Layout Description

Layout Dimensions & Main Features

Making It All Fit - Layout Dimensions

My plans were to add onto my existing home. I have very little room available for a layout, and my wife was looking for a hobby room herself (she does quilting and painting). So it was decided - we would enclose our 10' 8" x 26' patio. This will be fairly easy to do as the roof already extends over the patio. The plan is to do this sometime in 2002. This would give my wife a 10' 8" x 10' space for her hobby, and a 10' 8" x 16' space for mine.

Now that I had a defined space with which to work, I had to think about what aspects of the Murnau area I wanted to model. For those of you who would prefer to go straight to the track plan, I'll provide it now and save you the details of what I'd like to model and why.

Track Plan

Stations And Other Features

My focus has always been the Murnau Bahnhof. However, I had to think about what else I wanted to include on the layout. As I have learned more and more about the area, my perception of what I wanted has evolved. The features I have wanted on the layout from the beginning were Murnau, Oberammergau, Murnau Ort (with the branchline crossing the mainline on a flyover), and the Hechendorf Ramp.

Initially, I wanted to focus more on the mainline than on the branchline. I was thinking that I should make sure I had a balance of features to the north and south of Murnau. I was planning on modeling Uffing to the north and Hechendorf to the south. There! Now THAT was balance - a station on either side of Murnau. After doing some research on the line, I realized that the major reason for freight service on KBS 960 was the Hartsteinwerk Werdenfels rock quarry in Eschenlohe. Hmmmm. If I skipped Uffing, which wasn't a particularly interesting station, I could stretch south and model Eschenlohe. My first on-line industry! During this time I started to draw sketches of the room I would use for the layout. Until then, I still had HO scale dimensions in my head instead of N scale. I suddenly realized that I had much more room than I had anticipated! Yes, Eschenlohe would DEFINITELY be modeled. At present, I'm even considering Ohlstad, the city between Hechendorf and Eschenlohe, although I am leaning against it due to the fact that I'd like a decent ratio of stations to rural scenery. With most of my research on KBS 960 completed (are we truly ever finished with research?), I turned my sites on the branchline.

The branchline to Oberammergau was not something I had originally put a lot of thought into. I figured that a line to Oberammergau, with no stops in between other than Murnau Ort, would be sufficient. Of course, after doing minimal research, I found out that there were actually two trains that ran on the line. How could I have two trains running on the line without some sort of meeting place. BAD KOHLGRUB! Yes, Bad Kohlgrub Bahnhof would have to be modeled right smack in the middle of the line! Again, my sense of symmetry got the best of me. How could I have Murnau Ort on the leg from Murnau to Bad Kohlgrub, but NO stops between Bad Kohlgrub and Oberammergau? Since Murnau Ort was the first stop after Murnau, I picked Unterammergau, which is the station before Oberammergau, as the station to model on the leg between Bad Kohlgrub and Oberammergau. Digging deepr, I found that Unterammergau had a lumber company that was served by rail. Holzindustrie Unterammergau - my OTHER on-line industry! Wow! I hadn't expected to have ANY on-line industries - just team tracks and goods sheds in the stations - and here I had TWO! Of course, depending on which year I chose for a particular operating session, I could still be left without an industry. However, it was nice to have some flexibility.

Now I had five stations on KBS 963 counting Murnau and Oberammergau. That should do it, right? Well..... I started looking at my sketch of the layout room and realized that I just MIGHT be able to squeeze a couple more stations in on the branchline. "How?", you might ask. There are only THREE stations on the mainline, and one (Hechendorf) isn't even a real station anymore. I already had five on the branchline - how could I possibly get two MORE?! Well, there are two reasons: 1) The stations along the branchline are very small. In fact, half of them are nothing more than Haltepunkts. The stations had sidings that could only hold two or three passenger cars and a locomotive. 2) The trains that run on the branchline are also very small. Passenger trains are typically two cars in length. When freight trains ran on the line, they were usually between one and six cars in length. These two facts, plus a strategic track plan, would help with the illusion of significant distance between several stations.

I only have my sketch of the layout room to go by, at present. Until I see evidence that seven stations is too much on the branchline, I'm going for it! So, which stations should I add to KBS 963? To stay symmetrical, I'd have to pick one on either side of Bad Kohlgrub. Altenau Bahnhof on the Oberammergau side seemed like a good choice. Like Unterammergau, it has only recently had its passing sidings pulled up. If I was going to model between 1987 and 2001, I could still have the sidings - I just wouldn't use them during the operating sessions that depicted a time later than the mid-90s. Also, by having three stations with passing sidings I could recreate the special trains traveling over KBS 963 to Oberammergau for the Passion Play in 1990. For the stop on the Murnau side of the line, I selected Jägerhaus Haltepunkt. I considered Grafenaschau Bahnhof, but I liked the idea of a Haltepunkt out in the countryside. From my on personal experience, Jägerhaus really does seem to be a stop in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but woods, pasture, and a little waiting shed. Very quaint indeed.

