Friday 14 December 2012

New Photos of Al Fisher's Amazing Marklin HO Layout!

Our long-time customer Al Fisher just sent us some amazing new photos of his large Marklin C-track layout and they are stunning.  For earlier views of the layout and Al's layout track plansee his other galleries on our main photo gallery page. With the photos Al reminded us "pretty cool...remembering that all this merchandise came from Euro Rail Hobbies!!!".  What we think is even cooler is that Al had never built a model railroad before he started on this layout. It is a great demonstration of how the products we sell can allow any level of experience to create a photo-worthy layout.

For a larger view of each image you can click the 'full-screen' icon in the bottom right of the gallery.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

2013 Marklin HO Museum Wagon Pictures

The first preview of the 2013 Marklin HO Museum Wagon has surfaced.  The set 'appears' to be based on the Albrecht Braun Stone/Concrete company from Lonsee. Founded in 1875 the company was honoured by the Wurttemberg crown, hence the crest on the wagon. It includes a lidded wagon and a truck with what looks to be a concrete block or stone load.  Once we have the final details from Marklin we will update this post.  Usually the Marklin Museum Wagons are only available to visitors to the Marklin Museum/World of Experience but we are generally able to bring in limited quantities into our store.  Stay tuned for availability and pricing as details emerge.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Building an N-Scale Layout - Risers and Sub-Roadbed

Risers and roadbed over the staging area
With the helix complete on my N-scale layout it was time to start putting in the risers and sub-roadbed for the main line up to the Hauptbahnhof level.  For the most part the risers supporting the sub-roadbed will be the same lightweight SPF 1x4 wood that the layout frame is made of. For stability they are all screwed into the main layout frame where possible.  Over the lower staging yard, I used risers at the front and back of the layout and then added 'bridge' pieces over the yard to provide the best access to the trains in staging.  Along the back of the layout I used tall support rises that would be approximately the final height of the branch line track.  Some may have to be carefully trimmed later on but it is easier to cut off than graft additional height on.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Watch the Real DB work on the Bahnhof Plattling Webcam

The holiday season has kept us busy so we have not had a lot of time for posting here lately but we did want to take a break to share one of our favorite websites. Years ago we posted on our Latest News page about the web cam which was located in the cab of an SBB Re460 electric locomotive in tourism advertising.  That cam seems to still be active but the site has fallen into a bit of disrepair.

This year we have been following the webcam at Plattling Bahnhof on which overlooks Bahnhof Plattling in Lower Bavaria.  First opened in 1860, Bahnhof Plattling is the hub for a number of lines and sees a wide mix of passenger and freight traffic.  Perched high above the main station area and updating every few seconds, the webcam allows you to watch the shunting moves and passing trains at all hours of the day.  The time difference and short daylight hours this time of year can make viewing daylight images a rare sight (and snow occasionally blocks the lens) but the camera works surprisingly well at night and you can always browse the archive gallery.

And if you enjoy the cam please consider sending a small donation to the firm who hosts and maintains the camera so it can continue to operate.

Thursday 22 November 2012

2013 Insider Model News from Marklin/Trix/LGB

Marklin, Trix and LGB have all announced the new Insider & Profi Club models for 2013 at the Modellbahnmesse in Cologne. Full English details will follow shortly on our store website but here is a sneak preview of the new models. Click any of the images for a larger view!

Marklin & Trix HO - BR 58 Steam Locomotive (ALL NEW tooling! a set of matching freight wagons will be available)
Marklin Z - V200.0 with F-Zug train set
Minitrix N scale - BR 18 612 Steam Locomotive with Sound, Smoke & Cab Lighting
LGB G Scale - Feldschloesschen Beer Car

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Product Feature - Noch Laser Cut Minis for HO and N

Some of the most popular elements of our store layouts, both on our Noch pre-formed layouts in HO and N and our Karl Gebele built display layout, are the finely detailed plants and vegetation. Many of these details are created from the Laser Cut Minis line from Noch.  First launched in 2009, these amazing products won a Product of the Year award from Eisenbahnmagazin for Model Railroad Scenery that year and are one of our best sellers for scenery products.

