Down to the smallest detail

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Model railroading is fascinating, the miniature trains do not just look like the originals, they are strong and can handle continuous operation. However, weeks of hard work have to pass before one of these 1:45-scale locomotives can take to the tracks.

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Stefan Roschi Editorial team

It is perfection at the highest level, down to the smallest details, with hundreds of brass, steel and plastic parts being used. Many are made by the model builders themselves, who invest dozens of hours assembling the models by soldering, wiring, and bolting. Finally the model builders at Hermann can proudly present a finished locomotive – with a scale of 1:45. Identical to its original counterpart, down to the last detail.

Made by hand

The Swiss company Hermann Modellbahnen was founded in 1953. Today, it is the only professional Swiss builder of locomotives and wagons for gauge 0 – the king among the gauges. Up to six people work on the highly collectible pieces. Sometimes additional temporary staff are needed. In the large workshop, close to Zurich, different locomotives and passenger cars are replicated. The originals are almost exclusively models of the Swiss Federal Railways SBB. According to managing director Stefan Bürki, 20 to 25 locomotives leave the workshop annually. Many of these are specifically customized according to the wishes of the buyer. In addition, around 80 railroad cars leave the workshop every year.

«We put a high premium on me-chanical reliability.»

The customers are very diverse. “They are from all walks of life and all parts of the country,” says Bürki. They have one thing in common: their appreciation for the robustness and quality of the Hermann models. “We put a high premium on mechanical reliability. You simply put our locomotives on the tracks and they run."

This is exactly what gauge 0 fans demand. They don't want objects to put in a glass cabinet, even if it would look good. No – a Hermann model locomotive is put to use and has to withstand demanding driving operations.

This also places high demands on the DC motors in the locomotives, especially on the brushes. The motors have to withstand heat and overvoltage without problems. Stefan B