Hans’ HO tri-express model railroad

“Hi, Al I am in the midst of creating a fantasy model railroad, built a few in my earlier life, 84 years old now and again starting modelling, like the creation of it, letting my mind working things out, have a look at how far I have come for now.

My name is Hans-Juergen and I live in Edmonton,Alberta,Canada.

Also would like to thank you for all the e-mails. It is always with anticipation to open your e mail.

My layout is HO gauge, Trix-express system. Very old and now, only available from Maerklin.

The rolling stock is out of circulation, especially the coaches are rare now, I think.

I try to keep expenses to the minimal. Seem to find a lot of useful items here and there, always see items and wonder if I could use them somehow. The back concrete arches are made from door protectors for Automobile shipments.

Some of the trees, like Elm and Lombardi poplars are made from weed seed pods etc.

Fences are made from mesh and the post are pins one gets buying a shirt.Terrain is made mixing wallpaper glue powder with insulation material.The resulting paste is used to create berms and such.

Balsawood is used to build overpasses, of course lots of stuff is bought in hobby shops. This report will be the it for now, till I will have gone ahead with more model construction.

Best wishes to all modellers.

Hans”

A huge thanks to Hans. Loved his layout. And only 84 years young too. Hans touched on so many things I love about this hobby.

So here’s my call to my arms: are you still sitting on the armchair, reading, and musing that one day, you too, will start on your layout?

So many are. And sadly, so many don’t.

So take the first step with the Beginner’s Guide.

Ah – but hang on, I would say that wouldn’t I?

After all, I’m a tad biased, and I make no secret of that (thankfully the Hall of Fame members all give it their stamp of approval).

So what else what can we do? Another great first step is any of the ‘print out’ scenery buildings – like the viaduct for example.

Again, I’m biased, but here’s the thing: you can feel the enthusiasm in Hans’ write up, and I know you can see the enthusiasm in any of John’s ‘how to’ videos, so what about you?

Right now – this very minute – is the perfect time to take that first step. Come and join the club! Doing and tinkering is a lot more fun than just watching.

To be honest, their are a lot down sides to running this blog. Once it started to grow, costs grew, and you need rhino skin to fend off all the bitter twisted folk that have you in their sights (some of the emails I get are really not nice at all).

But do you know what makes it all worth while?

Waking up and getting emails like Han’s in your inbox. And he’s 84 years young too.

That’s all this time folks.

Keep ’em coming.

And please don’t forget this is nearly the last day to grab the deal on the new print out scenery. John did a stunning job as usual – what’s more, it’s right anyone following my little blog can grab everything half price too.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here – and still going strong.

55 responses to “Hans’ HO tri-express model railroad”

  1. Ernest M Kraus says:

    Perhaps there is something wrong with my 82 year old eyes I see what looks like Gargraves 3 rail track, which is what I aused on building mt railroad. It Then switches to 2 rail. I did not know that HO was ever 3 rail.

  2. John Reynolds says:

    Very nice layout…
    Well presented…
    A real pleasure to look at…
    John Reynolds
    California

  3. Eddie says:

    Hi Hans,

    It is guys like you that give me inspiration your layout looks fantastic. The concrete arches are amazing. It just shows you that a little thought and imagination can do.
    And I thought I was too old to start at 67…. You put me to shame.

    Well Done

    Eddie from Scotland

  4. john worrall says:

    one of the best layouts i,ve ever looked at would love to see more of his work

  5. Roy says:

    Very impressive layout. Makes me feel totally inadequate at 70 (and a bit – a little bit). Must get back to mine asap.

  6. NJ Mark says:

    Hans, Your layout is fantastic! The scenery is well done and your repurposing of materials is ingenious! Keep those trains rolling! Cheers! NJ Mark

  7. Hugh Centerville says:

    People write nasty comments to a website dedicated to model railroading? That’s so pathetic it’s almost funny. P.S., I’m a month into my first railroad, amazed at the progress and having a ball. I’m retired and live in snow country and it’s a fun way to pass the winter.

  8. KERRY HELTON says:

    NICE.

  9. Eric says:

    Very nice layout Hans, looks good too with the road weaving through it and like the way you have used cast offs to keep down the costs. Plenty of detail throughout, very well done sir.
    Eric (Leeds) UK.

  10. Perry says:

    Very nicely done layout. I never knew there was ever 3 rail HO. The sieniery is well done. I liked the way it is layout.

  11. Jim O'Brien says:

    Very nice!

