Friday, 17 October 2014

Fuglsø Moor Revisited

There are not many narrow gauge industrial railways in service in Denmark today. Many were dismantled in the 1960’s and 1970’s while most of those that remained were gone by 1990. A few has temporarily sprung up during building of metro lines in Copenhagen and minor tunnels here and there.
The most charming of those few remaining today surely must be the 600 mm. peat railway at Fuglsø Mose. Last week I had the chance to revisit the moor at Fuglsø and its little railway. I was glad to see, that the railway was still working and in better condition than when I last paid a visit. Three locos work the 4 km. line from the peat extraction areas in the moor to the lorry loading facility.

From left to right: Peat plough, '257' built by Danish Pedershaab in the 1940's, '305' Schöma 3405/1972 newly overhauled with new cab and last is '304' Schöma 3336/1971.
The moor has previously been supplying a peat briquette factory in Stenvad with peat and during the second world war the moor also held several smaller production sites for peat with a very motley collection of locos and wagons.

The old loco shed - now without track connection and out of use.  
The loco shed while it still housed locos. Here '305' is climbing up from the loco shed to much admiration from the surrounding enthusiasts. Photo from my first visit to the railway in 1985 with an excursion by the Danish Industrial Railway Society. 
You can see images from the 1990’s on the Industrial Narrow Gauge Railway-website and more from my latest visit to the moor on Flickr.

Much inspiration from visits like this one is useful on one's little model railway. I have always liked the loco shed built from a variety of materials on a slope with doors in both ends, each originally serving different gauges. Even the workers at Fulgsø Mose must have some interest in the building, since it has not yet been demolished. The shed doesn't seem to serve any purpose today and heavy machinery for a quick 'clean up' is in great supply at the lorry loading facility.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Ever Expanding Book Collection

This week saw the arrival of yet some railway books to take their place on my hard pressed shelves. It wasn't a planned acqusition (yes, I have a plan for my railway book shopping) but a friend from Holland was selling part of his collection as he is clearing out in advance of a move. Several good and rare titles were available and I was fortunate to be able to get some of them.

My latest book shopping. I'm particularly fond of the Argentinian book on the potato railways. 360 km of 600 mm gauge railways for transport of potatoes with stock and locos from both British, US and German military railways. Now why didn't I take Spanish in high school?
My modelling is quite focused on the industrial narrow gauge railway theme in a Danish 1950's timeframe. My book collection has a much wider focus, although I suspect some railway enthusiasts would find it quite narrow and uninteresting. I have few books on 'normal' railways (if a normal railway is a standard gauge one with passengers, tickets, timetables and transport of a variety of goods etc.). The majority of my railway books are about narrow gauge railways, most of which only ever carried one type of freight and seldom any passengers.

Having to choose between a book on a standard gauge railway and a book about excavators I would most likely choose the book on excavators. Or tractors. Or ropeways. Or steam ploughing, I could go on.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Welding in the Evening

The Nystrup Gravel loco shed was tasked with daily maintenance of the company's locos. Now and then a repair was so urgent that work continued into the evening. The next day's gravel transport had to be performed to schedule. In such a case the chief mechanic had to work late - sometimes helped by one of the loco drivers. On an old piece of Super 8 film from 1973 I found a short sequence showing welding one evening at the shed. The quality isn't the best, I'm afraid.

Interior light was installed when I built the loco shed years ago and now I have fitted a little welding light gadget. The trick is probably rather 'old hat' but fits my taste (not being completly convinced that animations, advanced light effects and sound will enhance anyone's experience of my modules). 

The welding light unit. While sold by Micromark it is actually made in the UK. Image from the Micromark website.
The welding light unit was bought from as item 83648. It consists of a print board with the components and two LEDs. In addition to the usual blueish welding-effect it includes a red 'hot glowing metal effect' LED. You have to supply wire for the installation yourself.