Made from blends of tear-proof paper and cardstock and easily affixed with a drop of white glue, Laser Cut Minis can add a level of detail not previously available to any HO, TT or N scale layout.  Add amazing flower boxes and vegetable gardens to your towns and reeds, ferns, and lilypads to riverbanks and woods. Noch has recently expanded the line to include small laser cut structures such as a bee-keepers hutch, a railroad signal box, a bus-top as well as non-vegetation details such as patio slabs, lumber, marker posts and more!  Click here to see all the Noch Laser Cut Minis on our store website. We stock the full line!

Click the image for a larger view

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Product Spotlight - Our New Noch HO "Tannau" Display Layout

We recently received a new addition to our store - a brand new factory-built Noch HO Tannau layout.  We will be bringing the layout to the Trains 2012 show this weekend (November 10th and 11th, 2012) in Burnaby BC along with a completed N-scale Noch Traunstein layout so if you are in town, stop by and say hi!

If you can't make it this weekend here are a few photos of the Tannau layout, finished with Noch laster-cut structures and accessories (click any photo for a larger view). This is one on Noch's newest pre-formed layouts and is a great way to get started in HO scale without needing a lot of space. 

Friday 2 November 2012

Product Spotlight - ESU SwitchPilot Servo Accessory Decoder

We have just posted a new video to our YouTube channel taking a look at the ESU 51802 SwitchPilot Servo accessory decoder.  Small, inexpensive servo motors are the ideal choice for all sorts of layout animation and motion.  They are also a particularly good turnout or switch motor when combined with a digital decoder such as the SwitchPilot Servo.  They allow you to throw the turnouts on your layout with a realistic slow speed similar to much more expensive stall motor switch machines.  With a bit of ingenuity, you can create a servo linkage to control just about any element of a model railroad from various scales and sizes of turnouts to animation such as adding opening doors to an engine shed or controlling road crossing barriers.  The ESU 51800 standard Switchpilot accessory decoder also comes with two servo outputs in addition to it four standard outputs, making it ideal if you already own motors for your turnouts but want to experiment with servos as well!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Come visit us at the TRAINS 2012 show November 10th & 11th

Trains 2012 Model Railroad Show
November 10th and 11th, 10am to 4pm
Cameron Recreation Center
9523 Cameron Street, Burnaby, BC

We will be there with lots of product and a NEW Display from the NOCH company featuring their new preformed layout "Tannau" fully finished running the Marklin Digital system as well as a completed N-scale "Traunstein" Noch layout. Show organizers have brought many new layouts this year and there is something for all of the family to enjoy (including the popular Lego train layout).

Setting up more than 30 feet of layouts and product at last year's Trains 2011 show

Building an N-Scale Layout - The Helix

The nearly finished helix constructed
of Gatorboard and Kato Unitrack.
The lowest level on my new layout is a 10-track staging yard and I wanted to ensure that I had great access to the trains there in case of problems and for any maintenance such as track cleaning. Some quick testing led me to realize that I would need at least 6 or 7 inches of clearance above the staging yard and below other track levels to ensure I could reach the tracks at the back of the yard once the layout was complete.  The smaller size of the layout meant that I would not be able to gain that height without using a helix.

Friday 12 October 2012

Building an N-Scale Layout - Staging Construction

Laying out the tracks onto the Gatorboard sub-roadbed.
Once the staging yard plans were finalized, it was time to get started on laying some track!  The first step was to lay down sheets of the 1/2 inch Gatorboard which would form the sub-roadbed. I then laid out the actual track on top of the Gatorboard and used a pencil to mark any cuts required. 

