Wednesday, 19 February 2020

New Historic Image from Nystrup Gravel

Always on the lookout for historic facts about the railway and company that I try to recreate in model, I am happy to have found proof that Nystrup Gravel had not one, byt two very early Danish built internal combustion locomotives. The newly found 'dinosaur' is a Kramper & Jørgensen single cylinder loco probably built in 1910.
'Nystrup May 1912' says the pencilled text on the back of the picture. We see a full train of skips pulled by two horses, a Kramper & Jørgensen loco and some empty skips. Part of the work force posing in front of the equipment. A young girl  has managed to get herself immortalized with her puppy.
The image above comes as no surprise, as rumours have long had that Nystrup Gravel owned two early oil engine locos from two different manufacturers. A brief post on what I currently know about the Nystrup Gravel history can be found here.

Since years it has been documented that Nystrup Gravel experimented with an early internal combustion locomotive from the Frederikshavn Iron Foundry. I finished a 1:35 scale model of that particular loco in 2017. Now I'm thinking of making a model of the Kramper & Jørgensen in 16 mm scale. It will no doubt make an impressive model in the large scale.

More research is needed before any work can be done, and several other projects have higher priority. I look forward to the design and build process of this unique piece of Danish railway history.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Peco Track Experiments

Having reorganised my library and modelling room, I have gained enough space to model a small segment of Nystrup Gravel's facilities in Nystrup in 1/19 scale. Before I begin cutting wood and building, I'm simply playing trains on my empty shelves with some Peco track panels. This allows me to test ideas and the mechanical properties of track in 1/19 scale.

Warning: This post later develops into what could be considered 'rivet counting'.

Two skips parked on a length of Peco 'SM32' SL-600-track. The height of the rail and the heavy rail fixings are obvious.
In comparison with my scratchbuilt track panel with light (Code 100) rail the Peco SL-600 flex track with its Code 200 rail is of a much more sturdy impression. As the track is designed for outdoor as well as indoor use it's hardly a surprise.

In this close up af a rail joint, the high rail head is visible. The Peco fishplate is only gripping the feet of the rails.

Compared to a real Vignoles rail profile, the Peco Code 200 rail has a rail head far too large and square and a foot lacking in size. It looks a lot more like a Bullhead profile rather than a Vignoles profile.

While sturdiness is probably a fine thing there are a few things about the Peco track that I'm less fond of:
  • First the rail is of a heavy profile not reminiscent of the majority of the rail used at Nystrup Gravel. The rail height is 5 mm matching a 22 kg/m rail in 1/1. It's a bit too substantial for Nystrup Gravel. Painting and weathering may help to disguise that. 
  • Second, the rail is of a weird profile not matching a typical Vignoles profile. While you can't see the profile clearly the way I plan to install the track, the very high head of the profile is obvious also when seen from the side. 
  • In addition the type of rail fixing is different to what was usually used on Danish industrial railways. I could perhaps change that, either by 'sinking' the track in ballast or by exchanging sleepers and fixings.
The Peco track is working like it should. The rail fixings are solid and the rail flexes comparatively easy considering its dimensions. I have been cutting rails with my standard angle grinder and a cutting disc. Cleaning up was done with usual modelling files. The supplied Peco rail joiners fits like a glove and hold the rail segments well. The points work well and the spring loaded mechanism holds the tounge rail in the right position. In other words: There is nothing functionally wrong with the Peco track. It's the looks I'm unsure of.
Peco track panel from above.

Knowing that I run the risk of getting dissatisfied if I install the Peco track without having tried something else, the hunt is now on for some rail profiles of a smaller size and some rail spikes. Having built track in 1:35, in real life in 700 mm gauge and working for a railway contractor, I do tend to like track that's looking good prototypically.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Pedershaab Variety

I haven't had much time for modelling lately. But I have managed to adjust the 'sit' of the plasticcard frame on the power bogie by fixing layers of plasticcard cut offs inside the frame. There may still be some minor adjusting to do, but the frame's height above top of rail is almost right. The frame's edges and corners were worked with sanding sticks and sand paper. The rounded appearance of a Pedershaab frame is now almost there. The ballast weights to be fitted on each end were made from plasticcard and Miliput. Sanding produced smooth rectangles of fairly square shapes.

