The Design of Small Model Railways

A bookshelf with Märklin

A Bookshelf Railway [250×40 cm²]

I wanted to convert the design of my bookshelf model railway to the Märklin C- system. But this turned out not to be so obvious. To preserve the slim impression, I wanted to use the slim switches in the assortment with article numbers 24711 and 24712. To use these switches, rail pieces 24071 are required. But if I strictly adhere to the guidelines of Märklin, I don't get everything right..

But there is a trick. This trick does require some adjustments in other track pieces. We have to work the rail pieces to fit the switches. The 24071 track pieces have a removable bed so they fit without getting in each other's way. By partially cutting off the bedding from other rail sections, we achieve the same effect. Below I describe how I do it.

Because the rail system from Märklin and Trix have the same geometry, you can easily convert this design for two-rail systems. But maybe you better take the tracks from PECO, as I described here.

A crossover with Märklin C

With a little effort and some modifications, the wide radius switches of Märklin can be assembled into an interesting rail combination. This combination of switches is a part of crossover. This configuration can easily be expanded into a complete crossover. This crossover does not exactly fit into the grid of the C-rail system. The WinRail track design software calculates 119.5 mm track spacing for this crossover.

  With two large radius switches 24711 and 24712 of 12.1° and a crossing 24640 of 24.3°, half a crossover can be assembled. This switch geometry has not been “approved” by Märklin, but is still easy to make. Mathematically, there is a discrepancy of 0.1°, but this value is within technical tolerances. In short, a difference of 0.1° is not noticeable at all.

Crossover (overview)

 The drawing below, made with WinRail, shows the track pieces used.

Crossover (scheme)

  To build this crossover, we need to change the short rail pieces 24064 (length=64.3 mm) and 24071 (length=70.8 mm), drawn in red in the drawing. The expensive pieces remain unchanged. A couple of small pieces must be cut from the roadbed. This is easiest with a sharp hobby knife. Everything can be made to fit with a small file. With a little dexterity and feeling, the changes are done quickly. With the 24071 (left in the picture) one of the detachable pieces of roadbed needs to be changed. Cut up to the second sleeper exactly to the first click finger, and then skewed down. The roadbed of 24064 (right in the picture) should be changed as follows: cut parallel to the rail up to and including the second sleeper and then askew downwards.

Crossover (fitting pieces)

 When everything is cut with precision, the rail pieces can be put together.

Crossover (shim)

 The result looks good. When the roadbed is improved by weathering with paint and extra ballast, the small gaps will no longer be noticed. Those who do not want to do any finishing work on the roadbed will get the same visual impression as with regular rail connections.

Crossover (detail)

 A look at the bottom of the rails shows that not much material has been removed. The electrical connections are not affected. As a result, the rail pieces continue to click together properly.

Crossover (backside)
Parts list

I don't usually provide parts lists for the layouts I design. I make an exception to this plan, so you can see how you the track pieces to use to make everything fit together. I think my track planning software made a mistake. Can you spot it too?

A bookshelf with Märklin

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