Category Archives: Railroad History

New Release: Marklin 89759 Steel Girder Bridge

With the new release of a steel girder bridge Marklin has further committed to finely detailed and textured laser cut kits in Z. For those who have been fortunate to discover Archistories kits this one is similarly packaged, but it is not an Archistories kit, the manufacturer of this kit is Modellbau Laffont who have produced other kits recently in the Marklin Z line-up.

For an easy introductory laser cut kit this is a good place to start, it will take about 1 – 2 hours to complete for those with a little experience perhaps longer if this is the first time completing such a kit. A fine OLFA razor knife is perfect, a pair of fine tweezers and common white glue although I prefer NOCH 61104 glue designed for this purpose.

The steel girder railroad bridge is common to all parts of the globe in one form or another because of its high strength and low cost. Usually older bridges are spotted with rust and the general rule is follow a maintenance schedule including repainting this type of bridge periodically to extend the life many years in the future. For a railroad layout a choice can be made to add weathering such as dirt, grime and rust which I will be following up with in a future post.

The bridge kit is loaded with detail including the heavy riveted plates joining angled beams, it also features a wood plank walkway with attached railing. The completed project is a well thought out heavy duty steel bridge that is rigid as a model too.

The cost of the bridge is reasonable, I bought mine for $16.00. Overall length is 4 1/4 inches and multiple bridges will be an eye catcher on a layout. Bridge supports will need to be fashioned with some type of masonry either brick or stone, these veneers are easily available, they are glued over cardboard or styrofoam. With its filigree base the light from your locos or coaches will reflect in the river below to spectacular effect.

Good luck and have fun!

Pilot Wheels: Legacy in Marklin Z

Marklin 88092 with two wheel leading truck.

With the invention of the steam locomotive in the 19th century came un-powered pilot wheels as part of its invention, they were meant to support the front end of the boiler and assist the locomotive negotiating curves. John Jervis is credited with the first locomotive design incorporating leading wheels or pilot wheels for his 1832 4-2-0 locomotive. It would be another 33 years until the design of leading wheels would be improved by William Adams, his 1865 design allowed the front bogie to slide slightly to negotiate curves and a spring mechanism to thus allow the bogie to reorient to center. A two wheel leading truck is referred to as a ‘pony’ truck, four and six wheel leading trucks are considered more stable than pony trucks for high speed service. As a point of clarification the pilot of a locomotive is located on the front of a locomotive to deflect any type obstruction which would otherwise derail the train, various designs were built into 19th and 20th century steam locomotives of a mostly filigree framework, later solid sheathing was incorporated in the streamlining of many diesel designs in the United States.

Marklin Z steam locomotives incorporate sliding lead wheel sets with a spring mechanism made of tension brass. Even in Z the leading wheels are important to running long steam locomotives successfully. It is another example of Marklin being true to the prototype even in the smallest scale.

I recently bought 88272 as ‘new dealer old stock’, it was released in the mid 2000’s as a One Time Series, it sat on a shelf for over 10 years with plenty of time for the oil to harden. I tested it at low voltage and it worked flawlessly without any hesitancy so I tried it on a large oval, the pilot wheels derailed on the first curve: hardened oil syndrome on the pilot truck pivot point as well as the trailing truck’s pivot point with no sign of hardened oil in the gearing of the driving wheels. Cleaning the loco of all the old oil and re-oiling solved the problem! Advantages with Marklin Z are the easy to diagnose and repair problems: always look for the easy answers.

After making the repair I compared the 88272 BR 42 with the 88273 BR 41 both are closely related with the same chassis and shell , leading wheels and trailing wheels on the 88273 do not include the tension brass mechanism supporting the axle on both trucks. If the slight tension created by the brass spring is too much the wheel set will deform below the surface of the driving wheels. Removing the brass tension mechanism if it is deformed or damaged is recommended, if it is left in this case derailments will ensue.

