New :

MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

New :

  • Scale and size
    • 5", 1, LGB, H0, TT, N, Z

  • Electricity - Electronics
    • Turnouts
    • Signals
    • Light barrier

  • Real trains ( scale 1:1 )
    • Real trains - scale 1:1
    • Selection of train videos

Märklin : My vintage show-layout "Stauffingen"

On this page I'll present my vintage show-layout "Stauffingen" :


Since the layout is currently ( ) in the design-stage I will be changing this web-page
as the layout evolves. Text will disappear or will be changed.

Table of contents :

I have always been impressed with the various layouts that model-railroaders have presented at various fairs, so I decided to make such a presentable layout.

Who knows - one day I might be showing my layout at a fair.

First - the layout should be portable - and be divided into manageable parts, and the track layout should be adjusted to the size of the parts.

Second - I've always wanted to do something with Märklin M-track, since that was the tracks I played with as a child. Pure romantic sentimentality on my part.

Third - I also wanted to make the layout interesting and - if at all possible - interactive. More about this later

I wanted to make an "alt-anlage" - a vintage layout - not unlike the Märklin layouts in the "Track Layout" - "Gleisanlagen" - books that Märklin published in the 1950ties and 1960ties.

Very unrealistic layouts in modern terms - but with a distinct charm - and a lot of play quality.

But I didn't want to make just a replica of a vintage layout - although I might also do that in the future.

Basic idea

So after various tryouts where I basically tried to make an oval layout interesting I found this layout :

model layout

As far as I can remember I saw the layout in this book from the ALBA ➚ publishing company :

Modellbahn ­ Gleispläne
Joachim M. Hill : Modellbahn ­ Gleispläne

so I cannot take credit for the idea of converting an otherwise "boring" double oval
into a more interesting station-to-station layout.

No doubt Joachim M. Hill wasn't the first to have this idea either - but anyhow -
this is the idea that "Stauffingen" is based on.

Fine-tuning layout plan

In May 2016 I created the first drafts for "Stauffingen" :

The layout has been modified, adjusted and "tweaked" several times, but the basic idea stayed the same :

First I started with a layout that was 240 x 120 cm and was divided into 2 portable sections each 120 x 120 cm.
stauffingen track layout stauffingen track layout wiring
Track plan and wiring plan - [ 2016-05-24.png ]

Then I wanted to make sure that the sections could be transported in a normal type car ( "SUV" or "estate" ), so I divided the layout into sections with a width of 90 cm and a length at 113 cm which is reasonable as long as you don't use a SMART.

The new version is 260 x 113 cm with 3 sections : 2 x ( 85 x 113 cm ) and 1 x ( 90 x 113 cm ) :

stauffingen track layout
Track plan - [ 2016-05-25.png ]

The position of where the M-tracks connect across sections were adjusted to fit where the sections connect which took a bit of tweaking, but it was necessary to ensure both a secure running and an easy assembling and dis-mantling.

It might be that it is easier to mount connection M-tracks across the sections
instead of fine-aligning the sections and the M-tracks.

The 3 x 5109 that connects the gap could be a shortened 5106

So once I had the size of the sections fixed I could begin finetuning the actual tracks. A good friend ( hallo Martin ) pointed out that while I indeed could have an automated shuttle-traffic the initial layout plan could also be used for manual controlled traffic, which in fact would involve a significant amount of train-traffic - shunting and running.

So I began adjusting the tracks on the 2 end-stations :
stauffingen track layout
The adjusting is not finished yet.

I also tried to place the turntable on one section instead of across two sections.
I found these two options were feasable - but havent decided on which one to use :
stauffingen track layout
stauffingen track layout

"Stauffingen" is all M-track and filled with as many M-track objects that was possible : brigdes - turntable - crane - locomotive sheds.

But in contrast to Märklin's layouts I haven't tried to put every kind of track on the layout, so there are no "crossings - 5211 / 5114" - "industry track - 5120" - and no "double slip - neither 5207 nor 5128".