As I wanted to install the LEDs hidden from view inside an object being welded I thought the LEDs rather on the large side. For that reason the object being worked on had to be a large one. I used a piece of plastic pipe, fitted plasticcard ends, drilled a few holes in it and fitted a bit of metal piping in one of the holes. I guess it could be part of a (very) large exhaust unit or a fuel tank. The LEDs are fitted inside the pipe and the flickering welding light comes rather nicely out the holes creating a discrete effect.

A view from above: The welder and the item being worked on. I still need to attach a wire to the welding object. Without a connection to the power source from the welding unit seen to the left no welding is possible.
From conversations with other railway modellers I know that there is a lot of work going on in advance of the Gauge 1 exhibition near Odense in November. I look forward to participate.

Monday, 29 September 2014

More Loco Shed Work

After the large front doors were fitted, I thought the rear door in the loco shed didn't quite match. I made a new from plastic card. The door is a tight push fit in the door opening. In that way I can remove the door if I need to take photos from that angle. I think some good shots could be made through the door and into the shed.
A rear view of the loco shed. The light indicates that the sun is setting over Nystrup  - and earlier and earlier now fall is approaching in Denmark. The door is new, as is the water tap to the right, I have been planting more grass and some Noch plants to the far left. The bike is from Scale Link.

The sides of the roof received a new layer of light green paint and a little weathering to match the new doors. The underside of the roof was painted black. While I worked on the shed, I drilled a hole for wires and LEDs for the welding light unit through the workbench (a resin part from a work shop set from Verlinden).

I added a bit of grass and plants around the shed. Being several years old now, some of the old grass was in for replacement (some tends to loosen and get lost during vacuum cleaning and general use of the module) and here and there a little more 'green' was needed. I used a few laser cut plants from Noch. Some of them are fine (the yellow and red/blue flowers) while others are not that good. I have placed them accordingly around the modules.
Laser cut paper flowers from Noch. A fast way to get some planting done, but not exactly cheap. At the current rate the amount on the price tag in Danish kroner corresponds to 10 €.

Friday, 26 September 2014

French Track Panels at Nystrup Gravel

Two weeks ago I received some of the Blitz Models French army track panels. I have now built a few of them. Building went smooth and while the resin rails in the kit are in the correct length for a standard 5 m. track panel I replaced the resin rails with standard code 100 rail, primarily to get more structural strength. I drilled holes in the rail ends and fitted the sleepers. They slided on quite easily, but two of the eight sleepers had to be worked a bit with a scalpel, to enable a PECO code 100 rail to slide between the rail clips.

To fit the sleepers in the correct position, I made a sketch from a Cenac-drawing of French army track and assembled my track panels on it. I used AC glue to fix the sleepers in place. I'm building some 2,5 m. panels later so both lengths are marked out on my scrap of paper.
From Blitz Models I also received a small wagon turntable. The casting is well done, but there is noticable shrinking of the resin in the middle of the turntable. I don't think it will be very visible after painting. All the work I did was some minor flash removal with file and sandpaper as well as drilling holes in the rail ends. 

The single turntable casting right out of the small zip lock bag. The centre shrinking does show on the image.
Both track panels and the turntable was primed and then given an air brushing of light brown. A layer of Vallejo light rust was applied with variation so the rust appear as full covering in places and lighter in other. The turntable received a light spray of blue grey on the turning plate. Turntable and track panels were then painted with burnt umber oil paint heavily diluted in turpentine. In places it was supplanted with a little black oil paint. I used a soft pencil to add the look of worn running surfaces on one track panel and on the turntable.

The track is used by Nystrup Gravel on occasions where a temporary track is necessary. Track from the western front in World War 1 did come to Denmark, as the track panels on Hedelands Veteranbane testifies.

Old French army track at Nystrup Gravel. It probably came from the German airfield at Mellemaaen where Nystrup Gravel acquired both locos and machines after the war. It looks like the turntable has been in use recently judging from the worn running surfaces. Notice the immaculate track standard on Nystrup Gravel's line on this spot.

