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. A photo gallery is available here …..

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - 48 ft length

Directly behind it is a not so wide staging yard and a turntable to turn engines around….

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - staging yard

and here is a short video of the layout…….

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 ….

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - station

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 …..

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - engine facility 1 Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - engine facility 2

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 ….

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - signal box

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 ….

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - limeworks 2 Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - limeworks

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 …..

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - mechanized loader 2

Ditto with the chutes of the cement works …..

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - mechanized loader 1

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.

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - wood works-2

The wood works however are entirely from his imagination….

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - wood works 2

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…..

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - fachwerk house

This stone bridge set to the left side of the layout was particularly imposing and was the setting for many a pics and videos ……

Dreimuhlentalbahn blog - stone bridge

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.

click here for more photos…..

a special thanks to Frits Osterthun for letting me use some of his photographs

check out his website here – http://www.osterthun.com/

5 Responses

  1. Great stuff, as usual, Vikas! Thoroughly fascinating layout, especially the gravel loaders. Lovely video too – loved the framing of all the scenes.

  2. An outstanding layout for sure! Love the photographs. Apart from the wonderful detailing and scenery, this layout also shows that lighting is an equally important aspect of a quality model railroad!


  3. Thanks for the wonderful photo’s Vikas, I never saw this layout from Jaque, I saw his logging and saw mill layout twice at shows in Utrecht and Roermond. Another great show layout by his hand, how does he do it, it would take me years to just build one of these layouts with all the details on them.

    Greetz Janbouli

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