Since entering the community of Z I have been told by many that the two wheel leading truck on some Marklin Z steam locos cause derailments due to not enough weight on the front end of the locomotive, it has been advised that placing lead weights to the front end by soldering bb’s is the answer to fixing the apparent Marklin design flaw. We might all like to tinker, but as a long time collector of Marklin z gauge I found no evidence of design flaws in z by Marklin quite the opposite, I continue to marvel at locomotives and rolling stock designed for long term running characteristics which are easy to maintain and repair.

I collect Marklin mini-club as my primary railroading enterprise, but I also collect prewar Marklin 1 gauge and prewar Lionel Standard gauge. As a point of comparison I pulled out the motor and pilot wheels of my Lionel 384 from 1930. In the photos the itty bitty Marklin Z 88273 incorporates leading wheels that slide on their axle whereas the big Lionel loco restricts the leading wheels to pivot only on a vertical axis.

Photo: Lionel 384 pilot wheel and Marklin 88273: behemoth and the “Little Giant!”

Photo: Lionel 384 2-4-0 locomotive motor with driving wheels and leading wheels juxtaposed next to Marklin 88273 which incorporates a sliding axle not present in the 1930 Lionel.

I would say in closing that Marklin has already considered the leading trucks as important elements and not decoration in their design which accounts for historical accuracy and perfect operating characteristics, modification to the leading truck maybe overlooking the real problems which could be dirt or hardened oil around the pivot point or too much downward pressure from the brass tension spring. The same applies to the trailing truck. Always look for the easy answers instead of reinventing the wheel.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: Gearing on Marklin Z gauge steam locomotives usually comprise driving wheels with connecting gears. Connecting gears are installed first followed by the driving wheels and side rods. It is a little tricky working with small parts, but the objective is to line up all of the wheel weights in correct orientation otherwise the loco will not run smoothly instead the gears will bind up. Tell those around you that you may need a 1/2 hour on your hobby or 6 hours when you make your first steam locomotive repair.

Siding: if that set of pilot wheels keeps derailing it will more than likely be dirt or hardened oil around the pivot point, pilot wheels should move freely around pivot point.

New Releases: Archistories “Signal Towers” + Marklin tank loco 88957

The perfect companion for Archistories buildings along the rails is Marklin and vice versa. Three new releases by these two companies plus one more Archistories will be the gist of this post.

Both companies of German origin go hand in hand, Archistories reaching back in time with their early Prussian design brick industrial buildings which service the railway and Marklin’s wide range of Era 2-6 locos and rolling stock. A new release by one of these companies builds on the tradition of what has been released thus far.

For Archistories two new signal towers one of brick and the other framework construction complement another interlocking tower with exposed timber released a few years back.

Variations in their kits include thus far have included framework versus brick as was the case with the mill building which can be seen here along side the new release signal tower of exposed timber/framework construction. Framework construction can be seen in Germany in a variety of uses including residential. Adding several different building types in exposed timber versus brick makes for a very interesting landscape.

Notice the mill propped by tweezers to level it out for the photo, the wheel extends below grade and it is serviced by a small motor provided in the kit. Simply soldering is required to attach two diodes in-line to the positive pole, wires thus descend below the structure and will thus be hidden from view after the building is planted in your layout’s landscape. The first step to making the mill is the wheel which is the more involved than the rest of the kit, but it is fun to start here knowing that by the end of the day that wheel will be turning wheat berry into flour for your town’s sustenance. The motor provided in the kit is shaped to perfectly conform to the buildings framework, but before proceeding you will want to confirm the motor is functioning properly just to be sure, it is highly unlikely to have a motor defect in an Archistories kit. The manufacturer suggested to me that a couple of more diodes can be installed to reduce the sound of the motor, I am a okay with the movement and sound, I don’t feel additional modification is warranted. Special Note: diodes should never be covered by electrical tape due to the potential of overheating, leave them naked so to speak!

Finding a home on the layout will require a mill race with partially dammed water to create pressure, one door is provided to the bridge that could provide access to a parking area for a truck or wagon. A Preiser figure or two will sure add scale and built into each Archistories kit are partition walls to carefully control light flow inside the mill.

