Tuesday 30 October 2012

Having a break (1/35)

Most railways have a quiet spot where fitters, workmen and loco drivers can have a break. Nystrup Gravel is no exception. Behind the loco shed outside Nystrup there is a small spot where a motley collection of old furniture enables tired or idle employees of Nystrup Gravel to catch their breath or a little nap and still getting paid… 

A place that invites to a rest in a busy work day. Two empty beer bottles on the bench indicates some recent pausing.
The scene is basically the result of a quick sweep through the spares box. Only minor shopping was needed. The bench is a leftover from a laser cut coach kit from Daniel Caso, the table from Tamiya (the M577 Amoured Command Post). After completing the set up, the table seemed a little under sized and I didn't glue it in place to better facilitate exchange with another item in the future. The beer crates used as improvised chairs are from Epokemodeller, while the chair and beer bottles are from Plus Models. Although the bottles doesn't match period Danish ones exactly I couldn't resist the temptation to add a few. All items are painted in acrylics and weathered with oil paints and pastel chalk.

Seen from the other side of the tracks. The loco shed is just out of the picture to the right.
Groundwork is done with different coloured sand picked up wherever I had the chance. Grass is primarily from Heki. The trees and bushes in the background are quickly home made ones. Dry leaves are represented by birch seeds picked up from our garden. Grass and ground cover will be refined later.

At the other end of the module I'm currently working on a wooden fence and grass planting is in progress around the bridge and stream.

Monday 22 October 2012

The Importance of Gravel

To estimate the role of Nystrup Gravel for the city of Nystrup and its population one has to take into account that the region where Nystrup is situated was primarily a farming region in the 1950´s. Most men and women had their daily outcome from crops and animals. How important farming and agriculture was to the Danish economy can be seen in the illustration below. A large part of what is labelled as industry in the illustration also owes its existence to farming. A good part of the Danish industry was refining agricultural products like meat and wheat into sausages and beer (just to mention two important and basic food products).
The Danish population and their employment status in 1940. From Hvem-Hvad-Hvor 1950.
What little industry has established itself in Nystrup in the first half of the fifties is mostly related to repairing and maintaining agricultural machinery and extracting stone, gravel or chalk. So when you meet a man in Nystrup there is an overwhelming chance that he works in farming or with stone and gravel.

Loco no. 5 pushing skips filled with one of the most important products for the city of Nystrup - gravel. 

Statistics from the late 1940´s mentioning 2.515 companies working with stone or chalk extraction employing some 25.000 people and contributing 166 mio a year to the Danish economy. It is worth noting that the companies on average were quite small - 10 employees each. From Hvem-Hvad-Hvor, 1950.
 If interested in seeing more of what the 'Hvem-Hvad-Hvor' comtained go to this Flickr-set.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

22. Internationales Feldbahntreffen

In the past few days I have been enjoying myself thoroughly in the eastern part of Germany exploring narrow as well as standard gauge railways and part of the German brown coal industry.

Each year enthusiasts that keep alive narrow gauge railways – almost all of them with an industrial connection – meet for the ‘Feldbahntreff’. A gathering of mostly continental, German speaking enthusiasts keep each other updated with their latest challenges and accomplishments. Apart from the networking and exchange of tips and tricks, a lot of train riding on the host society’s railway is on the programme.

The host this year was Waldeisenbahn Muskau. One of my favourite German railways with an immensely interesting history and three great lines radiating from it’s central hub at the town of Weisswasser. All in a beautiful wooded landscape. The volunteers and employees at Waldeisenbahn Muskau had put together a great programme and were perfect hosts. With WEM's gauge of 600 mm it is hard not to bring home some inspiration to one's own little railway. But gauge isn't all. WEM was built for much larger volumes of traffic and you won't see a Brigade-Lok on Nystrup Gravel. But perhaps an old Austro-Daimler?

99 3312-8 at the station in Weisswasser. A good example of the high standard of work at WEM.

The volunteers at WEM will not need to sit idle, awaiting their next task. They have plenty more wagons to work at - not mentioning maintaining a railway almost 20 km. long.
More images from the Feldbahntreff can be seen here.

