European model railroad scenery

Claus has been in touch with some very impressive European model railroad scenery:

“I’m into N Gauge Layouts (Continental outline) and wondered if anybody in your circle would like to see some of my efforts from past years?

I originate from Austria, hence all my layouts have working catenary systems.

Here are a few…



European model railroad scenery bridge

European model railroad scenery tram

European model railroad scenery power lines

tram platform

model train track plan

tram tunnel

european model railway

European model railroad scenery:

model railway overhead view

european model railway

“Hi Alastair

I thoroughly enjoy your website – you have some great contributors. I live in New Zealand but loosely model the Santa Fe diesel days of the 1950s to the 1990s.

When I turned 65 I considered it undignified for a pensioner to have to use a duck-under. So. On rebuilding my layout following the earthquakes of 2010-11, I built a lift up access in the corner by the door.

Fortunately I have not had any accidents involving trains going over the “cliff” but the potential problem needed addressing as I do not always close the lift up section when operating.

Far too late I considered fitting micro-switches to the tracks operated by the lift up section. Instead I came up with the attached cheap, simple and effective manual alternative using a piece of wire and a short length of foam plastic.

Fingers crossed I don’t get lazy and forget to install the foam buffers!

Kind regards


I do love the different solutions and tips people send in. I think it’s wonderful too see so many different ways of sorting out different problems.

Reminds me of just how different we all are. Do you know some people mail me the kindest words about this site – others just hurl abuse. Suppose one man’s pleasure is another man’s poison.

Anyhow, thanks to Claus for sharing his European model railroad scenery, and to David too. And please keep them coming. Hope you enjoy them all as much as I do.

Don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet is here.

And if today is the day you pick this fine hobby back up, the Beginner’s Guide is here.


PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

72 Responses to European model railroad scenery

  1. Steve Lewis says:

    Well Done

    Very nice layout, like the catenary, which is something many dont bother with due to its complexity,


    Steve ( North Wales UK)

  2. Willie Kerr (Glasgow) says:

    Lovely layout. I agree with Steve Lewis the catenary must be complex to install and maybe maintain, never the less very good indeed.

  3. Barry says:

    That is a lovely layout.
    Sorry to hear that some people criticise this site.
    They must be the ones that haven’t got the talent to do these amazing
    Layouts. They are not worth the time that it takes to do this lovely hobby.


  4. Ron Ernst says:

    A working catenary system must have been an electrical feat. At least having it inside eliminates the summer sagging and winter icing ingigenous to Austrian weather. Living in sunny California I miss the Wiener Gemütlichkeit but not the winter weather.

  5. Brian Clauser says:

    Now here is a display built on patience. Great job?

  6. claus says:

    re. Catenary: True and true again….it requires a great deal of patience and – most important – very careful positioning, especially around bends. In Tunnels I use special tunnel catenary, which is a fixed brass rail, thus eliminating any flexing when locos are passing. Having suffered a stroke some years ago, I now have only one working eye, which does not help matters. Also it is important to have the tunnel roofs constructed so they can be removed, in case of a train getting “stuck” anywhere. As you all know, with N gauge any access for “Fingers” is extremely difficult. I restrict most layout sizes to a size, that would fit into a large estate car. I have also made layouts which “plug together”, hence being made bigger overall. On the joins of larger layouts, with “bullet” locators, there is always a tunnel, which a) hides the join and b) allows the catenary brass bands to meet, slightly overlapping on one side. If anybody would like pictures of such a constructions pse. let me know, and I can get my trusted camera out to send detailed shots to Alistair (because he’s better in posting those than little ole me). I will have a word with my grandson, who might be able to show me how to make a short video, as I’m not too hot on such things. Meanwhile I wish you all a very happy x-mas in the hope that father x-mas (Santa Claus – without the “e”, remember?) brings you lots of goodies for your N Gauge hobby.

  7. vince says:

    Beautiful work. It is amazing how much detailed you have in N scale. Keep up the great work. All the best for the Holidays

  8. Charles Sm says:

    I enjoy seeing the fine work of others and this is a wonderful example. I don’t have a railroad (yet) but am considering getting started. I’m having trouble “starting” as I don’t have the skills or perhaps patients it seems to take. After seeing all the great railroads on this site it makes it difficult to vision beginning. Great job Claus

  9. Chris says:

    Fantastic job to everybody, I look forward to these emails everyday. I am in awe of the creativity and resourcefulness of all the modelers submitting tips and layout photos. I’m building scenery items now and almost have a track plan finished so you will see it here first. Thank you for keeping me inspired everyday. To the nasty ones don’t knock it till you try it. Peace and good tidings to all on this holiday season.

