Hello and welcome, Aiguillages Season 8 is starting today. This Season is a bit more international than the previous ones : apart from many reports made in France, we’re going to travel to Switzerland, Quebec and Belgium. We’re starting right now, today I’m taking you to the model making section of one of the most important amateur railway association in Belgium : PFT. Patrimoine Ferroviaire et Tourisme is an association with many activities, based in Saint-Ghislain, near Mons, in Hainaut province in Belgium. The association uses former workshops where the SNCB used to repair wagons in Saint-Ghislain, and it preserves equipments the National Railway Company of Belgium doesn’t take care about. 3 times a year, the association organizes a big exhibition and fair. One of them took place a week after our visit : that’s why you can see tables on these images. During those days, rolling stocks are exhibited, and 500 meters of tables are rent by individuals or professionals in this former workshop. The president of the association is Bernard Vervy, Thierry Maroil is in charge of Saint-Ghislain’ site, but we’re going to meet other members of the association in a moment. Just as the visitors who came for the fair, we’re going to visit level 0, and then we’ll go upstairs to discover the model making section’s layouts. The biggest one is a 3 rail layout that the association’s members call Marklin layout or German layout. There was a time when the German brand used to organize seminars for people who were interested, where they used to create layouts from scratch until the finishing touches : electricity, tracks and buildings. Some of those creations were given to PFT, and the members of its model making section added Belgium-inspired modules. Works are still being done on the layout, significant changes or restorations are to be made on the electric part and on the scenery. A high-speed railway line and a tramline should be added soon. The SNCB abandonned these buildings at the end of the 1990’s. It took several years for the members of the association to refurbish the premises and to transform them so that they could be used for their new planned activity: railway model making. On this floor, there were bathtubs and showers. They had to be dismantled, and the walls were broken down to build a large room. The heating system wasn’t originally installed. It was done, and PFT’s model making section was created and installed on this floor a bit more than 10 years ago. Guy Stiévenart became its manager. Actually, PFT is a national association in Belgium. Its purpose is to safeguard equipment that is not preserved by the SNCB, and it has a model making section that creates and restores 2 rail or 3 rail modules. In the next room, another 3 rail German-inspired layout is being restored. It was completed by Belgian modules. It is a double track model that crosses a decorated part and then disappears backstage. Trains reappear at the other end of the layout. This track plan is much more linear than that of the first Marklin layout. It is a straight line, the club’s members created an extension representing Blaton station that is situated on the Saint Ghislain-Tournai line, Tournai-Lille or Tournai-Mouscron, and that is typically Belgian. PFT model making’s members not only modify layouts that they got here and there, they also create models like their N scale layout representing Peruwelz station, situated on the Saint Ghislain-Tournai line, or the one that is currently being restored, that represents Thulins station. They also started entirely building a 2 rail layout. It started from scratch and will represent a layout in a very Belgian style, in terms of buildings, signaling and catenaries. We’re trying to create a mixed model with mountainous parts and a part with a city as we know them in Mons region, in Borinage. There will also be a tramline, as our region has had quite a few, so a tram is going to operate on the layout. Soon it will operate on the Marklin layout too. A high-speed railway line is being built, as Belgium also has a TGV line. A TGV line will be set up at the other end of the model. If it’s not already done, here is what will convince you that the association really has a lot of models : you will easily find the name of the country this diorama was inspired by. Do you need a clue ? We’re way further West, on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Stéphane Hecq made these modules. I discovered those scales and I loved the narrow gauges, their loading gauge and their curve radius, I also loved that a part can be left to my imagination in terms of rolling stocks, sceneries, characters, etc. This one is a completely American-inspired layout, I didn’t make any research, even for the scenery, I just made something I liked. It is 0 scaled, so 1:48, I used a narrow gauge for its main part that is like a 75 cm track, usually its called 0N30, and I made a small bridge here, I will probably extend it with a 09 scale. It is an 0 scale on a 9 mm track. To create its model, Stéphane choose to build a line of crates. It allows to go from one place to another, for example I can work at home in a smaller space and then assemble the remaining module to the other part of the model. It also allows me to decorate a part without knowing what I’m going to decorate next. – And maybe you can think about other modules ? – I’m already thinking about new modules, including a big cliff with a bigger part reserved for a very narrow gauge, that would be like a 40 cm track. All those layouts coexist in the 2 large rooms on the first floor. PFT model making section is looking for people to take care of their N scale layout that is not progressing for now, as nobody among their about 30 members uses this scale. One day or another, I will talk about Patrimoine Ferroviaire et Tourisme again, as this association also operates a tourist line : the Bocq. We’ll use it as an excuse to go back to Belgium ! Next week in Aiguillages I’ll take you to Switzerland, on a trip with Vapeur Val de Travers’ tourist train. We’ll ride from Fleurier near Neuchâtel to Vevey among Lake Geneva, and we’ll even go to Blonay-Chamby in the middle of the Steam Festival. 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