Monday 29 June 2020

Post Cards From Director Holm

"I wish each of you a happy summer!" Director Holm from Nystrup Gravel writes on the back of a post card posted in July 1938 from the Danish island of Rømø. Holm accompanied by his wife seemingly took 14 days of vacation on the island and posted post cards to his employees twice. The two post cards have surfaced during a recent visit to the archives on a quest for something quite different. The two postcards reveal interesting information about the railway at Nystrup Gravel.

On the front of both post cards sent by Holm are motives from the hotel's own narrow gauge railway. The hotel probably carried a selection of post cards with motives from the beaches and scenic surrounding as well as its little railway. Having a business dependant on a railway himself, the post cards must have caught Director Holm's attention.
Posted Wedensday 13 July 1938 this post card has a traditional holiday greeting written on the back. "I hope you are all truely well and enjoying your holiday. I wish each of you a happy summer! All the best summer greetings from Director Holm and Mrs Holm". The photo shows the 'train man' and his horse on the hotel 'Vesterhavsbad Rømø' own 750 mm railway across the sparsely populated island of Rømø.

The island of Rømø has excellent beaches, but suffered very bad communications in the early 20th century. Particularly challenged was a hotel on the island's western shore as no road connected it with the ferry landing 4 km away on the island's other side. The hotel opened in 1898 and built a 750 mm gauge railway to supply transportation for guests, staff and supplies. While equipped with rather fancy coaches, traction was provided by horses all through the railway's existence. The railway was closed in 1941.
Holm's second post card from Rømø (posted Friday 15 July 1938) is this old card from the island's German period (Rømø was part of Germany from 1864 to 1920). The wagon has prompted Holm to ask one of his employees to check a Nystrup wagon for markings as he thinks it bears resemblance to the one on the post card: "The coach on this post cards reminds me of our own little coach. Could somone please check if there is lettering saying 'Nordseebad Lakolk' or 'Vesterhavsbad Rømø' under the heavy layers of paint on our wagon?"

While the two old post cards are interesting in their own right, they also indicate that Nystrup Gravel had not only two bogie coaches for transport of workers, but also a smaller four wheeled coach. I have yet to find a picture of the little coach. From Holm's post card it is fair to assume that the Nystrup Gravel coach looked quite like the coach from Nordseebad Lakolk seen above. I'll be on the lookout for more info on the coach as I have obviously developed ambitions of building a model of it for my 16 mm scale version of Nystrup Gravel's little railway.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Module 2 in Progress

When the weather is hot it's good to be able to retire below a roof giving some protection from the sunlight. Friday afternoon was such an afternoon and I set up the wood working tools in the shade for making module 2 for my small indoor 16 mm scale layout.
Basic frame for module 2 ready for fitting with foam blocks.
Module 2 attaches at a 90 degree angle to left side of module 1. While module 1 is 2.3 m long, module 2 is only 1 m long. As on module 1 I drilled holes in the cross bracings to allow for installation of wires. Although I use battery power I may have to draw wires for working lights etc. on the layout.

Whereas module 1 is largely flat, module 2 will feature a heavy gradient up to the loading ramp for lorries. With the frame assembled I began gluing foam pieces to the framework. I built up several layers to form the basis of the ramp. With the track centre line marked out on the foam I carved a rough representation of the earth works. The small height differences between the foam sheets and the slight unevenness from the knife cuts will be smoothed out with plaster and rags soaked in white glue.
Module 2 fitted with foam blocks and plywood surface. The track is coming in from the right runs up the earth ramp ending on a wooden ramp left for tipping gravel into lorries parked on the plywood area. Still some work remain cutting foam into the right shapes.

The ramp's gradient is quite serious and on a curve. Light locos will not be able to push many skips up for unloading. On the other hand the ramp is short, holding only 3 skips.

The two modules connects with bolts and wing nuts through holes drilled with the aid of a template for precise location. The modules fit into one corner in my combined modelling room/library, but are designed to be removable. Building modules that are transportable (actually segments is a more fitting description) allows me to work on them outside. In addition they can be moved to another room for integration into a larger layout (who knows what will happen in a few year's time? The modular design also allows them to be transported and set up for exhibition purposes.
The layout is progressing. Module 1 fitted with fascia and the ramp on module 2 already showing it's height to the left. By all means a very small layout in 16 mm scale.
I'm studying several prototype loading ramps from Danish industrial railways to find out which is best suited to be modified for my layout. My vacation is two weeks away, a holiday modelling project has been ordered and a holiday in Denmark planned. If all go as planned I will visit several heritage railways.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Wood Cut and Assembled for Module 1

The new Nystrup Gravel modular layout has finally been started. With all supplies ready I took a few spare Sunday hours and got the framework cut and assembled for the first part of the small (very small in 16 mm scale) Nystrup Gravel modular layout.

Working in the shade is nice. Here module 1 is resting while the glue fixing the foam top dries. Later I will fit fascia boards on all four sides.
The modules are built as light as possible. Some might consider that risky, but I'm not building a layout that will be home to large, heavy locomotives or impressive mountain scenery. Consequently the structure will only have to carry limited loads. I'm currently building the shorter module 2 that attaches at a 90 degree angle to one end of module 1.

Time for modelling has been rather limited due to work and other railway related activities. The vintage railway where I spend some of my spare time has finally taken up passenger services again, as the corona lockdown in Denmark is slowly lifting. Preparing and planning a start up of traffic during the aftermath of a pandemic is quite different than the usual and well known drills of getting trans rolling. Fortunately everything has worked out well and I have worked with lots of other ressourceful volunteers.

Hopefully the hectic work schedule will relax somewhat during the summer. I have a modelling itch to scratch!