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The beginning

When I was a kid, in the 60's, I had a Märklin® H0 (M track) model railroad together with my two brothers. For many years, we just built temporary layouts. When we grew older, we started to build a permanent layout in the cellar, but it was never finished. Finally, we packed it all together.

Start again

Around 1990 my kids were big enough to play with a model railroad, and I unpacked my old Märklin equipment. Of course, my old dreams about a permanent layout awakened. But at that time, we had a very small apartment, and there was no room for a permanent layout of any meaningful size. Therefore, I decided to build a layout in the form of separate modules that could be put away when not used. To keep the investments down, I decided to use my old Märklin M tracks.


I planned the layout by trying out several different alternatives on the floor. The area was limited by the free space on the living-room floor, so I decided to keep the size below 2 x 3 m. After several iterations, I came up with this:

        Original track plan.

Building the layout

I decided to build the layout on styrofoam blocks. Styrofoam is easy to work with, and low cost. Its low weight is also a great advantage when you move around the modules a lot. The size of the blocks is 0.6 m x 1.2 m, so therefore most of the modules have that size. The landscape is formed by pieces of styrofoam glued together, The structure is then covered with putty and painted, see the tips&tricks section for details. First I intended to make the layout 3 m x 1.80 m, but I cut it down to 3 m x 1.65 m because I didn't reach in to the middle of it. During the construction of the layout, I invested in some more tracks. I added more sidings, and made the station entrances more flexible. This is what it looked like the first time I had an operational layout:

        First operational version of the layout.

Adding new sections

Before I had finished the first version (shown above), we had moved to a larger apartment. Now there was room to expand the layout. First, I added a freight yard at the left end, and later I put in sections in the middle to make the passenger station longer. The total length is now 4.15 m. This is what it looked like when I put it together in December 2000, when I also took the old pictures:

        The December 2000 layout.

Expansion to the current state

Since December 2000 I have built four new modules, and one of the old modules has been removed. The freight yard has been expanded and a new mountain has been built, with a castle on top of it (Kibri "Falkenstein"). Since all tracks, houses etc. are removable, it is still possible to put together the older versions of the layout.

Current track plan:

        Current layout (May 2004).

Some data about the layout

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Last edited August 6, 2012