vendors in the old town district. The color isn't really good. i might need to paint over the roof into orange and perhaps the walls into a brighter shade of cream, if I need to recolor. The inner areas might be chock full of HO figures eating and having a good time, maybe some Noch and kitbashing to have some vendors and waiters. Making it look more bustling. Of course, I'll take this building if it fits somewhere. 


There are also some brick buildings that might also be useful in portraying a more modern sense. 



I imagine this could be a cafe with an office on top.The windows could be open, or even shut using some plastic texture to make it look like wooden blinds. The Red brick look is a good counter if I were to make the hawker building cream. But in case the hawker building doesn't fit, I could use this instead. Maybe paint it yellowish? This could also be the train office and there's a cafe below. 



This one is also an option, although the sidings leave little to be desired. Old town Singapore doesn't have such a geometric shape on the sides. Especially if the siding of this building is just brick. If all else fails this could be the alternative.


Now I'm just waiting for measurements


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Märklin, a love and hate story 😄


I got a starter box when I was small and a lot of track as well since I wanted to build a layout with my grandpa. Unfortunately Alzheimers was agains it and I sometimes just played with the stuff on the floor in my room for a few weeks and put it away again.

There is an adapter rail from C- to M-Track btw 😉

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JR 500系

Robertson Quay ka... Interesting! You will need the famed stairs in front of Clarke Quay Central that is iconic, and plently of Red and black boats... I'm just curious though, but Mackenzie Road is quite a distance from Raffles Quay....   🙂


By the way, Robertson Quay seems to be the place that's not so near the river actually... Now it is usually called Clarke Quay/ Boat Quay  🙂

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