Category Archives: Siding

SBB CFF FFS class Ce 6/8 III: Marklin’s new release 88563!

The iconic articulated Swiss loco “Krokodil” has long been associated with Marklin in all their scale models, but the new 88563 is a further development of this Era II loco in technological terms for ‘Z’ collectors following numerous releases of this loco in special editions and other variants since the first 8856 (green paint scheme) serie Be 6/8 in 1979 and the 8852 (brown paint scheme) serie Ce 6/8 in 1983.

For the first time changeover headlamps/trailing lamp in LED. Plus partially new tooling including the incorporation of catenary switch below the hood as it were and the removal of the roof top screw formally used to switch power on the circuit board from track to catenary. Removing the catenary screw from electric locos has been a continuing design function of the new locos just as improved running gear and side rods on the steam engines, it is a good time to get into the Marklin mini-club hobby!

Photo: 88563 (top chassis and bottom hood) and 8856.4 (green loco chassis and its hood showing hole through roof to support catenary screw)

A brief look under the hood between the new release and an older 8856 variant is a new circuit board supporting wires for the LED changeover lights thereby obscuring the motor, as can be seen in the photo the circuit board is solid and does not support engagement with brushes, this new motor is identified on the parts sheet as E279 138. Is this a new generation motor? A quick google search revealed nothing!?! When I have more time I will be taking this one apart and reporting what I find! Note: runs great out of the box!

Photo: Marklin 88563 (top) and 8856.4 (version 4: 2009-2010)

Note: switching to catenary power is achieved by carefully pushing the slider switch on the circuit board, in earlier versions this switch was a slotted head that extended through the roof of electric locos.

Follow-up: The new 88563 reveals a new generation motor! I couldn’t wait to find the time to conveniently take apart 88563 to reveal its workings so first thing this morning I opened it up. On first inspection of the circuit board I missed noticing the black and tan leads soldered to the circuit board which descend through holes in the board to the motor, which sits in a newly designed chassis. As with all 8856 variants the articulated locomotive design is comprised of three parts including mid section containing motor with two worm drives and front and rear driving wheel sets, in this new locomotive the mid section chassis is newly designed and dispenses with circuit board clips as well as any visual access to the motor. The circuit board is further redesigned in function but also appearance with two retaining screws and a much thinner board.

Future repair: Any future repairs to this locomotive will be difficult for any but the more advanced modeler. Due to its thin construction the circuit board will be prone to cracking and replacing the motor will be a skilled operation requiring un-soldering of points on the circuit board. How often are future repairs expected on Marklin Z in general? ZERO in my experience except for the cleaning of gears and motor upgrades of the traditional 3 pole/ 5 pole variety.

Closing: Thru advancements in technology and detailing closer to the prototype Marklin is producing some truly outstanding trains, but more intricate parts and complex wiring schemes could be seen as challenges to overcome on the workbench.

Siding: If you have an SBB Krokodil that runs rough perhaps after cleaning and reassembling it maybe due to the front and back side rods being out of alignment. If the loco runs well in one direction but rough in the other reassemble side rods so they are high on one end and low on the other.


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:

FR 41.332.02: SBB low side gondolas for MOW service

Rolling stock representing MOW service cars can be found for Swiss Federal Railways manufactured by FR. The FR 2 car set with item number 41.332.02 includes 2-type Xs71 low side gondolas used in this example for hauling away old wood sleepers.

Featuring authentic weathering and aging the sleepers in these loads look like perfect examples to be removed and replaced with new ones. Maintenance of way operations are as important in Switzerland as with any other railroad in the world, but their exemplary track maintenance practices excel far and above other countries including the United States.

As with all FR rolling stock the chassis is constructed of metal, and body is constructed of injection molded plastic (*some FR freight cars are constructed entirely of metal, the rule for FR seems to be utilizing the correct materials for the design build). FR insignia is incorporated on the underside of chassis.

This set combined with FR’s and Marklin’s Sersa sets round out a track maintenance trainset used in Switzerland.

Marklin 88692

Marklin 82517

FR 41.331.12

Siding: Sersa is a privately owned company for the repair and maintenance of railway right of way in Switzerland.

Hot New Release: FR’s Autotransportwagen Hccrrs 47.819.01 + …02

FR continues to offer unique items for ‘Z’ including the new forthcoming release of a two car “auto-transport” set for the Norwegian State Railway (NSB). The 2 draw-bar coupled cars are full metal construction representing fully enclosed auto-transport cars to protect from harsh weather and vandalism as described on the FR website. A bellows enclosure unites the two cars that conceal their contents without openings except for unloading gates on car ends. Privately owned by MOTORTRANSPORT A.S. Drammen this car type is classified as Hccrrs and registered with the NSB. Could these be one of the more unique railway cars, they certainly are designed for their country of origin! Lively colors make Scandinavian trains a real eye catcher to assemble and run in the countryside!