  10. DAVE CAUFFMAN says:


  11. tom Nichols says:

    What a great layout …such detail at the “N” scale level…..

    Tom..Shrerwsbury PA

  12. Mike Wilson says:

    I only been here a few months and thankfully haven’t seen anybody who has criticized any of the work and effort that has been put into the items shown here and if they do turn up now and then, they’re not worth worrying about.
    I’m slowly building up a good little library of tips and how to and soon hope to be able to start building a layout.
    Keep up the great work everybody and to all here I wish you a very SAFE and Merry Christmas

  13. ben miller says:

    great job good thinking to keep from going over cliff

  14. Rod says:

    Really impressive- I built a catenary layout many years ago and it was immensely difficult to get it to work correctly.

    Respect is due to Claus!

  15. jeffrey sikes says:

    nice n scale lay out folding part looks good different way than normal most go up or come out or off good job .

  16. Don M. says:

    What a treat to see detail like that. I’m in the thros of building a 2nd “N” scale layout and appreciate all of the contributions from fellow modeler’s. A “hearty” thank you to “Al” for “hosting” all of this “good stuff”!!!! and by the way – Here’s to Railroads!!!!! Gotta love em!

  17. Joe says:

    Great job

  18. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    My sausage fingers won’t allow me to work with N gauge. My congratulations to you for having the patience and skill to be able to string that beautiful catenary. You have built a very nice layout !
    ……Frohe Weinhnachten!

  19. Don Garner says:

    Al & Claus,
    Do not despair of those who complain about a layout. They are obviously unhappy people. I notice that the complainers never submit what they think is a better solution. They probably would not like the spouse you married, the house you call home or the car you drive either. Sad.

    It is true that some modelers are more talented than others but that does not diminish the hard work, expense and heart of the least of these. Keep up the great work, guys and dolls. Remember that layout is YOUR creation. If YOU like it, that is all that matters. If you don’t like it, you will change it. That’s what this hobby is all about.

  20. Paco Gayon says:

    congratulations Claus, is one of the best layouts I have seen.

  21. Chris says:

    I had a similar problem when I was building my HO layout where unfortunately a couple of locos derailed & fell on our tiled floor – ouch. I ended up as a short term solution fixing some sides of beer cartons to the layout – I had plenty of them – until I finished securing the layout.
    Worked a treat.

  22. Ray Appenzeller says:

    Very nice and interesting layout! Thank you for sharing it with us! Have a great holiday season everyone!

  23. John Moody says:


    I cannot understand why anyone would want to be abusive of this site. It’s free, has brilliant content and seems to be a very sociable, friendly site.
    Ignore these idiots and keep up the good work.


  24. paul Otway says:

    lovely layout

  25. Ken Goldenberg says:

    Even though I personally do not have a layout, I still have all my HO trains from when I was a kid back in 1970. I really enjoy seeing these set ups from all over the world! Thank you

    Ken Goldenberg, Orange County (“The OC”), California

  26. David Weaver says:

    I always look forward to seeing the various layouts from all over the world. It’s great to have a place where we can share with each other. Thank You!

    Claus’s layout was especially interesting to me as I also have “N” scale and will soon be building a new layout.

    David Weaver, near Portland, Oregon, USA

  27. chris says:

    Thank you for sharing with us , a real pleasure to view other layouts from across the world. Always inspiring

  28. THOMAS says:


  29. thomas C. says:

    (like your total) effect Im into Z scale and T scale mainly but due have G scale Ogauge lionel marklin Ho dcc N scale and Nn3 lol dabble into Hon 2-1/2 and lego some 25yr. old TT American style but my hearts in Zjust made T gauge etched stainless steel bridge of London bridge working now power sw1500 diesel thomas

  30. Rod Mackay says:

    Re the overhead in N, wonderful work Claus, can’t imagine how you managed that with one working eye, I found it hard enough in HO with two.

    Re lifting flaps, my pal had one which hinged down onto a microswitch which cut power off to the approach lines when you lifted the flap – very cute.