If you have ever wondered what a signal tower looked like way back in the day Archistories has provided us with three examples including the two mentioned in this post. When signal towers had a purpose they housed throw levers made of brass that skilled operators would throw and pull to control semaphores and track switches. In the United States switch towers can be seen variously within large switch yards but the throw switches have been replaced with electronic push buttons. And for that matter modern control can be carried out miles away. Signal towers in the United States were so well built as was other rail infrastructure that many abandoned years ago still stand today.

Archistories has modeled their signal towers/interlocking towers with many throw levers, and they have provided large windows for good visibility, the name of the game is coordination and visibility, railways could not sustain frequent accidents or misaligned trains thus the operator of signals and switches provided a very important contribution to safe and efficient rail service.

Marklin’s new tank loco is a member of the elite new and improved steam loco design for Mini-club that includes partially new tooling including the active side rods whose movement is a lively and graceful dance, new tooling includes detailed running gear and brakes. To not mention the extensive and crisp painting and printing would be an oversight since the level of detail probably extends further than we can see, but it is reassuring that Marklin still goes further than we might require to bring the model closer to the prototype. This one being the KPEV class T12 tank locomotive with “Berlin” destination board and used in suburban traffic. Marklin 88957 is an MHI Exclusive, collectors will need to contact an MHI dealer to order this one. The Marklin Handlers Initiative constitutes those dealers who order everything Marklin produces thus guaranteeing availability of certain releases other dealers may not have access to. Having a relationship with an MHI dealer who also handles your Insider subscription will guarantee your collection grows with some of the rarer releases.

Recommended: Noch 61104 laser-cut adhesive features pin point accuracy when applying glue in small drops for laser-cut cardstock building construction: faster than applying glue with a pin or toothpick!

Good luck and happy railroading!

Archistories: Interlocking Towers Kallental and Dorpede

Sitting along side this 1915 “Achilles”  Marklin 1 Gauge live steam engine are two new releases by Archistories: Kallental and Dorpede “Interlocking Towers.”

Both buildings follow the same architectural design but vary in material construction, one is brick and the other is open timber. A throwback to a time in railroad history when signals and switch turnouts were controlled mechanically by an operator. Today these structures have largely disappeared with the advent of electric controls: push buttons replacing throw levers.

Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but each reflects distinct styles of German industrial architecture. Cut-outs are incorporated into the buildings for accessory lighting along with partition walls to control light flow. Additional features that are new to Archistories kits that I have assembled are scored boards for continuously folded frameworks walls, open timber and even ornamental brickwork. Working with long parts that fold is assisted by very light scoring along those lines that have already been etched by the laser. Archistories kits are nothing like all the other ones on the market by other manufacturers, Archistories can be described as kits combining the highest quality materials, precision and design. Here you will find beautiful roof sheathing that is attached to solid underlayment, parts that actually fit together perfectly, and highly detailed window frames. Crisp detailing throughout inspire one to sit and marvel at the finished projects.

If you are new to building laser cut with numerous small parts and parts with filigree I would suggest a couple of practice runs applying glue to thin strands of scrap material before jumping in and gluing the open timber framework on the Kallental Signal Tower. The simple rule to follow is to place drops of glue instead of streams of glue in modest amounts and in discreet places. Not much glue is needed after all, parts in these kits are warp free allowing much less glue than other manufacturer’s buildings. Warp free high grade materials characterize Architories kits.

For those on the fence about laser cut I have a simple experiment: 1. Buy one of these kits and assemble it 2. take the finished building along with an assembled plastic building to a real life industrial complex preferably from the turn of the century and abundant in the United States 3. hold both kits alongside real life industrial brick architecture 4. ask yourself which looks closer to real life? I am confident the answer will be Archistories buildings every time.

Building a scene which incorporates these buildings are perfectly illustrated by Archistories company photographs. These dioramas incorporate cast rock formations, static grass of varying lengths and color, shrubs and trees placed as one would see along a railroad siding, track ballasting representing the region modeled and of course the painted or photographically illustrated background. Viewing the scene at eye level brings it all together and the backdrop brings it all together.

