Model trains and model railroading


Sometimes even crystallographers who play with drug molecules all day need to unwind. One of the more creative ways is to build a model railroad.

This blog page contains a few useful tips and ideas for other modelers. 

Places to look at:

Phosphobrunz   Phosphor Bronze Sheet/Strip, 6 x 3 inches, 0.005 thick (5 mil 0.127 mm), spring temper 510 alloy. Hard to get this thin and in small batches!  This material is brand new stock as used by us in scientific instrument manufacturing. Ideal for making current pickups or pickup shoes for modelGo to Store trains, etching of detailed structures where brass is too soft or fragile, metal model scratch building, will not corrode like brass. Availabe from my online shop.

A fun little project ('KLEIN-Project') for a single evening -  make one of the famous 14-window Sdbahn passenger cars out of two Kleinbahn 10-window Ci Stadtbahnwagen. Instructions in German or English. The model is available through my e-bay store by email pre-order only (specify color - green, brown, both - and weathering  - rust, soot, both). Big Image. Click to order by email. Paypal required.

Tam Valley Railroad  

Duncan McRee's Tam Valley Depot makes excellent servo decoders for switches and frog polarizers for DCC model railroads. Buy his electonic gadgets and see his railroad. Duncan was also a crystallographer until he decided to do something more useful in his life. People who only play with molecules are weird.

The venerable Kleinbahn OEBB Rh 93 1D1 tender locomotive (2-8-2) can be modified to the D (0-8-0) shunting locomotive Rh 392 which has the same engine, steering and drive train. Left, right, front, back, and the comparison of the two models. MSE kits are available here. Something odd happened - the shell bent over time up at the cabin - perhaps bad bonding/bad glue. Load-balanced Lenz Silver DCC decoder of course, runs excellent.   



This web applet is useful if you have a model railroad and some legacy DCC decoders that do not have direct long address entry of 4-digit decoder addresses. It calculates the register representation (bytes) for CV 17 and CV 18 for extended 4-digit addresses.



Klein Modellbahn in Austria (practically out of business now) manufactured a highly detailed locomotive and car models of the Austrian federal railroad (BB) and neighboring countries. The first super model from Ing. Klein was the Reihe 170 of the kkStB, a 1D n2 steam locomotive with tender, later by the BB designated as Reihe 56. The highly successful original was designed by the famous Austrian locomotive designer Karl Glsdorf in 1897, and more than 1000 were built in Europe. The model is equally excellent, but the early ones have one significant problem: there are no electric pickups in the motorized tender, and due to un-sprung axles in the stiff locomotive frame, the engine stalls easily on switches and over uneven or dirty track. This is particularly bad for DCC operation. The article (English or Austrian) describes a simple solution to the problem by installing a Lenz Gold Series decoder with a Power Module. Watch the locomotive conquer a 7-8 inch long paper strip without stalling.


Modellbahn Rainer in Innsbruck is one of the largest and best stocked model train shops in Austria. Through my corporation I can import models at extremely competitive prices. Please email me for quotes.


Tony's Train Exchange is my top supplier for all DCC system components. His Lenz prices cannot be beaten even by European distributors.