Modelable European Intermodal Facilities #1

I’ve always wanted to model an intermodal facility, now more than ever since I’ve started putting together my own 3D printed tanktainer models. However most intermodal facilities are huge and even in N scale they’d take up a lot of space, so I’d all but given up on the idea.

I didn’t realise that smaller intermodal facilities still existed but in the last couple of weeks I’ve found a number of modelable facilities in various locations throughout Europe so I thought I’d do a series of posts on each of the locations…

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Useful Website: OpenRailwayMap

Regular visitors may have noticed that wherever possible I use open source images and maps when creating posts on my website. Once I’ve identified an area with some interesting operations I’ll use the transport layer maps on OpenStreetMap to get a better understanding of the layout of the tracks in the area.

As an example, here’s an OpenStreetMap transport layer map of an area of Basel, Switzerland with some interesting intermodal (ship to rail) facilities:


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The OpenStreetMap map is great but today I stumbled across an open source mapping website that focuses specifically on railways and covers the entire World!

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Interesting Idea For A Module #5

This picture caught my eye because it looks like the kind of railway operation you rarely see nowadays: a short passenger train, in a remote location and a shared rail/road bridge!

Inland Bridge by Gunvald – Own work, CC0, View Image

The bridge on it’s own would be an interesting scratchbuild but you’d probably have to scratchbuild or 3D print the rolling stock too if you wanted to recreate this scene in N scale.

From what I can find out, this is the Pite Älv bridge which is about 12km to the north of a Swedish town called Moskosel. The line itself is known as the Inlandsbanan and although Wikipedia says otherwise it looks like the Inlandsbanen proper runs from a city in the south of Sweden called Mora, all the way up the middle of the country to Gällivare in the Arctic Circle.


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The further north you get the more sparsely populated the areas around the line are and it reminds me very much of old Canadian passenger railroading both in terms of scenery and operations. There are pictures of wooden decks next to the Inlandsbanan tracks, seemingly in the middle of the woods, where passengers can flag-down a passing train and being something of a hit with tourists they also schedule special trains for fishing trips. Brilliant!

Inlandsbanan 2014 by Jamten72 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, View Image

It’s the ideal landscape and railway for large scenic modules with long diesel-hauled resource trains framed by mountains and short colourful passenger cars darting between stands of trees.

Back to that bridge for a moment. Interestingly there are quite a number of shared road/rail bridges in Sweden; and the Swedish bridges on that list are a part of a longer list of road/rail bridges from all over the World.

Seeing this bridge also reminded me of a bridge in Scotland that I’d been reading about recently called the Connel Bridge. You can find out more on Wikipedia.

Sadly, the Connel Bridge no longer carries railway traffic but if you’re interested in modelling UK steam railways and want something a little unusual the Connel Bridge might be perfect. 

Having done some research on the Inlandsbanan and seeing how beautiful it is, I’ll definitely be covering it in future posts.

Interesting Idea For A Module #4

I’ve always liked the idea of creating modules or cameos where you need to look through or around the scenery to catch a glimpse of the trains just as we often have to do in the real World. If you’re not sure what I mean I think the picture below sums it up nicely:

Railway Bridge by Herbert2512, CC0, View Image

It would be a real challenge to create trees and water realistic enough to pull this off and keep viewers interested until a train appeared but I think it would be worth the effort involved.

Unfortunately, whoever uploaded this image to Pixabay didn’t include enough information to find out exactly where the bridge is, but based on the livery of the carriage it looks like somewhere in Germany.

If German railways aren’t you’re thing I’ve seen similar pictures from locations across Europe and North America and the bridge is generic enough to be anywhere in the World really.

A Gatorboard T-Trak Module

I recently become very interested in building T-Trak modules. As it’s winter and I lack workshop space I need to be able to build the modules inside the house with simple tools using a strong, light material.

Using foamcore board seemed like the ideal solution. I’ve built experimental modules/layouts in the past using the kind of foamcore that can be found in the average hobby or art store but I’ve never been completely satisfied with the results. They tended to warp when damp/wet and the material never seemed as strong as advocates of the method made out.

Then I got my hands on some Gatorboard…

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The Klappbrücke (Bascule Bridge) In Husum, Germany

For reasons now unknown to me this post has been sitting in my Drafts folder for quite a while now so I thought I’d get on and publish as it’s actually quite an interesting location.

Husum is a maritime town in the far north of Germany with a pair of modern bascule bridges that look like they’d be good candidates for a bit of scratchbuilding.

View From The Harbour Bridge by Frank Vincentz – Own Work, CC-BY-SA-3.0, View Image

As the bridges are only about 45m long they’d also fit nicely on a module…

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T-Trak Modules

You may have noticed that over the last year, I haven’t actually built any modules despite doing the design work and finding suitable plenty of suitable locations. Unfortunately, my plan to have a space to build those modules hasn’t come to be… yet. However, I’ve still got the desire to build something and practice modelling techniques but to make this a realistic prospect anytime soon, it’s going to need something small, relatively cheap and easy to store.

Johnstown – Oheygi T-Trak Module (Paul Ohegyi) by Topherson – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0, View Image

I’ve talked in previous posts about wanting to create small modules or cameos; where the scenery is of equal importance to the trains and where the scenic elements are used to frame a scene. T-Trak modules might be the answer…

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Interesting Ideas For A Module #3

Here is an interesting photograph of a swing bridge over the Fox River in Appleton, WI.

Appleton, WI Swing Bridge by Unknown, CC0, View Image

It looks a bit rusted but those modern relay cabinets on the bridge deck made me think it might still be in use. A quick search revealed that it is an active bridge on a short Canadian National line. It’s not a mainline, so trains using the bridge will be shorter locals that are serving industries further east.

According to a website called Bridge Hunter it’s what’s known as a Warren through truss bridge and interestingly it’s only about 330ft (100m) long. Scaled down to N scale, the bridge would only be about 2ft (60cm) long, perfect as a centre-piece on a river crossing module.


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For some reason I’ve always liked the CN livery and Appleton, WI looks like it has some interesting rail served industries (scroll the map above easteards) so it might be somewhere I’ll take a closer look at in the future.