European model railway

Rob’s been in touch with more pics on his European model railway:

“Hello Alastair:

Several weeks ago you reran an item I submitted earlier about my Swiss/German railway.

In that article there was a call for more info and additional images.

Below is the text of my next submission.

Thanks for everything you do and all your highly anticipated morning emails here in Michigan.

A little background on the St. Goar & Murren scenic railway.

My wife and I went on a vacation to Germany and Switzerland in 2009. Both of us, being of German/Swiss heritage, loved it. We’ve been back several times since.

The one thing that impressed me was the rail system and the number of people into model railroading in those two countries.

I was a model railroader as a young adult. I even had an N scale layout in my 20s. Fifty years later I decided to give it a go again, this time modeling the places and events we saw on our trips.

The rail line name is a mixture of the first town we visited in 09, St. Goar and the place we found most beautiful, Murren.

We live in the north central part of the US, Michigan, the state that looks like a mitten. Here we have large basements under our houses (I feel a bit of UK envy there) so having a larger layout is a relatively easy task.

Like most things in my life, I decided to do things organically, adding in sections and areas as the mood suited.

Yes, I do envy the great track planners I’ve seen on this site, it’s just not me. Most of the track is HO three rail, so that standard and narrow gauge trains can run on it. Europe has a lot of three rail. The best place to see it in the US is Colorado.

It is DCC with the layout lighting being powered off my old dc transformer. I’m not much of an engineeer and rolling stock collector, preferring to work on buildings and scenes. But I’m feeling the tug of a desire to run trains especially after seeing so many Dangerous Dave videos.

This installment deals with an addition to the main layout of a wing containing a helix, a flattened hill and an open gorge area.

I decided to add the wing because my wife asked what that open area of basement was going to be used for, and because my chief structural engineer: Ed (the guy with all the power tools) is getting into his mid 80s.

Since time waits for no man, I got Ed to add on the basic table wing. It’s shown in the first picture at the end of the current layout table by the shelving unit.

The next few photos show the beginning of the helix install, the open gorge hole and some of the beginning plaster and shaper sheet work.

I added in a river with rocks from the local golf course. Also added two streams that will run under the main bridge. Then placed a small Swiss village on the upper valley side with winding paths.

I included a couple images of the mostly finished product (I know, nothing is ever finished on a model railroad) one showing a classic steam train with 19th century coaches on a rail fan holiday outing going over the bridge.

Then I added, to the left of the gorge, a farm scene that resembled one we viewed near the Matterhorn in 2019. I was amazed how the cows can just scamper up those hillsides.

The following pictures show the base for the hill and tunnels, interior superstructure, and the area with plaster cloth on it. Then the nearly completed farm main buildings from the side, as well as an end view.

Then to the left of the farm, down the hill toward the city, I added an archaeological dig (my oldest daughter is an archaeologist) of a Roman villa, note the tiled floor they uncovered. And yes, UK readers, those are Time Team logos from the famous long running TV show. I think, Mick Aston and Tony Robinson are there somewhere, along with my daughter.

My next idea, at the opposite side of the layout, is a city extension with the entrance to Octoberfest.

A special thanks to all the others who post on this site for their unending inspiration, and to Al for all his hard work. Ok, a tip of the hat to Dangerous Dave, for all his wonderful videos!

Please let me know if you need anything else or have any questions.

St. Goar & Murren Scenic Railway
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA”

european model railway

european model railway bench

european model railway bench bridge

european model railway stone bridge

european model railway river bridge

model train cliff river

model train bridge

model steam train

making tunnel

making tunnel

model train tunnel

model train farm

model train curve

european model railway

A big thanks to Rob for sharing his Eurpoan model railway.

I’m always banging on about making a start. But a close second would be ‘pick a theme’.

I love what Rob has done with his theme – he’s really made his layout ‘his’, and I thought adding the ‘Time Team’ TV show was the icing on the cake.

It’s funny how just the simplest of references to your own life and experiences add so much to the enjoyment of a layout.

That’s all for today. A huge big thank to you Rob – I really enjoyed his narrative and pics.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

10 Responses to European model railway

  1. David Howarth says:

    Nice work you have done there Rob …and thank you for the shout ..just so glad when some of my videos can help to inspire some to the Hobby ….Dangerous Dave

  2. George Zaky says:

    Rob-from Ann Arbor
    What a great layout, theme, and narrative. Those of us that dont have the space drool when we see a large scheme and you are filling it up with fabulous stuff. I especially admire guys that have multi levels because of the complexity, planning and difficulty of getting it right. You’ve entered into the Bill from Va league.
    The archaeological dig is a hoot. Please keep us updated and take care of Ed-us old guys need all the help we can get.
    I never heard of HO 3 rail- please explain.
    We all look forward to DD’s videos and advice.
    All this is impossible without Big Al.

  3. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool? I hope mine comes out that good.

  4. Marklin ed says:

    Rob what brand of trains are you working with? Marklin,Trix,etc.

  5. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Rob…..great work……always a treat to see your work and your detail.

  6. Sideshow Bob says:

    Marklin is HO gauge with 3 rails. It’s just like Lionel only a different scale. I model German steam. I model the pre-war era. It was a simpler time.

  7. Rob Schweitzer says:

    From Rob – answers to your questions.
    For George Zaky: in actual railroads a three rail set up is used to allow both standard gauge and narrow gauge to use the same track and facilities. In Colorado in the US, many of the original track was narrow gauge, later adding a third rail to allow standard gauge engine and rolling stock. It’s similar in Europe, three rails let both narrow and standard trims to use the same track. That is the principle I employed on most of my layout, I have three rail track so I can run both my narrow gauge HOm and standard HO trains. Some off my new sections are just standard HO two rail.
    For Marklin Ed: I run Bemo narrow gauge HOm trains and Brawa standard HO trains. Looking back I wish I had investigated more and gone with Marklin for everything. However I started out with a Bemo Glacier Express narrow gauge starter set and went on from there. I took Alasters advice and just started a layout. It’s turner out rather well, butt Marklin sure does have some great rolling stock and engines. Rob from Ann Arbor

  8. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great work Rob! I like that Bridge, and nice job on the scenery!

  9. Frank says:

    I think you’re more of a sculptor than a builder. Instead of planning, measuring and then assembling, you remove pieces and then you build up other parts that finally reflect your vision.

    Even the classic book, “Ho Railroad that Grows” by Lin Westscott covered the idea of making changes after getting track and scenery on the table.

    I love the farm scene with the terrain and those little cows.

    Frank from Florida

  10. David says:

    Rob, your images are really great inspiration! Thank you for posting these.
    I have a similar background for my interest in model train building. I spend every summer in Europe to bicycle tour. Well, most summers sometimes I go to Asia. I usually take a train with my bike from where I fly in (Krakow) to where I want to start my bike tour and then back to Krakow by train (if I did not start or finish in Krakow). I fell in love with European passenger trains, as has my wife. As you mention, here in Michigan we usually have space for a large basement (unless you have a “Michigan Basement” of course). So I am dedicating a corner of the man cave to a 14’x14′ space for my multi city passenger service with a few industrial/cargo locations.
    In Krakow there is a great model shop with Piko and Roco stock. I picked up my first set last week on my way home. A steam loco (Roco) and epoch III coaches.

    Again, thank you for the inspiration and perhaps someday I might be able to see your layout in the real world.

    David from Greenville (NE of GR)

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