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A Tiny Solution For Modellers Struggling For Space

A Tiny Solution For Modellers Struggling For Space

In this article, we take a look at one possible solution for railway modellers who are struggling for space for a layout. Many times you’ll of heard or even said, I would love to have a model railway, but I just don’t have space or room for one. This rings true for many folks who may live in smaller or shared properties. A solution to this conundrum could be for example is to look at using our micro baseboards, such as the BB018, BB021 & the BB017, BB023. With these baseboards, they are designed to go in either the Really Useful Box Co plastic storage boxes, 23L & 77L respectively. These baseboards allow you to build a small micro end to end layout in such scales as OO, N, OO9 & possibly even in O gauge!!  

 However, if want a layout with a continuous run, then this is where modelling in the smaller scales such as Z or T gauge comes into play. The one we’ll look at today is the basic starter set from T-Gauge. T-Gauge for those of you that may have never seen or heard of it, is currently the worlds smallest scale model railway which is 1:450 Scale. Developed by Eishindo in Japan, & established by Alan Ramsay Model Makers based in Edinburgh, Scotland  in 2008. Since 2008, the T-Gauge range is steadily growing wth a mix of Japanesse trains, North American trains, German ICE high speed train & some British trains. The latest loco release due out is the British class 08 diesel shunter & a 0-4-0 steam locomotive in development. 

There is a range of starter sets & track sets, as well as add on items of rolling stock & scenic items available too. The set we’re looking at today is the cheapest one in the range BR Class 67 EWS Starter Train Set [R-132/67].  T Gauge an be powered by 3 X AAA Batteries, or 3 X AA Batteries or AC Mains Adaptor or power can be taken from your PC or Laptop through the USB Cable. If using the battery powered option, that means it’s truly portable & not being tied up to using mains power!!

Se lets now take a look at what comes the box of the starter set. BR Class 67 EWS Starter Train Set [R-132/67].

The starter set comes in a small box, which had me wondering could it really contain all the parts shown on the rear label of the box on this basic starter set? 




The contents of the box are as follows:

  • An oval of track which comprises of 16 pieces of track with makes up a 132.5mm oval loop of Track (Space needed 278mm by 397mm)
  • A T gauge EWS class 67 locomotive
  • A power cable pre-fitted with plug to fit into the controller & track power connector
  • Track Lubricating Oil Pen
  • Fine grade sanding sheet
  • A handheld battery-powered controller
  • A credit card-sized magnifyer

Batteries are not included, so you’ll need 3 x AAA batteries. At the time of ordering, you have a choice of different coloured battery-powered hand controllers to choose from. The Class 67 Locomotive supplied will be numbered from one of the following either 67001, 67003, 67007 or 67030. The one we received is locomotive 67030.

The photo opposite shows the loco supplied in its wee box.




The box contains a battery-powered hand controller & power cable.




The track oil cleaning pen.




A bag of 16 track sections which include four straight sections, & twelve curved track sections ( 132.5mm curved radius) & also a sanding/emery sheet for cleaning track & wheels.



And finally, a credit card-sized magnifier card to help see all the tiny details.



Track Assembly

The track is of metal steel type rails mounted on a plastic moulded ballasted trackbed. Each track section contains pre-fitted rail joiners & built-in connector snap click track bed joiners. The trackbed could be easily painted & weathered as well as the side of the rails to give a more realistic look. T-Gauge also does a traditional flexi track for you to create your own curved radius track, just like Peco flexi track.

In the photo opposite right, can be seen a close up of the track ends showing the pre-fitted rail joiners & built-in connector lugs.



On a flat surface, carefully align up the rail ends with the rail joiners. If you’ve got the rail ends correctly aligned up then the trackbed connecting lugs should also align up correctly.



Holding one track section, carefully push the other track section towards it until you hear or feel the track bed end connecting lugs click into place.



Repeat the process & fit the rest of the track sections together. Additional track can also be bought & added to expand upon the basic oval, which includes: Flexi track, different radius curved track, different lengths of straight track, points (switches) both motorised & manually operated type.

In the photo opposite right, shows the supplied track in the set assembled.



Now unbox the handheld battery-powered controller & power cable from the box. The power cable has a red plug at one end (for the controller) & at the other end is the grey track power clip.


Turn the controller over. You’ll see a small screw on the back. Unscrew the screw & remove the battery box cover. Insert three AAA batteries (use good quality batteries or use rechargeables) as indicated by the symbols inside each battery bay.

Refit the battery cover & retighten the battery cover retaining screw.


Plugin the track power cable into the socket on the front of the controller as shown in the photo opposite right. Please note there is a recessed slot on the plug, this goes nearest to the side with the slider switch.


The power cable inserted & connected into the controller.


We now need to connect to the power lead to the track. One straight track section will have a recessed slot under the rails, this is the power track which the lead needs to be connected into.


Now slide the power clip fully home into the recess under the track, so that both brass contacts touch & make contact with the underside of both rails.


Carefully alight the track power clip into the recess on the power track section. The two brass contacts need to be facing upwards.


Carefully unbox the loco & place it on the track. You may need the supplied magnifier to see & double-check that all wheels are sitting correctly upon the track.

The loco has a form of magnatraction, which helps give it grip & adhesion for hauling trains. I found that it was fairly easy to place such a tiny loco onto the track without any problems.

Though the set doesn’t come supplied with any wagons or coaches, these can be bought in single packs & multi-packs. See the T-Gauge website for further details.


Now as with all new locos, it’s recommended to run them in for at least one hour in both directions at slow to medium speeds without hauling anything. This gives chance for the mechanisms, gears, etc to bed in properly.

In the short video clip can be seen this very tiny class 67 during running in. In the interest of battery life on the battery-powered controller, I ran the loco for around six & a half hours straight. At the end of the running session, the batteries were still going strong. The batteries I’m using are Duracell rechargeables. So using good quality batteries should give you a good length of time for a running session.  Once I’ve bought some additional rolling stock for the loco, I’ll conduct another long-running session test with fully charged batteries as a comparison.

The next job will be to design a track plan & build a T gauge layout. 


The following two videos filmed in 2010 & 2011, show some more T gauge items in action including a brass loco kit of the prototype Deltic to whet your appetite. 



For those of you that run your layouts on DCC, a DCC decoder to fit inside T gauge locos is also available!! Something we’ll take a look at later this year. So if lack of space is an issue, then T gauge could be the way to go for you with creating a layout in a small space.

I’d like to thank Chris Bower for supplying this amazing bit of miniature model railways.


Happy modelling.


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