Category Archives: Fessenheim

Photos from the 2017 Köln FREMO:87 Meeting

After a two-year hiatus, I was finally able to attend a FREMO meeting again. The meeting in Köln-Dellbrück Thielenbruch took place in early October 2017 and featured the largest FREMO:87 layout ever, measuring more than 200 linear meters across five branch lines.

It was the third meeting with my station Fessenheim (see second image below), which is still under construction at the time of this writing. I’ll add more information about the progress of this project at some point.

For now, I’ll share a handful of impressions following a single train across one of the DB branches between Hünenberg and Häfnerhaslach, which included a masterfully built model of the Bromskirchen valley bridge. All shots were taken with an iPhone 6.

Pt crossing bridge in ealy morning light Pt in Fessenheim (FSM) Pt crossing bridge Pt at railroad crossing Pt passing signal

Download the Fessenheim FREMO Module Plans

A faithful reader of this blog emailed me this week to ask about the module drawings for my Fessenheim project. I’m happy to report that I completed the drawings last year and that I sent them to a fellow FREMO member who is currently building them.

I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the original plans that included moving the trackwork further west so that the farm co-op building would fit on module #2 in its entirety; and modeling only the original part of the facility, cutting its size in half. Here’s an overview of the updated setup.

Updated overview of Fessenheim depot and siding

Updated overview of Fessenheim depot and siding

You can download the DXF file of the parts here.

The German manufacturer LaserSachen released a laser kit of the standard Bavarian depot building that’s in my project queue and will hopefully be completed some time this year.

Where exactly is Fessenheim?

A reader sent me an email a while ago asking about my Fessenheim project. It is modeled after Fessenheim, Germany, which is not to be confused with Fessenheim in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.


View Larger Map
Fessenheim is a small town in the Nördlinger Ries on the former branch line of Nördlingen-Wemding (German railway route 884). The line was opened by the Bavarian State Railways in 1903 and ceased operations in 1995.  The station at Fessenheim was located at kilometer number 10.3 of the line and only consisted of a small depot – the standard Bavarian agency building with ramp – and one siding to an agricultural supplies co-op, which is still in operation today. The tracks and the Fessenheim depot were removed in the early 2000s.[1]

Fessenheim in April of 2009

Fessenheim in April of 2009

A FREMO colleague recommended this station because it only requires one turnout. The model will be exactly to scale based on railroad maps and architectural drawings. There are a few drawbacks though – the agricultural supply facility likely didn’t see a lot of freight traffic, and the station, at over 4 meters in H0, is a bit long considering that it offers limited operational functionality.

Nevertheless, I am still excited about pushing ahead and working towards the completion of my first FREMO:87 modular station.

[1] Bahnstrecke Nördlingen–Wemding. (2009, February 22) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:12 September 23, 2009, from http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bahnstrecke_N%C3%B6rdlingen%E2%80%93Wemding&oldid=57012146

Working with TurboCAD Mac Deluxe

In my May post about CAD software for the Mac, I promised to revisit the topic once I reviewed the 3D version of TurboCAD Mac. I have since purchased a copy of TurboCAD Mac Deluxe and used it to redesign the Benchwork for my FREMO project. The redesign was in part triggered by a comment from a FREMO colleague after he reviewed the 2D drawings.

The new drawings are using a construction method first used for the Black Forest FREMO:87 modules featured in the March 2009 issue of Continental Modeler. Instead of using cross beams to reinforce the module frame, this approach has a 6 mm board that is slid into a groove on all four sides to maximize stability. A beam is inserted in-between the center board and the track baseboard forming a sturdy double-t-beam – a measure to minimize track warping.

Exploded view of the Fessenheim module 1.

Exploded view of the Fessenheim module 1.

Getting used to the 3D workspace

Working with the Deluxe version took some getting used to, as I have never drawn in a 3D workspace before. At first, I used 2D outlines of the existing drawings and used the extrude tool to make solids out of them. One problem I kept running into as I was making adjustments to the outlines was that lines ended up on different z-levels. Keeping an eye on the coordinates in the bottom status bar and using the isometric view, I was able to get a grip on the issue over time.

After having spent a few hours with the software, I changed my MO and started building solid block primitives first. In subsequent steps, I made adjustments to the shapes by removing profiles from solids and adding solids together. This method increased my drawing speed considerably.

Helpful tools

Along with the line, move and mirror tools, I found the following tools most helpful.

  • Rotate about an axis – make sure the appropriate angle and axis is selected.
  • Create a solid block primitive – enter length, width and height… Done.
  • Extrude text or profile to create solid – make a solid based on a 2D outline.
  • Remove profile from solid – the most important tool to make changes to existing solids.
  • Add two solids together – merge two solid block primitives.
  • Model to sheet – easily create a 2D drawing of a solid.

Most missed feature

One thing that slowed down my work considerably was the fact that the software only has keyboard shortcuts for three out of the eight possible views: Top, Right Side and Front. Most importantly, there is no shortcut to isometric view, which I needed often to re-orient myself in the workspace.

All in all, I was happy with the workflow and tools offered in the TurboCAD Mac Deluxe. And at $129, the software offers an affordable way to get started with 3D drafting.

Benchwork for my FREMO project

Last fall, a FREMO:87 colleague gave me plans for a small station that has a siding to a storage facility for an agricultural cooperative on a now-abandoned secondary line near Nördlingen, Germany. The dimensions and track plan with only one turnout seemed modest enough for a beginner, so I was immediately excited about building the station – and thus was born the Fessenheim project. I drew up preliminary plans, but when we decided to move, the project had to be put on hold.

Overview of the station with module outlines.

Overview of the station with module outlines.

Having arrived in NYC (albeit with our belongings still in transit), I revived the project a few weeks ago and spent some time working on plans for the benchwork for four FREMO modules. The drawings were done using CAD software for the Mac, as mentioned in my previous post. They are not finalized yet as I am still in the process of sourcing the materials and finding a craftsman to put the modules together for me – something I am not equipped to do in the confines of our Manhattan apartment.

As suggested by the aforementioned FREMO:87 colleague, the tracks are moved off-center in the first and last modules so that there is room for the storage building, while still fitting on modules that are only 500 mm wide. Even though this makes the benchwork a little more complex, I like the idea of shifting the track away from the center because it disrupts the monotony of the flow of the rails, in particular on straight modules that use the H0pur® module profile.

So here are plans for the four modules:

Module 1.

Module 1.

Module 2.

Module 2.

Module 3.

Module 3.

Module 4.

Module 4.