Useful Website: Flickr Group (Short Trains With Up To 5 Wagons/Korte Goederentreinen)

With the decline of wagonload freight in present-day Europe, it’s sometimes difficult to find prototype trains to recreate that won’t look out of place on a small layout and won’t cost an absolute fortune to buy or scratchbuild in miniature.

If you model US railroads, there is still a fair amount of wagonload freight running, but the trains are often marshalled into incredibly long formations, especially on the Class 1 railroad lines.

If only there was a gallery of photographs of short freight trains for inspiration…

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Rail Served Industries In Europe #4: Nestlé Suisse, Orbe, Switzerland

This building has been on my radar for a while after I stumbled across it while writing about the Terminal Combiné Chavornay SA back in 2019. What’s the connection?

The Nestlé Suisse facility in Orbe is just up the railway tracks from the town of Chavornay.

Here’s a Streetview of the modern loading facilities at Nestlé in Orbe:

I’d not seen a loading bay with exterior weather shielding like this before and I thought it might be an interesting feature to recreate in miniature…

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Inspiration (Kato HB-E300 “Resort Shirakami”)

Do you know that moment when you see a new model and it just makes you want to create a whole new layout just so you can run it in the right place, even if it’s not something you’d normally think about modelling?

Well I’ve had one of those moments and the cause is the Kato HB-E300 “Resort Shirakami”:

I love the paint scheme on this train. Simple as that!

Plus it turns out this train runs on a beautiful coastal secondary-line in the north of Japan called the Gonō Line. It’s still quite rural in that part of Japan so the line passes through lots of small farming/ex-fishing towns with equally small stations, each with there own unique and interesting station building… …some are even right on the edge of the beach.

So not only do I want to model the Gonō Line, taking a ride on the actual line is going on the bucket list too.

Finally here’s a picture of the train in it’s native habitat:

Resort Shirakami DMU at Kasose on the Gonō Line- by MaedaAkihiko – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, View Image

Rail Served Industries In Europe #3: Aurubis, Hamburg, Germany

Here’s an interesting real-World track layout for you…


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It’s in the grounds of the massive Aurubis copper production and recycling facility in east Hamburg. It’s a sprawling site but this section of track in particular caught my eye because it’s similar to the track plan of a significant number of model railways…

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Rail Served Industries In Europe #1: Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel, Hamburg, Germany

I was taking a virtual tour around the railways in Hamburg via Google Maps today and spotted this interesting looking building at the end of a seemingly abandoned line in an industrial area:

From what I can glean web searching and Google translating, this is part of the Salzgitter Mannesmann Stahlhandel facility that manufactures and sells a range of steel products, some of which, despite the state of the track in places, still appear to arrive or depart by train. A potential shelf layout here I think…

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Modelable Intermodal Facilities #5 (Schwedenkai, Kiel, Germany)

After a long break from posting anything on this website I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by taking a look at an interesting little intermodal facility in the German port-city of Kiel called Schwedenkai.

Hafen Kiel/Ostsee by BAW_Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau – Own work, CC BY 2.0, View Image

Schwedenkai is one of eight terminals that are part of the wider Port of Kiel. As you many have guessed from the name, Schwedenkai is the terminal for passengers and freight heading for Sweden. In the picture above, it’s the area between the water and the tree lined road from the bridge at the bottom, up to and including the flat areas around the Stena Line ship in the centre of the picture.

The compact nature of the rail-freight handling facilities at Schwedenkai means they could be built as a stand-alone module/cameo, as a small shelf-layout or even as part of a larger German-themed static layout. Read on to find out more…

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Terminal Combiné Chavornay SA, Switzerland

It’s been a while since I wrote a post about a modelable European intermodal yard so today I thought we could take a look at the Terminal Combiné Chavornay SA (TERCO) intermodal yard in Chavornay, Switzerland.

In lieu of any photos of the complex, here’s a satellite image of the yard and its immediate surroundings:

So far so ordinary perhaps, but this yard caught my eye because it’s indirectly connected to the Swiss national railway system by an intriguing little Swiss short-line called the Orbe-Chavornay railway.

Read on to find out more…

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