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Swiss Re4/4II with German TEE

Paul Ingraham's N Scale Swiss Layout "Blausee-Mitholz"

I first came into contact with Paul Ingraham shortly after joining ETE in the early 1980s. He was among a handful of other members modeling in N scale - being a technical writer, I just can't bring myself to say that Paul was an N scale modeler; that would make him 1/160th actual size!. In this photo, a Rivarossi model of Italian electric E444.053 crosses the bridge on the highest point of Paul's layout. A bit of modeler's license is employed here as the Sommerfeldt-brand catenary is of a Swiss design and those who know their power systems know that 15,000 volt AC power is incompatible with a 3,000 VDC locomotive!

Paul's layout was the centerpiece in the bachelor pad living room of his small house in an otherwise scary Oakland California neighborhood. The layout was probably six feet square and well done in a simple 'green hillside' motif typical of the Swiss alpine meadows often seen in travel photos (or if you're lucky, from the window of your train compartment).

Notwithstanding it's simplicity in detail, the layout was well done. Paul paid particular attention to installing correct catenary (overhead electrical pickup wire) over all the tracks using Sommerfeldt's Swiss catenary products. His track work was also excellently executed; everything operated flawlessly and the roadbed and ballast gave the impression that you were really viewing a full size railroad from a distance.

In this photo, an RCe 2/4 Roter Pfeil pauses at the station as a BLS Ae8/8 hauls a heavy Rollende Landstrasse (Rolling Highway) train up the grade on the station bypass track. R-L trains are commonly used to haul semi-trucks from one side of Switzerland to the other, getting them off of the winding Swiss highways and reducing air pollution in the process.

Paul was quite the collector of Swiss engines and rolling stock. He was well tapped-in to the model railroading industry courtesy of his company INTERAIL, a pioneer producer of N scale US intermodal equipment. Paul was therefore aware of, and able to acquire some of the best models on the market. He had an extensive Hobbytrain collection as well as other desireable and sometimes rare pieces from European manufacturers great and small.

In this photo reminiscent of the multi-level scenes on the Gotthard at Biaschina, the BLS Ae8/8 (pulling the R-L train) can be seen on the upper track while the 'new look' Ae6/6 pulling a train of modernized Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon cars enters a tunnel on the lower single-track line.

The top of this particular hill is crowned with a medieval tower similar to many that were built to guard Switzerland's numerous alpine passes, thus ensuring to some measure the safety of commerce from the fertile Italian plains and Mediterranean coastal ports.

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