Pedershaab frame with ballast weights still unglued. The skip to left has had three holes drilled in the bottom. The holes were drilled to test how best to drill through the quite tough metal body.
The D-series of Pedershaab locos I'm building a model of all seem very uniform at first glance, but once you get closer they exhibit all sorts of differencies. I'm not building one particular loco but a wartime built model FD with large ballast plates resembling the preserved M 2 on HVB.

Below is a series of images from a user of a large number of Pedershaab locos clearly showing their variety and important work. During the German occupation of Denmark 1940-1945 every part of society was lacking ressources. The Danish cement producing industry was cut off from its usual coal supplies and what little Germany could provide didn't meet the needs. Consequently the cement industry sought new types of fuel. In the large peat bogs south and north of the cement industry's epicenter in Aalborg the companies began harvesting peat to burn in the cement ovens. The peat extraction was a huge operation using a large number of machines, considerable manpower and both narrow and standard gauge railways.
Open cab Pedershaab no. 15 positioning wagons for loading at a peat excavator. No 15 was powered by natural gas to save on the limited amount of petrol available. The gas was extracted from local underground deposits by drilled shafts and delivered in pressurized tanks to the users.
Workers getting a ride on a Pedershaab on their way to work. Could I perhaps completely skip modelling the top part of my Pedershaab and just fit 12-14 scale figures? 

Pedershaab fitted with a snow plough posing between heaps of peat. Notice the black out fitting on the front lamp. It was war time and a nationwide black out was in force to make navigation for allied bombers as difficult as possible.

Pedershaab no. 13 equipped for fire fighting duties. No 13 is fitted with netting over the exhaust to prevent igniting the highly flammable peat bog. The netting couldn't catch every ember from the exhaust pipe, but was reasonably effective preventing bog fires.  

Pedershaab no. 3 with pressurized tank for natural gas and closed cab on the large ramp used for loading lorries as well as standard gauge wagons.
Last image is a great line up of 15 700 mm gauge locomotives. 13 from Pedershaab and 2 locos from Kastrup Machineworks. All locos seem to be fitted with natural gas fueled engines.
The series of images can be found on the great public Danish online archive arkiv.dk to be viewed for free. The website is a great ressource when modelling Danish prototypes.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Project Pedershaab

While finishing a few smaller projects I have been building up a stock of some of the things needed for my planned model of a Danish built Pedershaab locomotive. With parts ready, I have now finally started building the model on the basis of homemade sketches in 16 mm scale based on prototype drawings.

Original main drawing from Pedershaab with measurements in mm. Drawing no 59287 from Pedershaab.
The main part to be sourced was the power unit. I decided to try out the adjustable length power bogie from UK-based Swift Sixteen. As my Lister the Pedershaab will be powered by battery. I plan to fit two Li-ion Japcell JC123R 3.7 V 650 mAh batteries in the engine compartment and RC equipment under the driver's seat. The model will feature one working headlamp on both front and rear to make running in the dark a little less dangerous. Micro LEDs were bought cheaply from the far east. The head lights were found on E-bay from German producer Dioramaparts that makes extra parts to add on car models. I will need to rebuild them into functional head lights.

The brass channel in the Swift Sixteen power bogie was cut with a Dremel fitted with a cutting disc. The cuts were cleaned up with files. I had wrapped the motor in masking tape in advance to avoid small metal bits entering the motor interior. The supplied bracket for joining the two parts fitted well and helps to create a solid unit. I soldered the frames together and despite a soldering iron a tad too small, I managed to get the solder flowing alright. The supplied delrin chain for powering both axles was shortened as per the instructions. Despite the large scale, the joining of the chain proved quite a fiddly task for me. Finally I managed to join the chain and much rejoicing followed. Guess what? The chain was one link too long...Well, at least I now had experience!

The main parts from the Swift Sixteen adjustable length power bogie. The wheelbase is decided by how much of the brass channel is removed.

I cut out a considerable length in total to obtain a wheelbase of 46 mm.

From scrap brass I bent up two brackets for fixing the loco body to the power bogie. The brackets were soldered on. 

For the basic construction I have decided to rely on a design of well braced plasticcard. More plasticcard, brass, nickle silver and 3D-printed parts are planned to be used for details.

I cut a cardboard template for the frame top to help decide where to place holes for motor, wires and bolts for joining power bogie and loco frame. After a little shuffling back and forth with cardboard I could cut the first 5 pieces of 1.5 mm plasticcard.
Basic frame assembly glued and ready for height adjusting and test fitting on power bogie. Later corners and edges will be rounded off with files and sandpaper.