Photo used by permission (copyright: Archistories)

Siding: weathering can be added to Archistories buildings, I recommend the dry brush technique. Care should be taken to ensure good results, please keep in mind the high absorbent nature of these materials, it is better to start with a very dry brush and build up layers, too much paint and the building will be ruined. Or don’t weather at all!

Blast from the Past: Marklin 88035 “Bumble Bee”

If you are an American railroader the “Bumble Bee” loco may already be in your collection, it has been released in many versions and many scales by numerous manufacturers. In 2004 Marklin released their “Bumble Bee” loco and tender for the mini-club line-up, it was cast in brass with metal tender. This “One Time Series” featured fine detailing and add-on parts with non working headlamp.

Founded in 1870 the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) was originally a narrow gauge railway who’s motto was “Through the mountains, not around them.” The history of this railroad spans more than a hundred years from its founding as a coal and mineral narrow gauge mountain railway, in 1988 it merged with the Southern Pacific.

The Louisiana & Nashville Railroad built the first 2-6-0 locomotive of this type in 1864, it was a record setter due to it being the largest locomotive in America at that time. The Marklin 88035 could be said to be modeled on a later version with independent front bogie. Service span for this locomotive type was 1860-1910. Operating number for the Marklin “Bumble Bee” is 136. Baldwin Locomotive Works built the narrow gauge 2-6-0 locomotive for D&RGW 1881-1902.

Note to collectors: Marklin’s 88035 is sought after by Z gaugers but also N scalers due to its slightly larger size. 88035 is the first and only mini-club locomotive modeled slightly bigger than scale. Produced as a One Time Series in 2004 it quickly sold out, today it is high on the list of sought after secondary market locomotives. Pricing for this loco range from $500-$1000 (new/mint), but before you buy consider condition as a big part of the price, average used ones in working condition and 80% cosmetic condition should be in the $250-$350 range. Very careful buying trains online without seeing them in person unless you are dealing with a reliable seller or store. Reynauld’s in IL,  ZTrackResale and Z Scale Hobo are recommended sources for secondary market.

Note: to go with this fine loco is the 4 car coach set lettered for D&RGW: Marklin 87910.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA owns a Baldwin 2-6-0 locomotive for their collection. One of the finest collections of American railroad equipment can be found in this museum:

Railex: 19th Century Wurttemberg Coach Set

German railway history began in 1835, but Z-scale modeling includes few examples from manufacturers before 1910 leading up to WWI with the exception of Railex Modelleisenbahn GmbH. The obvious reason would seem to be further complexities of manufacturing even smaller steam locos than those proposed and manufactured by Marklin since 1972. Current can motors of small sizes could offer the future possibility of 19th century locos with their own propulsion, but time will tell if such things are in the ether!

Railex is widely known and unknown too! I have been collecting Railex primarily from the secondary market, I started collecting it late, but if I had collected early I am not sure any would have been available in the United States; I have spoken with many dealers here who never sold Railex maybe due to poor availability and small market for this avenue of Z railroading. Railex has its limited audience who have an audacity for things unique and exemplary. And pricey! Mechanically sound but without a motor is a hard justification for many a railroader’s budget, but leaving practicality aside eccentrics like myself pour over the fine detailing, mechanical perfection and splendor of these tiny trains. And yet there are methods for enabling these motor-less locos the respectability they deserve for each can be equipped with a “ghost loco” or modern diesel to bring them to life. Such justification for propping a Railex with modern equipment can be argued if you include a museum railway on your layout or you feel the “railway record” includes all trains and it is just a matter of appreciation versus historical/prototypical fact?

I have gone way off my topic here even before starting, such is the case with me and Railex. There are several gaps in ‘Z’ for coaches, we all wish Marklin would make coaches for our beloved Commodore Vanderbilt or EWII coaches for SBB as an addition to the really good coach sets made available over the years. As for the 19th century Railex is the only answer with their Wurttemberg Set.

The release date for this coach set is unknown to me, it was released as a set of three in a clear plastic box with paper label with the following inscription: “Kassette NUR LIEGEND offnen! ———-OBEN———— “Wurttemberger Zug” Set 1 (Z) -Railex Modelleisenbahn GmbH.

