Model railway of the new Gardermoen railway in Norway
by Svein Sando
A few pictures of the model railway
The railway is modeled by means of four separate displays:
Display #1: Model of the Oslo Sentralstasjon terminal (Oslo Central Station). Only
track 6-14 (of total 19) is modelled, but the platforms modelled are in true 1:87 scale
length. On this scene, everything except track and automobile cars are scratchbuilt.
Øystein Wiik painted the backdrop.
Display #2 contained a scenery from the Leirsund - Kløfta area.
The river Leira is crossed by a concrete bridge. The train is a high speed train bound for the airport.
Display #3: Model of the suburb station Kløfta. Only the interurbans are calling
here. The high speed airport trains (in front), the Inter-City trains and freight trains (at the plattform) are just passing.
The freight train is hauled by the at the once NSB class El 16, which is similar to the
Swedish class Rc. The airport train is the new NSB EMU class 71,
based to some extent on the Swedish X2000.
Display #4 is the railway station at Gardermoen International Airport. This view also
shows how the visitors viewed the model railway. The darkness outside and the bluish back light and spot lights at some interesting points at the railway was added in spring 1996 by an P.R. agency.
A series of pictures was also taken the last
day this model was in operation.
A model of a prototype railway under construction
The 8th of October, 1992, the Norwegian Parliament ("Stortinget") decided to
build a new international airport for the capital Oslo at Gardermoen. The distance from
Oslo to Gardermoen is 48 km and the Parliament decided that the main transportation device
between the airport and the capital should be a high speed railway.
Map of the Gardermoen Railway
The Norwegian State Railways (NSB) decided to form a daughter company to build, and
later also to operate, the new high speed railway. The new railway was formed the 24th of
November 1992 and given the name "NSB Gardermobanen AS" (NSB Gardermoen Railway
Ltd.) or GMB for short.
Even before GMB was officially formed, the internal news magazine in NSB, Vårt Yrke,
had an article about the high speed line to Gardermoen. In this article the reader was
told that NSB/GMB wanted to make "a miniature model of the Gardermoen railway, which
could show both construction and operation of the Gardermoen railway."
I found this notice interesting. Since I knew the person who had written the article, I
asked if they needed some assistance with this model and asked if anyone was given the job
to build it. This was the beginning for a more than three years long construction project
for me, that was completed in some fashion in June 1996. I was given the main
responsibility to design and build a model railway of parts the Gardermoen line.
Up to that time, I had mainly built models of railways of yesterday. The last two/three were
model railways with specific prototype railways, namely
Kristiania-Drammen Railway (from the
Railway (1940-55). It was therefore a new experience for me to design and build a
model of an ultra modern railway.
The concept of extended windows
It was impossible to model the whole 48 km long railway, so we decided to pick four
spots along the line which would be showed through four dispalys behind protecting windows. We chose the two terminals Oslo S (#1) and Gardermoen (#4), Kløfta
station (#3) and the crossing of the river Leira by Børke (#2) between Leirsund and
Lindeberg stations on the present line. On the model the four spots were visually
separated from each other by making each spot a window just like a store front or shop
display. This takes care of the separation of space between the four modelled parts of the
railway. The map above of the GMB will show the situation of the four
The problem with using windows in model railways, is twofold:
1. How to "end" the railway in a natural manner when it enters and leaves the
2. How to make a natural transition from the 3D-model and the interior walls in the
On freelance model railways the tracks can leave the window/display on a natural manner
by using tunnels or disappearing behind trees or tall buildings. On a model which ought to
be true to the prototype, this is often an impossible solution. You can't invent a tunnel
or a factory just for the sake of the model. The tree or forest-solution is more
plausible, but not so effective as the tunnel-way-of-getting-rid-of-the-trains.
With my concept "extended windows through flanks" these problems are at least
reduced, and it gave one additional advantage: significant enlargements of half of the
windows. By letting every second window be placed so low that the tracks can pass under
the adjacent windows, the higher levelled windows can be extended to the flanks behind the
backdrop of the lower levelled windows.
This photo shows the concept. Display #1 (left) is extended behind display #2 (rigth):
The nearly same view at the model of the model shows even better the concept of extended windows:
The below photo of Kløfta and
Gardermoen stations and the photo of the model og the model, shows the principle. By placing the tracks close to the
window and letting them extend outside the window opening, it is hard to see how they
disappear. With long flanks, like on Kløfta window, the tracks disappears behind trees
and a curved backdrop. The visual part of of this window is about 12m even if the window
itself is "only" 5m long.
In addition to show the concept of extending windows, it shows how the blue sky is
hanging down from the ceiling ca 0,5 meter from the upstanding backdrop, giving room for maintenance area.
The deep Børke window (display #2) makes the
old railway disappear behind prototype situated trees 3,5 m away from the
observers, in this photo however viewed from a maintenance viewpoint at the bottom of the display:
The main problem with this arrangement, is that some tracks are situated under some
other parts of the layout and are thus harder to reach for maintenance and train rescue.
