Steve's World of Trams

An Insider's Guide to "Hasselhof(f)", "Yellowthreads Treat" & "California Dreamland"

A Rare View


Hasselhof(f) was only ever exhibitted four times in this form, with a road disecting the pedestrianised area, between September 2009, and January 2010. It was hoped that it would act as an extra line of sight for photography, but I felt that the pending release of the Viessman multijet fountain, which currently occupies this site, was too great a temptation to resist. In the background, you can just make out the rail museum area, where we can see one end of the full-length InterCity Experimental train, a Fleischmann model.

A View From The Archives

This is how the front-right corner used to look, until August 2009. The low-budget equestrian statue (a souvenir from a castle mounted onto a matchbox) permitted a better view of passing trams. The multi-module design we see, is in fact a Graz Cityrunner, finished in a special "European City of Culture" livery for 2003. The model is by Halling.

Note the fire engine in the foreground. This impressive Wiking model was sold to me as the result of a lost bet, in that if the vendor could find a place on my layout for it, then I would have to buy one. Needless to say, he placed it straight down onto the edge of the baseboard, where very little is fixed down for reasons of transit. This was one bet that I was quite happy to lose!!!

A View of the Frederick the Great Statue (Sept. 2009 - Jan. 2010)

The upmarket equestrian statue is made by Faller. This is once again, an older view, taken prior to the installation of the fountain. The tram in the foreground is an obsolete Lima model of an articulated Duewag tram. This particular example is in Mainz colours, but the model has appeared in many different liveries over the years. Unfortunately, in what was a fine model in many respects, is let down by a poor quality gear train, the teeth of which are prone to wear and tear through continuous use. Happily though, Hornby International have released this design, albeit under the Rivarossi name, and I have sourced some spare geared axles from Ontracks.

The Poseiden Adventure

The installation of the new multijet fountain by Viessmann has the "wow" effect needed to draw in the crowds at shows. However, the jury is out as pertaining to its reliability, for the motor seems prone to stalling, after around two hours continuous running, but seems to becoming less problematic as the shows go by and the parts get run in...

There are also two comic touches to this picture. Firstly, check out the the group of babies trying to steal the young girl's teddy, and the negligent parent. Secondly, take a closer look at the dog expressing an opinion over the pavement artists' work!

"The Pink Panther"

The "Pink Panther" is one of the less offensive nicknames I have heard in reference to the approaching tram (another Duewag design, this time modelled by Roco)!

In this view, we get a closer side profile of the equestrian statue. Note the observers who have climbed onto it, in order to get a closer look at the ensuing pandemonium at the hotel. Several emergency services vehicles have parked up nearby, and the road has been cordoned off. There is grave concern for the safety of the baby being held rather close to the balcony's edge, as its father shows his newborn off to the World...

The Fire Smart car, by the way, features working flashing blue lights, as does its Police (Polizei) companion, which is parked up out of sight behing the plinth of the statue. They are made by Busch, and have a control unit mounted beneath the baseboard, which in turn is fed by a 12 volt DC supply (as are most of the working accessories) from a transformer.

A Contemporary View of the Frederick the Great and Mozart Statues

The Mozart Statue is also made by Faller. In this view, you can also see one of two angel statues which grace the turnouts from the tramstop. There is also a sculpture of a red lion adorning one of the rooftops, which was inspired by a similar feature at Crich Tramway Village!

More Mayhem Behind the Scenes!

In spite of its partial concealment behind the scenes, it never ceases to amaze me the number of young people who spot Thunderbird 4! Other sources of amusement include the environmentally unfriendly police horse, a gang of skaters harassing a tradesman, a stork devouring a fish, and "Romeo and Juliet"...

A third Faller statue is present in this view, illuminated by a Viessmann floodlight. It depicts Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.

The tram, by the way, is a new Halling release of the Bombrdier Flexity Outlook, as seen operating in Innsbruck, Austria. It is rather unusual for a Halling model in that it features working directional lights, and is even DCC ready.

Vienna Calling

"Vienna Calling" was a single (relatively unknown in the U.K.) by Falco (of "Rock Me Amadeus" fame), whose image is featured on the billboard on the side of the nightclub building. The trams in the foreground are Bombardier designs, as seen operating in Vienna, the models of which are by Leopold Halling.

Look closely at the entrance to the nightclub, you might just spot Elvis! This is a repaint of one figure from a set of "rebels" manufactured by Noch.

A "Bombardment" of Bombardier Trams

A very interesting shot for those who prefer something a little more British. The Light Rail Vehicle at the back is a K5000 with Bonn markings, and is of a very similar specification to the new Manchester Metrolink trams. The LRV in the foreground is in Croydon Tramlink colours, and related to the K4000, as seen running in Cologne. Both are Halling models, produced in limited quantities for Rolf Hafke (a specialist model tram dealer) and the London Transport Museum respectfully.

Note the illuminated fried chicken van in the background, another model by Busch. The double streetlights are by Viessmann (as are the single variants used elsewhere on the layout).

