• pupenhausen@unitybox.de


The History

This nonsense all started when I was a small child. Travelling on the Tauern Expess from Oostende to Stuttgart for the summer holidays left a lasting impression and must have started my love for railways. That and the Märklin starter I got as a Christmas present when I was three years old.

A few years have ‘disappeared’ since then but the excitement of watching a model train rush past as you hold your eye as near as possible to the track has remained. Or imagining yourself walking into the restaurant across the road from the miniature railway station you built in your own private model world.

I have always wanted to build a real model railway of my own but when you are young you don’t have the money – when you get older there are other things such as career and family which prevent you from creating that dream. This is why many of us model railway enthusiasts end up as a “grey” group! Just a load of aging kids whose eye-sight determines the scale.

I have had a few different model railways in the past. None were ever finished. Most of them were just ‘train sets’. In 2001 I moved to a flat in a town center, but living in a rented accommodation doesn’t offer enough room for a full-sized model railway.

I started to build another simple “train-set”. For 50 Deutsche Mark I bought a Roco starter set. A circle of track, a BR215 diesel and two goods wagons. It ran around my kitchen table. That satisfies the “railway virus” for about ten minutes! No, a proper model railway had to be built! A bit of planning. A simple oval. A station in the middle. The tracks would disappear left and right and run to a two track ‘fiddle yard’ behind a scenic background. All of which would fit on the kitchen table and could be stacked away when not in use.

The base board was roughly 150cm by 100cm made of 5mm beech plywood. Far too thin! The braces were made of 2cm x 2cm pine battens. Again, much too flimsy. A cork track bed glued to the base board. Some extra track was bought and a few points, all from Roco.

In a shop in Cologne I found the railway station Güglingen from Faller, complete with loco shed and loading crane on special offer for about 32 Euros (we had made the change by then). This was the fun part. Constructing the models and dreaming of how the end result would look. A little goods shed, a post office combined with a ‘Gasthaus’ and, of course, a brewery! Some things just have to be…

I never really finished it and it was still just a “toy”. It didn’t look realistic enough having a train looping around and chasing it’s tail. Also, although it was fairly small, it was still causing a storage problem. On the left is a picture of it in its final – unfinished – state. The first version of Pupenhausen ended up in the cellar and from there eventually to the rubbish dump. Sad, but inevitable. It was all very unsatisfying, but there is little you can do if you don’t have the room. I was reduced to further dreaming and planning and surfing the net for model railway sites to try and get some inspiration………

Then I stumbled on the FREMO site.

So the FREMO idea found a new disciple. This got me thinking about building a few modules in the comfort of my living room. As I was still restricted on space, my modules would be loosely based on the FREMO standards.


The Plan

These are the original plans I made for the modules which I could build quite easily to create Pupenhausen II in my town flat.


The Modules

I first started on three modules to fit in front of my book shelves. Each was a meter by forty-five centimeters giving me an initial length of three meters. The units would comprise the Station module, the brewery module and the loco shed module. I bought another Roco starter pack, this time for DCC with the power supply, booster and LokMaus2 included for around 100 Euros. Bargain! Next up was a VT98/VS98 with a BS98 to boot. The good old ‘Schienenbus’ which awakes so many childhood memories.

The modules are just boxes of 10mm beech plywood which I had cut for me at the timber yard. Then it was just a case of drilling the appropriate holes and gluing & screwing the pieces together.

I then laid the tracks on top of each box, with an underlay of cork (I know – I shouldn’t have used cork. It will shrink and cause all sorts of problems in the future). Modules #1 (loco shed) and #2 (station) were straight forward. Module #3 (brewery) was a little more work due to a road underpass which had to be cut into the baseboard and front side of the module. This meant a bit of terra forming before the track could be laid.

After laying the track I joined the modules and did a test run with very primitive electrics to make sure the trains could travel from module to module without problem. I was surprised how well it worked! I was expecting all the usual problems you have when you fiddle with motor cars! After that I could concentrate on one module at a time. Do the scenic work and the really fun bits of detailing. I’m still at that stage and doubt whether that will ever change….which is nice.

