Magnetic couplers

Dave has been in touch, this time showing how strong his magnetic couplers are.

“Hi Al…

Not sure if of interest but just done another test with the magnetic connections.

I have added them to a full rake of 11 coaches and used the deltic to pull these, as can be seen they held without any problem, and that’s going up an incline and running through curves as well.

I kept getting asked how strong the magnets are, think this proves that they sure hold a good rake… excuse the jumpy bits as using a Gimbal on my phone and seemed to have a mind of its own



magnetic couplers pulling 11 coaches

If you missed his first post on his couplers, it’s here.

Now on to another Dave, who has a question:

“Hello Al

I’ve been getting your emails for a couple of years. One thing I do not understand is the underlay of track.

I have never used it with my trains. But then my brother and I grew up with Marklin, that our Father brought when he was stationed in Germany in the mid-fifties. So it’s the stamped metal type of track.

We put it up, like most at the time, at Christmas.

When my brother retired the trains were set up in a spare bedroom for the his grand kids to watch. And he set up an American set that make a single loop around the perimeter that they could control.
I retired a couple of years ago and we move into a home that has room for me to set up some or all of ours.

So with the pictured track what would underlay do, or do I even need it?

These are from the first box I grabbed. It is some of the newer track that will work with the older track, that has a solid middle rail.


In Virginia, just a bit south of Washington D.C.”

track foam

I thought it worth posting because the older I get, the more I subscribe to the point of view that if a question helps one person, the chances are it’ll help others too.

It’s very similar to this post, when Keith asked about how to secure his foam/cork bed.

Now on to Steve:

“Hi Al,

Wondered if you guys might be interested in a smaller 00 British layout project that I’ve been working on.

After a house move I down-sized and have very limited space. This layout is about 6’6″ x 3’6″, so VERY compact for 00 Scale. Some would say too small for a viable layout.

I considered N scale but I have so much investment in 00 with DDC sound locos, rolling stock and buildings etc. that it was too expensive to change.

The layout is very much a work in progress and nothing is fixed down because I need to dismantle everything when I need the space. The board is in two pieces, made of 9mm plywood and 2″×1” bracing.

It’s far from perfect but gives me a lot of pleasure with plenty of running options.

Hope that you like it.

oo scale model railway

7x4 track plan oo scale

oo scale freight




oo scale


oo scale model railway sidings

oo scale diner.

oo scale locomotive

That’s pretty much it so far. I’m married to an American girl so live between the two countries. Its been interesting looking at the HO layouts and comparing them to my 00 things. Considering a HO layout for our US base now.

There’s often a lot of negative comments on other forums dismissing anything small as insignificant so I’m hoping that it may buck the trend.

My previous garage layout was 12’x12 sort was a real challenge.

This project is limiting because it has to be packable when my wife needs to invite dinner guests !!

She’s a very tolerant and patient wife but she has her limits 😉

I’m in the US at the moment but will be back in England in a couple of weeks.

Thank you for all your hard work. The site is fascinating.


Withernsea, East Yorkshire”

A big thanks to Steve – his layout is another fine example of how lack of space should never stop you having fun.

Please do leave a comment below if you can help with Dave with his foam question.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you unpack your old trains from their dusty boxes, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

16 Responses to Magnetic couplers

  1. Dustyk uk says:

    Dave – those Hornby couplings look good, and are certainly strong enough. They are available in different lengths – how do you decide which length you need? In other words, where do you measure from on the rolling stock? I always enjoy your videos – keep them coming!

  2. George Zaky says:

    We appreciate all you contribute and its gotten so if we dont see a DD video soon then something is very missing.
    That’s a mighty nice layout packed with great stuff. A man has to do what he has to do ( and that’s listen to the boss) so carry on. So as a support group here please dont consider a Yankee HO layout but DO a Yankee HO layout and let’s see the progress.
    Big Al

  3. Norman Peter Stephens says:

    Dave. Not everyone like the sound of the Deltic I would much perfer the sound of steam.

