Smooth Running of Trains

Electronic Track Cleaning

I have now installed a Gaugemaster electronic track cleaner within the control panel of the Innsdorf layout, described in my latest video. Hopefully this, along with the use of live-fog points and careful laying of track, will keep my trains running sweetly. I’ll let you know in a year or two!

Taking the OHLE Over the Baseboard Join

A real problem with portable layouts, as Innsdorf station section is intended to be, is how you deal with joins in the baseboards. I never link the running rails over joins but simply align them very carefully when laying the track and then butt them up whenever the layout is erected – so far I have had no problems. Occasionally temperature or humidity may cause shift outside the tolerance of the small wheels in HOm gauge, but very slight levering with a terminal screwdriver fixes within seconds.

Hiding the scenic gap is more of a challenge: the usual line of hedging looking a bit obvious. At Innsdorf the gap is in town and passes between buildings, but it is hard to hide where it crosses an access road – I just have to hope that here is enough interest in the vicinity to take the eye away from the line across the road.

The biggest issue with this layout was the overhead line equipment: just how would I take the overhead wires across the gap and still allow the pantographs of the trains to follow them? I decided straight away that a gantry would have to be placed immediately beside the baseboard join on one board: the catenary and the conductor wire on that side were soldered into place on the insulator and the registration arm in the usual way according to Sommerfeldt’s instruction manual. On the other side I assembled the equipment in the usual way but left the catenary a millimetre over length so that it can be curved ever so slightly and popped into the insulator eye without being soldered, and the conductor, which normally hooks under the registration arm and is then soldered, was just left hooked and not soldered. Careful placing is required, but it does work and when properly set up there is no problem taking electric trains across the baseboard join.


When I set up the cableway system and few weeks ago I noticed that some of the cars had been built wrongly (it was second-hand) and the step was on the wrong side. Not only was this unrealistic (although it took me weeks to notice it, so I doubt anyone else would have!) but it interfered with the smooth running of the system as the step caught the gear at either end, so I had to correct it.

The pylon on top of each car is moulded in one piece with the roof, so the task was to remove the roof, rotate through a semi-circle and fix back on – but this took time and care as the roofs were well-fixed down with a plastic solvent. I got there in the end, and although the roofs do show some scars from the conflict this will not be too obvious once they have their covering of snow! While the roofs were off I took the opportunity to add more passengers together with skis etc to the cars that had been modified, so the cableway no longer has just one passenger per car without luggage.

Published by Mark Warrick

amateur photographer | railway modeller | rail travel blogger

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