The Hark Express

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The Hark Express
De hArkend met een pintje.JPG
Skills Public Transportation
Status Operational
Niche Infra
Purpose Infra
Tool No
Location Ideally, everywhere
Cost none?
Tool category

The Hark Express

de hArkend met een pintje.JPG {{#if:No | [[Tool Owner::{{{ProjectParticipants}}} | }} {{#if:No | [[Tool Cost::none? | }}

The discovery of a substantial set of LEGO rails changed everything. People started dreaming about how an intricate train system could be applied at NURDspace. Can we transport frikandellen, coffee and beer from one side of the space to the other side? Can we have semi-autonomous vehicles navigating a 2D space? What will happen if we connect it to IRC and configure a !train command? Let’s find out together how we can best utilize the LEGO train system at the space!

The plan

Step 1: start somewhere.

The best thing about LEGO is the modularity of it all. So instead of starting with a masterplan we will start with a piece of rails mounted to the wall of Zaal 1, and we'll expand the rail network from there to other areas of the space. We must remember that the Dutch rail network wasn’t built in a day either.

Step 2: Rolling stock

How good is a set of rails if we have no vehicles that use the network? These are the ideas for the engines and wagons of the Hark Express:

  • A train that can be controlled from IRC. When you enter !train it moves from one station to another. Ideally it plays “authentic” trainsounds or the Tomas the Steam Engine intro song and has blinking lights while going from A to B.
  • A cargo train that can hold various freshly baked Frikandellen + a “sauswagon”
  • A sensor wagon with a (rotatable) camera, QR scanner and speed meter
  • A party wagon with lego figures of every space member.
  • A wagon with a small display that shows the speed of the train
  • Whatever this is
  • Or for that matter, this bluetooth speaker / rasberry pi abomination

3 ways to get involved with the project

1. Expand the network. The current network is still very small. At the moment we have plenty of rails to further expand the track. Have a look at the wall and see for yourself how and whereto you'd like to build the next bit of the network

2. Build rolling stock. Currently there's only one train on the network, the hArkend. And it is carrying an empty beer bottle from A to B. While I applaud this train's efforts to recycle empty beer cans, I believe we can do a lot better! You're invited to build your own train or wagon! You can use the 12V direct current from the middle track to power your vehicle. Building a vehicle can also be a perfect excuse to experiment with sensor technology, remote control and/or mechanical engineering. See Rolling stock for more ideas.

3. Decorate. For now the track its just a piece of wood attached to the wall, but it can be so much more than that with a bit of love. Got lego's? maybe build a station or add some LEGO passengers. Or maybe a tunnel? or a bridge? or lights, sounds, lasers and smoke? Let your creativity run wild and make the Hark Express stand out even more.


  • Approx 3m of straight rails.
  • 2 whole circles of round pieces
  • 2 transformators to control the speed of the train
  • … train switches (wissels) of which .. are electrified
  • Various electric switches for manual control of switches, lights, etch
  • Lego lights, both modular
  • Rolling stock: one train engine with a receptor, one without.

Next steps

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