  4. Rob McCrain says:

    Great explanation and testing of magnetic couplings Dave. I bought some a while back but haven’t tried them yet. Maybe I will give them a go now. Rob McCrain Farland Howe

  5. Butch Thornton says:

    I have asked in the past but have not gotten any replies, perhaps I have used the wrong site or whatever. My guest ion concerns dust and “stray hands”. My layout location is in an entrance/ mud room with “traffic”. Has any one out there built a cover for their layout. Please share any. Ideas or suggestions

  6. James says:


  7. Patrick Andrew Talley says:


    The foam has two purposes. The first is to deaden the sound when the train runs. It’s particularly useful when you’re mounting your track on top of plywood or any other type of board. With modelers using foam more often now it may not be necessary. Secondly, it elevates the track to look more realistic. Rarely do railroads have track at ground level. If you’re planning to ballast your track it also allows you to use less ballast for a prototypical effect. Hope this helps…

  8. Chuck Holsclaw says:

    Dave, I had a Marklin set just like you growing up. I sold it all a few years ago. It was ho but track, cars, switches, locos were expensive and I’m sure even more now. So I have ho with dcc. You could lay that metal track on foam or cork, it would give you a sound barrier and quieter running. That kind of track being metal does rust if it gets wet. You could add ballast to the sides but I wouldn’t do the tip as the middle rail provides power to your locos. Good luck.


  9. Everett Stallcop says:


    Your requirement to occasionally disassemble the layout gives an additional problem to your limited space. The railroad does provide a lot of switching activity and running two trains at the same time has always been a goal of mine. I think you’ve done a great job of showing how much modeling can be done on a small, almost temporary railroad. Keep up the good work!


  10. John Reynolds says:

    First things first…
    Dangerous Dave always offers a great video!
    One day I hope to be able to present my work as well as Dave and John both do.
    Dave in Virginia,
    I used to have a nice collection of Marklin that my father got in the very late 1940’s We even had some of the very nice 6300 track. Sadly my storage space was broken into and most of it was stolen. (I still have some left but all the 6300 track and several special engines are gone.
    You do not need underlay with Marklin track unless you are using the “new” K-track. One day I may build a small Marklin layout to have fun with and use the equipment that I do have.
    I love your little layout. Until about two years ago I was a space starved model railroader. I lived either in apartments or a mobile home. In 2020 several things changed for me; on the downside I lost my wife to COPD, on the upside I purchased a place I had dreamed about for over 30 years.
    Here is the important part, years ago I learned to love building small and portable layouts. SWMBO realized the benefits of my hobby and supported it far more than the space our living quarters allowed. One thing that made the hobby easy for her to tolerate were my small and portable layouts. A layout the size of yours can be built to fold into a piece of furniture.
    My current layout is 3.5 feet by 5.5 feet in American H0. I also recently built a British styled 00 layout in a space 1 foot by 4 foot.
    14 years ago I built a sectional 4×8 layout that one could step into. It called the living room of my apartment home and I could disassemble it in about 15 minutes and put it back together just as quickly.
    Last but not least…
    This is for Butch Thornton.
    Back in the 1950’s many seemed to have your situation when it came to having a less than ideal space for a layout. The common solution was a frame that a tarp or oil cloth could be put over to protect the layout from dust.

  11. Chris Allworth says:

    Brilliant, Steve!
    A track plan would be interesting to see and to give me more details to ponder over as they might apply to my small layout. I do hope the packing up for dinner guests will gradually take less and less time!
    Best wishes from Canada! ~Chris

  12. Dave Karper says:

    Dave: Marklin makes a rubber Mounting pad that’s about 5/16″ thick and is contoured inside the roadbed so the rubber is as to fit purpendicularly, fitting the inside contour of the Marklin roadbed, allowing the roadbed to be suspended slightly above the underlayment.this is designed to be a sound insulator.

  13. Dave Karper says:

    wow! I should have read it before I sent it.

  14. David Howarth says:

    Dusty K …the hornby magnetic couplings are only in. 2 sizes , the longest is the vacuum at 20mm …these i would recommend for the majority of coach or truck fittings ..

  15. william james palmer says:


  16. Bob C says:

    Good evening Al. I saw Dave’s comment on loving the sound of a Deltic. Hope he was kidding. To me they sound like they are ready to explode. What exactly is the power source of these engines?

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