FR is accepting pre-orders for this carset with proposed release of May 26, 2017. And as with all FR releases this will be produced in small batches thus selling out fast. For buyers in the United States simply register on the site and price will be reduced automatically to reflect the deduction for Germany’s 19% VAT tax.

This carset is also available in two pairs with different reporting numbers under item number 47.819.02.

Harald Freudenreich is in a class of his own. Without FR Scandinavian railroads would only be represented by a few freight sets and NOHAB locos all of which are great pieces but small in number compared with Marklin’s production of Swiss and German.

Siding: FR locos brandish a unique coupling hook that engages seamlessly with standard Marklin couplers thus allowing for the much needed snowplows at each end. Freight cars are equipped with standard Marklin couplers thereby allowing remote uncoupling on Marklin’s specialized track section for this purpose.

Siding: Can motors of current design practice are installed in FR locos, combined with mostly metal construction FR locos have the ability for pulling very long train consists.

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:

Weathering Laser-cut Buildings: MBZ Project

MBZ fills a particular niche for model railroaders in Z, they offer buildings age old building types along railroad yards, farms and countryside scenes along small streams and rivers. MBZ’s style are buildings with the patina of age through deep cut detail work this quality becomes apparent.

MBZ sells a whole host of paints and supplies particularly suited to finishing these buildings through a technique of sponging on water base paint after applying a base coat of primary to retard too much soaking in of the finishing touches. How to videos show these paints to be easy in applying and relatively opaque although dilution of paints and light touch with sponge applicator is well suited to vary the transparency of the paint. I am new to MBZ kits and although I have not tried their paints myself I have seen finished examples at Reynauld’s in Elburn, IL, they are really quite good and the paints give the impression of realism that is almost required if you intend to build these kits, they are of course delivered in similarly pigmented parts thus monochromatic and unrealistic.

I am well versed in a technique that many modelers employ: dry brushing. For those unfamiliar it is a painting technique that is unlike any other in bringing out surface detail. The technique itself is suggested in the name ‘dry brush.’ After saturating a brush with paint continuously run it back and forth over a paper towel until traces of paint can be seen. With a light touch and testing in a small area first use the brush to selectively add color either soot staining on roof tiles around a chimney or soot above a locomotive shed door thereby playing on the impression of accumulated soot from steam locos over time.

There is a little bit of artistry and technique combined with personal preference during the dry brushing application, but it is fun to see details become three dimensional and the life of a building carefully constructed come into being.

I often times mix paints for dry brushing and/or apply layers of different colors. The paints I choose are railroad colors available at my local dealer, and they are all water based. Water base paints dry matte whereas oil paints will dry with a gloss that can be cut back with thinners but why bother since water based paints work so well,  and they are easy to work with, and clean up is a cinch.

For this MBZ building I used a combination of four paints by Polly Scale and Modelmaster separately applied: Grimy Flat Black first to bring up details throughout the building, Roof Red to generally add a hint of color to foundation and ever so light touches to shutters and shadow areas under eaves and dormer, Vermont Green mixed with Pullman Green to give a subtle impression of moss on shake roof tiles, Pullman Green lightly applied throughout building for another color to add depth plus added to shadow areas and chimneys, lastly Grimy Flat Black to give uneven streaks to roof and chimney caps plus dirty up the window frames.

Before dry brushing:

After dry brushing:

Siding: Weathering is an individual thing and the amount is often times based on preference, two techniques for MBZ weathering are this companies painting kits and technique as well as traditional dry brush, but other techniques can be used included rubbing dry pigments into the paper and sealing with a light spritz of matte lacquer, literally blowing a puff in the air and walking the building into the mist, do not directly spray the building! Explore explore explore and remember to have fun!

Siding: If you have invested a small fortune in the premium railroad paints made by Polly Scale, Railroad Colors, Modelmaster Testors with the small glass bottle and metal cap here is something of value to mention. Eventually your water based paint will spill over the sides and cement the cap on, run the whole bottle under hot water for several minutes and the cap will free up!

Part 2 Bahnhof Dammtor build kit: Marklin 89793

Supplementing the Marklin Bahnhof Dammtor station kit is 89793 for the bridges and arcades and the prototypical presentation of the station and its elevated rails.

Overall 89793 is a good kit and far easier to assemble than the station kit, but it has two shortcomings due to relative incompleteness. First the arcades and shops provided are not enough to complete both sides of the approach, if you look at the marketing photos and compare them to the actual kit it is finished on one side only. Buying two kits will provide the missing parts and double your budget or you can limit access to that side of the layout which would otherwise spoil the illusion. The station kit provides detailing on both sides, why not this supplementary kit? Also the surface of the approach is unfinished as it is also with the station, but this is understandable, each of us will have our preferences on this topic, but the manufacturer could help with some guidance.

