The French model railroad magazine Loco-Revue already reported on the H0 layout from Italy in its October special edition. We are again fascinated every time by the pictures clicked on Instagram by many model railroad friends and have invited the builder to an exclusive presentation on our blog!
In this post Francesco tells us his story:
A little presentation...
My name is Francesco and I'm 33 years old. I'm Italian and I live in a little town about 30 kilometers from the world-known town Firenze, in the beautiful Toscana territory.
I literally fell in love with trains when I was 3 years old: a friend of my dad once showed me his N scale layout in this basement. 30 years passed but I still remember how excited I was about that layout, about all the trains running, about the little tiny houses spread around. It was amazing. From that time I desperately wanted to build my own layout.
I had to wait 25 years more, but in 2018 I finally could start to build my first one, which I will describe here.
I chose H0 gauge because it is the most widespread in the trade and because I already had 3-4 H0 locomotives that my parents gave me as a child. For example, one of the first locomotives I owned was a beautiful E.656 "Caimano" from Lima in H0 gauge, which still accompanies me after almost 30 years!
What really fascinates me about railroad hobby is the possibility to create your own “little world” in your home: with time, my collection got bigger and bigger quite rapidly, spreading with models from all around Europe, not only Italy. Fun, of course, but quite expensive!
It is almost impossible to say to me what my favorite models are: it really depends on the mood or the days or the inspiration of that particular moment.
„Together with my collection, I started to build my own layout: I called it Rosenrot.„
My home layout is 440 centimeters long and it's 110 (at the edges) and 80 (at the center) centimeters wide. It's my very first layout in my "career" and it's my own development.
Rosenrot (the name of my H0 town) represents a small railway station on a single track railway without electrification. Even if the station is quite small (only 3 tracks for passenger service, one for freight operations and shunting), the railway looks to be on some important international route since trains from many other nationalities are quite common on the schedule. At the front, I added a short parade railway (ca 3 meters long) equipped with overhead catenary, so I can realistically set electric locomotives as well on my layout.
Where is my layout set? This is not quite clear to me, and I'm happy it's like that.
I try to express myself: since I have a quite large collection of H0 models from all around Europe (I counted at least 19 different national railways societies in my collection!) I couldn't stick to a single country. That's why Rosenrot looks Germanish but not completely in Germany. It could also be Switzerland, Austria, Northern Italy, France, Czech Republic and so on.
It's the same principle of the city of Springfield in The Simpson cartoon.Francesco S.
Also the epoch is quite vague: I would say from early '90's to 2015 or so, the years of my childhood and adolescence.
I have been working on my layout for about 4 years. The construction of the landscape helped me a lot during the horrible long lockdown due to Covid we had here in Italy at the beginning of 2020. We couldn't basically get out of our houses, so staying at home building my layout was a great psychological help. My girlfriend Elena, as I said, helped me from time to time. She is superb with colors and she is extremely patient, so she is the perfect helper.
Apart from that lovely help, I did pretty much everything by myself. I invest a lot of time in details and in vegetation, which is one of the things I like the most to do: it's so relaxing and cheap to create your own forests!
I think now the layout is basically done. Sometimes I add some new details here or there, but the big pictures is done. I'm very proud I managed to create my world till the end! One idea I had was to build a catenary system on the railway station too, but that would be too complex and expensive, so I choose not to do so.
All the trains at Rosenrot are controlled with Z21 digital Station by Roco coming from my first start set I bought in 2018.
On the Instagram page @rosenrot_anlage you can see many pictures and videos of Francesco's layout.
It's worth following!
Something more about my idea of rail modeling
The best advice I received was from my friend Pino. When I was planning my layout he said to me:
"Be sure tracks are laid down perfectly. Don't underestimate that part, it's crucial"Pino
He was totally right. Did I follow his advice? Partially. At the end I was so bored with test runs that I hurried a bit up, because I wanted to start with the landscape. So, some tracks are not in the best position they could be. If I ever build a second layout, for sure I will spend much more time on laying my tracks more than perfectly!
I really recommend you start playing with a digital start set , because with a small price one can have all the necessities to start to have fun with trains. To me it was like that. Prior to my layout, I could mount and dismount the tracks on my floor easily any time I wanted. It was a great "school".
My second recommendation is to start not to build a huge layout but something small: a little shelf 10x30 centimeters can already be transformed into an amazing diorama to take pictures or simply enjoy train models! The lack of space, sometimes, sounds to me more like an alibi than a real reason to not build anything.
I'm nobody to tell people what they do wrong with model trains: everybody has a personal view of this hobbyand I respect all of them. There are things I don't like, for example: I don't like tight bends, I don't like when there is no landscape on the layout and all you can see is just tracks, I don't like out of scale details. Those are only my point of views: if somebody is having fun with tight radius or toyful details, then I'm happy for him or her. It's just not my thing.
I think at the end the most important thing is to have fun with your own trains. Sometimes I forgot it and take all this layout thing too seriously: they are train, after all! Very little ones! So, take it easy.
Rosenrot in pictures
Here are again the most beautiful impressions of the layout:
More from Rosenrot
Around 9,000 followers (as of Dec. 2022) on Instagram celebrate the beautiful cutouts and details that the Rosenrot layout has to offer. Follow Francesco with his rosenrot_anlage and stay tuned!
A wide range of videos on topics such as unboxing, trainspotting, trade fair reports and news from the scene have been available from Francesco for quite some time on YouTube. Now the TV journalist has started posting some Videos of his layout Rosenrot and his collection.
View here our latest layout presentation on the blog!