My"KAE" (0n30 narrow gauge)

Here is the complete history about my "KAE" - which is a freelance 0e layout (1:45 scale, 16.5mm gauge) - (there was a KAE in Germany some time ago, the "Kreis Altenaer Eisenbahn" - but it had 1m gauge).

Choice of Prototype

Originally I started with the idea of building a layout as an almost exact model of the wuerttembergische narrow gauge lines, here the "Federseebahn" Riedlingen-Schussenried - mainly because of sentimental reasons: my
grand-grandpa of my wife, Josef Blank, owner of a mill, has initiated this line (750 mm narrow gauge).

The plan was to build a model of the station in Riedlingenin 1:45. With of lot of enthusiasm I started building the first G-Wagen (boxcar) nearly from scratch (because not much is available for this prototype). It took an awful lot of time and I began wondering if this flavour of the hobby (building exactly according to an existing prototype - which no RtR models available) was the right think for me to do .....

In addition, it became clear that 1m radius (40") would be the minimum for this kind of narrow gauge prototype because the box cars had 3 axles. Only a small U would have fitted into my railroad room.

This was more a less the end of the idea of the 'wuerttembergische Schmalspurbahn". However, during this period of doubts Fleischmann announced and began to sell the "Magic-Train" and even with the starters packs found out how
much fun it was to actually RUN a model railroad without a large planning and bulding phase. 60cm radius looked great and was more than sufficient.

Only the right prototype railroad was missing, so I free-lanced the "Kreis Arnsberger Eisenbahn" - it is running in the area where I have lived the first 18 years of my life.

The "KAE"

In the drawing below you see the lines of the "KAE" - the connection between Neheim-Hüsten to Holzen is modeled - with the stations Hüsten-Ost (with a lamp manufacturing plant and a saw mill), Rumbecker Holz, where logs are loaded and Holzen as final destination.

The "railroad" room

I was living with my family (3 children) in an appartment with no basement at that time, so finding a layout room was not an easy task. All the rooms in the appartment were already filled with lots of stuff so some creativity was needed.

Room for the layout could most easily be "made" in the master bedroom - the beds were replaced by a pure matrass and the railroad could run above it, 1.4 to 1.6m above floor level (4' to 5.5'). The layout was built very light weight (in
case it came down during the night ...) with a foam under construction. A total layout size of 3,9m x 1,8m (13' x 6') was possible plus a moveable part 2' deep in front of the wardrobe

The track

Both flextrack and switches is from the british manufacturer Peco - with some hand layed curved switches, minimum radius is 55 cm (22").

The rolling material

is mainly from Fleischmann (0-4-0 plus boxcars and passenger cars, some of them kitbashed), the a diesel from Minex (built by Maerklin, several years ago, no longer sold) and a Wismarbus (railcar) from Henke. All a equipped with Faulhaber micro motors and run excellent.

Running the "KAE"
.. is very easy - even for my children (see photo), because DCC is used for controlling the locos and all switches are thrown by hand. DCC is a big advantage over having the switch track power on and off by batteries
of electrical switches!

The couplers

To cut a long story short: I'm using Kadee couplers - there are about 10 different coupler systems in this scale available in Europe - most of them look more prototypically but most of them are very difficult to operate (I made some painful experiences with the "wuerttembergischen Trichterkupplung" - where you end up crawling on the floor looking for 4x0.8mm coupler pins ....) and of course all the differnet coupler types are not compatible to each other.

The track layout is shown below

(larger version here). From Neheim-Hüsten (Fiddle yard, this station and a few other parts of the layout are compatible to FreModul and frequently travel to meetings of this model railroad club) the trains to Hüsten-Ost. Here is a loading track and the track for the saw mill.

From there through a tunnel Rumbecker Holz is reached where a lot of logs are waiting to be loaded. Most of the forest (Holz = forest) is already transported away (so I did not need a lot of expensive Silhuette trees!).

Through a "cut in" the end station of Holzen is reached (not finalized yet). All the buildings are scratch built.


Operation is done based on the following time table (because it seemed to make more sense than just running back and forth ...):

Besides passenger trains and the one rail car everz morning and evening there is a mixed train - operated with freight cars similar to the Fremo operation principles.

=> Slide Show with photos from the "KAE" layout
Addendum:what happened during the last 15 years?
In the meantime I sold the "KAE" modules - except for 2, which I take to FREMO meetings once a year - and, because I now own a house with a large basement - I now have a standard gauge layout, of course also in O-scale !!

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