"Magersfontein" is an H0 scale layout representing operations on South African Railways (SAR) in the 1980's.

The layout comprises of six sections and once assembled occupies a space of 14 feet by 7 feet. Public viewing is from the front and at both sides. The layout is free standing and fully illuminated. Full service operation at public exhibitions requires two people.

There are two bi-directional single track main lines, one being equipped with overhead catenary. Trains may be interchanged between lines and facilities exist for the replacement of motive power from electric to diesel electric and even steam.

The main compromise made on Magersfontein is with the gauge of the track. The main lines of the real South African Railways are built to a gauge of 3 feet 6 inches. This does not readily translate into H0 scale. The idea of re-gauging all the locomotives and rolling stock is really not worth contemplating. After all, this hobby is supposed to be enjoyable.

The Class 5E, 5E1 and 12E electric locomotives, the Class GM26C Class 34 diesel electric locomotives, the Class 5M2A electric multiple units and all passenger coaches and freight vehicles are ready to run items by Lima. That's the easy bit. Since there are no ready to run South African steam locomotives models available, this presented a much greater challenge. The Classes 6J, 19D and GMAM are kits by DJH and the Class 15F is a kit by Keyser.

The scenery is all original and built from base materials. Of special interest is the station building and associated houses. All these structures have been designed by observing the real thing, translating this to H0 scale and subsequently constructing from plastic sheet. The layout is given an overall rendering to represent the Great Karoo.

Control of the trains is by simple block sections and isolating switches with push button route setting for the points. The route, once set up is repeated on a display on the control panel. The two main lines may be allocated to either of the two control units. The catenary is connected to the common return, thus assisting with conductivity to the electric locomotives.

If you have any questions about the layout, the trains, or just wish to chat please contact us.

A feature on "Magersfontein" may be seen in the February 2004 issue of Continental Modeller.

This feature, along with additional photographs of the layout and also some prototype photographs, may also be seen in the Italian language in the Italian journal, Mondo Ferroviario, Luglio/Agosto, 2004 issue. That is, in English, World Railways, July/August, 2004 issue.

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A varied selection of wildlife is usually found adjacent to the tracks of South African Railways. However, a 1:87 over scale cat is somewhat alarming.

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