Included in the set are three coaches for the Wurttemberg Railway K.W.St.E.: 1-3rd class (brown), 1-2nd class (yellow with roof venting) , and 1-1st class (green with window details including curtains). It is easy to deduce classification for these coaches simply by exterior coach appearance.

Manufactured entirely of brass with filigree wheel spokes, fine detailing and precision painted surfaces the coaches also carry the Railex insignia on underside. There is the obvious heft to these cars that is quite noticeable in comparison to plastic but to be expected from all metal construction. The trucks alone are works of art with filigree wheels closely paired within the finely detailed truck housing.

Rail travel in the 19th century was a new delight with its own challenges including safety and comfort. One could imagine wooden bench seats in these coaches, no steam or electric heating perhaps blankets over laps, and maybe pinch gas lighting if night travel occurred.

Siding: European railroad antiques can be found here and there even in the United States due in large part to a long time interest for European trains. A ‘Z’ collection can be supplanted with railway badges, lanterns and loco plaques to name just a few. This Wurttemberg railway badge was found in late 2016 on Ebay:

Bahnhof Dammtor build kit: Marklin 89792

The Bahnhof Dammtor station kit met with much fanfare when it was announced at the Nurmberg Toy Fair, it was announced in the New Items Brochure 2015 and currently available.

The Bahnhof Dammtor opened in 1903, it is still in operation today near Hamburg’s city center. Two platforms and four tracks support suburban, regional and long distance trains: one platform for S-Bahn and the other for regional and long distance. An architecturally important train station with walls of windows running parallel to the tracks thus allowing easy sightings of trains passing through the station.

Building the Bahnhof Dammtor in ‘Z’ is now possible with Marklin 89792 build kit. MKB Modelle designed and manufactured this kit along with others in the Marklin line-up. If you have some experience with their kits this one will revisit some of the same characteristics of their kits. This is a complex kit for the ambitious railroader, Marklin notes the build time is 50 hours. Building this kit is a time investment that I recommend spreading out over sessions of 2-3 hours to reduce fatigue and possible mistakes. Building and designing a kit of this size is an undertaking for any manufacturer and their attempt to recoup a profit a sizable achievement considering number of parts to design that must fit together plus material production of numerous laser cut parts. I built this kit quickly, and I made some mistakes that are avoidable. I already ordered a second kit that will combine what I learned from building it once, this posting I hope will help others too!