Legs to stand it all on? No problems..

For the legs I found an extremely cheap wooden wine rack in a DIY supermarket. It was hideous as a wine rack but ideal for my purposes. So I bought three. With the slightly modified rack sides I could get the track height up to 130cm. I fitted them together in front of the bookshelf. (The Donald Duck book collection is not mine.) Then the electrics were connected and a test run was made. Again, it work surprisingly well. Something I hadn’t normally experienced before in the world model railways.

I built a kind of sideboard where I could store the modules in shelves. The ‘box’ was kept in the kitchen at the end of the table and blended in enough so I couldn’t be accused of taking up too much space with my hobby!

So that is where I was. Still working on the details of each module. That was, of course, until I had the room to build more modules and start really running a railway, but I was not holding my breath……..


And then….. early in 2010 I bought a house!!…


Pupenhausen v 3.0

It was absolutely perfect for my mad dreams of expansion! A large cellar room (4.95m x 3.26m) with another room next to it which I could use as a workshop. All with tiled floors and heating! Ideal for my purposes.


But first there were things to do in the house and garden. So I had a lot of time for planning.

I decided to keep the modular idea and continue with the single track secondary line scheme which would include the Pupenhausen modules I had already built.

It would be a four station “end-to-end”, “along-the-wall” starting at station A (a hidden fiddle yard), running through Station B (Pupenhausen) whereafter it branches to Station C (a small terminus) and station D (again a hidden fiddle yard).

For the scenery I wanted to keep it simple but I really, really wanted a romantic old town with a town wall, gate house and towers. I also wanted a castle on top of a hill. Ooooo, and a village festival with a big beer tent and brass band. So, simple.

I found an excellent track planning software called Anyrail which was absolutely perfect for my needs. And it’s free if you don’t want the full version! The full version is a fantastic bargain anyway. I highly recommend it for ‘starters’ like myself. With this software I started creating the layout using a mixture of “Peco code 75” and “Roco 2.1 line” track. I used the Roco track to make the descending circle around the old town wall, otherwise it was all Peco.

Now…, I do realise that this is probably an unforgivable waste of space and far too simplistic….. but…, frankly I don’t care. I just want a simple operation with a reasonably convincing scenery. And now I had the room to do it!

Where to start?

I decided to have the nominal track height at 115cm, this would give reasonable accessabilty without making it too “birds-eye”, if you know what I mean. The hidden stations (fiddle yards) would be at 90cm so the helices would drop the track about 24cm, this allows enough room to get your arm in and do some “fiddling”.

I built two “tables” each 130cm x 45cm for the Adelheim fiddle yard. Another one 130cm x 120cm for the base of the “Old Town” helix.

I decided this was the way I wanted to proceed. One route after the other, like the original engineers. Station “D” (Adelheim) via the “Old Town” helix to Pupenhausen. After that then Station “A” (Thomasburg) via the “Castle Hill” helix to Pupenhausen. Then, finally, Station “C” Maiklingen.

So, next thing was to get the base boards (10cm plywood) and the Roco tracks for the “Old Town” helix, do some cutting out and try it for size, including a bit of ‘town planning’ by adding the few models I had started to build.

In the mean time I finished the fiddle yard / storage station Adelheim.

I used sticky-backed copper tape (the type used in the stained glass hobby) to create power buses the length of the base board. This allowed easy soldering access to the track circuit for the electro frogs and isolated track stretches, and to the 16V bus for the point motors. A simple, efficient and cheap solution.

The finished yard was tested with each of my locos….. all three of them…..

In between (when I got fed up with soldering) I started on the loops below the Old Town. I used Roco Line 2,1 mm track in order to get perfect curves. The helix would be two full circles. I used two radii. For the lower circle I used 90 degrees of the R5 (radius 542,8 mm) leading into 360 degrees of R4 (radius 481,2 mm) followed by another 270 degrees of the larger radius R5 tracks in the visible area around the Old Town wall.