This can be reduced by restricting oneself (which I regrettably did not) from putting
turnouts in such hardly reachable places.
Controlling the trains
Since this model railways is built for the public, and not for the fun of operation for
model railway enthusiasts, we decided to operate the railway by a computer and make it
completely automatic. I had experience with Bruce Chubb's Computer Memory Railroad
Interface (CMRI) as described in a series of articles in
Model Railroader magazine, I
decided to use the same versatile system on this model railway. It operate things on the
model through output cards which acts like ground switches (open collector circuits). The
PC checks the model the similar way by input cards, by checking if things are grounded or
not. With the output cards the PC can control turnouts, signals, relays, LED's and cabs
(train speed). The Optional Detector cards checks if a locomotive or any other current
consuming rolling stock is on a particular track. By reading this detectors, the PC gets
information about train positions.
The railway is operated by a software program in Turbo Pascal (DOS platform) which I
wrote especially for this model. Through a modem I can run the trains from my home. This
is very important in order to maintain full operation every day. It is thus very easy for
me to de remote assistance of the operation in case of failure.
High speed trains
The initial plans to show the new high speed airport trains, was to repaint and do some
minor alteration on a continental high speed train, e.g. the German ICE. The differences
between the available models of high speed trains and the NSB class 71, was so large, that
we decided to scratch build the models in order to get a true scale model.
I made the first model in Sept 1995 after the then assumed plans for the train. This
was a test model made of white styrene sheet (the prototype was then supposed to be
painted white). The running gears etc. was taken from a Roco #43655 model of SBB
"Bahn 2000". These trucks had the right distance between the axles, but the
diameter of the wheels was too large. The speed and running performance is however very
We were in need of four high
speed trains. The test model was found too fragile and since the "colour" of the
trains seemed to be stainless steel, it was decided to build four new models of the trains.
Skøyen Modellverksted by Jan Reinsborg (picture above when delivering the
trains 16.6.96) was asked to produce these four models, since he had already made non-running
models in larger scales for NSB Gardermoen Ry.. He was also involved in a 1:1 model of the
aerodynamic front of the prototype. In June 96 he delivered the four required models of what
at that time seemed to be the appearance of the class 71. This strong connection between
the construction of a model railway train and 1:1 production of the same train is quite
interesting. Is it unique?
The stainless steel car bodies was modelled by making the cars of polished extruded
aluminium. The aluminium profile was made so that all other main parts of the model could
be slided inside from the ends. Bogies, motor, pantographs, couplers etc. was taken from
Roco #43006, a DB class 420 3 cars EMU which has bogies of very similar appearance as the
NSB class 71. It was however one problem with them since the DB class 420 is not intended
to run in 200 kph. We have a little problem in getting the trains running fast enough
without making too much noise due to increased voltage. The distance between the bogies on
the NSB class 71 is also much larger than on the central car at the DB class 420. We
therefore had to make the shafts from the motor to the bogies much longer than Roco had
made them. This is also a source for noise and possible future trouble. We may have to
rebuild this gearing. A test unit is running with original distance between motor and
bogie, but with only one (of original two) bogies driving. This works good on fairly flat
line, but it won't climb steeper gradients.
Experiences by Feb. 1997: The above mentioned Roco-gears for the high speed trains are
regrettably of lower quality. The gearhousing is made of plastic, and worms tends to get
out of positions, Things are getting worn out too quickly. We have therefore decided to
replace the Roco-gearing and motors with 2 Fleischmann motor trucks in each driving unit
from Fleischmann DMU 4438. Two sets are rebuilt and we are testing them these days.
Closure of the model railway exhibition - news notes in 1998
10 Oct 1998: This model railway will cease operation at the
Information Centre for the new Oslo Airport, Gardermoen in middle of December this year,
due to the closing of the Information Centre. The new airport was opened 8th Oct, and the
purpose of the Information Centre is thus minimised. The Gardermoen Railway Club (GMJK)
will "inherit" the model railway. GMJK hope to find a new location for the model
railway so it can be put into operation again. To achieve this, the railway must probably
be rebuilt due to its present demanding shape: L-formed with each leg about 14 meters
12 Dec 1998: The last trains were started at 10:12 AM. Pictures of the railway this last day are presented
on a separate page. The disassembly of the model started the same evening. The future
location of the model is not decided, but the hope is that reconstruction in a new spot in
the region will start within half a year.
||1:87 (some buildings etc. in 1:100)
|Length of tracks on stations
|Length of tracks otherwise
|Trains run simultaneously
||Peco code 75 or Roco code 83, and 6 scratch built turnouts
||Peco code 100
||Lemaco and Tortoise rotating engines
||Sommerfeldt and scratch built
||Roco, Lima, Klein, Fleischmann
||Kit bashed Fleischmann 4438
||Scratch built by Skøyen Modellverksted (4) and myself (1, retired)
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