There are a series of parts tinted green (part #32) of a decorative nature that are illustrated in the instructions steps M + N. After researching this part of the Bahnhof Dammtor I was able to locate a photograph of the arcades with these decorative embellishments, they are used along the edges of the track approach each separated by masonry blocks. As can be deduced the kit does not include these sections instead the kit is designed for these sections to be glued together in a continuous line-up.

A busy web of traffic skirts around the station in Hamburg, whether you incorporate the prototypical roadways and markings or opt for a reduction of intersecting traffic patterns is up to you. In the prototype the four bridges cross over roadway on one end of the station before the four tracks reduce to two leading away from the station. On the opposite end of the station I believe the approach is less specific and a continuation of the same gradient of earthen construction. As more is learned I will post updates. Any helpful guidance from first hand witnesses is greatly appreciated as is always the case here at

Instructions and parts make this a very good kit to go along with the station kit, my only word of caution is to hold off positioning/cementing the bridges until the track placement leading out of the station is determined, there is not much wriggle room for track orientation over the bridges so fine tuning is only possible if the bridges can be easily adjusted during installation on the layout.

Notes on instruction manual: Step I shows bridge supports constructed of 12 layers, but only 11 layers correctly comprise this assembly. Step J shows two large masonry columns in this step use the two beige ones. Step K shows two large masonry columns in this step use the two remaining ones which in this case will be red brick. Also part 73 needs to be trimmed, I found it to be too long. Before gluing this part match it up and see if you agree!

Detailing including architecture and bridges is stellar with this kit, the time consuming part is gluing the bridge supports onto the side of each one, this part of the construction seems endless, but it provides necessary detailing that would be missed without these parts. Plus the walkway and railing need these supports to be in place. Note: railings attach to the outside of supports/walkway. Also kudos to the manufacturer for including and designing parts that won’t be seen including bridge underlay girding!

Note: my kit included one parts sheet that was not cleanly but by the laser, in this case carefully help the cut with a new 9mm razor blade, don’t force the parts out of the sheet because the fine brick etchings will easily tear.

Siding: stay tuned and on the lookout for my next posts covering the following topics: MBZ build kits, laser cut kits: a comparison by various manufacturers, and glues for laser cut kits.

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.

Repair Notes: Marklin 88992 Swiss class A3/5 express locomotive

Marklin 88992

Marklin 81035

Note: photo 1 depicts the 88992 loco and tender in Marklin’s original marketing literature, photos 2 and 3 depict the train set 81035. The original Marklin photograph varies greatly from the actual loco: paint finish not as glossy, side rods not as dark and wheel/spoke design more typical of other steam locos produced by Marklin in ‘Z’.


A ‘One Time Series’ locomotive from 2005 is the Swiss Federal Railways A 3/5 express locomotive based on the 4 cylinder compound prototype from Era II. Marklin released the locomotive with tender as item number 88992, they also released the train set 81035 in 2007 with this loco and tender plus 3 coaches called by Marklin “The Old Timer Train” in celebration of 125 years of the Gotthard Line. Both items are very hard to find for sale, but if you model Swiss trains and find one it might be of interest for your railroad. Having the luck to find one might come with some disappointment with running performance ‘out of the box’ which is the topic of this post. I own both the train set and the loco, each was purchased new, but the loco is a recent acquisition, it arrived with working headlamps and ‘HOS’ (hardened oil syndrome). The locomotive was dead on arrival which also indicated it was never run and the original Marklin oil was dried up. Marklin oil over time dries out, it acts like glue in this condition. Does it always happen? No! Marklin may have varied the oil used during assembly so sometimes there is HOS and sometimes no evidence of HOS with older locomotives.

More than likely 88992 will have HOS, one dealer I have seen is selling the locomotive with replaced wheel sets leading me to believe the original was traded out because it was mucked up, thus making it easier to trade out the chassis than making this rather tricky repair.

Removing HOS from this loco presents a few problems that are easily overcome with those with experience. First the loco has to be fully taken apart including un-soldering the leads to remove motor. The leads will spring away from motor which is easy at this stage but more difficult when re-soldering later in the repair. The problem which is relatively unique for this loco design are two gears that are attached directly to the frame, they are not easy to remove, but they don’t need to be removed. The gears in my loco were solidly stuck in place, I used ‘Original Windex’ (blue) and applied it with a dropper to both gears. Eventually the mild solvent loosened the gears that I worked back and forth with a toothpick until they were freely moving. At this point I dropped a few more drips of Windex and let the frame sit. When the Windex appeared to be dry I reattached the motor and ran it with a fresh oiling with synthetic plastic compatible ‘Z’ gauge lite oil. At this point the loco can be reassembled and tested on the track.

In summary: 2 frame mounted gears frozen in place by old dried oil will more than likely be the cause of this loco not working, removing the hardened oil will bring success!

Siding: If your headlamp works but the motor is silent chances are you have HOS, overly testing the loco in this condition will do no good for the motor.

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.