I then made up the connecting modules. Pupenhausen to the ‘Altstadt’ and then on the otherside, to Maiklingen and Adelheim. The picture below gives an idea of that end of the layout. In the middle is the ‘Altstadt’ module. Left will be the Maiklingen station above Adelheim. Right Pupenhausen.

To the right, above Pupenhausen is the village of Fenstersims.

I’m not much good at joining pictures together and I don’t have a wide angle lens, which explains the strange perspective.

Between Pupenhausen and the ‘Altsatdt’ I wanted to add a typical petrol station and a tractor repair workshop as could have been found in the early ’60s. Faller and Vollmer models. The terra forming looks a bit of a mess. The result can be seen on the below.

Actually, only the tractor repair shop had room on the corner segment.

I used one of those cheapo packets “a forest in a bag” type of fir trees.

They look more like pipe cleaners than fir trees but, ho hum, they are cheap and give the impression of a forest in the background.

The trains now disappear behind the building and trees after the road bridge. Not really a tunnel but they are out of sight when they reach the point which decides their fate. — Adelheim or Maiklingen?

As the layout was broken-up into the different segments, I decided to do what I should have done in the begining; namely to paint a ‘sky’ background on the walls

I might have got it a tad dark, but I shall be putting some fluffy clouds in later to brighten things up. Also I want to use cut-outs from photos and the boxes the house kits came in to make forests and villages etc in the background

So; yet another unfinished project.

At the other end of the layout I started on the scenery for Maiklingen.

Opposite the railway station, at the back edge of the board, is a row of Railway workers cottages. The back gardens lead onto a small path along side the railway track. The gardens still need to be finished with many little details in each one.

At the end of the line is a small goods shed for storing small amounts of freight. Smaller steam locomotives can also be serviced here with coal and water.

The picture above shows the western end of Maiklingen with a bit of the Adelheim fiddle yard below it.

There is still a lot to do in Maiklingen……..


And then I took it all apart!

I wanted to improve the lighting, so I decided to install neon lights over the length of the layout.

Basically it is just a wooden shelf with the lights screwed to the bottom and a 15cm edging board to shade the light from the observer.

To the right you can see the shelf and shade above Maiklingen before being painted.

Next came the background. I bought a couple of background scenes from Faller for behind Maiklingen and the old town but for the rest I searched the internet to find suitable pictures and printed them out on A3 or A4.

I cut out the ‘silhouette’ and stuck them directly to the wall. At the corners I first stuck the pictures to a piece of card which I bent in curve to avoid that nasty shadowing effect you get.

I then put everything back together again. Easier said than done. Once it was back together it looked quite reasonable.


The Diner

Maiklingen lies near to an American military training ground. An ex-GI set up business by importing a complete Diner direct from the USA. It became a veritable “Gold Mine” and famous for miles around!

The troops enjoy their “home-from-home”. Particularly those who have just arrived by special transport.


Back at the Thomasburg end I started on the scenery. Normal stuff. Chicken wire covered with plaster bandages.

It was then covered with various grass types. I planted more than 360 pine trees and I’m still not finished with the forest!


The Videos


The Operation

I decided to create a timetable to increase the fun of running the trains. I wanted a bit more than just a random operating session. Particularly on an end-to-end line it seemed to make more sense.

I found a good program to use which creates a realistic timetable in different formats. Below is the result of a daily schedule. On the left a timetable for the layoutwith a graphical representation of the line occupancy. On the right is a list of each train in order of running. It tells the operator which locomotive, DCC address, train, origin and destination track. The comments column is used to explain any additional switching moves etc.


Clicking in the picture opens it in original size.



That’s it for the moment…..

I’m now working on the “Volksfest” behind the brewery at the eastern end of Pupenhausen .
A beer tent complete with band and Umpah music! .

New updates and pictures as soon as I can!