Rob Reinders

Even though I don't want to, the temptation of an announcement of a mini layout contest usually is too much for me not to try to design something within the constraints. A few years ago the organisers of Eurospoor held a contest for a working layout to be built with a maximum area of 2100 square centimetres. Normally such a design goes into the trash can but the idea for Dislbach appealed to me enough to build it.

I wanted a setting for my collection of Austrian narrow gauge locomotives and hit upon the idea to build part of the station of Gmünd NÖ. This is situated in Austria, close to the Czech border. Apart from being a border station, it is the starting point of the Waldviertelbahn, and includes a railway to Gross Gerungs and Litschau and a branch to Heidenreichstein. Goods traffic consisted mainly of standard gauge stock on narrow gauge transporters. Initially these were of the 'Rollbock' variety where a NG bogie is put under each standard gauge axle, and later they introduced transporter wagons to run the standard gauge stock on to. From 2001 there is only an occasional tourist service over the system.

All of Gmünd in an area of 2100 cm2? That is out of the question, at least in H0 scale (1:87). So I chose a small area near the locomotive shed as the subject for the model, as shown in the plan. The chosen area contains the engine shed, a siding and the connection to the standard gauge where they used to put the standard gauge on to the narrow gauge transporters. As the mainstay of motive power was diesel (ÖBB series 2095 en 2091) I also included a diesel fuelling pump. The idea was to be able to perform shunting operations with at least four locomotives on the tiny layout, which meant I had to be able to park two locos on some of the sidings. The final design was a compromise with a shortened loco shed and short radius 009 points by Peco as opposed to scale length pointwork.

The loco shed is positioned at the front, which means a locomotive can disappear behind it. During the recent RRC show mentioned elsewhere in these pages this proved to be enough for a surprise effect. In future the siding behind can lead to a short fiddle yard. The track was laid in a slight curve to improve the natural effect. As this isn't really a model of Gmünd but an adaptation, I thought of the name 'Dislbach'. If you're interested in solving riddles, you could try and trace the name of another Austrian narrow gauge station in it!

More photos in the album at the bottom of the page.

Plan of Dislbach, based on a small part of Gmünd:

Construction phase:

The goods yard:

Diesel loco being refuelled:

The layout completed with a low relief building in the background:

Steam on the line! Roco HF110c.

Another view of the goods yard after the layout was completed:

The loco shed interior:

More photos