  12. John savory says:

    After a recent visit to miniature world In hamburg which was awesome.I think they would appreciate this gentleman’s skill and knowledge.

  13. Danny says:

    Hans layout is the best I have ever seen in my life and I’m 65 years old!!!!!! Congratulations Hans well done!!!!!!

  14. Lawrence says:

    Beautiful I say. Mine are still in boxes from a move and hope to start putting together a layout within a month.

  15. Peter P says:

    Hi Al
    The poor folks who criticise you only do so because they have very low levels of positive vibes.
    In the end, positive people always win over the negatives.
    Long live the power of positive thought, and good on you for your efforts to promote a great hobby.

  16. Cary says:

    Great layout Hans! Love the scenery and vegetation. I think I detect that you are VW enthusiast. So am I. Great photos, thanks for sharing. Cary in Kentucky

  17. Harvey Stunkart says:

    There’s always someone out there that think it is childs play,i have had my share of comments bad more than good, like do u still play with your toys,or your choo-choo twains and the like,even had a couple of gentleman wanting to play with my layout just so they can destroy as much as possible just to get a good laugh,. anyway keep up the good work i personally enjoy all the video’s and still pictures and my all time favorite is dangerous dave even tho i am not in his class I still get alot of good idea’s for building’s track layment etc.
    as i have said KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK,you are more appreciated than u think.

  18. Dave says:

    I never cease to be amazed by what can be accomplished with a little imagination and persistence. Hats off to Hans and his great looking layout, what an inspiration!

  19. Ron Schultz says:

    first i have ever seen 3 rail HO track . Nice job .

  20. Robert Shuman says:

    Dear Al,
    First off, I would like to say what a terrific job you do with this website. It’s always inspiring (gets me off my bum) and challenges me with new ideas. It’s exciting to get your emails and it seems like a lot of other folks feel the same way. So again THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GREAT WORK!
    But secondly, I’m shocked and dismayed to see that some emails you get are not nice. Bitter and twisted? What the hell goes on?? I thought (probably my little flawed mind) that this hobby was the one place where one might escape the negative & twisted individuals. Don’t let it get to you! I hope us happily crazy folks (I speak for myself) give you enough support brush off the bad and gather with the glad to enjoy and share this wonderful hobby. Keep up the great work.
    Rob S. from the US
    Laurita Winery, New Egypt, NJ

  21. James Maitland says:

    Outstanding layout. We could use you at the B & O 1:1 or several scale models.

  22. Chris Rohrer says:

    Seeing Hans layout brings back a lot of memories for me. I still have some Trix Express 3 rail stock (and track), but I’ve not run it for 30 years. I do in fact have 3 generations of track from bakelite, through fibre to the plastic track featured in his layout. The advantages were that you could run 2 trains on the same piece of track (3 if you had overhead equipment). There was also a british variant caled Trix Twin using th same track which was my first set when I was only 18 months old (and not allowed to play with it 🙁 ). This was an advantage compared to 2 rail and Maerklin and Hornby Dublo 3 rail where you could only run 1 train in a section (2 with overhead). Where does Hans get his equipment from these days?

  23. Paul O says:

    Hans, excellent work on your layout!
    I got a kick out of one of the pictures; an errant piece of curve track.
    You check your layout; all looks good; take a photo; publish it; realize that extra piece of track is there that you missed. 🙂
    Been there, done that.

    Keep up the good work!

    Paul O

  24. Bob Gevert says:

    Wonderful job!!! I’m 70 and started my UP layout 3 years ago and am still in the desert with it!! Your an inspiration to get me moving agin!! Thank you again,Hans!!
    Thanks to you too Al!!

  25. Barry Hespenhide says:

    Han,s
    Your lay out is awesome, really great ideas. WOW
    Barry

  26. David R. McClelland says:

    Wow! I will be 68 next week and I hope I can still be having fun with trains at Hans’ age. Very nicely done. Keep up the good work.

    Conductor Dave
    Dayton, Ohio

  27. Brian says:

    3 rail HO? This is a first more me, I’d never heard of, and I’ve been off-and-on since 1978. Anyway, very nice layout.

