The Betuweroute (A European Freight-Only Railway)

The Betuweroute is a modern, freight-only railway line in the Netherlands that connects the internationally important port of Rotterdam to the Rhine-Alpine freight corridor via the town of Zevenaar near the German border.

Metrans E186 182-2 With A Prague Shuttle by Nicky Boogaard – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0View Image

Like all contemporary infrastructure projects the Betuweroute was mired in controversy about it’s cost and viability but since opening in 2007, the number of trains using the line has been rising year-on-year. ProRail (the organisation responsible for Dutch rail infrastructure) report that the line now carries over 500 freight-trains a week making it a key section of the Rhine-Alpine freight corridor.

The Betuweroute is still something of an anomaly in Europe, having been designed and constructed solely to carry freight. So if you’re looking for something unique to model, the Betuweroute could be just the thing. Combine that uniqueness with the potential to incorporate some interesting scenes, modern architecture and a wide variety of potential freight rolling stock and I think there’s scope to build some interesting modules or cameos…

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Inspirational Layouts #1: Schwungischerplatz

I thought it might be worth doing a series of posts to share some of the layouts and models that I have found inspirational in the hope that they might inspire you too.

So here is Schwungischerplatz…

Schwungischerplatz – Photo by Matt Lamb – All rights reserved – Used with permission,
View Image

In the words of it’s creators (Marc Fuller of Ickenham & District Society of Model Engineers), Schwungischerplatz is: “…an N gauge model railway layout representing a busy scene in a German city”.

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Interesting Idea For A Module #7 (Line 24, Belgium)

Road/Rail Bridge In Belgium

Following on from my recent post about the Remersdaal viaduct and Line 24 in Belgium, I thought I’d do a quick post about this nearby road/rail bridge:

Remersdaal – Spoorwegbrug by Frans90245 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, View Image

All things considered it’s fairly ordinary road/rail bridge but it’s a perfect scene to recreate as a T-Trak module…

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Line 24 (Part 1): The Remersdaal Viaduct, Belgium

The Remersdaal or Remersdael (German spelling) viaduct is a rather utilitarian concrete structure located in the attractive rolling countryside of north-east Belgium.

NMBS 2372 on the Remersdaal Viaduct by Jan Derk Remmers – Own work,
CC BY-SA 4.0, View Image

As you can see from the picture, the viaduct is nicely framed by the surrounding hills and trees and has the potential to make a very interesting feature…

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Interesting Idea For A Module #4

Modern River Bridge In Germany

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.

Interesting Idea For A Module #2

Attractive Grade Crossing, USA

If you’ve visited the site before you may have noticed one of the background images is a fairly typical North American rural grade crossing.

It’s another example of a photograph I found on the public-domain photo sharing website Pixabay. I choose to use it not only because it’s a particularly nice photograph but because it also reminds me of a similar crossing, although perhaps not quite so photogenic, that I stumbled across whilst out for a drive in Tennessee.

I’d always thought a simple grade-crossing scene like this could make a great module to watch-the-trains-go-by.

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Sliedrecht Station and the Betuweroute (Netherlands)

I thought I’d introduce a location that at first glance might seem a little bit of an unusual choice for a module and that unusual choice is Sliedrecht station in the Netherlands.

20141230 LTE 186 237 + 238, Sliedrecht by Bert Hollander – Own work, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, View Image

You can just about make out the platforms and building of Sliedrecht station in the centre of the image above. The local, mostly single-track line serving the station is on the left and the double-tracks behind the sound barrier on the right are the Betuweroute; the international, freight-only rail line mentioned in the title of this post (more on the Betuweroute in future posts).

Despite being quite a run-of-the-mill location, Sliedrecht has always struck me as a great location for an unconventional (freight-only routes are a little more uncommon in Europe),  watch-the-trains-go-by module with the added interest of a separate single-track line with passenger service and local freight workings…

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