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HOe Alpine Steam Rack Railway

20659 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  John
Hi Guys, thought I had better start this thread as I am new to the site and coming back into railway modeling after a long absence.


Basically this is what I have in mind. A Modular Continental style HOe Rack Railway with an end to end operation, running up a mountain side with a terminus station at both ends, a small town station at the bottom and a summit station at the top, in between space permitting will be passing loops with water stops(thats for the locos on the way up and not the passingers LOL) and hopefully a half way station with a passing loop too.


These came from seeing picture of various alpine railways in the net and of course The Snowdon Mountain Railway in North Wales.

Dreams meet reality.

Fist off all space or the lack of it, I think the answer will be to build a bookcase baseboard and have the track climb from shelf to shelf, the whole thing will need to be made out of plywood and be modular for transportation. to make it interesting the landscape will change with altitude, town and meadows on the lower levels , tree line , grass & rocks , then the snow line begins with the summit station at the top etc

Rolling stock

Well guess what, nobody and I mean nobody seems to do what I want !!!!!

So I will have to come to a compromise here, the rack rail stays!!!! It looks like I will be using Flieshman N gauge Rack track, as their the only ones making it.


By far my biggest headache, this is where my modeling licence come to play, So OK I cant have a 0-4--2T Rack Steam Loco as seen on the BRB, so next best option , well after looking my favorite is Roco's 0-6-8 Private narrow gauge Loco. Ok its not racked and its valve gear is all wrong for mountain work, but it will have to do for now. I might raise the body up at the rear to give the right impression
and at least it has nice valve gear on it,
I cant seem to post a pic of it on here


After looking at whats running for real and whats available for us modellers I think its going to be some sort of open ended carriage, it need to have plenty of windows, Bemo do some nice stuff in HOm but of course it looks like I am going to have to go for older coaching stock, either use fleishman , Roco, or Bemo, I haven't made my mind up yet.


This will ascend the mountain side and use a series of tight S bends , the curves will be level and the inclines will be on the straight lengths, with a few minor twists etc to make it interesting.
I think the if I get it right each climbing section should be inter chageable , even if it means having the curves in separate bookcase ends that slot into the middle sections like this I-I

The scenery buildings etc will be straight forward and I will cross that bridge later when I have to,

This is just an Idea at the moment, but I will probably start getting the plywood, and some track soon,
The Roco Loco will have to wait until next month as its not cheap, they never are! LOL
as for power and control, I'm not sure what to do, I want to keep things simple , but do I need DCC on this layout, I would like to eventually run several locos up and down it , but I think it might be nicer just to use insulfrog points and isolate sections

Well guys what do you think?

any ideas suggestions?
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I imagine you're after something like this:

Brienz-Rothorn Bahn (click here for larger image - 2MB)

More images here. And plan of the SLM 0-4-2RT loco here.

You're after the locos with special-angled boilers like in Wales and Switzerland.

As I've said elsewhere, I haven't seen any HOe rack locos. But I have seen these nice looking HOe locos:

More info here.

Bemo make these rack locos in HOm:

The Glacier Express (a favorite of Dennis)

Bemo track:

More info here.

To give you some more inspiration:

Brienz-Rothorn Bahn (click here for larger image)
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yep Doug those are the phots that I have been downloading too, and then some! LOL

this is the loco I was thinking of using its one of rocos HOe models

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It's so good to see a few people with similar pleasures to mine.
Some of those pictures send wave upon wave of magical memories rippling through me.

I remember a time, long long ago, when I would look at such pics and they seemed so unreal, so picture post-card like, that they just couldn't be taken seriously. I woud take a glance and then pass on, to the more familiar and mundane.

But then came a time when I actually visited some of these Alpine vistas in person. I walked, I drove, I travelled on trains and STILL it seemed unreal - even IN the picture, a part of it myself, still it felt I must be living in a dream . . . I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
I have to do it again some day.
My first ZRB, (Zahn Rad Bahn - rack trip was up The PilatusBahn, just a few kms from beautiful Luzern
With a max 48% slope, this is the steepest rack railway in the world and standard cogs on top of rack-rail won't work - it is so steep that the cogs jump out of the rack!

So the ingenious Swiss came up with this Locher Rack.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Orthodox points won't work with this system and the vehicles are bodily shifted by special rotary switches or traversers to negotiate passing loops. Hard to model, but I bet someone has done it!

More from Wikipedia/Pilatus

That trip was pure magic.
A real paddle steamer from Luzern to Alpnachstad, (but you can take a train or drive), rack railway to the top of Pilatus Kulm (the peak), wine and lunch and revel in the amazing mountain/lake views, return down the other side via Frakmuntegg using panoramic overhead gondola and tiny cable-cars to Kriens followed by a trolley ride back to Luzern. Other ways down Pilatus are, walking, mountain biking, paragliding, wheeled toboggan, snow sledge, snow-kart. Absolutely fantastic and no exaggeration! Even better than the trip up the mighty Jungfrau. There are many others, but I can't see this one ever being surpassed for sheer unadulterated pleasure.
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Wonderful subject.

Can we have more please?

Home snaps, tales, links, pictures, anything!

Happy modelling
I haved found this little number from Tillig its £106.00 and available from International models here in the UK, Tillig dont sell direct. and again its not geared for Rack rail, but it does look the part and with a bit of re modeling could look convincing
In the meantime I've gone an ordered a Fleishmann DB Magic Train set. As that loco looks like somthing I'm after although its Oe scale I like it.

International Models, Tillig 0-6-0T class 99
>better than mighty Jungfrau
It must be good then! My wife and I really enjoyed our tramp round the glacier to Monchsjochhutte (12,000ft) on the day we went up Jungfrau. ~0C in mid July.