Two parts: 1. notes on instructions 2. parts

  1. My notes and recommendations are a supplement to the printed instructions included with the kit which are at times confusing and misleading. Steps B-C1: illustrates guide lines for platforms, my kit did not have guide lines these will need to be made before gluing platforms. Here are spacing measurements I used before attaching exterior panels: spacing for outer tracks 13/16 inches and spacing for two tracks between platforms is 1 5/8 inches. With a pencil make spacing lines to help guide gluing of platforms. Instructions show trimming platforms to align with ends of station leaving platforms untrimmed is more prototypical and will extend outside the station. Equal spacing of the platforms 1 inch outside building is okay, but if you will be using the bridges and arcades kit 89793 the platform will extend too far over the bridge approach therefore you may want to mount the platforms on that end flush to the end of the building thus allowing the platforms to extend 2 inches on other end of station building. Steps D-G: Take extra time with these steps making all parts level throughout, warped assembled sections of exterior walls will be difficult to glue to the foundation of this building later in the project. Special Note: window glazing is attached to windows at this point, use great care and precision to cut provided mylar just enough to glue it in place, the next step shows window detail panels for each window, these pieces need to be glued directly to framework (cardboard and plastic cannot be securely glued together), having overlapped the mylar slightly over the windows will be secured by cardboard window panels. Step F shows interior side of panels with attaching brick sections around windows. Take note of the illustration within the circle showing 1mm between these window panels, it also is the spacing needed to keep the slots in the framework exposed (later in the project the trusses are attached to these slots!). Step H-I2: glue entry portal panels together keeping bottom of parts flush to your work surface. Carefully examine illustrations in I1 and I2 and assemble first without glue to orientate yourself to these assembly steps. Note: illustrations within circles shows 1mm spacing for architectural detail 79 attached later in step K. Step J: it is no fun to precisely cut window glazing for 24 windows, but the more careful you are here will result with good results. Step K: part 59 is actually 61 on the parts sheet, part 24 does not show dark brown cap (part 27 which was assembled in step H), part 28a is part 33 from step H. Step L: part 59 is wrongly illustrated as part 61. Step M: illustrations show front side facing out, maybe glue parts after each is assembled provided you are using a fast setting glue like Elmers Wood Glue or Daige Rollataq (available at art supply stores). Instructions suggest window glazing is attached to outside of window framing, this is incorrect, window glazing for two small side windows is attached in step 0 (glazing is always attached on the interior sides of windows otherwise they would not look realistic). Step N: this is a straightforward part of instructions and careful use of tweezers will help make alignment of all parts easier. Note: glue only after parts in this illustration are assembled, glue can be applied to joints and in and around other parts you can access, that is enough. Noch’s new glue is perfect here: 61104 Laser Cut Adhesive available in the USA at none other than Step 0: window glazing is attached to two small windows and central large window. A cool design feature here is the part that surrounds central window which is secured in place by the sliding vertical parts 126 thus holding the glazing flush to window. A little line of glue applied with toothpick around interior side of window/door entries is enough here for parts 57 (glazing will already be attached to these parts from step J. Step R: parts 124 and 125 that line the entry ways will be easier to install first before outer layers. Step S: illustration shows exterior side of train entry. Note: this is a tricky step, there are 4 parts that are laminated together without a lot of room for glue. Parts assemble in this order: 85, glazing, 86, and 78. Part 78 is a delicate framework that attaches to part 86 along with two tiny complementary parts, little drops of glue and a deep breath along with tweezers and good set of magnifying glasses (magnifying glasses are always highly recommended for laser cut buildings). A cat-walk is also part of this assembly, assemble parts 82 and 83 before gluing otherwise the paper fibers of these parts will expand and make assembly very difficult. A finish strip is added as the last step to hide the assembly slots. Step T-V: this is were the building starts to come together, but there is still much work ahead. Each side of building is comprised of three panels: start with the center aligning it with the unfortunate seam in the base followed by both side panels that fit together with seamlessly if your panels are without warp! Trusses fit into those exposed slots between interior window detail panels, they will bow slightly but no worries (trusses are made of lightweight card-stock, careful not to press into place with too much pressure). These two steps take time maybe attach panels and end units in one session and trusses in another. Step V: truss framework is completed with long running trusses that run length of station, these are comprised in half sections that come together on a special center truss part 70. Best to study the