Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hjerl Hede vintage bog train

A small vintage heritage line is hidden in the North-West corner of Jutland. Inside the open air museum  named Hjerl Hede a small steam train runs up the hill and towards a large lake. The old tracks were laid to transport peat from the bog to the lake to further transport the peat to the small towns of nineteen century Jutland.

The small trip gives you a true feeling of the power of this small steamer and the effort it has to perform to push the load over the hill. The black smoke tarnishes the green leaves on the way. The way back to the peat bog is more a matter of braking the train in a controlled manner.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Local scale zero gathering in Zutphen

Last weekend, the national scale zero gathering was held in Zutphen. I could combine a quick visit directly after opening on Sunday morning with another visit, so I checked the displays quickly.
The NS 3700 serie steam locomotive drove by the beautifully made draw-bridge. The highlight of Dutch-ness.
There was a beautiful small railway station that was built from scratch.
But there were also plenty of German, English, Swiss and Danish trains on the tracks.

And the master of mini-tram-layouts in scale zero presented a new one; The Hague, well kind of.
So it was a peaceful Sunday morning and it would most likely remain that way the complete day.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Local operators gathering

One of the local groups of toy train operators had their gathering today. So, we went through the morning fog to a sport hall of a table tennis sport club. As usual, there was plenty of space and room for chit chat.
The numerous men and -as far as I could tell- one women of the operator group displayed a few model train layouts in Z, N and half zero. Furthermore, there were a few tables with rendundant accessories, books and train cars.
Personally, I liked one American style N scale layout named Cattle bay the most. That layout was full of nice details.

But we also found a nice book on early Australian railroading and some other model stuff, so all in all we were quiet pleased with this mini local train show.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Ascencion steam day at VSM

Earlier this summer, when the sun was shining, a steam train party was on at the VSM in Beekbergen.
We took the steam train to Loenen and enjoyed some ice creams and other refreshments. It was a steaming hot day and we were glad that some else shoveled the coals in the kettle.
Back in Beekbergen we were even thirstier.
Near the end of this hot day the visitors went home, so this gave us a great opportunity to make a panorama picture of the yard.
A great summer day to make it short, with some good looking diesel engines as well.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Local train swap meeting

Last weekend, the local train swap meeting was held in Zutphen. They even advertised for it in my street... as if I wouldn't know it yet. Anyway, there was some toddler musical of a fat red cat in the neighbouring theater so we had to walk 10 minutes to park the car. And even in the hall it was crowded.
There were several different children activities, loads of traders and a dozen or so layouts. Sufficient for me, for sure.

Besides Blik en Speelgoed which had sufficient goodies for me, there were only a few traders that offered scale zero. One bloke had a box full of old train cars and commanded ridiculous prices of 150 Euro for each car. I reckon that's why it is still the same box as last year. But for half zero and scale N there were plenty of deals to be made.

The guy of 'patience used to be dead normal' was pleasingly narrative in explaining how he used every day objects to scratch build trains with. He uses drinking straws as chimneys and cheap women's jewelry as front lights.

Anyway after we did our shopping, ate our fries and chatted with several new on-line model train stuff dealers that desperately tried to get acquainted, we thought that it was about time to visit the local operators open day. In their cactus oasis we looked at cheerful LGB trains puffing away through the barren landscape.

It was pleasant for us and particularly good for the cacti that it rained outside and that we were save and dry in a glass house with plenty of trains.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


Last Friday, we were in the southern town of Heerlen and we had a spare hour. I knew there was a model train shop, so I searched the web and found it: Linden Modelspoorcentrum in the Jongmansweg. In this part of the country you can still see where the old mine pits were; as they usually are the large patches of rough land and scrubs between the old streets with cramped houses. The street is single lane now and runs up one of the many hills here. In the middle of the street between the residential houses is the model train shop.

We walked to the door and had to wait for the furry dog to move a bit so we could enter. The owner welcomed us and turned on the light. He had quiet a lot of Märklin, Fleischmann, Roco, Kibri and Pola. He explained that he is 73 of age and has in 2017 a continuous clearance sale with multiple objects for 50%, 30% and 30%. His goal is to sell the lot in the coming months and doing so will be able to say farewell to his working life as a model train shopkeeper. We collected multiple objects; replacement knives, hand planer, trees and lots of small model train objects. For my own layout, I bought a Beli modern double street light. The only scale 0 object that I spotted. Now I only have to find a nice place for it between the tracks. Well lets hope this gentleman will have a smooth clearance sale and a pleasant retirement.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A fence too far