    Re people sending abuse, feel sorry for them, they obviously really do have nothing better to do with their lives. We had a couple of people prosecuted here in the UK recently for abusive tweets and they turned out to be the saddest individuals you could imagine.


  31. Bill says:

    Did you ever consider a mercury switch ! Or a contactor unit ? Just ideas Bill

  32. John Reynolds says:

    Another brilliant presentation…

  33. Peter Duffield says:

    Hi Al

    Just wanted to say that I find the website and content very interesting. Those who criticise it are small-minded. It reminds me of the old saying: “if you can’t find something good to say about someone/something, keep your mouth shut”

    Peter – East Yorkshire

  34. Chuck Copeland says:

    Looks great!!!!!!!!!!! That’s alloy of wire!!!!!!!!!! All my layouts are in N. When I first got into N in the late 60s I think, I had to make up a lot of things cause there wasn’t a lot around for N. I will send in some pics.

  35. chuck says:

    Well, I have to tell you I only have good things to say . I enjoy all the stuff you send me ! I look forward to it all the tips and pictures…I just can’t enough. Everything I read and look at it really motivates me. I do have a layout here in my garage in San Diego. I am in the process of getting my track finished with bus and feeder wires so I can start running trains and get onto scenery.

    Thanks Al ..

  36. steven stclair says:

    Thank you for letting us all see this and thank you Al for sending these every morning. The first thing I do when I arrive at school (school teacher) is view them what a great start to the day.


  37. Glyn - Peoria IL USA says:

    Thanks Al for taking the time to upload all these great posts – very encouraging and they contain so many great details helpful to us all. I’m currently rebuilding my Marklin HO digital layout 16×11′ and will send some pics as work proceeds. As for any negative posts, I concur with all of the previous comments – just sad individuals with nothing better to do. Keep up the great work and thanks again to you and all who contribute to this wonderfully absorbing hobby. Glyn

  38. Frank Goessler says:

    Good Morning Al.
    Just wanted to let you know I went to my local office supply place and had the engine shed printouts copied and just like you said, twice the size and in color. They look great and I am looking forward to getting started on pasting them to cardboard and assembling them. Thanks again for your efforts and the printouts. And screw the sad little trolls who’s only lot in life is to rain on other people’s parade. I have no use for them and you should not let them get to you.

    O Gauge Frank from across the pond in Saint Charles, Missouri.

  39. Jim says:

    Good stuff guys. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  40. Bob says:

    Halleluiah! Working catenary, and in N gauge! I’ve done HO, and trolley wire in O. But even when I had nimble fingers, I couldn’t do it N. Amazing and incredible.

  41. Richard Shaw says:

    I have spent most of my life in the field of journalism, from writing for multiple magazines to working in newspapers. Semi-retired, I still do a lot of that and the critics you face all the time can make you crazy if you let them. But while it has sometimes eaten at me when someone pans a good piece I have written or have spent a lot of time on, I don’t let it bother me long term. Whether the people that are negative are just picky jerks who think things should be a certain way, or are just trolls overall, it doesn’t matter. I now am putting together my first layout in 20 years and a lot of it is due to all the people who post here and you. My layout will be my layout and I don’t give a damn what others think of it. It is fun to do and who cares if it doesn’t meet their criteria. I like the way you compliment anyone on anything they send whether it be simple or complex. Hobbies should be positive; we have enough negative in the world already. Keep up the great work.

  42. Carl in Kansas says:


    Here is a thought for your track power and lift-up section. Add a micro switch to your lift-up section and wire it in series with the output side of your train throttle. When the lift-up is open, there will be no power applied to any of your track. Lower it and power magically reappears. Now there is no need to remember to install/remove your foam bumper. It is an easy project, and a foolproof solution. By the way, do you have two bumpers – one for the other end of your lift-up?

    Keep on training,
    Carl in Kansas

    P.S. If you do not like this forum, or if it offends you, register your complaint by clicking on “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email.

  43. Gary P. Dettl says:

    Dear Claus
    Simply Awesome. Very nice job.

    Dear Al
    Thank you very much for the time and effort that you put into this web site. I very much enjoy seeing what other modelers are doing and what they are doing. I am looking forward to “re-building” my H.O. layout once I move into our new house in about 6 months.
    Please ignore any putz that criticizes you, they probably lack talent and are jealous of the other modelers.
    Thank you for all you do.