Apart from the time devoted to the Feldbahntreff, a few of my fellow travellers from the Danish Industrial Railway Society and I decided to explore some of the remaining brown coal operations.  Not only to watch the standard gauge railways involved in the coal transport but also to gaze in awe over the colossal machines employed in the mining process and the extent to which the open cast mining is changing geography! In fact the Waldeisenbahn is having one of it’s lines amputated by the huge Nochten open cast mine. WEM plan to relay the line into areas not currently planned for mining.

A tracked 'Absetzer', conveyor belt for overburden and three seemingly very small bulldozers. They are not small, though, and the Absetzer isn't the largest machine in the open cast mine at Nochten.
Read more about the Geman brown coal industry and it's machines at Ostkohle.de and visit some of them at Ferropolis or Besucherbergwerk F60.

Back home I was welcomed by family and a new issue of 'Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review' fresh from the print shop in Wales. And my vacation still lasts for almost a week. How lucky is one allowed to be?

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Speeder Details and Electronics (1/35)

Work on the speeder continues among the other modelling tasks at my desk. On the body I have primarily been working on the interior (bench, instrumentation and levers) and getting the roof started. 
Something you don't see too often: The wiring and fitting of decoder in the tight condition inside a 1:35 model. The Black Beetle out of focus to the right. The decoder is an ESU Lokpilot 4.0 Micro. I really like ït's small size!
I have also mounted the ESU-decoder and fitted lights with their associated wires. The grain of rice bulps are from a batch I bought from Micro-Mark in the US a few years ago. The bulps had a very powerful light at 12 V, so I fitted resistors to bring down the voltage to about 6 V. That took the light level to something more in line with my idea of dim lamps rather than floodlights on a super tanker. The speeder is my first model with lights and I can't wait to see it trundle back and forth on the gravel line in darkness. The decoder, resistors and wires are hidden under the central bench and is accessible by removing two screws and lifting the upper body of the model.

Testing the speeder after fitting of decoder and lights. Trundling round my portable test track in prototypical Decauville style the Black Beetle behaved well in cooperation with ESU-decoder. Not at all like a Tenshodo! Two bolts and nuts give weight to the assembly. When finished the speeder will be weighted down by more invisibly placed weights!
In the coming weekend I will touch neither knife nor glue, as I will be attending the '22. Internationales Feldbahntreffen' hosted by Waldeisenbahn Muskau. I am looking forward to nothing but narrow gauge trains for four days - and a beer or two in between. I love the wooded landscape around Muskau and Weiswasser and I really admire the work done by my German colleagues so I can hardly wait...

See the finished speeder.

Saturday 6 October 2012

"A Package from Paris" (1/35)

...said the postman as he handed me a small card board box. A resin kit and some figures had arrived from Blast Models of France two days after I ordered them.

The kit is one of those surprises that sometimes comes along. I knew that the French company U-Models were selling the well known kits of the 1:35 Billard-loco and Pechot-wagons (originally from 13'eme Dragon) but that they had released a Jung-locomotive was completely unknown to me. It didn't take long for me to find my credit card and place the order!

I'm checking the main parts of the 1:35 Jung kit just minutes after the arrival of the parcel.

Parts layout and assembly instructions from the kit.

I hope to be able to fit a BullAnt to power the model. I would like my model to be like a real Jung-loco as the producers themselves described it in 1938: "einfach im Aufbau und in der Bedienung, kräftig, unempfindlich, stets betriebsbereit".

You can find info and drawings on Jung-locos in 'Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review' issues 50 and 51. More on Jung's production of locomotives on Jens Merte's website.

Friday 5 October 2012

From a Family Album (1/35)

On the shelves of Skovby Local Historical Archive I have found a lot of old family albums with photographs of everyday life. A few of them contains images from the owner's working life at Nystrup Gravel. A good source of photographs of both railway and interesting machinery. Not all of the images have taken the toll of time too well, but I think they convey some of the history of the company anyway. Most of the images are heavily overcrowded and it is clear that the colleagues are the main motif.

A train of loaded skips being pushed to the sorting facility. A quite unusual photo for a family album as no person or persons make up the central motif. Perhaps this is a company photo that has found it's way into a family album?
I have used a few other photos from family albums in an earlier post. I still hope to dig up an album from either the gravel company itself or maybe the director. It may take quite some time to find something good and having to leaf through hundreds of images of weddings, funerals, birthdays and new borns can be a little boring. In my own life family albums have also brought me much railway and modelling inspiration. Some of which I have mentioned in posts before.

One of many albums I have leafed through.