Wednesday 28 December 2022

2022 in Review

Once again the calender signals that a year has almost passed and a new one is waiting at the doorstep. Many people use these days to review the passed year's events and set new targets for the coming one. It's been a rather eventful year for Nystrup Gravel and I think it's fair to say that 2022 has seen my little layout develop so far that I can begin to contemplate it actually being finished some day.

Even without ballast or grass my little layout is beginning to resemble a model of the real Nystrup Gravel. The basic ground cover of kitchen rags and paint helps a long way to disguise the fact that the layout is only half finished.

One of the most important achievements of 2022 has been the progress made on buildings and structures on the layout. The lorry loading ramp was finished after the area underneath it had been fitted with static grass. I would have liked the ramp to be just a tiny bit longer, but in 1/19 scale everything is built under tight space restrictions. Finishing the ramp made it possible for me to complete the track on the layout, too. The final spike was pushed down without any ceremony in a typical practical industrial railway fashion - the next task was waiting. 

Lorry loading ramp finished and fitted with photo backdrop.

With a 1/19 scale layout in a small room I planned to add structures at each end to make the layout appear as a credible section of a much larger scene. For that purpose I added a wooden low relief building at the layout's left end and a low wooden fence at the right end. Both structures are supposed to act as view blockers diminishing a spectator's impression of the small layout abruptly coming to an end. In addition the wooden building represents a small part of the Nystrup Gravel sorting and gravel handling facilities and adds an important vertical aspect to the layout.   

Another aspect of presenting the layout better is the photographic background that I'm currently testing. Having previously had a white wall as a background a large printed photograph with a size of 90 x 270 cm was set up behind the layout in July. A few months later I ordered another print and combined they now act as complete backdrop to my developing layout. I'm not sure if the backdrop is the final solution as I originally aimed for something a bit more agricultural rather than the meadow now in place. Sometimes an easy 90 %  goal achivement is preferably to a difficult 100 % achievement. 

With an investment in two flood lights for photography on the developing layout I should be able to present better images. Results that readers of the blog should be able to see once I get used to using the lamps combined with the correct camera settings. Back in February I also finished my small group of railway enthusiasts with cameras. I had a group of train spotters in my old scale of 1/35 and was happy to see Modelu produce some nice photographers in 1/19 scale. I selected two figures and after a bit of work, they can now roam the layout in search of photo opportunities - in good lighting conditions. 

My two Modelu-photographers getting a rear shot of a Nystrup locomotive pulling empty skips towards the pits.

Two new locomotive arrived during the year. Unfortunately the little Lister is still the only operating loco on the layout. Something that will soon become an utter embarassment for management and staff. The Fowler F 30 from Essel Engineering was greeted with much celebration as it arrived. It is a good looking loco that will no doubt provide valuable traction power for the gravel company in the future. It is questionable if the other new loco will be as usefull - it's a toy Ruston from Triang. While I didn't keep my promise of expanding the stock of servicable locos on Nystrup Gravel, I at least managed to expand the number of locos!

The Essel Engineering Fowler F 30 arrived in June and provided my 1/19 scale version of Nystrup Gravel with a Fowler like the one its 1:1 prototype received in 1934.

Like in 2021 only one finished car arrived on Nystrup Gravel during the year: a Ford A towing vehicle underwent repair, rebuilding, painting as well as weathering and was fitted out with tools, oil canisters etc. I aquired a Citroen HY van that still needs to undergo the usual modifications. It's good to have projects available for a rainy day!

The Ford A lorry with crane was finished in early April 2022 and was quick to show support of a troubled country attacked by a much larger neighbour.

The characteristic shape of the Citroen HY shouldn't be missed on my layout. Here the model has just arrived from France and placed on my photo plank.

2022 saw the Nystrup Gravel-blog celebrate its 10 years of existence in April. On that occasion a post went through some of the blog's themes and my modelling adventures during the period. In 2022 the blog again contained a mix of modelling, archive studies and a few posts mentioning other aspects of how railways is a major component of my life. This year's activity on the blog has been rather high and the number of posts (45) has reached the level from the blog's first years. A sign of a year of active modelling, but also that I have been working to tell more about all the small things going on at Nystrup Gravel, like fitting a point lever or reporting a UFO incident. That is what modelling is for me: a lot of small activities adding up over time. 

It's no secret that I'm volunteering at the Hedeland Vintage Railway and this year the Hedeland area was visited by 32.000 scouts as well as huge number of visiting families. Our little railway passed right through the scouts' impressive camp and traffic was heavy with both scouts and visitors using the railway for transportation. For 9 days straight no less than 150 departures with steam and diesel provided faultless service to the camp. Not bad considering that some of our stock is more than 100 years old. 

700 mm gauge Da 7 departing Brandhøj Station located close to one part of the huge scouts' camp in Hedeland. A small train made even smaller by the sheer size of the camp! Da 7 is Henschel 18449/1921 and in service on HVB since 1994 (fitted with a new boiler in 2002).

After two years with very little travelling due to Covid-19 this year turned out to be very different. I have been trainspotting in France, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Norway. Some of the trips were dedicated railway tours while others allowed at least some time to be devoted to watching trains. No matter what, it was nice to explore railways with gauges varying from 600 mm to 1668 mm!

Ohs Bruk Järnväg no. 1 (Kalmar verkstad AB 36/1937) at Hedlandet Halt on the Östra Södermanlands Järnväg. The loco was rebuilt from the steam loco NAJ 2 (Motala 148/1894). My first visit to the 600 mm gauged ÖSlJ in 30 years.

Two broad gauge RENFE 319.3 class locos in front of the Al Andalus luxury train with 14 carriages at the station in Ronda. Note to readers: I wasn't travelling on the train. The minimum ticket price of 8.000 € seemed a bit pricey.

The year ended with work on lamps and poles for the track and loading ramp areas as well as some premilinary work on new narrow profile underground skips. Most of the work on those two projects will last into 2023 that will probably also see the complete layout being landscaped and beginning to look finished. I also hope to finally get more locomotives in operation on Nystrup Gravel. The Lister really isn't fit for heavier work on the line! 

One of six 3D printed underground skips that arrived in December being examined by Nystrup Gravel's chief mechanic. As usual he looks a bit sceptical with green enamel coffee cup in hand.

First version of homemade lamp being tested in total darkness. The lamp provides surprisingly much light. It will no doubt improve safety when shunting on dark winter afternoons.

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