Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Track Building Continues

With a new delivery of rails and sleepers from Wenz Modell in Germany I have switched from working with white glue and kitchen rags to preparing track bed and setting out curves. Next stage of my track building is the sharp curve on the gradient towards the loading ramp for lorries.

Testing in progress. Lister having pushed two skips up the gradient and through the curve to the soon to be built wooden ramp.

To make sure my mediocre surveyor skills would result in a relatively sensible curve, I tested the laid out curve with a Peco track panel. I turned out that the curve was laid out with the sensible margins appropriate for an industrial railway. I then cut cork underlay and glued it down on the foam foundation. Two newly delivered Code 143 rails have been bent to the right radius and sleepers are being prepared.

During construction of the track, all traffic is somewhat hampered and a lot of communication is necessary to make everything run smoothly. 

While track building at Nystrup Gravel is a very quiet thing, I have been visiting sites, where the sound levels were quite different. Here sleepers are being exchanged in track running near the end of one of the runways at Copenhagen Airport (CPH).

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Basic Ground Cover

Despite rather cold weather in Denmark for the season the colour of the landscape is changing. At least on my small 1/19 scale layout. I have begun to cover the white foam surface with a layer of disposable kitchen rags soaked in white glue. 

The right end of the layout dressed in kitchen rags and paint. I think it will help make the layout look a little less unfinished.

I have picked up the method of using kitchen rags from a Danish model railway club working on a large H0 layout with a Danish theme. They have a nice blog in Danish, where they share the daily life of building, maintaning and running a large layout. Soaked in glue the kitchen rags are flexible and easily follow the contours of the foam landscape (hardly a surprise, as most of my layout is basically flat).

Two pieces of kitchen rag being cut to fit. The material takes pencil lines fine and cuts easily with scissors. Being absorbant the rags consumes considerable amounts of glue.

Before I cover the foam foundation with rags I roughly smooth out the worst edges of cork underlay and foam board, used to raise the track, with a knife. Where needed I apply a little filler. I then place a dry rag over the area and marks out the boundaries with a pencil. I cut the rag with a pair of sicssors and check for fit on the area to be covered. The area is then covered with diluted white glue and the rag placed on top. More glue is spread over the rag with a brush making sure the rag is flooded with thinned glue. The area is left to dry.

Once the glue is set, the kitchen rags turns into a rather hard surface that I hope will make a good foundation for my work on the next stage of scenic work. As my kitchen rags had several rather harsh colours a coat of paint was definately needed before proceeding. I used an acrylic paint with a colour named 'Warm Clay' that I think gives a nice even colour to work on. And until I get to do further scenic work, the colour will help the layout looking a little less unfinished. 

Rags in white and light blue glued down and in the process of drying. The hole edged by scrap pieces of foam board is the permanent location for the brick shed. The hole enables me to connect wires for lighting with ease,

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Turnout and Curve

With the first track and turnout already in limited operation (due to a lack of fishplates) I have continued track laying and now the first curve I've ever hand laid in 16 mm scale and second turnout are available for traffic at reduced speeds. 

A close up view of the track at Nystrup Gravel facilities outside Nystrup. It does look rather fancy and has perhaps turned out a bit too perfect. On close inspection I think the track team will have to go over some of the spikes again as they are not holding the rail's foot properly.

The curve is built with a slight enlargement of the gauge, but otherwise I have tried to make a faithful representation of a real narrow gauge industrial railway curve. There is of course no superelevation and the rails are shaped roughly by hand to suit the location. Bending the rails by hand isn't recommendable in the smaller scales as it may lead to pronounced kinks in the rails, but this is actually a benefit on a large scale model of a narrow gauge industrial railway. Often rails were reused from other locations and as the locos and rolling stock was designed with tolerances for bad track, a track out of gauge by a few centimetres wasn't a problem. In 16 mm scale it's basically the same, although we are talking milimetres.

To produce a nice curved rail with a rail bender takes a lot of bending and hard work. A very good result can be achieved. It takes care and a lot of bends. Most industrial railways didn't aim for high quality track and were happy if trains didn't derail too often.

From the curve the track connects to the turnout, that takes the track to either lorry loading ramp (left) or to the sorting facility (straight ahead). The turnout is again a Peco Code 200 rebuilt with brass slide plates and wooden sleepers.

Rebuilt Peco turnout partly fitted with new wooden sleepers. A sharp curve will lead to the lorry loading ramp out of the picture to the right.

Further track building in progress. Here I'm aiming for a serious kink in the track.

As the track building is slowly progressing I'm beginning to prepare the basic groundwork and final positioning of brick shed, petrol pump and a recently finished wooden fence.

I'll finish this post with a look at a real 700 mm gauge clay line belonging to the Danish brick works at Lysbro. The Nystrup Gravel track was almost TGV-standard in comparison with this! The standard gauge train is an enthusiasts' special on the Silkeborg-Kjellerup-Rødkjærsbro Railway. Photo: Finn Sørensen, 1968.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Installing Point Lever

With track works progressing in a steady pace, I took the time to finish, paint and install the first point lever on my little layout. The lever has been tested and 'greased' with a little graphite powder to provide a faultless service. The lever's direction marker is working and gives a clear indication to loco drivers which way the point is set. 


The point lever mounted on its lengthened sleeper with direction marker.

The point lever is assembled from a Feld-, Garten- und Grossbahn whitemetal kit in 1/22,5 scale. The lever was assembled back in October and has been resting in a box until I couldn't resist painting and installing it any longer.

The lever was painted Humbrol enamel 153 'Insignia Red', while the white parts were painted with Vallejo 70837 'Pale Sand'. During painting I took care not to clog up the moving parts to allow a trouble free operation. The 4 bolts fixing the lever to the sleeper were painted rust and the point lever given a wash of heavily diluted rawt umber oil paint. The moving parts were given a dose of graphite powder. Mainly to 'grease' the parts, but it works as weathering too - looking like oil residue.

The assembled point lever being painted. The parts of another lever are being painted as the brush was out and the lid was off the paint tinlet.

The lever is mounted on a lengthened sleeper with an added piece of timber to provide a safe foundation and connected to the turnout with a bent nickle silver wire. The wire was blackened with Ballistol and is only fitted temporarily as a more prototypically solution is called for. I used thick AC-glue to fix the lever firmly to its sleeper.


Almost the only fixed item on the layout beside the track, the point lever will hopefully be followed by other items in the coming months.

Nystrup Gravel's second turnout has recently been fixed in place and connected to the track layout, so the next lever is needed. Track building is continuing, but will soon have to pause until a new supply of rails arrive.