Val Ease Central Railroad by Jeffrey MacHan

The Sinsheim Chronicles: Episode 18

Module Photo-op!

Outside Manfred Joerger's workshop, Tuesday March 26, 2002.

Under Manfred's guidance, it didn't take long for us to get the two very large and heavy engine service modules outside and ready to unpack, yes unpack. They were completely encased in plywood to protect them from damage during transportation to shows. It took about 15 minutes to undo all the nuts and bolts and get the modules placed on the sawhorses where Manfred deftly bolted his creations together.

The sky was a little overcast so the shadows were muted. If I was lucky I could hope to get some interesting photos. Manfred wouldn't even let me close to the modules until he had placed diesels, electrics and steamers in logical positions on the tracks.

Setting up section one of Manfred's turntable Installing rolling stock and locos

Before I would finally crouch down to take a shot, I turned the tables on Manfred and instructed him to bring out a backdrop to give us a finished scene to shoot. Manfred disappeared for a minute and came back with a wonderful scene that only he knew where it had been hidden. Manfred did the honours of holding it in position around the modules as Jeremy and I jostled for position to take shots from every side and angle. Occasionally Manfred's grip would slip and the horizon would begin to sink to the left or to the right. Whenever that happened I rised a finger, pointing out to Manfred the direction to raise or lower an end which quickly levelled the fields for our viewfinders. This first shot is from just above the catenary wires looking toward the diesel service area. The main tracks disappear nicely off to the left.

The diesel service area Steam engine service area

In this shot I hoped to capture the charm of the steam engine service area looking trhough the trees toward the roundhouse and turntable.

A long shot of the entire facility with the backdrop held in place by Manfred himself! I didn't get the perspective I really wanted on this last model shot. I should have tried a couple of telephoto shots but I didn't have a tripod with me or the presence of mind to use the auto-timer.

My Canon Powershot S100 has given me some great pictures and I am very fond of its ease of use. However, it is not a very sophisticated camera, far less so than the Nikon Coolpix 995 that Jeremy was using. The zoom feature on the CCD screen on his camera made it easy to see if the photo was in sharp focus or not. I could only use my best judgement concerning my medium and low resolution shots. Unfortunately quite a few of my pictures were unusable once I got home and saw them on the monitor.

Manfred's work underneath the baseboard is just as beautiful as above. I'll end this photo-op episode with a shot of the wonderful wiring on the underside of the turntable module. I wish I had the same wiring skills as Manfred and his colleague, Christian, who did much of the principle wiring of the original modules.

It was time to repack the modules before we lost daylight and to avoid the threat of rain. We managed to find the correct length bolts for the cases and the plywood was once again firmly reattached. Back into the shop they went, ready for the next call from Märklin and a major train show.

Terry and I were looking forward to the evening phase of our visit to the Joerger universe, the monthly gathering of the Würmtal Model Railroad Club and, of course, supper!

Stay tuned for Episode 19 of the Great European AdventureZ 2002 | Return to Sinsheim Chronicles Home.