This is a Marklin HO layout, meaning it is a layout that uses Marklin C track and Marklin operating systems.
Octoberfest began as a demonstration project because I wanted a layout to run my personal Marklin collection on. The original concept was to create a layout that was appropriate for the pre-1914 prototype trains I collect but which could accommodate other later eras as well. So Octoberfest represents a tourist railroad in the mountains of Bavaria (southern Germany) with a tourist town up in the mountains, a train station at the top (Wunderheim) and bottom, and an old fashioned log mill in between.
This design is very compact, measuring only 48″ x 72″, and is constructed of rigid foam and dimension lumber. This was my first use of the rigid foam and lumber construction method and proved so easy and sturdy that this system is now all Rail Tales uses unless specifically directed otherwise.
The grade is a fairly constant 4% with some 5% sections and the turning radius is less than 15″. Furthermore, the design has a reverse loop at the top and bottom. The track crosses over itself twice, creating three levels in this tight space. Although it is possible to create such a design using conventional American HO, very few locomotives could handle the challenge and the two reverse loops would require some expensive wiring and control. On the other hand, nearly all Marklin equipment, even their battery powered trains, have no problem with the climb or tight turns and because the Marklin system is ‘3 rail’ (the center third rail being a series of nearly invisible studs in the track ties), the reverse loops don’t require any special wiring either.
Marklin C track looks pretty good out of the box (comparable to Kato Unitrack) but for this layout we painted and weathered it pretty heavily to represent a line with low traffic volume.
The scenery structure has a base that is part foam and part plaster cloth over cardboard lath. The visible surface including all the rock faces, is Scultamold. This was time consuming (there is a LOT of rock face) but we wanted the surface to be very sturdy because this layout has to travel to shows.
The water is Realistic Water and Water Effects, both by Woodland Scenics.
All buildings are stock structures from Vollmer, Faller, and Heljan which were then weathered and detailed after assembly. These buildings look pretty good just stock but some weathering and detailing makes them look even better. The butcher shop/restaurant and the bakery have interior scenes.
The mill race was scratchbuilt from bass wood stock and stained using Vallejo washes.
The concrete curved bridge over the waterfall was scratchbuilt from styrene.
The street lights all work. These are from Marklin.
The main bridge was weathered using Bragdon Weathering Chalks. These do not have to be sealed after application. The other bridge was weathered with an airbrush.
This layout is not finished. There are more trees and bushes to add, many more people and vehicles to add, and the engine house will eventually be replaced by an engine service yard with water tower and coaling bin. We also want to add an animated fountain and an animated dance floor with a band.
The entire layout is controlled digitally by a Marklin hand control unit but this layout can be built and operated with conventional control.
The prototype shown has been sold and is no longer in our store.
We can build this layout with everything you see (allowing for slight variations in artistic execution) for $5000, ($4500 for non-digital version) but our lead time is a year right now.
The track for this layout has a retail price of approximately 500$ (including bridges) but some comes in starter sets and there is a 10% discount (50$) for the complete package.