One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

Published on February 18, 2024

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

We know that the most popular scale of model railways in the world is HO scale. It is a rail transport modelling scale using a 1/87 scale. However, we also know that model railroading is still possible in much smaller scales. Some railway modellers have concentrated on N scale (1/160) and some model railroaders have entered miniature worlds in Z scale (1/220). In recent years, a much smaller scale for model trains has emerged, namely T gauge (1/450 or 1/480). All over the world, there are experts and real masters who are building model rail layouts in this tiny scale.

Therefore Martin Kaselis, a railway enthusiast from Australia, presents his tiny world of T gauge model trains in this video. The special feature of his model railway is not only the small scale, but also the highly technical drive system of the model trains, which is based on electromagnetic induction. His model train layout is called “Malmsbury”. Malmsbury is a minor station, about 100 km north of Melbourne, Australia. It has some local fame due to the nearby viaduct, called the “Malmsbury Railway Viaduct”, which although small by European standards is the largest masonry viaduct in Australia.

The line was constructed in the 1860s and was the only country line in Australia built to British mainline standards. Malmsbury station has one platform. It is served by Bendigo line between Bendigo, Epsom, Eaglehawk and Southern Cross. On the weekend, Malmsbury station is served by Echuca line trains in both directions between Echuca and Southern Cross. Finally, one weekday and one weekend Malmsbury station is served by Swan Hill line trains.

The model railway layout built by Martin Kaselis is 6 feet by 2 feet (approximately 1.8 m x 0.6 m) and modelled in T gauge (1/480 scale). It is a fairly accurate representation of the location, with the station and viaduct fitting with no compression. The original landscape and the model rail layout are almost identical.

Google Earth

Source: Satellite image by Google Earth

The chosen time period on Martin’s model train layout is around 1960 at the end of steam, on the Victorian Railways (VR). Some of the trains are from slightly earlier or later periods. The tiny scale allows for much more scenery than normal, and the goal was to show a narrow ribbon of track running through a wide landscape.

The track plan is a simple double track oval with half the track hidden behind the backscene. It is a fully automated exhibition layout, with eight trains taking their turn in the scenic section. All the trains and structures are 3D printed on a basic Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer in thermoplastic polymer ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). By the way, FDM is also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). Furthermore, the 3D printed model trains contain printed paper sides for the carriage and wagon details.

Instead of conventional propulsion, the model trains are driven by a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) motor. For all those who are not familiar with this technology, it should be mentioned that the PCB serves as the motor components’ mechanical structure, electrical connection and housing. This technology operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction, where the interaction between the rotor and stator magnetic fields generates rotational motion.

Using a PCB linear motor system to propel small scale model trains and other vehicles offers a very different set of capabilities and possibilities than conventional drive systems. The technology is proving to be very effective for those models in T gauge, avoiding the usual problems of unreliable mechanisms and poor electrical pickup between the rails and wheels.

The track is built from sections that are electronic circuit boards with many small coils of wire. Martin’s model trains are basically just lumps of plastic with modern neodymium magnets on the underside. Self-adhesive label paper with suitable artwork provides a smooth running surface and a better appearance than the bare track. The coils are wired as three interleaved sets, and as each set is powered in turn all the vehicles move along by a fixed distance.

This approach of using PCB linear motors has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional propulsion. The main benefits are that there are no problems with dirty track or wheels, reliability is excellent, it allows low speeds and long trains, and automation is very easy. The main drawbacks are that there are no wheels or rails so the models just slide along a flat surface, the motion is slightly jerky, trains cannot pass too close to one another due to their powerful magnets, and the electrics get complicated when turnouts are added.

One disadvantage for Pilentum’s viewers is that buzzing and humming sound generated by the trains and by the PCB linear motor system. Yes, it is a bizarre sound. Because the sound is annoying on the one hand, but absolutely authentic on the other, Pilentum decided to dub the sound of the video partly with music. You have to know, the combination of track and train makes an electric motor with a lot of very loose, rattling parts. The volume drops suddenly as the visible train advances because several other trains are repositioning themselves behind the backscene at the fiddle yard. When they reach their correct places, only the train at the front continues to move. However, there is still that buzzing and humming sound in the video.


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One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j83ugLhde_Q

Picture Gallery

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis

One of the Smallest T Gauge Model Railway Layouts with Self-Propelled Model Trains by Martin Kaselis



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