  28. Lee Hirsch says:

    Great job! Your artistic work is wonderful. You are an inspiration to the rest of us who are participateing in this multifaceted hobby. I am 67 working in N. It is a little slow going due to poor eyesite but my grandsons are a big help now. Al, I usually find that jealousy is the basis for most criticism, so I just ignore it. Lee

  29. Dr. Bob says:

    I applaud you sir! I have so many patients that are well into their 70s and 80s who think life is all about them and they do nothing all day. I encourage them to enjoy hobbies, simple sports, walking, hiking, etc. Some sort of exercise to stimulate their mind and body. Personally, your thoughts and perspective into model railroading are key to mental stability and sustainability. I have also enjoyed the three rail system in HO through Marklin while in the service assigned overseas, And your right, very old but adequate and yet still available. If you don’t mind, I would like to share your enthusiasm with some of my patients who are willing to step out of their ‘comfort zone’ and into a hobby like model railroading.

  30. It looks like O gauge, not HO… Nice layout…

  31. Cary B says:

    The layout is awesome Hans. Hoping I have your energy when I’m 84. Please keep all updated with your continued progress.

    Cary B

  32. Alastaire,

    I love the contributions made by regulars and newcomers, whether it is photos and descriptions or comments. This is my favorite website and I always look forward to the next email. Didn’t you mention last year that you were adding two more people to the Hall of Fame , , ,or is my memory faulty. It their is a vote, I want to suggest John for his amazingly insightful and hilarious teaching videos. He is so clear and funny that I feel inspired and amused at the same time. Loved the viaduct and street materials for old buildings. Beautiful!!

    BTW, if odd people have time on their hands to make unkind, petty remarks in order to feel superior to anonymous others on the planet, they are poor in spirit and truly down in their souls. So sad for them!!

  33. Robert Easley says:

    Love your work I have some old Hornsby triang 3 rail. A lot of it in pretty poor condition. I would really love to bring it back and have a set like yours. Once again I love your work.

  34. Doug Tanzer says:

    Wow 0 great set up and all yours – that’s what I like individuals who dare to create their own set ups without sticking to protocols. Hope I am still playing with my trains when I am 84 – well done

  35. Dave Massimi says:

    Hans…Well done!
    Cannot imagine anyone having reason to make negative comments unless they’re jealous of your creativity and the fun you’re having!
    I hope you enjoy your trains for a LONG time!

  36. Al Letting says:

    What size is your layout in feet?

  37. Ben Dickmann says:

    I was so impressed that I shared the pics with my wife. She agreed with my very positive reaction. I’m feeling pretty spry about now. Al is correct. Eighty-four years young is the new fifty-four. I just attended the funeral of my aunt last fall. She would have been 107 in November 2016. Her husband was a railroad engineer and we had great stories to tell about the days of steam power. Indeed! Eighty-four is merely a mark of wisdom. Thanks to Al and Hans from Illinois, USA. We, here in the “Colonies”, DO love and respect those in Great Britain. Your railroads are so fascinating as so well exhibited by Hans.. I wish you were just a train ride away.

  38. Don Field says:

    Could you find me more of the history of 3 rail HO systems & what years they were made & who made them I’ve been around quite a while and I for one have never heard of them. To me this a fascinating bit of history. For what its worth I like to attend a Model train auction at Arcadia Masonic hall in Arcadia, California, USA & I’ll see if I can find him some more equipment if he wants.

  39. Chris Fishburn says:

    Well done young fella

  40. Ian Campbell says:

    I get what you mean about the concrete arches.

    Yeah, there’s a VW or two out there. LD

    Hals und Beinbruch!

    Ian, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

  41. Mike ( South Australia) says:

    G’day Al, mate I wouldn’t worry about idiots who want to bag you and complain, they are not worth worrying about.
    I think you do a bl***y good job with what you do and it is thanks to people like you that there are a lot of very happy modellers enjoying this hobby.Keep up the good work mate and don’t let the idiots get to you.
    To Hans, I just hope that I can do as great a job on my layout when I get to your age … FANTASTIC
    Mike in Australia

  42. Rod Mackay says:

    Ah, that takes me back, we did a show once in Bochum and another British layout appearing there was by a Trix Twin collector who was single-handed so we would send one chap over to give him a break now and then, there were the three trains on one loop on different controllers, with another two circuits crossing each other and using working features such as a non-stop load and drop-off system, I think it was for wooden logs or something, so plenty of potential for trouble and knock-on effects, you had to have eyes in the back of your head to watch it all, and every time something happened – such as the log wagon derailing and fouling the main line – it was like a juggling act to get everything running again and missing each other. Fun for an hour but boy were we glad when the owner came back from lunch!
    Rod

  43. Jim says:

    Just another example of something unique and different and very impressive. I too have never seen three rail HO. Wow. Great stuff.