Thursday 11 October 2012

Customer Layout - A Noch HO Preformed Layout in Florida

We brought in this Noch HO scale preformed layout earlier this year for Dan Rudolph of Florida and he and his wife have done a fantastic job building and detailing it.  The model railroad is a great example of the fun and detail that can be had with a Noch preformed layout in a small space, even using Marklin HO scale track and trains.  The Noch layout shown is the 81710 Schönmühlen Layout and can be built in either HO or N scale (or TT but no track plans are provided by Noch).  We try to keep a number of Noch N/Z preformed layout in stock at all times. Due to the large size we usually do not keep many HO layouts in stock but can order in any layout as needed. 

Want to see a Noch layout in person? If you are in the Vancouver area for November 10th and 11th, come see us at the Trains 2012 show in Burnaby, BC.  We will be bringing completed Noch HO 'Tannau'  (Marklin digital) and N-scale 'Traunstein' layouts with us to the show!

Click above to see the layout video on YouTube
Updated: We got in touch with Dan and he graciously allowed us to post some of his photos of his layout as well. Click on the full-screen icon in the lower right of the window below for a larger view.

Friday 5 October 2012

Building an N-Scale Layout - Staging Yard Design

The old layout & staging yard (on the right)
With the benchwork built for my new N-scale layout the next challenge was to decide on how I could add more staging to the new layout.  For those unfamiliar with the term, staging or a staging yard (schattenbahnhof in German) refers to a set of tracks (usually hidden) where trains can disappear off the visible areas of a layout. Depending on how you plan to run or operate your layout, staging can represent 'the rest of the world' - destinations for the trains that you do not have the space or scope to model, or it can simply be a place to store trains on the layout until you want to run them again.  In my case, staging will be a bit of everything - my rough plan was to have staging yards at each end of the main line, allowing trains to disappear off the layout and not immediately return running in the opposite direction, adding a sense of real railway operations when running trains.  My staging will also be a place to store a number of trains so I can have a wide variety of trains running and ensuring I am not always transferring rolling stock to and from my display shelves.

Monday 1 October 2012

Building a N-Scale Layout - Lightweight Sub-Roadbed

If you have been following my layout posts so far, you know I want to keep my layout modules lightweight. I have been loath to go the usual route and use heavy plywood as sub-roadbed. Even lightweight (and very pricy) aircraft plywood can add a lot of weight to a layout very quickly. I considered using blue home insulation foam as sub-roadbed but it is flexible and fragile enough that it only works well laid directly onto a wood frame or tabletop and the thickness can make it awakward with hidden track and multiple levels. Insulation foam is still a fantastic material for a model railroad and I am sure I will be using some for scenery work at a later stage.

Sub-roadbed refers to the base foundation for your track. At its most basic, it can be a sheet of plywood on a simple frame. For more complex layouts it refers to the supporting platforms which the track is laid onto. 

Friday 28 September 2012

Product Feature - Viessmann E-motion Series

We have just received a new 23 minute (!) long video from Viessmann demonstrating the full line of eMotion products as well as the HO scale Plasser & Theurer Stopfexpress 09-3X track maintenance car with its animated ballast tampers.  This is an amazing product line and has been one our best-sellers since it launched. Figures range from firemen to farmers to chickens and a rearing horse, and other products include fountains, railroad water cranes, a children's see-saw and even a helicopter with moving blades. Like the Faller Car System, these products allow you to add animation and movement to your layout beyond your trains. They are also a guaranteed highlight if you have children or other visitors to your layout.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Building a N-Scale Layout – Stable Benchwork

For any model railroad, a stable, well thought out foundation is extremely important.  I found this out the hard way when I rushed into using something new on my last N-scale layout. I made some snap decisions building the foundation of the layout that in part led to me tearing up that layout and starting anew. 

I wanted to ensure that my layout could be disassembled and moved without being destroyed so the benchwork needed to be built in modules and be as lightweight and easy to move as possible. I decided to keep the roughly the same dimensions as the last layout (L-shaped approx 10x7 feet) as it worked well in the room and I also wanted to reuse the old staging yard (along one wall) if possible. I decided on dividing the layout into three modules, one 6x3 foot and two roughly 4x3. There are many resources on the internet and books that cover benchwork construction so I am not going to get into detail but I will highlight a couple of the techniques I used help make my benchwork work for me.