illustrations and parts before assembly. Trusses match up with slots and any bow will be eliminated during step U. Apply small drops of glue to truss joints otherwise they may slip out of place, plus this will be the only time the trusses are glued following my further instructions. Step W: roof sheathing is comprised of two layers: brown under-lay and outer gray sheeting. These two layers are also comprised of three pieces each: two small ends and one large center section. At this point the beautiful trusses are exposed, consider before attaching roof if you want to expose all or part of the trusses by not attaching the roof in its entirety. I am not interested in leaving the trusses exposed but certain museum models often do and it could be interesting with this building kit. Attaching the roof is a significant step and nail biting. Roof sheathing is beautifully colored but constructed of very very lightweight paper, there is sweep in the roof design thereby requiring material that easily contours to the roof requirements, but there are also disadvantages to this material: it is highly absorbent to water based glues which leads to ripples in the surface to avoid this I did not glue sheathing to trusses instead I glued sheathing to outer edges of building starting with one side first and allowing glue to dry. I then pulled the sheathing sheets over to the the other side and glued in place along with ends of building. Roof sheathing easily ripples so be very careful getting too much glue on it!!! Step X : half domes over main entrance requires bending roofing material around a radius, I glued only the building edges and a couple of drops where it contacts the roof. For the top layer I glued it only to the building edges. Step Y: nearing the end of the project includes the assembly of a long vent, it too has the same lightweight paper as roof and gingerly applying glue dots to framework is better than too much glue, maybe glue top layer along edges only, but maybe underlay should be glued similarly with glue on edges and ends only just to keep it from buckling. Cutting a hole in the roof for the vent maybe more prototypical, but avoid this exercise because the roof sheathing won’t go on well at all. At this point a lot of money and time has been invested so please do not modify the kit at this point unless you are well experienced with such things and can overcome a big set-back. *If I am able to come up with a better roof solution when I build this for a second time I will share that advice to this post, but as of this writing I am partial to gluing the edges only and allowing the trusses to be free from anchoring to the roof. Parts 152 are roofing for the entry ways, these parts are hard to bend therefore I suggest wetting slightly bending to shape and allowing to dry before gluing in place, they can also be finished with black construction paper to at least look less distracting than unfinished cardboard, but you be the judge. Step Z: not a step at all but a page of recognition that you made it through the kit. If you made some mistakes don’t fret, kits of this nature and size we usually build once thus making for an unavoidable learning curve. I hope my notes are clear and that they help to avoid some of the mistakes I made.
  2. Parts are many and varied in design and material, here is my list of parts that deserve extra care and caution with starting from beginning to end: Parts A5 do not have alignment guidelines for platforms, you will need to draw these lines to precisely make even room for the 4 tracks that will run through the station. If you plan to add the 89793 arcade and bridges I recommend waiting to cement the bridges until you know where the tracks are coming out of the station, bridges can be moved in accord with the station tracks. Parts 6/7 are laminated to parts 9/10 for one platform thus there are two of each of these parts to comprise two platforms. Laminating thick card-stock will result in curled platforms unless . these are placed on a flat surface with weights for 24 hours, I have an artist dry-mount press that I use. Rolling with rubber roller available from an art supply shop will help press the sheets together. The instructions indicate gluing directly to the foundation one layer at a time, this may work okay, but I opted for the completing the platforms and then gluing because there is a final finish layer of paper that is glued and bent around the edges, I found it easier to prep the edges of the platform with a nail file and then attaching the paper before gluing to station foundation. First criticism of this kit is that the stairwells are not finished thus they are simply openings in the platforms. If you can fashion railing around these openings I would highly recommend it. And add some black construction paper to the base of these openings will at least give some depth. Parts 13 and 15 are important, I highly recommend studying the illustrations to determine the correct orientation of these parts. And keep them straight! Part 33 is a small decorative facade detail but there are 12 of them, if you use tweezers be careful that the legs of this part do not separate too much or two little, they should align with the edges of the building they attach too. Part 65 is a window in the center portion of station, there are four total in the construction of the building, these parts are installed before part 108 is attached the building! Likewise parts 63 install before parts 109. Part 78 is found as the outer layer of station ends of which there are two, this part goes on the outside of the building.