    Jim

  44. What a fantastic layout. I like the way you have used British and Continental buildings in the layout. Like the way the roadway snakes through between the tracks. Keep up the good work.
    Gordon Taylor (Scotland) UK

  45. David says:

    HI Hans
    Brilliant work wish i could build like that. hope to see more.
    HI Al
    your work is much appreciated,ignore negative comments heard them my self, man playing with toy trains etc. long may you keep up the good hard work you do.

  46. Soren Lippert says:

    Hi Al and all you other fellow railway modellers!
    Al, I’m so glad for your running this blog – allways looking forward to each new installment. And Hans: you have succeded in making a very charming layout in the best possible re-use and creative spirit. I am impressed! A few words on H0 three-rail. In Germany Märklin’s three rail system has been very popular since I had my first train set (Denmark in the 1950’es). At that time the centre rail was solid and a little above the true railhead. The system is AC with the power on the centre rail and 0 (return) on both regular rails. The ballast was in those days made of a thin, embossed iron plate, the rail sections being called M-track. Later Märklin introduced centre studs for the power supply (less visible) and plastic ballast base for the track. Now the studs came below the top of the rail (even less visible), but still AC. I have just started rebuilding a layout with this system (incl digital control). The photo shows my first attempt at true scratchbuilding.
    ***
    Out of an elongated cardboard box an engine shed is starting to emerge. Note the track with plastic ballast (which needs hiding inside the shed) and the little central studs for power supply. The loco is an inexpensive Märklin “fantasy model” loosely based on early european branch line steam engines.
    SorenES

  47. Ron Nelson says:

    Al forget about neg remarks I look forward to your posts everytime. As for Hans nice work as he is having a great time at 85 which I will be in about 3 months. after Lionel, HO, G guage now n scale and at 3 mos shy of 85 I am still having a great time. Keep up the great posts. Ron from sunny Florida

  48. Paul Schwartz says:

    Beautiful layout! Congratulations on your fine work!
    Al, I’m sorry about the trolls that sent stupid stuff to you. For what it’s worth, yours is the only website I follow and read all the way through. Those who send the twisted comments are people that can’t or won’t do the great work you do.
    I’m from the Chicago area (called the “Midwest”, even though we’re only 1/3 of the way from the east coast on the way to California). Anyway I really enjoy the various accents and posts from all over the world. Your website not only brings model train enthusiasts together, but also English speaking peoples of many different countries. Thank you for your wonderful work!

  49. fred day says:

    3 rail ho this the first layout i have seen . not very popular but this a nice job. as far as i know marklin is the only one offering ho in 3 rail it is still available new

  50. Thomas Murphy says:

    Top-of-the-line job Hans, I must say. Everything and each part is a complement to your previous picture and your tremendous talent.. You’re an example to us “older” folks to get outthere and accomplish something of beauty and style.
    Regards, Tom (USA).

  51. Thomas Murphy says:

    Hi Al.
    There are morons about who always have negative comments concerning anything. I really do so enjoy your presentations and thank you for allowing me to view them. Your site is a pleasing break from the every-day hum-drums and the ray-race that we call life. Imagine me at 71 getting tickled to open one of your emails, they make me feel,for a moment, that I was a kid once again!
    Regards Tom (USA).

  52. John Cahill says:

    Excellent work, Hans! Though not a fan of 3-rail, cost is always an issue for most modellers so why not use what works best for you? Plenty of Maerklin to be found in Germany (maybe biggest selling HO brand still going there). Started my own layout over 40 years ago and now into it’s third revision (expanded many times) Must send in some photos and a description one of these days when I have a moment!
    Al, keep up the good work; can’t imagine why people would want to write nonsense on a hobby site. Sad people. BTW I’ve used your arches on my own and on a friend’s layout to great effect.
    John

  53. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Nice jod Hans, I did not know that HO made a three rail. You learn something new every day. Hans, your trees are great and the landscape also. Can’t wait to Start my table, I have a lot on my mind. Our house will be up for sale this week end and I am already packing. Like I said before Hans, great job.

  54. tom in az says:

    Well at only 73 I am impressed, now I feel I have many years to try to do as good as you have done.Your fantastic, Im working on my 3rd HO layout not as good as your YET. Great job Hans. Thanks for sharing. Tom in Payson AZ.

  55. Frank Costello says:

    Excellent and creative work. Surely a labor of love for model railroads.
    I have learned a great deal from this daily blog. The photos and videos are very helpful. .The ideas for materials save a ton of money and add to the fun of this hobby.

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