Monday 24 September 2012

Product Feature - The Viessmann 09-3x Stopfexpress Rail Stabilizer in HO Scale

Available now in our store!
This has to be one of the more exciting products we have seen in the store this year. The Viessmann 2906x series are detailed and animated scale models of the Plasser & Theurer 09-3x Stopfexpress modern track stabilizer. This track maintance car aligns rail and tamps and levels track & ballast in one continuous operation. The prototype can be found on modern railways around the world.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Building a N-Scale Layout – Beginning to plan...

Before I even made the decision to tear down my previous N scale layout I drew up a quick list of elements the layout must have or improve on and others that were not as important to me. This is a great way to get a lot of ideas and layout elements down on paper and help focus the planning of a layout. Keep in mind that these are only my personal preferences based on my likes, dislikes and experiences so far. Everyone is going to have different elements they want to emphasize on a layout and others that are not as important to them.

iPhone & iPad Apps for European Model Railroaders - PART TWO

The Apple app store for iOS devices is full of useful items for model railroaders. Here are a few more of our favorites. Click on the titles of each app to go to the Apple app store.


One of the trickiest bits of layout building is getting grades and inclines correct. This is where Clinometer comes in. It uses the iPhone's built-in gyroscopes to become an accurate inclinometer to measure percentage grade. There are plenty of other apps that work as carpenter's levels or inclinometers but we like this one as it was the only one we found that displays grade as a percentage, which is the measurement model railroaders often use. This app works best with the newer iphones which have one perfectly flat side so you can leave the phone on your grade to measure it without having to hold it in place.

Friday 7 September 2012

Our HO Store Layout

Our latest HO scale store display layout came to us in early 2010 after touring European train shows and the German Toy Fair for 2 years with Brawa. The layout was built in Germany by well-known modeler Karl Gebel as an automated display layout for Brawa. Two trains can run automatically using a combination of Digital Command Control (DCC), reed switches, relays & signals.

Thursday 6 September 2012

iPhone & iPad Apps for European Model Railroaders - PART ONE

With the impending arrival of the Roco Z21 digital system and its tablet based control system we thought we would take a look at some other model railroading related apps for those who own an Apple iPad or iPhone (we will try to cover Android apps at a later date). Click on the titles of each app to go to the Apple app store.


SEPTEMBER 2012 ONLY:  To promote the app, VGB has made all 2010 back issues and some special issues of the magazines available for FREE during September 2012. 


Free app with in-app purchases
Bahn_Kiosk is the free mobile app from VGB, the distribution group for MIBA, Eisenbahn Journal and Modelleisenbahner magazines.  The app lets you purchase and read the monthly magazines as well as special issues and other books and publications right on your iOS device. This is a great way to get access to the latest German model railroading publications without have to pay for an expensive overseas subscription. While the magazines are in german, the app is localized for a  english so non-german speakers will still be able to find their way around the app.  All the publications have a preview of the cover, table of contents, and first few pages you can download without cost. The digital magazines cannot be transferred off your device but the app does support printing from iOS.

Using ESU Switchpilots for bi-polar Switch Machines

ESU 51800 Switchpilot
One of our favorite products is the ESU Switchpilot line of accessory DCC/Motorola decoders. The basic ESU Switchpilot (ESU # 51800) can control 4 twin-coil switch machines or 8 electrical loads such as lights, uncoupling tracks etc.  It also comes with two connections for controlling servo motors (which can be used for animation or throwing turnouts). The Switchpilot Servo (ESU # 51820) is the all-servo version of the Switchpilot decoder with only 4 servo connections.  Both versions offer a wealth of programming options that let you completely customize the way the decoders operate. We don't know of any other accessory decoders that feature the wide range of control and customization that the Switchpilot offers.  Additionally ESU also produces the optional Switchpilot Extension (ESU # 51801) which adds 4 twin relay outputs linked to the Switchpilot/Switchpilot Servo 4 main outputs.  These relays are great for isolating electrical loads, polarizing turnout frogs, or any other wiring situation you may encounter.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Building a N-Scale Layout – The old layout and lessons learned

