How to build a small model railroad layout in HO scale? It should be a magnificent landscape, two main lines including fiddle yards, but all based only on approximately four square meters in size. Carlo Viganò, a model railroader living in the Italian town of Germignaga on Lake Maggiore, has solved those model railroading questions with his dreamlike layout, which is called “Plastico Ferroviario Vallecasanuova”. When Carlo was three years old, his father gave him the first train set and since then he has been fascinated by the passion for model trains and railroads. As a child Carlo and his father built a model railroad layout on a standard plate. Later, they built a garden railroad based on LGB models in G scale. During these years, however, Carlo was influenced by Josef Brandl, an artist and rail modeler from Germany. So he decided to imitate the artworks of Brandl: He wanted to use the last available space in his cellar for building a model railroad layout where nature, landscape and trains should dominate.
Carlo’s layout consists of two levels, i.e. of two track networks. There is a double track main line for international traffic, which is mainly used by Italian passenger trains. There is also a single track line for freight traffic. Finally, there is a branch line for local transport, where the famous Italian diesel railcar “FS Class ALn 668” is still in service. All trains move on an area of just 3.5 x 1.5 meters. Furthermore, each railroad line has fiddle yard at the back of the layout, where a total of eleven complete model trains are parked. The trains travel through a valley crowned by a medieval castle belonging to the lords of “Casanouva”. Around the castle there are woods and a vineyard. There are also 152 trees that reproduce the typical landscape of Lake Maggiore. There are only a few buildings; only a hut, a small house at the railroad embankment and the castle. Italian locomotives and trains of the “Ferrovie dello Stato”, known as “Trenitalia”, are in the center of attention as well as tunnels, portals and retaining walls.