Narrow Gauge North



A HOm layout by Dave Howsam

Scale 3.5mm/1ft

Gauge 12mm

Size 7’ x 3’

Untermutten is a fictitious location in Switzerland on the Albula line of the Rhätische Bahn from Chur to St Moritz' although Mutten, and in summer Obermutten, is served by post bus from Thusis. The layout was developed as somewhere to run my stock which had been unused for over 10 years since the sale of my previous small HOm effort, Obermutten, and, if required, as a one day exhibition layout.

It was initially made 6'2" long but it was cut down to six foot to fit in the car and allow my wife to come along too!  The track originally curved away at both ends -symmetrically, under a bridge and into a tunnel. I found that with this and the loss of the 2 inches I could not quite get a 4 coach train in the station loops. An extra piece was added and the curve moved onto the new board. So much for keeping baseboards, baseboard joints and set up time to a minimum.
An 8 road traverser, using extending drawer runners, allows for maximum length trains in the storage area.  It takes longer to change tracks with a traverser than points but in a given space can give a greater number of trains and longer ones.
Track work is Bemo with their code70 (Shinohara) track in the station & the original track elsewhere.  A combination of the Bemo 330mm & 376mm set radius curves is used.  Points are powered by Bemo motors using brass strip for linkage.  Point lanterns work from the points with a replacement operating wire.  Ballasting is carefully carried out using Woodlands Scenics.  The station building and hotel (inspired by the Hotel Grischuna at Filisur) are from Kibri kits but the trafo tower is a finished  Bemo model.  Landscaping uses Woodlands Scenics and Anita Decor whilst the trees, made from sea moss, are treated with the latter's foliage.  Herpa/Bemo uncouplers with a new ramp, original Bemo signals and a D & R bell unit complete the scene.

Nearly all the stock is Bemo but only a limited variety can be shown.  It is possible to reverse the trains so that 'what goes up comes down' but this slows things down and can lead to not enough train movements out front.  The period is set in the late eighties dictated by the stock I had amassed.