Rocco HOe Gauge 0-6-0T "Anna*

just wondering if anyone has spotted this version of Rocos little O-6-Ot Loco in any of the shops websites. I prefer to get my hands on this version with a stove pipe chimneyrather than the lina which has a spark arrestor type chimney


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I've now found that a Switz company H R F, but there not in prodution yetbut here are the links to the pre production models, one of the photos is of a prototype, these little beauties will not be cheap when there released going by the prices of there other products, So it looks like I will be doing my first layout with flieshmann magic train rolling stock in Oe scale for the forseable future because of the cost involved.

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These models look great. What scale are they?

Please keep us updated with your progress.
The H-R-F models shown are all HOe scale 1:87 running on N gauge Track.
H-R-F do lots of stuff from HO, HOm and HOe

I have managed to get hold of an Fleishmann N Guage Rack Electric Loco (Edelwiess) off E-Bay,, this shold do for a chasis, I will be using Flieshmans N guage rack track and have got half a dozen lenghs for the climb, it looks like I will be using normal peco N guage sectionsfor the points and on ant level sections such as stations, engine shed sections etc

Now here comes the fun part, I got hold of the three types of ERTYL Thomas the tank, montain engines , Culdee, Godred & Lord Harry, stipped them down, ,stripped the paint off them and removed those smug little faces with a grinder for the rear section , the smoke box is just a plastic button, so it just popped of, i then used filller the fill in the recess, and sanded down, , inside the diecast body I have remove most of the excess metal , with a dremmel miniture angle grinder,this bit is the most challenging up to now, I now have to find a way to mate these bodies with the Flieshman chassis.

I will keep you posted of any develpments as and when they happen.

cheers all

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I've just picked up a box of Fleischmann rack & pinion track myself as well as three Edelweiss coaches. I'll pick up a locomotive a little later this summer. Not sure whether I really nead a digital version since this is on a separate track from my mainline.
Hi there,

A company called Ferrotrain also produce rack railway equipment in HO scale though I think it uses its own 10.5mm gauge track. Their website is at Ferrotrain, then select Zahnradbahn. A fellow member of my club, the Edinburgh and Lothians, built a layout using this equipment and was quite happy with it. I believe that it is/was available in the UK from Winco.

Thank you so much Spreewald for that information, I have just E Mailed them for info & prices etc, I was just going to buy Rocos Lina with Lilliput Red zitterlabahn coaches, hoping to convert the loco with a Flieshmann N guage rack loco chassis I have, I was also looking at the possiblilty of using Parkside Dundas OO9 coach kits and converting those for mountain use ie a guard compartment ant the frount of each coach
Rhanks again, I will let you know what the outcome is, its all down to how much it costs
Spreewald? Is your name based upon the woods East of Berlin? Lovely area that. Was there during a local Gurke Festival a few years back.
I saw your HOe Alpine Steam Rack railway, and thought I would add my "two penneth".

Ferrotrain is a two-person company based in Wien (Vienna) who specialise in short runs of very high-quality narrow-gauge items. They're not cheap, but given the workmanship, they're very good value. The locomotives that the owner produces are from the Austrian Schneebergbahn and the Schafbergbahn, and are similar, though not identical. The models will work on or off the rack, and will operate on Fleischmann HOe track. The original locos were built in the 1870s in Austria, so they're not identical to the Swiss loco you wish to make, but they are quite close.

I'm a member of the Austria Railway Group, and we have a (large) website at We have at least one member with a rack section on his model.
For people with a broadband connection, there are a series of short clips showing rack trains on the Schneebergbahn, at the bottom of
I hope you've progressing with your rack line - mine is still in a big box!
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Thanks for the info and advice guys, I had already E-Mailed FerroTrains , they sent me several PDF files with the info on, of course its all in german
, but I managed to gleam enough info out of it all, they are indeed very nice and i will eventually built a layout , but what I have decided to do for now is put it on hold,
There are various reasons, cost per unit, the gauge is 10.4 mm and the track they use is flexi with only "Y" points, so it limited me to what I wanted to do. Also right now my space is limited, the layout would have to be permanent and i just don't have the space now, trying to work out the gradient as well as the radius in such a small space was testing my skills right now as were basically talking of building a 3D layout rather than a normal 2D .
One thing that I was glad to here was that you mentioned that the rolling stock runs on Flieshmann HOe track, do you mean the 9mm N gauge rack flexitrack, ?,
If so that would make my life a lot easier planing a layout, I already have enough Peco to make a double track on a 3' X2' board, and have 5 sections of the rack track. anyway the main thing that put this on hold was that I wanted to get a layout up and running as quickly as I can with the space available and get rolling stock.
I started last Autum getting Brit OO GWR , ended up with 2 pannier tanks and 5 Clestory coaches and a few goods wagons, knocked a 4'X4' board together, then realized that this was too small for what I wanted to do. Scratched my head, etc, then saw what Hornby and Bachmann had brought out since I was last into railway modeling (about 15 years ago) I was then doing modern image stuff and was in the process of building a layout on the loft, this was then i was before the divorce, I never managed to salvage my rolling stock or track etc , my son ended up with it all. (lucky boy!!!)
I now want to have a delve into the modern post privitisation era, and the largest layout I can build at present is an 8'X4' board which can be stowed away when not being used etc. anyhow there are loads of questions I want to ask about what I want to do
and will post separate posts in the OO/HO section
, I am grateful for the help and info that I have had about my HOe project even though its on hold right now, but I am determined to get it done once my circumstances change
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