Relforka Lacono

The journey begins at Relforka Lacono where the AFK makes its junction with the Ferovojoj Thalnia, the standard gauge national system. The SG secondary mainline branches away from the northern trunk route into Ruritania and crosses the southern part of Altonia canton before making its way to the Narnian border.
 The mountains are already crowding the line as the standard gauge train pulls into the station to make its connections with the AFK. The difficult terrain of the interior meant that the canton was by passed as the national system evolved during the mid nineteenth century forcing the provincial authorities to develop their own narrow gauge network to augment the state system.
  

The catenary is a simplified style based on German practice and the loco and carriages are from Lima. The platform canopy is based on that at Samedan on the Rhaetian railway.


The station building can be seen in the background behind the SG train. The platforms are connected to the buidling by the footbridge visible at the top left. A telephone kiosk and a train indicator occupy this part of the platform.

This was not an easy photo to take and required the use of a flash. Footbridges were unusual at continental by way stations but this one is justified by the importance of the junction. Actually it screens the train loading area just to the left and the platforms act as a fiddleyard for the layout.

Unfortunately the plaster used to coat the columns has begun to crumble and some areas were obviously missed!
This is a rather cruel enlargement of the signalling equipment which once stood on the platform at Relforka. Signalling equipment on continental lines was often easily accessible to the travelling public and this is no exception.

Unfortunately ignorance meant that one or two errors had crept in and modifications have taken place since the photo was taken. From left to right we can see the point levers (180 degree throw), winding handles for the signals (Bavarian style), the block instrument and the block occupation bell. The latter has an indicator, based on Bavarian practice, to remind the staff that a train has entered the section once the bell finishes sounding.
The AFK also operates buses as part of its remit and this one provides the direct service from the junction to Eromarbordo, on the coast. As is usual the bus has run onto the platform to provide an easy connection with the trains.

The bus is a repainted model of a Swiss post coach bought many years ago. Unfortunately the Mercedes Benz logo has been knocked off the radiator with the passage of time and the company's name was mis-spelt by the illiterate sign writer!
These two images give an overall impression of the station. As noted this is really just a 'dressed' fiddleyard for the main part of the layout with the two platforms holding or accepting trains. These have to be removed and restaged many times during the course of a typical 'day's' operations.

Loading takes place on a small shelf behind the footbridge and trains are pushed up the platform until they are ready to go. This is a cramped location at the bottom of three levels of the layout and the baseboards of the station above can be seen in the top left of the upper picture.

The SG train acts as a scenic backdrop and never moves, although the original Lima motor does actually work in its primitive seventies fashion. 

 In the upper picture a railcar awaits departure time and in the bottom one the day's express, pulled by a 2-6-6-0T mallet, and a diesel hauled local are waiting to leave. Its a pity that I did not notice that the mallet's dome was displaced when I took the photo. The hideous chimney has also been replaced with something more suitable as well!
  
 These two photos show the line's exit from the scene. the signal is based upon a PLM sémaphore which drops to the vertical when cleared.
  
 The SG shunter is an ancient Billerbahn item based on a German prototype, although my version was intended for the American market, hence its lack of buffers. The model's fragile plastic coupling rods are intact but the motor was burnt out when I acquired it as a non-runner. It is leaving the interchange sidings and waiting to cross the NG line with a cut of wagons unloaded from the AFK's transporter wagons.
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