Tag Archives: FREMO

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.

Photos from the FREMO Zuidbroek 2010 Meeting

I just returned from a quick trip to Europe where I attended the 20th anniversary meeting of FREMO Netherlands. It was the largest meeting that I’ve ever attended and featured hundreds of modules and over a kilometer of track. The H0 Europa layout reached from Scandinavia all the way to the Alpine nations of Switzerland and Austria.

There were plenty of opportunities to operate trains – everything from little commuter rail buses in Norway to international express trains on the double-track mainline running from Denmark to Switzerland to mixed freight trains on a private branch line.

Check out some of the sights that I caught along the way:

H0-Europe Layout

H0 Europa Layout (click to enlarge)

FREMO USA, americaN, 0e/0m, 1:32 scale layouts

FREMO USA, americaN, 0e/0m, 1:32 scale layouts

Steam engines in Thorshaug, Norway

Steam engines in Thorshaug, Norway

Shunting in Steinhorst, Denmark

Shunting in Steinhorst, Denmark

Rail bus waiting for service in Grimstad, Norway

Rail bus waiting for service in Grimstad, Norway

The last VT25 from Arendal arrives in Grimstad at dusk

The last VT25 from Arendal arrives in Grimstad at dusk

My favorite scene complete with express train at Vatnamot mountain in Norway

My favorite scene complete with express train at Vatnamot mountain in Norway

Goods train on its way from Hullebua to Krasnes, Norway ...

Freight train on its way from Hullebua to Krasnes, Norway ...

... passing a farm in Stussustuen ...

... passing a farm in Stussustuen ...

... gaining speed in Korsnes ...

... gaining speed in Korsnes ...

... waiting for a green light near Sandnes, Norway

... waiting for a green light near Sandnes, Norway

V65 ready for duty in the petroleum plant Rheinshagen, Germany

V65 ready for duty in the petroleum plant Rheinshagen, Germany

German workhorses waiting for permission to enter Rothenburg on the double-track mainline

German workhorses waiting for permission to enter Rothenburg on the double-track mainline

Prototypical control panel in the Michelstadt, Germany fiddle yard

Prototypical control panel in the Michelstadt, Germany fiddle yard

Local commuter train snaking down to Burg am Stausee, Germany

Local commuter train snaking down to Burg am Stausee, Germany

Austrian narrow gauge train in Niederoberzissen

Austrian narrow gauge train in Niederoberzissen

The legendary Swiss "crocodile" peeking out of the shed in Weinfelden-Wildegg

The legendary Swiss "crocodile" peeking out of the shed in Weinfelden-Wildegg

Swiss Rhb 213 picking up transport wagons in Bietingen

Swiss Rhb 213 picking up transport wagons in Bietingen

Unit coal train and international express train meet in Czech Stará Paka

Unit coal train and international express train meet in Czech Stará Paka

Micro brewery with its own siding on the FREMO USA layout

Micro brewery with its own siding on the FREMO USA layout

View more pictures on Thomas Woditsch’s page

Building that PROTO Layout

In last week’s post, I suggested that more modelers build PROTO layouts. Today, I want to explore two ways to build that layout.

Building a model train layout is a big task to begin with and something that’s never really finished – at least in my experience. There are always things to add, improve or change.

Building a PROTO layout is an even bigger task, because PROTO modelers love details and have to build many parts from scratch. Just converting and supering a car or engine can turn into a major undertaking. Thus, the building process takes much longer.

So how am I supposed to build an entire layout in PROTO:87?

Going micro

Over the last few weeks, I have been following The Protocrastinator blog and love his musings about building a PROTO:87 micro layout. I think this is the perfect approach to fine scale modeling: Choose a scene that is manageable in size and tell a story.

When we first moved to Manhattan last year, I was thinking about building a micro layout, too. I did some research and found Carl Arendt’s Micro/Small Layouts for Model Railroads website, which contains over 1,500 ideas, track plans and photos on micro layouts. Whether you are looking for an Inglenook or Timesaver, single level or multi level, a track plan with or without switches – Carl’s got you covered.

Going micro is definitely a good plan, but for me it seems somewhat limiting and that’s not because of the size. What I am missing the most is context. Micro layouts are great for operating alone or with a buddy and are certainly terrific as exhibition layouts to show off your craft. But at the end of the day, you are confined to your scene on a two by four.

Going modular

When you turn your micro layout into a module that connects to other modules with matching end plates, you are literally able to connect to the great wide world. Your scene is now one of many along a (model) railroad line with a new story to tell every time it is set up. Your short story suddenly turned into a novel – now here is the context I was looking for.

If PROTO modeling is supposed to gain more traction in the U.S. (which I hope it will), I firmly believe that starting a modular PROTO:87 group is the way to go.

This not only allows you to connect to other modules. More importantly, it connects you to like-minded modelers who pursue a common goal. Individuals can further develop their specialties and help out fellow modelers in areas where they may lack expertise and vice versa. It’s a win-win situation.

Your turn

Interested in starting a PROTO:87 modular group? Want to take the Free-mo or the FREMO-USA route?

Take a short survey or leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

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

Resource on modular model railroads

Looking through my web traffic reports last week, I noticed a number of referrals from modular-model-railroads.com. Turns out that the site mentions my humble eisenbahnstudio blog in their articles entitled In search of the Ultimate module and Module Weblogs. I would like to thank the guys from Modular Model Railroads and reciprocate the link.

The site is a growing resource on modular and sectional model railroad building and offers many useful how-tos, information on benchwork, module clubs, links to photo galleries and YouTube videos. If you are interested in learning more about FREMOdules and other modular systems or would like to become a contributor, pay them a visit.