Once again, we discover a work of art in the field of model railroading or railway modelling. In this video, we enjoy one of the finest Swiss model railway layouts, that has rails for both narrow gauge, correctly metre gauge, and standard gauge model trains. This Swiss model railroad was constructed by the British model maker Brian Rodham and took about ten years of work. The L-shaped layout has been gradually developed, altered and expanded upon.
The overall length is 4.6 metres, the width is 1.1 metre, but 1.4 metre at the widest point of the L shape. The height from the water level to the top of the mountain is also 1.1 metre. The height of this modelled mountain clearly tells us that Brian Rodham has always liked the scenery found in Switzerland with its lakes, waterfalls, meadows and high mountains. Many years ago, he bought books in England about the “Rhätische Bahn” (Rhaetian Railway), the “Gotthardbahn” (Gotthard Railway) and the “Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Bahn” (Bern-Loetschberg-Simplon Railway) written by Franz Marti and Walter Trub. Looking at the photographs in this books inspired him to visit Switzerland. After his visits to Switzerland he decided to build a model railway.
He started the construction in the loft space in his home but soon he knew he would need more space because the cramped conditions were a little difficult in the loft space. So he started the second model railway from scratch in his garage space. The base was a timber space frame and he used crumpled, thick lining paper coated with PVA glue to make the landscape, the hills and ravines. The rocks are formed with a type of expanding foam usually used to insulate roofs. All kinds of blended colours in Daler Rowney Acrylic paints were used to make the rocks look lifelike. At first he made a number of houses from Kibri model kits, some of which still remain on the model today. After this he knew he should build some timber chalets from scratch as the Kibri model buildings had mainly flat bases and the buildings needed to fit into a variety of rugged parts of his miniature world of Switzerland.
Many chalets and barns were based on the buildings in the old town in Brienz and Zermatt. He tried to make them look as authentic as possible. The roof tiles of the chalets and barns are all individual tiles cut from thin card. He incorporated a lake and a number of waterfalls to give a dramatic appearance. The latest addition to the model railway layout is a timber constructed roofed bridge which crosses one of the waterfalls. Using static grass on the landscape was a great improvement to the appearance of the layout as originally he used basic scatter materials. He used a variety of shades of greens and browns to show the contours. The browner colours can be used under trees to create shadows. The texture looks better too rather than the flat surface of the scatter materials.
Brian Rodham began the layout with HO scale but felt he would like to have an HOm scale railway running in tandem with this as you would find in Switzerland. For better understanding, it should be noted: In Europe the 1/87 scale is called HO scale or H0 gauge with a track gauge of 16.5 mm or 0.65 inches. Metre gauge railways in 1/87 scale use a track gauge of 12.0 mm or 0.472 inches and are called HOm scale or H0m gauge, except in the United States, where this scale is called HOn3½. However, most of the locomotives and carriages on the HO scale railway are by Roco. The metre gauge RhB railway locomotives and stock are all by Bemo.
Because Brian Rodham also collects model cars, especially Swiss model buses by Rietze, we can discover some miniature vehicles on the model railway. Finally, it remains to be mentioned that the pantographs of the locos are of course in contact with the overhead line or catenary. In addition, authentic Swiss model signals are in use on the layout. Whether we want to call it a piece of art or a masterpiece in rail transport modeling, it is magnificent to watch the winding railway lines and wooden houses in this beautifully designed miniature world.
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