Abendstern Nebenbahn – Overview

Abendstern is a H0 scale model railway I am building. The events and locations are a  “could have been” in Germany……. as I write this the Iron curtain has evolved into its full avatar and the Cold War is at its peak. It is the 70s and steam is also giving way to diesels. We […]

Train to Patalpani

In 1870, His Highness the Maharajah of Indore, Sawai Tukojirao Holkar the Second, offered a loan of £10 million sterling for the construction of a railway line to his capital city of Indore. A quick survey was made and Khandwa on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway main line line was chosen as the junction point. […]

Shekhawati Express

Rajasthan is the very essence of India. It’s impregnable forts and magnificent palaces, rise up imperiously from the desert landscape like fairy-tale mirages of a bygone era. And as enchanting as that maybe , there is more to Rajasthan than its seemingly timeless wonders.  For thru it runs one of the last few meter gauge […]

Gotthard Dampfspektakel

A new signaling system on the Gotthard Base tunnel route  will soon prevent the use of non ETCS signalling system equipped trains on the approaches to Erstfeld and Biasca. This was then as a good a time as any to stage a steam locomotive event touted as one of the last steam runs on the […]

Abendstern Computer Control

Model railroading in India is not a popular hobby and to put together a group of operators is next to impossible … I tried and failed miserably !  Abendstern was thus planned ground-up with computer controlled operations and the single operator in mind…

Abendstern DCC setup

Wiring for DCC has always been a complex subject especially if one requires automatic operations and signaling as well. I carefully planned the DCC installation for Abendstern, breaking it into bite sized chunks so that installation and future troubleshooting would both be easy to do…

The Hochschwarzwald Model Railway

Dieter Bertelsmann’s fabulous Hochschwarzwald model railway represents the Höllental Railway, or the Hell valley railway, which lies in the Black Forest in South Western Germany. The line runs between Freiburg and Donaueschingen. A branch line between Kappel-Gutachbrücke and Bonndorf, with a reversing station at Lenzkirch is also modeled. This has to be one of the […]


The key to a successful model railway layout is reliable trackwork. An operating session goes pear shaped very quickly in case of derailments and stalls and with the intention of eliminating these pitfalls I planned & installed the trackwork for Abendstern……..

Dampfspektakel 2014

Dampfspektakel 2014 was held around the town of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany between the 28th of May and 1st of June.The event featured as many as 10 steam locomotives, a couple of diesels and appropriate rolling stock. Having missed the previous event in 2010 in the Eifel, I was certainly not going to […]


High on my rail-fan bucket list was a visit to Sandaoling. Sandaoling lies in Xinjiang province in North West China and it’s claim to fame is that it is one of the last places operating steam locomotives in an industrial setting. Changes are happening fast at Sandaoling and before the operation is a shadow of […]

Upper Class to Sheopur kalan

The Indian Railways has many narrow gauge lines which were built during the British Rule, the relics of the Raj. Some of the more well known ones are the Kalka Simla Railway and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. A lesser known narrow gauge line is the one which runs from Gwalior to Sheopur kalan in the […]

Chemins de fer du Kaeserberg

This 1:87 scale model is a result of seventeen years of effort by Marc Antiglio, a noted Swiss civil engineer. The model represents three railways , the Swiss railways – SBB, the Rhatische Bahn – RhB and the imaginary Kaeserberg Bahn or Chemins de fer du Kaeserberg – KBB/CFK.

Layout Lighting

Lighting the layout room is an often neglected area as most model railroaders want to get started with the actual building of the layout….. rather than waste time and effort on something which does not reap immediate dividends. However, I decided to dwell a bit on the lighting of the layout and I feel my […]

The Franklin and South Manchester Gallery 2

From my earlier post on the Franklin and South Manchester, most visitors already know about the good fortune i had to chance upon a visit to the this fabulous layout built by George Sellios. Normally, photography is banned but luckily when  I visited the ban had been lifted temporarily and i took full advantage of […]

IRFCA 2014

The 9th Indian Railways Fan Club Association, IRFCA for short is holding it’s annual convention in the beautiful Nilgiri mountains and in the town of Ooty…..


Dreimuhlentalbahn – or the Valley of three mills railway was build by Dutchman, Jacq Damen. The layout gets it’s name from the three mills which border the two ends of the layout  and is set somewhere in middle Europe. It was primarily build for exhibition purposes and  I personally have seen it at Cologne Modellbahn […]

Benchwork, Fascia and Valance

Abendsterns bench work was completed more than three years ago, much before this blog came into existence, and therefore I have no pics of actual construction. However, I will attempt to recreate the process of bench work erection thru some illustrations since the entire bench work was planned on 3rdplanit along with the track plan.

Hoosac Valley

As part of the FineScale model railroader expo 2013 layout tour , i found myself at Dick Elwell’s Hoosac Valley model railroad in Adams Massachusetts in the US.