  44. Susan Cannon says:

    Beautiful! I am in awe!

    How ingenious! Congrats on your brilliant, simple, and effective solution – my favorite kind. Thank you for sending it in.

  45. David A. Massimi says:

    I just dont understand the “nasty abuse”…over a hobby ? Really ?
    I agree with the majority of comments above…talent or a lack thereof is NOT a consideration, as the purpose of the hobby (trains, stamps, tennis, flying, and so on) is to have FUN…otherwise, there’s really no sense in pursuing it.
    I really enjoy the website and find the suggestions quite helpful…so please don’t let the “negative ninnies” get to you…i imagine them as small-minded, overly rigid folks who cannot tolerate anything that doesn’t conform to THEIR notion of the way things should be…sad, unhappy people condemned to their own self-inflicted misery.
    That said…HAVE A GREAT DAY !
    Dave, in NY

  46. Skrubby says:

    The catenary layout reminded me of a fantastic experience I had in the mid-1950s. A major in the US Army Reserve had just returned from Germany with boxes of Marklin TT gauge stuff. When he found out I knew a little about electricity, we made a deal: he would assemble and detail the layout, and I would handle the wiring. When we were done, we had one engine operating on 2-rail power, another on the catenary, and a third on an external 3rd rail! Quite a feat to see three trains running on the same track, each individually controlled! A forerunner to DCC!

  47. Ruben A Garcia says:

    Being a newbi” to this hobby and addicted to your site which I thoroughly enjoy. Looking at the ideas all of the contributors have, I am constantly changing my layout. Claus, how did you build your door? Could you please post additional pictures or a narrative of the “how to” details. I am interested building my own and I like the looks of yours

  48. Alex Postpischil says:

    Very nice work. My father is from Vienna and I’ve been to Austria three times now. If I could afford it I would model the ÖBB. If I could really afford it would move to Austria! Instead, I model an interurban electric line from Maryland (near where I grew up) but use single trolley wire and not catenary (in N scale).

  49. DJfrom NJ says:

    Claus, you have crushed it! Great work. Thank you for submitting so many can see it.

  50. Wm althaus says:

    Great work from both of you. I’ve never tried overhead and for me I don’t know if I have the patience to even try lol. Fantastic layout and in N gauge makes it just that much better

    For the lift up piece that is super! Great way to solve an access problem while keeping it simple and looking great. I like how’s its painted to match the walls when up. I think the advice about adding a micro switch is really good. It’s a pretty simple add and microswitches are not expensive but until you do that foam block is going to do the trick

    Bill in Virginia

  51. george zaky says:

    Bravo! what talent! God Bless you for persevering with your set-back. Shows the character you possess.
    David- KISS principal- love it
    Big AL
    There is a small percentage of people who are trolls, angry, mentally challenged souls who dont have a clue. You on the other hand see the beauty in things, the artistry and talent, the positive, and that is so much more powerful. Ignore the dopes. Pity them.
    Please keep up your spirit and do what you do best- You have a following and we need you.
    George from NY

  52. Norman Rosen says:

    Being in California and reading the column in the morning, I must be the last person in the world to read the column! A working catenary in N Scale! I am amazed. Although I have seen poles advertised, what do you use for the overhead wire? As I have involuntary tremor in my right hand, I am amazed to see such fine detail work.

  53. ABUSE? About what? We all do what we like, we all do what pleases us. You don’t like what I did….FINE. leave. I probably won;t like what you did either. This is all to make one person happy and that is the owner(builder). If it happens to please someone else or bring them some joy THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT! Wonderful job Al and every one of the people sending pictures in. I have seen something or learned something from EVERY post. Thank You for cheering up the day!

  54. I love the amount of detail and work you created. I could never accomplish something this nice. I don’t understand the wiring on the lift out. If you could simply explain it I would be grateful as I am stuck with my lift up.

  55. Butch L. Legarth says:

    Very nice layout, I like the foam bumper stops.

  56. Elmer Banks says:

    Woke up, as usual, at about 6 a.m., Aug. 6, 2020. Pittsburgh time. As usual, I open this forum and read everything that is offered. Everything. Who can complain about anything here? Wonderful, positive stuff. My friend with the shaking hand, with one eye or a bit older. Hang in there. I have one each of the listed maladies and I love trains, large and small. Great layouts and great advice here. Keep on “training”. Happy holidays,??? I must have over slept.