A few years ago, I acquired a Dutch post-war toy Bailey bridge. It was composed of soft-metal side panels painted green and small wooden planks and small metal pins. The brownish discoloured instruction paper was written in Dutch language that predates 1953 as is obvious from the old spelling form. So, it must have been produced directly after WWII. I wasn't sure what to do with. For some time I decided to leave it as is. As a distant memory of the troublesome liberation of this flat land with its rivers and canals. A toy that was played with to reenact the temporary bridges which were laid to move the tanks and trucks over those rivers and canals. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to do something with it and create a fence from the soft metal side panels. I will keep all the items unaltered, so it can be restored to a toy Bailey bridge at any time. But in the meantime the panels can function as a fence; a fence too far. Now, the whole shape is still rough and I still need to paint the wooden connectors, but nevertheless, I like to have re-purposed this old toy on my layout with old trains.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Toy auction at Bouwman and son

Last Saturday, the bimonthly toy auction was held at Bouwman and Bouwman in Brummen. I was curious about this auction and wanted it to visit for quiet some time, but since Saturdays are busy days I rarely had the opportunity. Nevertheless, last Saturday we went to visit it. We arrived half an hour prior to the start and that gave us the time to register and get an auction number and to walk down the alley and see the items in the display cabinets. We knew why we were coming and we verified the visual quality of the items we were interested in.
At about 11 hours in the morning the roughly 35 men and 5 women sat down on folding chairs and were waiting for the auctioneer to start. Unfortunately the blue Windows screen was stuck and they were busy for another 20 minutes to fix it. Then it finally started. There were 430-something lots and it went pretty fast. First, the lot was crudely described, then the amount was named that was already 'on the table' due to internet bidders. Then the amount was repeated and they asked if someone was willing to bid more on the table, etc etc. Anyway, I was waiting for lot 188, two Paya luggage cars: 1359 and 1362. There were no internet bids, but someone else in the room overbid me, so in the end I got them for 50 Euro. We had to wait through all the lots. And there were so many Dinky toys cars, dolls, VW Bansai vans etc. Anyway, around 15:00 hours the auction was finished. The chairs were folded. The folks lined up and our bidding numbers were called and we had to pay. The total costs were the bid plus 30% provision and VAT. Surprisingly most paid cash. Then we got a receipt and we could form a second queue for the goods and then finally we got the Paya luggage cars. We got them straight from the cabinets and we were allowed to inspect them and pack them back in the original boxes.

These Paya luggage cars are reproductions from the eighties as is clear from the Märklin couplers and their shining mint condition. On Historytoy website the original version from the interbellum can be seen. They are beautifully made and highly detailed. The dark blue carriage with a dark grey roof has CIWL emblems and is named baggage car, PH 1362. The doors open, the two sliding doors slide, it has internal lightening and sprung buffers.

The sea-green luggage car Paya PH 1359 has texts "equipajes" and "correos" on the sides. It has a light-grey roof, opening doors, internal lights and larger unsprung buffers. Additionally curious, the 1362 cars navigates my Merkur curves with ease, but the 1359 car doesn't. Apparently the trucks can hardly rotate since the base plate sidings are much too close to the trucks. So the latter car will probably remain to be a display piece.

In the end we had a great day and found ourselves two beautiful Paya luggage and post cars. I do not think that I want to visit these auctions regularly, since I do need to witness two blokes up-bidding on twenty varieties of VW beetle toy cars again. But it was fun for one time.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

ARS Technica

On a snowy mountain ridge in the Ardennes lies the small village of Losheim. The slow cold wind turns the wind mills slowly overhead. Which feet can be seen, the rest is obscured by fog. The over-snowed war graves on the ground can occasionally be seen in this cold and silent village. In the former custom offices of the Belgian-German border a strange mixture of a model train shop, museum and impressive railroad layout has emerged. You enter a model train shop, which is fairly impressive in size, gauges and accessories. Then you walk up a set of stairs, pass the tourniquet with your entrance ticket and you are in a toy train museum.
The exhibition has many interesting layouts and toy trains. Although my interest was focused on the prewar Fandor, Märklin, Bing and Krauss trains. But I did appreciate to learn from gauge TT Rokal and gauge S Bub and Stadtilm as well.
The West-German made toy train of Bub in scale S.
And the East-German made toy train of Stadtilm in scale S.
A beautiful gantry crane of Krauss toy trains.
And loads of prewar tin-plate train cars.
Sufficient cheerfully coloured cars to make you happy on such a cold winters day.
There is not just a few display cabinets, but rather many dozens. Obviously I restrained myself to prewar tinplate.
After the museum part with the old trains, there are multiple layouts. Fortunately most layouts and displays are meant for toy trains, but some local bloke went bazerk on modelling a Roman settlement, which is beyond prewar, in fact beyond pretrain. Then they have a small Laurel and Hardy cinema and many more operated toy train layouts.
Well, I took too many pictures, anyway, I reckon you get the message, whenever you are passing a mountain ridge between Belgium and Germany and you fancy seeing some toy trains, then you better stop at the Ardenner Culture Boulevard in Losheim to visit the ARS Technica. And no, I do not grasp the name of the facility either, but it is a nice display, for sure.