Dreimuhlentalbahn – or the Valley of three mills railway was build by Dutchman, Jacq Damen. The layout gets it’s name from the three mills which border the two ends of the layout and is set somewhere in middle Europe. It was primarily build for exhibition purposes and I personally have seen it at Cologne Modellbahn 2006 and Intermodellbau Dortmund 2009, but I believe it was shown in Warley, Birmingham in 2007 and OnTraxxs Utrecht as well. I am sure it must have been exhibited at other venues as well….. The layout is 48 ft in length and about 2 feet deep in the visible section.
Directly behind it is a not so wide staging yard and a turntable to turn engines around….
The location is fictitious and Jacq considers this not as much a German model railway, but more like a middle European layout , say bordering Austria, Switzerland or Germany. This is a single track mainline running thru the mountains where heavy freight traffic is running . There is a small yard and passenger station in the middle of the layout. The express trains give it a miss and only a few locals are scheduled and hardly any passenger gets on or off ….
There is an engine facility here as well for stabling the bankers which help the heavy freights up the steep incline just to the west of the station …..
Just in front of the engine facility is a small signal box which really adds a lot of character to the whole feel of the layout and was a real attention grabber for me ….
This limestone kiln mill was built from plans in the 1984 edition of LOKi – a swiss model railways magazine. He says it took him around 50 days of 8hr shifts to finish the structure and when completed he had no layout to put it upon till Dreimuhlentalbahn came along ….
The silo of the gravel works is actually an operating model with chutes which can be lowered and opened and gravel can be loaded onto the wagons fairly quickly …..
Ditto with the chutes of the cement works …..
The iron forge mill is based on a facility in the Brilon forest south of Paderborn, Germany. He spent many a days exploring the area and the water wheel and buildings are exactly to the prototype.
The wood works however are entirely from his imagination….
When asked why does a Dutchman build a german layout the answer is simple – he spent most of his holidays in middle Europe plus he likes the mountains, the mils and rivers and the landscape along with the Fachwerk and stone built houses of the area. Back home , Holland is flat and has mainly plain houses built of concrete and does not lend itself to modelling well…..
This stone bridge set to the left side of the layout was particularly imposing and was the setting for many a pics and videos ……
Jacq was a ship engineer prior to retirement and model railways is now the medium via which he can express his emotions and feelings…..in 2010 the layout was sold to somebody from Sweden and i remember reading in the German forums that the asking price was about 15000 euros ….a real bargain in my opinion.
a special thanks to Frits Osterthun for letting me use some of his photographs
check out his website here – http://www.osterthun.com/