  57. What a great layout this is Claus! … amazing N scale detail!

  58. George Moffatt says:


    I like your idea of using a soft (sponge or styrofoam) block to stop trains from turning into airplanes when your entrance lift-up is open. But you have to remember to position the soft block

    I’d like to suggest instead that you mount under the lift, by the hinge, a board that will stick up whenever the lift-up is open. The attach your soft block to that board to stop the errant trains

  59. Red says:

    I LOVE your live catenary system.
    Reminds me of when I started in trains when I was 12, that was 58 years ago I had live wires running on my utility poles giving power to my street lights and housing just like in real life.
    Also, I cut to scale, cardboard squares, and painted them gray to mimic cement for ALL my sidewalks.
    My wife calls me anal-retentive and OCD which I agree with.
    I am getting back into it while incorporating my wife’s collection of Department 56 collectible buildings!

  60. Nancy Schweitzer says:

    Great work, Claus!! Your detail is fantastic especially in “n” scale. I am in awe. The best part is the joy in your voice for our wonderful worldwide hobby. Cheers!

    Nancy from Sequim, WA

  61. Gerald Edgar says:

    Fantastic detail for N – well done!

  62. Looks Beautiful, I’ve always liked the European Picture postcard look.

  63. Hello, Does anyone here know the difference in Marklin track, I see “M”, “E”, “C”, center rail and some others listed as 3,000 and the other 5100, so i am assuming that the 5100 series is the newer one. I have Ho and Z and i am dusting the years off this sets. I have not had the time until recently and locally i have not found much help from any hobby store or people that work with trains, (most do not know marklin). I like to make a layout, I see so many beautiful ones here, I am envious. I am in Modesto Calif.

    Thank You

  64. Torsten says:

    Very beautyful layout, I love it! I will keep it in my fav´s for reference and ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  65. Malcolm Cleaveland says:

    Claus, it’s beautiful! I’m just glad that I model U.S. western rail with no catenary.

    Thomas C., I am into Z scale, too. I’m in my 80s but used to working with tree rings under a microscope so 1:220 seems large to me. I have some T-gauge, but have not done much with it.

    I don’t recall any nasty comments, but may have ignored them and put them in the “Forgotten” part of my brain (which seems to be getting larger, LOL).

    Malcolm C

  66. Bill Butler says:

    I had to look up “catenary” and still didn’t understand it! But reading through all the comments, I gather that this system provides power through on overhead “center rail”. Is that right?

    There was a lot of chatter about a troll that was bad-mouthing this great hobby, but I didn’t see that comment. But, I agree with the post comments. Let these comments go as they have no real bearing or effect on what this hobby is all about!

    Cheers, Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas, 2022!


  67. Richard Ott says:

    I’m not one who normally comments but I have to agree with some. If you don’t like the blog why read it? It’s certainly easy enough to unsubscribe. While I don’t have my trains up and running yet (no room available at this time) I find inspiration in just about every post. If nothing else it’s fantastic to see the details that others put into their layouts. I’ve turned on a few friends to the blog. Please keep up the great work and many thanks!

  68. Macbear says:

    For those who have nothing good to say, they should simply say nothing and stop subscribing. There is so much to appreciate on this site. By no means will every post reflect everyone’s interests, but learning includes engaging with a wide range of posts. My own layout is of the 1980s in Nottinghamshire, but how much have I learned from all corners of the world. Keep up the good work Alastair and all those who contribute – thankyou.

  69. Runna Muck says:

    But wouldn’t that 1/4-pound stick of butter melt eventually

  70. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. extemely a lot of work.

  71. Terry Miller says:

    David: I’m a little confused (but that’s normal)…is your foam piece attached to the lift-up section so it automatically stops trains when the “cliff” is open?
    You could model the foam to make it look like a typical railroad overhead signal board and leave it in place all the time. By using the 2 wires that go from the foam into the roadbed and act as “legs”, you could add lights to the signal board.

    Terry/Idaho USA

  72. MatiSon says:

    Claus, thank you for showing your catenary system. I am presently designing a Marklin HO layout, and am considering using catenary for powering the main outer loops.

    Please take more pictures of your system. I was also wondering if you think that foam is strong enough to hold the poles in place, as I have a 2” base of pink foam.
    Thank you

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