The Franklin & South Manchester

Earlier this month , i had the privilege to visit the Franklin & south Manchester model railroad in Peabody, Ma. USA. Any model railroader worth his salt is well aware of this model railroad and the staggering amount of effort and patience which must have gone into it’s building. There is no doubt that George […]

The Finescale Model Railroader Expo 2013

I have been waiting to visit the Model Railroader Expo for two years now, considering I had to bail out from the one held in Peabody,Mass. in 2011. It seemed unlikely that I would make it this time either but fortune favours the brave and I decided to make a dash for it ……

Fremo meet – desi style

I became a member of  FREMO  and visited one of their meets way back in April of 2011. I was asked the question on at least 3 or 4 occasions whether there was a FREMO group in India and I scoffed at the suggestion and dismissed the idea as one would, the most improbable or […]

wiring the modules

I always enjoy wiring up a model railway layout and back myself to do a neat & clean install , duly documented and labeled to a high extent so as to make future trouble shooting easy. The Fremo staging yard modules presented the perfect opportunity to further hone my wiring skills …..

Switzerland sept 2013

A business trip had come up to Fort Myers in Florida, USofA and i thought what better opportunity than this to do a bit of rail fanning in Switzerland on the way back…….

Gotthard Footplate – Erstfeld to Goeschenen

Whilst in Switzerland, i got the chance to footplate on a Re460 Lok 2000 from Arth Goldau to Locarno. Those familiar with the line will know, this is the famous Gotthard line which spirals thru the Reuss valley and the Gotthard tunnel onwards to Italy . Here is an edited version of the ride from […]


Earlier this month an opportunity to visit Switzerland presented itself on the way back from a business trip to the USofA……A very popular railfanning spot is at Wassen , in the canton of Uri , about a hour and a half drive south from Zurich….Below is a edited video of some of the sights on […]

loco remotor and sound project

One rainy Saturday afternoon my buddy and partner in crime , RDX – Ranjeev Dubey turns up with a HOe narrow gauge diesel loco in tow . He very nonchalantly says that he has totalled the motor in it and now wants to re-motor it . While we are it he also wants to add […]

alignment module

While i was constructing the staging yard module it occurred to me that it would be handy to also build a master alignment module. Others who were building similar modules could then carry home with them and align their module end track to this master alignment module . This would then ensure that all the […]

track across modules

Now that the points were installed , we come to probably the trickiest part of the whole FREMO staging yard build………How do we get the track across the module joints ? Maintaining horizontal and vertical alignment was key. One also needed to ensure the track did not move or rip out during the erection/dismantling phases……..

Kottavalasa Kirandul KK Line

Way back in March of 2004 , Bharat Vohra and I decided to visit the KK Line – Kotavalasa to Kirandul….. Even though we took the trip more than 9 years ago , the memories are etched firmly and it seems like yesterday …

modellbahn messe koln nov 2012

The 29th Modellbahn messe -Model train fair was held at the Koln Messe between the 22nd and 25th of November,2012 . I have been a regular visitor here and this was my fourth time to the Messe . Koln is a very tourist friendly city and besides the messe there is a lot of other […]

warley 2012 model railway exhibition

The Warley 2012 model railway show is an annual event and is held at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham , UK . Located right next to Birmingham International Airport and having many hotels on site it is a easy venue to access. This year saw the 25th anniversary of the exhibition at the NEC. […]

points and tortoises install

My previous layout had about 80 points all fired by solenoids switch machines from Peco and Hornby. In retrospect they were quite difficult to install involving a lot of ugly cutting and jigsawing …….. Post installation they did not always operate reliably resulting in a lot of misfires. I was using a computer software – […]

Kadee 309 install

Now that the modules were ready and the cork in place , i thought it best to install the Kadee 309 electromagnets first up, since at this stage there are no tracks to interfere in the process which i intended to use…..

cork install

One of the issues which really bothers me , and probably plagues other model railroaders is how to transfer the track plan accurately to the wood or sub base of the layout , or in my case the modules . What i have been doing of late is to engrave and cut the track plan […]

Amazing train videos

Here is a collection of some crazy train related videos out there on the internet ……

module construction

One of the first steps towards the building of the modules was the procurement of the FREMO module end plates and the adoption of their standards . I joined FREMO in April 2011 when i had visited their Jahrestagung – Annual meet in Schutterwald near Offenburg, Germany. For the uninitiated , FREMO stands for “Freundeskreis […]

ESU Loksound Locos

Was just reviewing my collection of locos and couldn’t help but wonder how far model railway technology has come …. The new Engineering Edition locomotives from ESU – a german manufacturer – based in Ulm, southern Germany – surely pushes this envelope …..i have not thoroughly tested the loks in real world layout conditions but […]

modular staging yard initial plans

In August of 2012  a few friends of mine got together and  decided to form  a modular railway club. The theme would be loosely based on Indian Railways as not many people have done that successfully and it was a itch everybody wanted to scratch . While i myself am not too inclined towards Indian […]

blog intro

Well , this blog/website has been a while coming and is in fact my second attempt at it , the first having failed miserably!! I was dependent on someone else to do the backscene work for me and that probably spelt doom in the first instance. This time around i managed setup the domain and […]