Trackside details: Wooden gates at grade crossings

Grade crosssings make for great scenes. I love them all, from dirt roads crossing the track with just the help of a few roughly hewn planks to crossings protected by bells, flashing lights and automatic gates.
In this post we will take a look at the wooden gates used on most railroads here in Norway from the first railways was built in the 19th century. On branchlines they could last well into to the seventies. Their design is fairly standard as the pictures show.
This type of gate blocks either the track or the road. It is a design that was first used in England from 1839 and onwards.

Grade corssings adds interest to any model scene. A crossing with gates should be a nice project for a couple of evenings, but you could of course go totally overboard and make working gates. Personnally, I would settle for gates that can be operated manually.

Wooden gates at grade crossings are as old as the railroads themselves. This picture from 1897 was taken on the narrow gauge line from Trondheim to Støren.


On branch lines, the wooden gates survived intothe seventies. Here we also see the classic paint scheme for such gate: white with red warning discs.


1914 drawing of a standard Norwegian State Railways (NSB) gate. (Click on image for downloadable PDF-version)


Drawing of standard type of gate used on the Thamshavn Railway (Click on image for downloadable PDF-version)

Time to launch another project

As the wooden mineral wagon is drawing to a conclusion, it is time to launch another project.
The subject this time is a steel mineral wagon from our favorite meter gauge railway. These steel wagons are sort of the signature wagons for this railway and I sometimes wonder why I did not tackle them first.

Many years ago (note the yelllowing styrene!) I tried to scratchbuild one, but this is as far as I got:

The hopper is not too shabby, but the underframe leaves something to be desired. And a competely scratchbuilt wagon is not the way to go as I (the superoptimist as always) want an entire train of them. At least 10 wagons.

So I am contemplating a resing casting for the hopper. The underframe will be etched parts as for the wooden wagon, but I will design a few brass castings to speed up construction.

If anyone have opinions on how to make a kit for this wagon, please feel free to comment!

Thamshavnbanen: A Railroad You Can Model


One regular feature in Model Railroader is the presentation of a prototype railroad under the banner “a railroad you can model”. In my time as a regular MR reader, I read those articles with great interest, and a couple of times I even started model railroads based on them. The interest did not last though, possible because of a lack of any deeper interest in the railroads described. I feel that to get any serious Modelling done, you need a genuine interest in the modeled topics, and a personal connection. To me things did not really click until I developed an interest in the Thamshavn Railroad located just 35 km from my home town of Trondheim. In hindsight, it is hard to understand that it took me so long to discover the qualities of this Railroad as a prototype for my modeling. What follows is an article first published some 12 years ago in the Swedish magazine “Smalspårigt”. I hope that I can convince a fem mote modereres that this is indeed a railroad you can model!
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Field trip!


Those that have read most of the posts on this blog have probably discovered that I divide my modelling time between the freelanced H0 layout of the TMJK, and my efforts to produce some bits and pieces of the Thamshavn Railway (Thamshavnbanen).

Recently I decided to try my hand at carving some plaster cuttings for a TB-diorama. You would think that after several trips to the TB I would have plenty of images showing rock faces along the right of way. So did I, but after a long search through my not very well organized collection of images I found very little. I plunged ahead anyway, but the results were not what I had hoped for.

Trying to imagine what cut rock really looks like is not easy, so I decided it was time for a field trip.

One of the attractions of the TB is that it is just under a hours drive from where I live. If the mood strikes I can just grab my camera, notebook, yardstick and head out.
So last sunday I just left the lawn uncut and headed for the Orkla valley.

I really enjoy hiking along the old right of way, even if the the TB is an operating museum there is almost no activity along the track. So I could explore some of the cuttings undisturbed, except for a few very curious salmon fishermen!

A couple of hours later I could head home with more than 200 reference photos and a nice tan.
So now I have no excuses for not getting those rocks right!

Gone, but not forgotten

As 2012 is fast approching, I got the inspiration for a post on a favourite modelling related topic: Documentation. And my message regarding documentation is simple: Things change. Do it now. Tomorrow it can be too late.

Small sawmill at Solbuøy



Østlandske Stenexport

The images might be a bit melodramtic, but these are all buildings that were measured and photographed in time. A couple of them has already been built as models in 0 and H0 scale, and another is well under way (stay tuned for another blogpost!).

If you find something worth documentation I suggest that you at least take pictures from all sides of the object. If you dont have time to measure it in detail, at least take a few key dimensions horisontal and vertical. Or include a yardstick or something similiar in the pictures. If you have images taken from all sides straight at the object, you should be able to make pretty precise scale drawings from the images.

And share your information. Documentation like this has a big cultural value, but most often the commercial value is zero. What goes around comes around. Sharing information might inspire others to do the same.

So how´s that for a new years resolution?