Sunday, October 08, 2017

Gaildorf West in HO


At some point in the far future, I might be able to turn one of the larger rooms in the house into a model train empire. While that is still quite some time away, it doesn't stop me from thinking about how to squeeze a prototype-oriented rendition of the Murrbahn into a ~12x16ft room.

I intend to build Gaildorf West in sections. The single track ends might be built to a modular standard (e.g. Fremo Puko, or Minimax), though it is much more likely that I build this in sections tailored to my needs and available space (similar to the ideas of TOMA).

Model railroaders never have enough space. The prototype Gaildorf West station stretches 950 meters from first turnout to last. Even with a slight length compression at 1:100 that's still double the length of available room width, and I need to add the approach tracks too, reducing the available length even more. Selective compression and compressive selection are necessary tools to make this work.

The track plan retains the Kappelesbergtunnel south of the station, as well as the general arrangement of tracks, platforms, and major buildings. Due to space limitations sadly the freight yard is heavily compressed.


Gaildorf West had an unique freight yard track plan, with the former branch line of Wuerttembergische Eisenbahngesellschaft (weg) to Untergroeningen cutting through the yard tracks and past the front of the station building for many years. As much as I wanted to model this arrangement, leaving it out allowed me to dramatically reduce the required length of the station. I tried to retain as many of the other track features as possible. A section boundary could be inserted at the bottom of the two yard ladders and an additional section inserted in case I'd end up with much more room than what I'm planning for.
The track around the front of the station was removed at some point well before the 1970's and instead the branch line merged into track 1 on the south end of the station similar to the model plan.

On my Murrbahn, Gaildorf West will be the northernmost point modeled. Trains enter staging after this station via a 10 turn helix from staging under the lower level. Or maybe I keep going up and build a staging yard above the upper level.

Because my model of Gaildorf West is basically a shelf along one of the room walls, the weg line curves to the right "behind" the DB main line, instead of curving left into the Kocher valley as it does on the prototype. I will use this arrangement for the weg branch line to "disappear" behind trees and reemerge across the aisle on its way to Untergroeningen. 

I'm trying to adhere to a minimum radius of 60cm in visible sections (90cm preferred) and 42.5cm (Maerklin Normalkreis II) in hidden sections. While most European rolling stock has no issues navigating curves as tight as 36cm, of course long cars look rather terrible on such curves. The selected minimum radius for visible sections is a compromise between available space and the look of standard DB passenger cars with 26.4 meters length in a curve.

Above plan is drawn with Peco Streamline Code 100 turnouts SL-95 and SL-96 (radius 912mm, 12 degree) for main line turnouts and Maerklin K-Track "slim turnouts" (radius 902,4mm, 14.26 degree) for the freight switching area. The Peco turnouts need to be modified for Maerklin-style power pickup. I'm using Code 100 Peco track for easy mixing and matching with Maerklin K-Track.

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