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…

First up, we have:

Van Rooijen Intermodal Facility, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

The Van Rooijen intermodal facility is located on the edge of the village of Acht in the north-west of Eindhoven. It is connected to the main line by a 200m spur that ends in a newly built container unloading area.

The site is irregularly shaped but the whole facility would fit inside an area about 200m wide x 132m deep. This equates to 125cm (4ft) x 80cm (2.6ft) in N scale, so while that’s still a little too big for T-Trak modules it would fit on a larger modules or even a standalone layout.

The blues squares represent single T-Trak modules (31cm wide x 35cm deep); the green square is a double T-Trak module (62cm wide x 35cm deep). The red square represents my original module design which is 105cm wide x 40cm deep.

As you can see from the satellite map image, the shorter of the two tracks isn’t currently in use but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use a bit of modellers license, alter the layout of the yard a little and bring the shorter track back into service.

Although the site is a little too big to fit on a T-Trak module there is still potential to do something a little unusual; by focusing on just a very small area of the yard and using stacks of containers as visual breaks you could have a very compact representation of a small intermodal yard.

Add a model of a reach-stacker, a selection of containers, a suitable backscene and some rolling stock and you’d have a nice little module based on a real-World location. Admittedly it’d be a little limited operationally but it’d be a great diorama for showing off stock or a good first project to practice your skills before moving onto something bigger. You could also expand it by adding other modules.

Of course this idea also scales up to larger module sizes and you’d be able to incorporate more of the yard and perhaps another track with a bigger module.

If you did have a bit more space to play with, then OpenRailwayMap does hint at a way that you could add a bit more interest:

The shorter track that now ends in the intermodal yard used to continue on and into the Van Rooijen Logistics warehouse building to the west of the current intermodal yard. By rearranging the intermodal yard a little and re-instating those tracks you could add a couple of spots for unloading vans as well as containers. If you did this by adding a separate module for the warehouse you’d have a really flexible setup.

I can’t help but think that a site like this would make a great L-shaped layout too. You could have a section of mainline on one ‘leg’ of the L and have this yard on the other ‘leg’. The mainline could have a full fiddle yard at one end and a smaller fiddle yard at the other so you could shuttle some passenger trains to and fro between freight operations. Freight trains could come off the mainline from the fiddle yard, into the sidings before being taken down the spur to the yard and warehouse.

If you wanted more operational interest you could even add a concrete loading pad at one end of the sidings as rubbish containers and military equipment were once loaded and unloaded in the sidings at Acht.

If you built the intermodal yard, rail-served warehouse and one of the fiddle-yards as modules, you could disconnect them from the rest of the layout and take them to shows or meets without the hassle of transporting the whole layout. This to me is the beauty of a modular design.

Trains are brought to the VanRooijen terminal by Vossloh G1206 locomotives. These have been produced by Piko and are still available at a number of retailers in Netherlands operator liveries, for example this ACT liveried version at DMToys.

If you didn’t want to model a location in the Netherlands the site and facilities are generic enough that it could also be altered to suit most European countries. There are similar multi-modal logistics yards and rail-served warehouses through-out mainland Europe and you could alter the purpose of the loading pad to suit the county you want to model, for instance, make it a spot for loading sugar beat if you want to model Switzerland or wood products if you want to model Austria.

If you want to find out more about the Van Rooijen site and the Acht area in general then it’s worth heading over to There’s a brief history of the area along with pictures of the site and operations on the spur.

Stay tuned, more terminals too follow soon…

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