Friday 29 March 2024

Steel Sleepered Track Panels

With the package containing the 'Planet' motorised skip I also received an assortment of track panels with steel sleepers. I have aquired the track parts to be able to quickly get a train running when I'm away from home. A few straight lengths of heavy Peco SM32 flextrack isn't exactly light or handy - nor does it allow for easy continous running.

Two straight track segments from Loco Remote. 

The track panels are designed by Loco Remote on basis of the lightweight track system made by British company Robert Hudson from Leeds. The track system known as 'Jubilee' consisted of light rail profile attached to pressed steel sleepers to make up a track panel that could easily be carried and connected to other panels. Curved panels in several radii were offered by Hudson and with points also in the catalogue you could basically order a complete narrow gauge railway from a single supplier. The concept, pioneered by French producer Decauville, were offered by a range of German producers as well. Now Loco Remote allows me to order a similar designed rail system in 1/19 scale. If I had a 3D printer myself I could even have downloaded the printing files free of charge and printed out my own track system.

In my old scale of 1/35 I previously worked with steel sleepered track panels. I used two different designs made in resin and 3D printing with Code 100 and 83 track

Close up of a straight track panel. Small imitations of bolts or rivet heads are visible. Both types of fastenings could be found on prototype panels.

A sharp radius turnout. The tongue assembly isn't exactly true to prototype, but it works and once painted it will be far less noticable.

With close inspection (and a bit a luck) a dedicated expert can probably identify the maker of a full scale track panel, but in model form I don't think the very small differences are worth much attention. It was without any worries that I ordered 10 straight and 10 curved panels as well as 2 points. In the set were also two buffer stops, but they were so ugly that I binned them immidiately.

The Loco Remoto track panels have a sleeper profile corresponding to the original Jubilee track. Some 'lining' traces from the printing proces can be seen on the sleeper surface. Small imitations of bolts or rivet heads are visible. Both types of fastenings could be found on prototype panels, but I'm unaware if Jubilee track was bolted or riveted. The rail profile on the 3D printed track isn't qiute matching a vignoles profile, but very few will notice that. The track handles all my rolling stock and locos, even those with high (and unprototypically) flanges. The track panel 'couples' by the means of a Lego inspired stud system that connects one half sleeper to another half sleeper on the neighbouring track panel - a simple and clever solution.

Painted and unpainted track panels connected. The lines from the printing proces are visible on the top of the sleepers. The studs connecting the two track segments are clearly visible.

The track system works fine on a level tabletop, floor or as built into a layout, but I doubt it will work on an uneven surface due to its light construction and method of connecting the individual panels. For running trains in the garden the track system isn't a good choise. But then again: I ordered the track to be able to play trains on a table to show some simple modelling in a large scale on narrow gauge. For that purpose the track is close to perfect!

600 mm track panels on steel sleepers from the German Army 'Brigade' railways used to supply frontline units with ammunition, food and building materials during WWI. Here seen at Besucherbergwerk 'Volle Rose', Ilmenau, 2019.

Random stack of track panels at the heritage line Hedelands Veteranbane in Denmark showing US/French army track (rounded sleeper ends) German Brigade track and lightweight track with sleepers looking like 'Jubilee'/Loco Remote track. Never walk past a stack of track panels without taking a closer look!

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Nystrup's Timber Bogie Bolsters

Several of Nystrup Gravel's pits were located in wooded areas and before removing the overburden over the gravel deposits, trees had to be cleared away. For transporting felled trees from the pits Nystrup Gravel used a pair of bogie bolster units. I have now aquired 4 bogies and will in no time have them up and running on the layout.

Four timber bogies fresh from the producer in the UK. Chief mechanic Petersen inspecting the new equipment.

The bogie bolsters are from the British producer Rail Print and 3D printed in resin in differing colours. The print quality is from fine to moderately fine. On some spots the prints will benefit from sanding. As usual for 3D printed models in the scale an assortment of bolts and rivets are missing, particularly on the buffer planks. I note that brake shoes and rods are also missing on the braked bogie. As they are not particularly visible I haven't yet decided if I will fit them myself.

Braked bogie with plank deck for the brake man. Railing and brake handle is supplied in the kit ready to fit in the corner brackets.

My timber bogies as delivered. While they basically only need a single part fitted and paint to finish, I will be working a bit more on them adding details.

A pair of bogies seen from above.

On the real Nystrup Gravel felled tree trunks were pulled to the 600 mm narrow gauge line with horses and after WWII with a huge Soviet made crawler tractor. The timber was then loaded on a pair of bogie bolster units and taken to Nystrup by rail where they were sold to a local timber merchant selling them on to a saw mill in the other end of the country in the town of Sundborg. Must have been some rather good timber to warrant such long transport!

Bogie bolsters were seldom seen on Danish industrial narrow gauge railways and Nystrup's 4 bogies are thus quite unique. Most likely they were brought to Denmark by the German authorities during the occupation of Denmark 1940-1945 for work at the airfield at Mellemåen (Middle Stream) not far from Nystrup. A selection of locos, track and wagons was aquired from the airfield by Nystrup Gravel after the war. Read more about the airfield and Nystrup Gravel's relationship here.

German timber bolster bogies at the 600 mm gauge Waldeisenbahn Muskau. 2012.

Two unbraked bogies coupled. Notice the dangerously narrow spacing between the bogies leaving very little room for the worker doing the coupling. Photographed at Waldeisenbahn Muskau in 2003

The Rail Print bogies are a good and reasonably priced way of getting some charateristic timber bolsters on my little 1/19 scale layout. For me the task of removing some of the traces from the printing proces and adding a little extra detail doesn't detract from their quality. I like to work on any model regardless of quality to make it my own personal interpretation of the prototype. For the modeller needing a a pair of bolsters in 32 mm gauge with no need for extra detail, all that has to be done is fix the railing and apply a coat of paint. Ready to roll! And speaking of rolling, the 3D printed wheels worked fine on my short test run. I expect them to perform quite well in traffic. Time will tell.  

The 3D printed part for the brake platform. Detail isn't super sharp, but nothing that I can't fix.

Image of 4 bogies printed (or painted?) in black with loads. With a load of tree trunks they are looking really good. 

With loads of new stuff having now arrived I better get the worktable geared up for some modelling!

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Ramp Track Photo

Currently I'm in the process of choosing where to place the wooden poles with lamps around the lorry loading ramp. I'm in no hurry to decide where to put them. Actually the lorry loading ramp looks so in balance with the surrounding nature that I have had some doubts if it's a good idea to erect them. 

I can almost hear the birds sing and smell the sleepers.

But Nystrup Gravel isn't a nature reserve for flora and fauna, but an industrial location brutally exploiting the planet's ressources. Some wooden power poles with lamps is a minimum to convey an atmosphere of some human growth oriented activity.

One drawback with poles around the ramp is the awkward shadows they will cast on the backscene. This image is a cruel preview of what to expect unless I find a cunning way to place the poles.

Besides playing with wooden poles around the loading ramp, I'be been adding a little extra ballast here and there in the track and added water to the puddles in the area under the ramp's chute. They've ended up looking more like tar holes and I wonder if if they're worth redoing or if I'm simply going to fill them in.