Winter Wonderland by Heino Neumayer

Märklin friend Heino Neumayer

Märklin friend Heino Neumayer has dedicated himself to winter sports - which is why the white splendor is also finding its way onto his course: a wonderful snow El Dorado.

The peaks shine in their bright white dress above the tree line into the pale blue winter sky. A magnificent, majestic backdrop that unfolds behind the tranquil village of Berwang. The roofs of the alpine village have been groaning under the weight of the white splendour for several days, but the parking lot at the railway station has been cleared. Thus, despite the icy weather, passengers can reach the brightly powdered rails to set off on their journey. At the platforms a powerful BR 194 with freight cars in tow is waiting next to a rail bus whose red paint is covered by a light grey layer: Optical evidence of an obviously rough ride through adverse weather with ice and snow drifts on the track.

Welcome to Heino Neumayer's Winter Wonderland A small, fine empire, which he created with great energy input. "Three turned into six months of construction time," explained the Berliner. Six weeks of that were "very intensive work from morning to night". But it was worth it.

Now urban Berlin does not exactly stand for winter sports and snow splendor. A bit of a pity for the passionate skier Neumayer. That's why he took the alpine ambience home as a model. "This gives me that holiday feeling at home on the slopes. After Berwang in the Tyrolean Zugspitz region, we go for winter sports every year." But the Märklin rail bus with its snow tracks also played a not insignificant role. It has been part of Heino Neumayer's vehicle fleet for a long time and of course it was a perfect match for the idea of a winter facility.

Winter Wonderland Hotel

The hotel is very busy

Despite the difficult journey, the hotel is completely booked out. The roofs and balconies are powdered white and highly motivated winter sports enthusiasts can hardly wait for their first outing.

Rail bus

Icy driving conditions

The Märklin rail bus in its winter snow dress fits perfectly into the winter wonderland. But the train driver has to make sure that there are no dangerous driving conditions in the morning.

BR 212

Suitable for the mountains

Heavy transports require strong tractive power. The BR 212 is the tireless workhorse of the plant and effortlessly transports heavy goods from A to B.

Great atmosphere, especially at night

Pure holiday idyll: At night, when street lamps and house lights warm the snow to a reddish colour, residents and guests gather in the village church. Heino Neumayer's installation creates an incredibly dense atmosphere in the dark.

A paradisiacal station

A wonderfully cosy ambience opens up when the rail bus enters the tranquil station after a strenuous journey. One would prefer to get on there directly, right?

Small details

Glittering icicles form at the station house, at the corner the timetable defies wind and weather. The snow nestles elegantly against the railing of the balcony.

A wonderful view

To make the model railway as authentic as possible, every little winter scene was photographed during the ski holidays. The BR 64 tank locomotive also did the honours and shunted in front of a fantastic backdrop.

Power pack

The locomotive doesn't shy away from snow or ice: The small electric locomotive BR 169 in beautiful green matches the winter landscape perfectly and does its job reliably.

Miracle of technology

The model railway is showing the way. Even heavy loads can be transported safely and quickly in winter in snow-fringed mountains.

The route between Garmisch and Reutte was the model

The basic construction is a wooden frame, the landscape nestles on wire mesh and model railway plaster. The mountain scenario naturally combines winter sports operations in the form of chair lifts, ski slopes and a snow hiker - "the oldest Preiser figure that has been in use on all my installations". A special highlight is the ski lodge with garden operation for the winter sun worshippers, model railway main actor is a single-track electrified branch line, "which is based on the route Garmisch-Reutte".

He created the snow theme in 1001 variations. From slush at the roadside to corn snow on the slope, the snow roofs of the houses to piles of snow in front of and on freshly cleared roads as well as on the trees. "I bought out most of Berlin with this snow paste." For the necessary authenticity, the amateur photographer took many pictures during his winter holidays. The more snow there was, the better. And so even the street lights or crash barriers on his layout are prepared like in "real". 

The planning started about a year before construction began. "In Berlin there are a lot of model train shops where you can also buy second-hand stuff." The found objects were mainly used in the non-visible area. All other materials are completely new, including the overhead line and the tracks. Besides some older Märklin tracks, Neumayer laid everything here with new C-track, from the storage track to the two bridges and the tunnel.

Dangerous Passion

The 99 1561-2 in northern Saxony
The 99 1561-2 in northern Saxony.

Arrested four times by the police: The search for interesting railway motives in the GDR was not without incident.

As a passionate locomotive photographer, Heino Neumayer took many photos of locomotives and trains, mainly steamers, from the age of 14. "My first photo with a Kodak Instamatic was taken during a special trip from Kaiserslautern to Bundenthal." 

Even as far away as the GDR, the pupil and later students were attracted by tourist visas. Not without incidents. "I was arrested four times, but luckily never ended up in jail after I was identified."

So in the 1970s and 1980s he was able to take pictures of treasures like the DRG version of the BR 01 as well as the BR 95 with oil firing in Thuringia, Saxony and Berlin. In the former Federal Republic, models were on the agenda, such as a V 160 as a shunting locomotive, photographed in Mannheim. Or the BR 64 tender locomotive in full splendour in the snow - "both are also among my favourite locomotives on the layout!

Read the whole story in the Märklin Magazin

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