The Design of Small Model Railways

Railhobby Design Competition

Track Plan Railhobby Design Competition
[200×120 cm²]

This design has been made as my entry for the Railhobby Design Competition 2005. As an honourable mention, this design has been published in issue of February 2007. The objective of the competition was to design a track plan in scale H0, with a maximum surface area of 200×120 cm² and with a maximum of six switches.

The track plan portrays a junction of a branch line. This junction has a station, which serves goods trains besides the usual passenger service. You'll find a goodsshed beside the station for general cargo and an extra track serving a factory, team track or something else. Given the size of the plan and the complexity of the track plan two simultaneous trains is the maximum. A passenger train and a goods train are quintessential, but you can also model goods trains with passenger transport or passenger trains with a goods van. Do not expect much shunting, because the number of two goods tracks is rather limited. The short platforms and the relatively steep slopes (up to 50‰) make only short trains possible.

The rail plan has been devised with C-track of Märklin. This rail system offers no flexible rails, but I have tried the usual ridgedness in the design.

 Special care should to be taken for the track which under passes the station. The design assumes the minimum height for underpasses. The minimum height must be 59 mm of the lower track, according to NEM. With the thickness of the baseboard and the height of the rail bed is 80 mm at this point. The sketch below shows how everything fits tightly with a baseboard thickness of 10 mm. (BS = top of rail)

Sketch of passage

It does not matter which control system you choose, both analogous and digital, can do the job. Since digital systems are present in the new models and sets of Märklin, there’s no reason not to go digital. For this purpose, the “Mobile Station” offers sufficient possibilities. Switches and signals can be operated conventionally. I.e. electrical switches wired to the turnouts and signals. The signals can stop sections can be used, but this is not necessary with digital systems. Your local engine drivers just have to watch out for the signals!

This exploitation concept took place at and with era III, in the 1970’s. More interesting is era II, in which much more railway companies were present to choose from. Branch trains at this period were even shorter than those at later periods. Short trains look the best besides the short platforms of this design. Given the suggested era, steam traction is the most obvious. From the 1950’s diesel traction can be introduced with rail buses.

A junction station, also at a branch line, will have some kind of signalling. Track signs can be sufficient for stops and simple through stations. Station entry signals cannot be found on the plan, because they are ‘placed’ outside the visible part of the track plan (behind the tunnel). On the drawing, the Märklin signals, with the corresponding article numbers, are used.

On a small area of somewhat more than two square meters a hilly landscape is most effective. This type of landscape makes it possible to use tunnels hide the tracks. High mountains are not credible on such an area. In principle every country with hills can serve as the prototype country for this job design. Because this design is based on the products of Märklin, a German is most suitable, because Märklin offers lots of German-based rolling stock. When using Märklin models solely, you can only model Germany when building a branch line.

The drawing below show the pieces of track you’ll need with Märklin article numbers. Heights have been indicated in millimeters, as calculated by my computer. The design has been made with Märklin-software no. 60521 “Gleisplanung 2D/3D”.

 The drawing below shows the article numbers and the heights. At the spots where there’s a transition between even track and an inclined track, I’ve used short pieces of track to smoothen the transition. These so called “vertical curves” can cause problems with fixed tracks when you don’t make necessary precautions.

Track plan with track numbers
10×-24064  railstuk recht l=64,3 mm-24071  railstuk recht l=70,8 mm-24077  railstuk recht l=77,5 mm-24094  railstuk recht l=94,2 mm
12×-24107  railstuk boog 7,5° r=360 mm-24115  railstuk boog 15° r=360 mm
16×-24130  railstuk boog 30° r=360 mm-24172  railstuk recht l=171,7 mm-24188  railstuk recht l=188,3 mm
10×-24206  railstuk boog 5,7° r=437,5 mm-24207  railstuk boog 7,5° r=437,5 mm-24215  railstuk boog 15° r=437,5 mm-24224  railstuk boog 24,3° r=437,5 mm
11×-24230  railstuk boog 30° r=437,5 mm-24611  wissel links r=437,5 mm-24671  boogwissel links
 1×-24672  boogwissel rechts
 2×-24912  railstuk boog 12,1° r=1114,6 mm-24977  stootblok l=77,5 mm

 The picture below shows a computer-generated drawing of the plan.

View 1

 Below another impression how the plan might look. The roads can be made with Faller Car System road-pieces. On this road a bus can travel from the station to the church and back.

View 2

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