The Old Layout Track Plan
Early this summer I decided I was not happy with my previous n-scale layout. A move to a new home forced me to disassemble my previous small layout (it would not fit down a hallway into the new space I had for a layout).  I was eager to get something built again and rushed into planning and building a new layout.  In our house I have a 12 x 9 foot room available to me but it is down a hallway with an awkward tight corner.  I didn’t want the layout to be ‘trapped’ in the train room so I decided to build an L-shaped layout made up of 3 modules that could be taken apart so the layout could leave the room if needed.

Marklin's Visit to Euro Rail Hobbies

We are  often having customers comment on this video when they discover it on our YouTube Channel so we thought it would be a good idea to feature it here as well!

Back in 2007 we were very fortunate to have Hagen von Ortlof and his team here in Vancouver to film for that year's "A Year with Marklin" DVD (distributed to all Marklin Insider Club members). The video includes a glimpse of our store and some of the beautiful scenery of British Columbia as well as interviews with Walter Menzel and his son Taylor, and a look at Walter's large Marklin HO layout under construction. Walter's layout features backdrops hand painted by his friend, artist Peter Bomhard (Insider Club members can see a feature on Peter on the Marklin TV episode 52 found on the Marklin club web site.) Enjoy!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Product Feature – Trix Wheel Cleaners in HO / N

Most model railroaders are aware of the need for clean track to keep your trains running. Stalling & lurching locomotives can be one of the most frustrating aspects of the hobby, particularly with today’s digital sound-equipped locomotives.  One factor in smooth running that is often forgotten about is cleaning locomotive wheels. Having pristine track is not going to help if your locomotive is running on ‘tires’ of dirt and grime that are preventing the electricity and DCC signal from reaching the decoder and motor.   The fact that most European models in N and HO come equipped with rubber traction tires on some driving wheels means keeping the remaining pickup wheels clean is doubly important.

The best tool we have found for cleaning locomotive wheels is the TRIX wheel cleaner brush.  Available in N scale and HO (not for Marklin AC, sorry), the Trix wheel cleaner is compact to store and does not need any messy fluids or disposable cleaning pads.  Simply place the wheel cleaner on your track and track power is transferred to a pair of narrow ‘brushes’ (made of soft brass wire). Holding your locomotive pickup/driving wheels gently on the brushes while the power is applied and wheels are turning will gently scrub the grime from the surface of the wheels. 

The flexible bristles of the brushes are very effective at making sure the entire wheel surface is clean, something that can be difficult to achieve with hand cleaning or other tools.  For longer or fragile, hard to hold locomotives, multiple cleaners can be easily be connected together to create one longer wheel cleaner.

You can buy the Trix 66602 HO and Minitrix 66623 N scale wheel cleaners on our store’s main web site. Add one to you next order!

 - Chris C.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Something new...

Welcome to the Euro Rail Hobbies and More blog, the latest addition to our web site. For those of you finding us for the first time through this blog, we are one of the largest dealers of European Model Railroad products outside of Germany. We stock Marklin, Trix, Roco, Fleischmann, Brawa and many more manufacturers, large and small. Located just outside Vancouver, Canada, we have served customers around the world through our retail store and online storefront at since 1989.

Check in often as we have plans to cover a range of topics here including some modelling tips and tricks, some product overviews and reviews, and some customer's work on a 10 x 7 foot N-scale layout set in southern Germany during Era III/IV. Hopefully you will find some of what we post here informative and useful for you own hobby, and of course, feel free to comment on our posts and share your opinions and knowledge.

Chris, Euro Rail Hobbies & More webmaster