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Professional Rail Transport Modeling with Push-Pull Trains and Helper Locomotives in HO Scale - Video by Pilentum Television about rail transport modeling, trains, model railroading, railway modelling, model railways and model railroads

This model train video is about a large private model railroad layout in Germany. On the contrary to many other miniature worlds, which are presented on Pilentum’s Channel, this layout is a historically correct scale model of the “Spessart Ramp”. The “Spessart” is a range of low wooded mountains in Germany. The highest elevation is at approximately 600 meters above ground. So the “Spessart Ramp” is a railroad line with one end higher than the other.

For trains crossing the “Spessart Region”, the ramp enabled the difference in height to be overcome. The original railroad line was opened in October 1854 by the Royal Bavarian State Railways. In keeping with the philosophy for railroad construction at that time, it was decided that the way to cope with large differences in height was the construction of a relatively short, steep section of railroad lines. Furthermore, it was decided, to haul trains up the incline with the aid of pusher engines.

A bank engine or banking engine or helper engine, colloquially known as a “banker” in Great Britain and Australia or as a “pusher engine” in the United States, is a locomotive that temporarily assists a train that requires additional power or traction to climb a gradient. Sometimes those locomotive-hauled trains are named “push-pull trains”, especially a long one, may have a locomotive on both ends so that there is always one locomotive pushing and one locomotive pulling.

The helper or pusher locomotive would be brought up behind the last car of the train. When the train no longer required assistance, the helper or pusher locomotive would slow, then reverse and coast back down the grade to its siding at the bottom of the grade. In Germany, from 1854 to 2017 those push-pull trains were used between the city of Laufach in the valley and the “Schwarzkopftunnel” at the top of the mountain.

The pusher locomotives are positioned at the rear of the train, in which case they also protected against wagons or coaches breaking away from the train and running back downhill. However, on the model railroad layout miniature trains arrive at the large station. Then they wait until one of four available helper locomotives ranks behind the train. Together - with the locomotives pulling and pushing - the train departs. The entire operating procedure on this HO scale layout is fully automatic. Trains and locomotives are automatically controlled by the computer (DCC).


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