Configuration And Layout Type

I like operation, but I also just like to sit back and "watch the trains run". I wanted a point-to-point configuration with an allowance for continuous running. I believe I have taken care of both considerations by having a staging yard that serves as the end point in both directions. This staging yard will also have two tracks that act as pass-thrus and can be used for continuous running. These tracks can also be used to "recycle" trains.

For instance, most regional trains have the same composition (i.e. - a BR 111 and 5 Silberlinge of various liveries). By being able to recycle trains, I reduce the amount of actual rolling stock needed to simulate a typical day. This works especially well if the trains aren't push-pull. For example, I could have two trains with the locomotives on the south end of the train to represent southbound regional trains, and two trains with the locomotives on the north end of the train to represent the northbounds. A southbound would work its way through Murnau, Hechendorf, and Eschenlohe before heading back to the staging yard. This train would not "turn around and head north". Instead, it would be queued up on one of the pass-thru tracks for it's next appearance as a southbound RB. The same would be true for the northbounds.

The layout will be mutli-level and around-the-walls with one peninsula. It is difficult to explain how many levels there will be since a good portion of the layout will be used as transition. You may want to refer to the Track Plan as you refer to the description below. The line from Murnau to Oberammergau will be constantly climbing with a grade that can be as steep as 3% at times, but is usually between 1.5% and 2.5%. The line from Murnau to Hechendorf, Eschenlohe, and the Garmisch-Partenkirchen staging yard will be constantly dropping with a grade that can be as steep as 2.5% at the Hechendorf Ramp. The rest of the grade will be much less steep.

At Murnau, there will be two levels - Murnau Bf. on top and the staging yards below. These two levels will be connected by the use of an elongated helix. From Murnau the lines split with KBS 963 following the peninsula and KBS 960 slipping under the Oberammergau line and continuing along the walls.

The peninsula will have two levels - KBS 963 on top, which has just left Murnau Ort on its way to Oberammergau, and KBS 960, which has wound around the wall opposite Murnau, and is now in the Eschenlohe area on its way to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen staging yard. Because of this full-course grade downhill, no helix is required to enter staging from the south.

The wall opposite Murnau will have three levels - KBS 963 on top, which is on its final approach into Oberammergau after leaving the station of Unterammergau, KBS 960 in the middle, which represents the Hechendorf Ramp, and KBS 960 on the bottom as it finally reached Hechendorf after doubling back on itself.


As mentioned in the section above, the staging yard is more than just a holding area for trains not currently in use. It also serves as the link for continuous running. The two track that will provide this link will also be used to recycle regional trains that have similar compositions.

The 8 - 10 tracks (depending on space limitations) to the back of the staging yard will be stub-ended and represent Garmisch-Partenkirchen and other locations south of Eschenlohe. These tracks will hold freight trains, InterCity trains, ICE trains, D trains, night trains, and any regional trains that have a composition that is different from what would be considered a typical RB composition for KBS 960. The tracks could also potentially hold special trains such as the ET491 glass train, or an excursion train with a dampflok or E69. Trains that needed to be "turned" for their impending trip north could use the two pass-thru tracks to allow the locomotive to perform a run around, and then could be stored on one of the stub-ended tracks.

The 8 - 10 tracks to the front of the staging yard will also be stub-ended, but will represent the München Hbf. The reason I don't say, "and other locations north of Murnau", is because I am seriously considering making this portion of the staging yard a very compress (about 50% compression) version of the tracks that enter the main building at the München Hbf. I would make the back wall slide in order to gain access to the pass-thru and Garmisch-Partenkirchen tracks. This may be a pipe dream, but for now I'm planning on doing this. Other than making this portion of the yard a finished section, it functions the same way as the Garmisch-Partenkirchen section. It will provide a holding area for trains that are prepared to head south. Having the typical RB trains for KBS 960 absent from this area is also very prototypical as they arrive and depart from another area of the München Hbf that is not modeled. Trains typically seen in this section of the Hauptbahnhof are the ICs, and ICEs. I'm not sure what I will do about the freight traffic, however. I may have to place the station building wall ahead of one or two tracks in order to hide these trains from view. I may just use a mirror in order to give the station more depth. I will have to do some experimentation.

Nächster Halt: Layout Diary & Description of Event (Photos)