With nothing looking much like a Pedershaab locomotive yet I have added a short film clip from the Pedershaab factory in Brønderslev. At around 0:23 finishing work is being carried out on a NG locomotive with wooden cab.

Pedershaab Scenes


Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Pennzoil Petrol Pump

Back in October I bought a petrol pump for Nystrup Gravel. The pump from the American oil company Pennzoil is made by Hong Kong manufacturer Yat Ming and is a pre-assembled 1/18 model of metal and plastic. While some of the pump's parts are quite passable, others are over-simplified and the chrome plating does nothing to hide it.

The pump as delivered. High capacity plastic fuel hose and shiny chrome parts.
The pump is most likely made to fit the many die cast car models in 1/18 scale. As some of the cars, the pump is also suffering from thick and toy-like parts. The basic structure is dimensionally alright and I decided to correct some of the worst shortcomings. With a little care I would be able to fix the pump and make use of it until I find something better.

The fuel hose would need replacing and I also wanted to dispense with the bracket used to hang the hose on when not in use. Other parts needed mould lines removed and a repaint. I also chose to make a new mounting plate and the top of the pump's concrete foundation.


The petrol pump with loose parts removed and new parts readied for use.

I carefully prised to top lamp off the pump's glass tank and tore off the fuel hose. I covered the clear plastic part with masking tape before I used file and knife to remove mould lines on the pumping handle. I cut off the bracket for hanging the hose on and replaced it with a much more modest bracket from brass wire. I added bolt heads from plastic profile along a gap between two parts of the pump, making the gap look like a a parting line between two plates. The thick fuel hose was replaced with a length of electrical wire. Two slabs of 1,5 mm plasticcard represents the pump's mounting plate and the top of the concrete foundation. The four bolt heads were cut from octangonal plastic stock.

All freshly added parts were painted and weathered before the pump received a layer of matt varnish to tone down the shiny toy-effect. The masking tape was removed and the top lamp fitted again. The fuel hose still need some careful bending to hang just right.
Front view showing the new fuel hose clearly.


Side view.  Along the parting line down the pump's side I have painted scratches and worn metal with small amounts of rust.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Old Photograph from Nystrup

Always on the search for information about Nystrup Gravel's history I have finally managed to get hold of an image of the company's little Lister locomotive. I found the picture in a newly donated box of pictures at the Skovby local historical archive. I'm in regular contact with the archive and in 2019 they have even begun to contact me if info on the gravel company shows up.
A slightly blurred black and white photograph from Nystrup Gravel's main yard in Nystrup. Pencil writing on the back of the image says: "Nystrup, 1950. Where Poul worked 1947-1951."

A copy of the image has been in my possession since August. The image shows the Lister at the petrol pump near the wooden loco shed in Nystrup. There is a clear view over a field to farm buildings in the background. Nystrup town is just out of sight behind the brick shed to the right. It seems to be autumn or very early spring judging from the leafless trees.

The new picture was what prompted me to build the brick shed and to buy a model of a petrol pump from the 1920's. The brick shed is finished and the petrol pump is on my workbench being modified at the moment.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Railway Modelling

I'm celebrating New Year with a special blog update about railway modelling. Not the usual type of modelling. This time it's the type of modelling that actually involves models. Yes, real living human beings in scale 1:1. And real full sized narrow gauge industrial railway equipment.


It's 1962. Faxe chalk quarry is visited by several models and photographers in a quest to show the latest fashion in open air. Here a model has climbed into skip 362, one of Faxe chalk quarry's large 785 mm gauged wooden side tipping skips.

Two modelling colleagues in front of an excavator bucket, the heavy machinery contrasting nicely with the 1962 fashion's call for narrow width dresses.
Despite an intensive search for more of the same kind of modelling on narrow gauge industrial railways I haven't found any. It seems that the fashion business wasn't too keen on narrow gauge railways anyway.

10 years or more before the above shots were taken, an amateur photographer had the opportunity to catch four young ladies posing on a 600 mm gauge 1930's model Pedershaab loco. Again it's a chalk quarry only this time near Mønsted.
The cut of the dresses is more practical in this shot. The ladies seem to be having a good time nevertheless. Is that granddad lurking in the background making sure the girls are alright? The loco's cab is most likely a local addition to a standard open topped PM-loco.
I look forward to a new year full of challenges and accomplishments with the kind of railway modelling done with knife, wood, soldering iron in a scale 19 times smaller than the real world. I wish every reader a productive 2020 modelling wise.