Special Note: The first level of the station comprises numerous shop fronts, because of the design of the building some shops have views of seams and all have views of unfinished cardboard, I recommend lining the back walls of each shop with dark gray construction paper to even out the interior details and at the very least making for less distraction. I also used Noch self adhesive gray cobble in Z for going between tracks inside the station. After completing the station it will be next to impossible to clean to tracks and any loose prototypical ballast will be a nightmare to remove.

I highly recommend this station which further advances modeling in Z and the advantage Z’ers have over other gauges with prototypical and accurate scaling in a reasonable amount of space.

Siding: Marklin has released many Hamburg trains in Z making this station a must for those who are after prototypical accuracy.

Locomotive Builder Department: Werdau 1916

More than 30 locomotive laborers, bosses and owners stand and sit proudly before a stoked new engine with various tools and parts displayed in 1916 at a locomotive works in Werdau, Germany.

A wide range of ages are also on display as this firm employed men presumably from the prior century with vast knowledge and experience, in the new century this firm also employed two women.

Each person depicted was probably confident that their job would last a lifetime and history recorded this as fact; steam had a solid 60 plus years left. Skilled labor that could not be outsourced, downsized or outmoded; our contemporary culture cannot grasp the life these men and two women experienced, as members of society they shared in the transport of people and goods by growing (my Wife prefers “building”) these powerful locomotives that lived beyond many in this photograph. A specialist is required to identify the tools and parts, but some stand out including calipers and wrenches (supersized).

In a future post I will be consulting with such a specialist to help identify these parts as well as the most unusual steam loco design. And perhaps I will also be able to uncover another photo of the locomotive in its entirety so stay tuned.

For now we will enjoy the people watching and take note of the clogs.

If anyone has anything to share on this photo please feel free to comment, I will give you credit and add to the description.

Gottard Tunnel: 1872 + Marklin’s Swiss Steam Loco 88992 + 81035

The Gottard Tunnel opened to freight trains January 1, 1882 after 10 years of construction and deaths of 200 workers. It was the longest tunnel ever built when it opened with a total length of 9.322 miles. Used by steam trains until 1920 when it was electrified the private railway Gotthardbahn operated the tunnel until it was incorporated with the Swiss Federal Railways in 1909. The proposal for such a tunnel as part of the project to link North Italy and South Germany was first proposed in 1848, but the Gottard was a difficult tunnel to build with construction starting in 1872, workers used the recently invented dynamite (1867), pickax and shovel. The pace was slow at just under 5 meters a day for a proposed budget of 2830 Swiss  Francs per meter but that cost would increase by 11%. The lives it cost included the Swiss engineer Louis Favre who overseeing the project died of a heart attack inside the tunnel.

The Gotthard Tunnel one year before completion:

The Gottard Tunnel in 1890 as recorded by the Italian photographer Giorgio Sommer (Napoli) who was well known for his photographs of Switzerland’s geological formations:

Postcard view from 1900:

Postcard view from 1900:

Today with view from Goschenen station platform:

Siding: Marklin produced two Swiss early steam locomotives who’s prototypes would have run through the Gotthard at the beginning of the last century: 88992 + 81035.

88992 – Serie A 3/5 Era II loco with builder number 613 and paired with type T 20 tender. One Time Series 2005.

81035 – “Swiss Old Timer Train” Era I loco with builder’s number 605 paired with type T 21.5 tender with three coaches. One Time Series 2007.



DB BR 44 Steam Locomotive: 044 665-8

After WW II the DB acquired 1242 class 44 steam locomotives of a total 1989 locomotives produced from 1926-1949. The attached photographs document the original DRG Class 44’s, a variant was produced for this class during the war, the class 44UK construction was limited and simplified and included but was not limited to the eliminating the smoke deflectors and cab side windows of the original class 44 as a matter of cutting costs. Latter in the 1950’s OBB gave the DB 9 locomotives and the DB gave SNCF 291 for war reparations. According to my calculations a total of 316 were scrapped or destroyed at war’s end. Originally designed for goods trains of 1200 long tons for the hilly Mittelgebirge region. In the late 50’s the DB converted 32 44’s to oil firing, these variants were reclassified as BR 043 for the DB. The class 44 3 cylinder steam locomotive proved its worth and continued in service with the DB until 1977. On October 26, 1977 the last steam locomotive for the DB made its last run: BR 043 903-4.

The operating number proceeded by ‘0’ indicates this photograph was made “on or after” Germany’s reclassification of locomotives in 1968. According to the documentation that came with these photographs this BR 044 665-8 was working on this day in Crailsheim, Baden-Wurttemberg.

Marklin 88973 with operating number 44 1374 (released 2012 – 2014):

Note: buffers painted with warning stripes!

Siding: Marklin has thus far released three Era III BR 44’s: 88971 (operating number 44 494), 88972 (MHI Release with operating number 44 100), and 88973 (operating number 44 1374).

Siding: many excellent Era III freight loads are available for this locomotive including the GI 11 boxcars depicted in these photographs. Marklin’s recent release of weathered GI 11’s can be found in the 10 car set (available individually from Walthers): 82559_1-10. These cars feature beautiful weathering!

Marklin 82559