No. 126: Railfanning at Lesce-Bled, Slovenia…and Finishing a Few Freight Cars

In June I took my family to Slovenia and Croatia for a little get-away after school ended.  We spent a week in Radovljica, Slovenia and then spent a couple of days at a seaside resort in Pula, Croatia.

Radovljica (pronounced Rad-ol-ska) is one of the most beautiful, pleasant places on the Earth.  We love life there.  The people are wonderful, the cost of living is low, and the scenery there–near the magnificent, unspoiled Triglev National Park–is breathtaking.  If I could move there and retire, I think I would.


One morning during our week I went to a nearby mainline railway station, Lesce-Bled–about ten minutes east of Radovljica–to photograph some mainline train action there.  I saw and photographed seven trains in less than an hour—three “scooters” (my term for local passenger trains) and four through electric freight trains.

Below.  Here’s one of the big freight trains, below, entering the siding at Lesce-Bled to wait for a scooter to pass.


Below.  One of several westbound mainline freights passing the Lesce-Bled station.   These heavy electric trains are fast and quiet, and are able to start and stop very quickly. 


Here’s a westbound scooter that appeared later in the morning.  The Lesce-Bled depot is beautiful.  The mountains in Triglav National Park can be seen in the distance.


Nearby the depot is this neat, retired freight house.  There are long loading platforms along each end.   It looks like a lot of buildings that used to line the right-of-way in the U.S….only this one is of course in the former Yugoslavia.


Just east of the depot is the ubiquitous double-slip switch.  They seem to be present everywhere in Europe.


Here is the switch stand for the double-slip.  It is a very simple, interesting arrangement.  Wouldn’t this make an interesting modeling project?


After a week in beautiful Slovenia I took my family to Croatia to spend a few days in Pula, which is an ancient Roman city on the Istrian Pensinsula on the Adriatic Sea.  While there we visited this former Roman coliseum which is remarkably intact.  Pula was alright, but we liked Slovenia a whole lot more.


2019 has been a terribly hectic, frustrating, disappointing year in a lot of ways.  Summer has been tough.  There hasn’t been much time for modeling.  Nevertheless I did finish a few models when I got back from the trip.  Here are a couple of photos.

Great Northern 31456 is an ancient Sunshine Models kit I bought on eBay.  This is an all-time favorite prototype; I have an O scale model of one as well.  I finished the model with Tahoe Model Works Andrews trucks (the prototype had Dalman-Andrews trucks), plenty of wire details, Kadee scale couplers, Miscrscale decals, and Tru Color paint.  I weathered the car with artist’s oil wash that I described in an earlier post, found here at


Here’s another Great Northern car–this one a more familiar double-sheathed prototype.  The model is from Westerfield.  I finished it with Tru Color paint and Microscale decals, and weathered it with the artist’s oil wash and highlighted many of the boards with artist’s pencils.  I used Aim weathering powders on the roof and then gave the whole car a shot of Testors dark tan to grime-up the underbody.


Here’s a better view of the roof weathering.


Finally, I finished my new Rapido NP box car.  I ordered the car online but the guy sent me the wrong paint scheme even though I was very clear about what I wanted.  What a hassle–it would cost me too much to ship it back, so I sandblasted it ordered Microscale decals, and finished it the way I wanted.  Here’s the model I got, below; it’s beautifully finished but the paint is incorrect for my modeling era.


I sandblasted my model, painted it with Tur Color paint, and decaled the car per prototype photos in the RP Cyc series of books.  I replaced the trucks with Tahoe Model Works trucks–and that was it.  The rest of the model is factory-finished.


So, those are the three new cars that joined the fleet in late June.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing the upcoming Rapido USRA models!

I also finished a New York Central RS-2, seen below, which I’ll detail in a later post.  I enjoyed the build and also very much enjoy running the engine, as it has Loksound and DCC installed.  Here’s the finished model with some light weathering and crew installed.


There are many more posts coming in the next week.  I’ve got all the photos but just need time to put the posts together.

I hope you’re all having a great, happy, healthy, prosperous summer.  I send to you abundant blessings from Germany!  – John G

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