For those who wonder how a turntable looks on the inside, here is a photo. With the turning plate lifted the steel balls that makes turning easy can be seen. Other types of turntables used rollers while the most primitive had neither. Photo from the closed and abandoned Holzwollefabrik und Sägewerk in Hammerunterwiesenthal, 2013. More images on this Flickr album.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Loco Shed Doors - Finally Finished

For a long time my loco shed has been unable to provide much shelter from the Danish weather. With no doors the autumn storms would have easy access to play havoc with both employees and machines. The doors have been on my to do-list for several years.

The basic doors I made in the beginning of the summer were fitted with a frame structure of wooden balks on the rear side. I made hinges from brass rod and nickle silver strips. The rods were drilled and glued into the walls of the shed and the doors hung in place. I left a gap below the doors to make them clear the uneven ground outside the shed.

One door fitted to the shed. I will have to fit a 'hat' to the chimney on the roof.
To hold the doors open I drilled holes for two lengths of rail to be solidly burried in the ground. They work as anchor points for the doors when open and make sure a sudden gust of wind doesn't slam them shut.

The doors were primed with 'Chaos Black' from Games Workshop and painted the same green as the roof sides and windows. Fortunately the light green Humbrol paint had survived the many years in storage (it was probably last used in 2007).

Both doors built and fitted on the shed. The photos proves that I have actually made them work. More mechanically adept modellers would probably have made them DCC controlled and servo driven. Beyond me. At the moment, at least. Carpenters might shake their heads from the way the doors are framed, but that is how the guys at Nystrup do it.
When I was at work around the shed I fitted two water taps outside the building. They are included in the 'German Fuel Drum Set' from Tamiya. I recently got a set from a friend who didn't need it, thanks a lot!

Nystrup Gravel's loco shed with doors. I my eyes the building has gained much in realism by having doors fitted. Sometimes a little work can make a considerable difference. The Jung ZL-114 is a resin kit from French U-Models fitted on a BlackBeetle.
With the doors in place I'm now in the process of fitting a Micro-Mark welding light unit. The rear door of the shed will be replaced and the roof's sides could use some fresh paint as well. A model railway is never finished!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Blitz Models: Track from the Great War

The anniversaries of World War 1 are here. The war that started in 1914 was know as the Great War before the new global conflict from 1939-1945 gave the war the name it is best known by today: World War 1. In the next 4 years we will probably be exposed to much 'celebrating' and ceremonial remembering of the huge battles taking place during the 1. World War. I hope to build a World War 1 inspired model each year for the next four years. As I have a rather full programme for most of this year, the first one will be very modest - a few track panels with steel sleepers and a wagon turntable from Blitz Models of France. 

Through the years I have built a few models of WW1 subjects - of both narrow gauge and non railway subjects. Here is my model of a long wooden wagon built in French army workshops behind the front line. The model was built from drawings in Christian Cenac's "La Voie de 60 Militaire de la Guerre de 14-18 en France". The French officer is in white metal from Scale Link.
As track panels from The Great War actually found their way to Denmark it was only too obvious that Nystrup Gravel should have some as well. Recently Blitz Models have brought out some 1:35 track elements and a Campagne loco tracteur. More models have been announced on their web site. As I have already built a Campagne from scratch I only ordered a little track to test the quality.

Plastic bag and a printed label constitutes packaging and information. A single pack is 6,5 € from the Blitz Models' web site.

Contents of one bag laid out on my cutting mat. The flimsy resin rails are destined for my waste basket.

A single steel sleeper close up. It fits the 1:35 drawings in the Cenac books.

A length of PECO code 100 rail fitted on three Blitz Models sleepers.
The Blitz Models resin is flexible and with heat from boiling water or a hair drier I suppose you could straighten the warped resin rails. As the sleepers fit standard code 100 rail I will simply slide the sleepers on some PECO rail and super glue them in place. The metal rails will add strength to the assembly. Something I think the resin rails will not be able to. I will use my sleepers primarily for a few loose track panels. For working track on the Nystrup Gravel line I'd rather use the Coldicott track panels as they are designed to take the strain of running trains.

I hope to finish some French track panels in the coming weeks - not forgetting my mission to finish the doors for the Nystrup Gravel loco shed.