East Berlin was the capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin, established in 1945. From 13 August 1961 until 9 November 1989, East Berlin was separated from West Berlin by the Berlin Wall. The American, British and French sectors were known as West Berlin. At that time also the railway lines were divided. In West Berlin there were trains of the “Deutsche Bundesbahn”, while in East Berlin there were trains of the “Deutsche Reichsbahn”. The model railway layout which was built by Bill Roberts from Great Britain, attempts to capture the scene at the former railway station “Marx Engels Platz”, today called “Hackescher Markt”, which is situated in former East Berlin between “Alexanderplatz” and “Friedrichstrasse” stations.
The situation, shown on the model railroad layout, reflects the time after the fall of the Berlin Wall in spring 1990. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, in this corner of former East Berlin little has changed. There is evidence of the decay of the former capital of the German Democratic Republic. Model trains leave station of “Alexanderplatz” on the right and travel through “Marx Engels Platz” before crossing the river Spree onto the “Museumsinsel” and passing between the Natural History Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The two lines towards the rear of the model train layout are used by the “Stadtbahn” (Berlin Rapid Transit), whilst the double track towards the front of the N scale layout are the interzonal lines allowing trains to cross into West Berlin before continuing to their destinations in East Germany and beyond.
Bill Roberts told Pilentum Television, that his layout has a size of 20 x 2 feet. Furthermore, the layout is based on the location but does not purport to be an exact replica of the area. Rather the intention has been to recreate a flavor of the old East Berlin albeit with some buildings modelled accurately. Apart from the trams, which operate at street level at both “Marx Engels Platz” and “Alexanderplatz” stations, the entire railway line is equipped with an overhead line (catenary). Bill Roberts also spends great attention on detail in his choice of the rolling stock: Only East German locomotives and train sets are in use. Also, the line sees a frequent service of the iconic Berlin S-Bahn units.