I haven't decided whether there should be catenary or not. I have plenty of M-track catenary, but I haven't planned for running with catenary power. More about this later

I haven't planned to put houses / buildings on the layout, but . . . More about this later

Layout base

Each section is made from a wooden frame with a plate of plywood on top - where the tracks are laid.

View from bottom :
section bottom view
Each section has height-adjustable legs : xx
The middle section has 4 legs.
The left and right sections have only 2 outer legs,
since they are bolted to the middle section with 4 legs.
The legs are bolted to the frame and of course removeable.
View from top :
section top view
Plywood plate covers
the whole wood-frame

Side view :
The 3 sections when bolted together :
transportation transportation transportation

Transportation - Assembling - Dismantling

The layout must be designed for easy transport - assembling and dismantling.

A secure transport involves putting each section in a wooden crate - or build a wooden crate around each section.


  • The section is placed on a plywood plate - bottom-casing xx - that is larger than the section -
    ( the size of the section + 2 x the thickness of the plywood ).
  • The top-casing xx is then bolted - through the section - onto the lower-casing.
  • The nuts are fixed into the lower-casing since it would be impossible to use any tools to fasten the nuts.
  • Protective soft material is placed where the M-tracks are on the section.
  • Finally handles are places to facilitate lifting.
I believe this will protect the sections.

Assembling the layout is done in these steps :

  • bolt 4 legs to the middle section
  • bolt 2 legs to the right and left sections
    and bolt the left and right sections to the middle section
  • assemble 4 racks and bolt to layout
  • bolt 3 light-boxes to the 4 racks
  • mount control panel
  • connect all electrical wires
  • connect to main power-outlet
  • check train functions
  • align sections - adjust height
  • mount front curtain
  • put up sign : "S T A U F F I N G E N"

All trafo's etc will be in a separate box control panel
More about this later

Running the trains on "Stauffingen"

My vision is to have 4 trains run as "shuttle trains" - "wende-zug" from tracks "A" and "B" to tracks "1" and "2" having the 2 trains meet at tracks "X" and "Y". Although the stretches "A - X" and "1 - Y" are the same length, the "X-Y" station will be signal-controlled.

So there will be 4 train variations :

  • track 1 to track A - - track A to track 1
  • track 2 to track B - - track B to track 2
  • track 1 to track B - - track B to track 1
  • track 2 to track A - - track A to track 2

Each pair of trains would be launched by the push of a button ( 1 of 4 buttons ) making it possible to have the spectators push the button. Of course this would have to be made "fool" - and "child"-proof - but would make a nice difference from the other "view-only" layouts at a fair. More about this later

Some kind of manual over-ride could be included so that the trains could be run completely non-automatic.

Participating at an exhibition

Word to the wise - it is strenious work taking part in an exhibition. There are so many small practical things that can ruin a week-end.

  • Always bring your own food / beverages. The things you can buy at an exhibition are at best over-prized - at worst over-prized and of very poor quality.
  • Do not drink alcohol during the exhibition. There is nothing worse than a train-operator with one beer too much.
  • Always bring one chair pr. participating train-operator.
    Don't count on the arranger providing chairs and table.
  • Be prepared for a total technical train meltdown. Bring some basic repair tools and spare parts. Have a "plan B".
  • Not everybody is honest. No matter who - no matter the reason : Back-stage is backstage and no-one should be admitted there. Always bring some kind of barrier / string to show where backstage begins. And use your own judgement.
  • Keep your valuables out-of-sight and out-of-reach.
  • Have a policy as to what spectators are allowed to do. "Tamperers" come in all ages. Depending on your layout fragility you might want to cordon off the layout.
  • Sadly enough people do steal from layouts. Don't let valuable items sit motionless in the front of the layout.
  • Take the time to talk with spectators.
  • Lighting is often a problem at exhibitions. Bring your own or have the lighting incorporated in the layout.
Enjoy the exhibition. It should be fun - not hard work.

Currently I am fine-tuning the layout plan - the wiring - and the whole electric set-up where Märklin's 6600 could end up playing an important role.

Since my family and I are about to move to a new house during July 2016 there will be a summer break in the planning, but the actual construction of "Stauffingen" could begin around August 01st.


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2014 -
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