Aerial View of the Central Tramstop.

The trams and trailers in this view depict an early Duewag design (sometimes described as "anglebox"), and are made by Kato. Not only do the citizens of Hasselhof(f) enjoy a reliable tram service, with varied designs to ferry them about, but they also get an upmarket taxi service waiting at the rank - Mercedes nonetheless.

This must be somewhere in Germany, as there's an obligatory Kraftwerk advertisement hoarding in view. It's for their "Minimum - Maximum" album, which also describes Hasslhof(f) to a tee!

Take My Breath Away.... Berlin trams are on parade!

On the left is a Tatra KT4D, a design featuring suspended articulation, in that there is no central bogie. The solid metal chassis incorporates two motors to propel this weighty model along. The tram on the right is a Tatra T6. Both trams are Herrmann & Partner kits, the bodies of which are supplied pre-coloured. In order to improve the appearance of the cabs, a Wiking tractor driver figure was installed in each, whilst the outer window frames were painted onto the corners of the clear plastic glazing units.

A Viennese "Type G" Tram Underneath the Archway

The Halling model of this Viennese old-timer is currently my only piece of rolling stock fitted with a bow collector, instead of a pantograph. The plastic one supplied has been upgraded to a sprung metal version.

Ghost Tram?

A recent addition to the fleet is this Herrmann & Partner kit of a Tatra T4 in Magdeburg livery. The subject photographs rather ghostly, which is appropriate as the historic walls do manifest extrordinary levels of paranormal activity, as those who have seen it on the exhibition circuit will testify.

The Watering Holes.

The Biergarten and Gasthaus Krone are the perfect locations for visiting enthusiasts to relax and watch the tram action on the rails! There are two other "watering holes" in this picture. On the front left, is a working fountain from the Viessmann range, in which water appears to flow out of a spout. Further back is the Neptune fountain from the Langley range... observe the antics of the Dalmations surrounding it, painted up from a packe of dogs and cats in the same range. Meanwhile, up on the archway, an unwary tramspotter is in for a spooky surprise!

Tatra T3 from Prague - worth Czeching out!

Purchased from Prague Public Transport Museum this is a ready-to-run model of a Tatra T3, produced by Miroslav Belcicka. Please note that it no longer carries its original Prague couplings, for these broke after just a few shows... It therefore unprototypically sports the Scharfenberg type, going spare from a Herrmann & Partner kit.

Note the destination, which is a card display resting within the windscreen! T3's are not equipped with a formal destination panel, being restricted to a mere numerical display.

The First Extension (first exhibited Oct. 2007)

In order to make the layout more interesting from an operational point of view, a small extension was constructed, enabling a third tram to be parked up, on show for the public.

A works tram tests the Second Extension, (first exhibited Oct. 2009)

Two years down the line, I realised that ther was still some free space left in my car, and so a further extension was added. Seeing as I have received favourable comments over the Harburn Hamlet fishpond, I though I would utilise a section from their stream system, whilst also adding a little relief to the landscape. The bridge arches are by Will's, and the works tram is by Kato.

Note the tramps under the bridge. Their fire has come to the attention of the fire brigade, who have dispatched a specially equipped All-Terrain Vehicle to put it out. Unfortunately, it can't quite get through due to the obstructing cow parade! Meanwhile on the water, two loved-up swans make a delightful heart shape with their necks, for the benefit of the loved-up couple on the pedal-boat nearby...

The Second Extension (first exhibited Oct. 2009)

An elevated view enables us to see more of the detail, such as the centaur statue on the bridge at the back, purchased from a souvenir shop in Moscow of all places! Note the clock tower / newspaper stand and the children playing with the balloons. They have been relocated from the pedesrianised corner, as seen in the second photograph.

The sinister looking chap on the tower by the way, is a deliberately overscale copy of the Stonegate Devil, as seen in York, and was commissioned from Karen Rush. His role is of Official Scapegoat, i.e. someone to blame for whenever Gremlins manifest themselves... They're currently residing in that multijet fountain, by the way!

A Glimpse of St. Martin's Gate.

A slight height issue with St. Martin's Gate means I seldom photograph it in its entirety! On the backscene to the left of the garage workshops, you can just about make out its sister structure at Freiburg, the Swabian Gate.

Have you spotted the storks' nest on top of the brewery chimney (nesting there because they like the smell of the ale?), and the stork and baby resting on the gable crane-beam of the garage?

The tram featured can be seen running in Karlsruhe, and the model is by Roco, and has been densely populated with passengers.

A Line-up of Duewag Stadtbahn-M Type Trams

An operational enhancement since the introduction of the second extension is that it is now possible to park up two smaller trams, thanks to the installation of an isolation switch. This now means that up to four trams can be on show to the public on the actual layout.

The models are obsolete Lima's, "Looking for Freedom" as they await their turn, under the watchful eyes of a certain Mr. Hasselhof, whose image adorns the billboard nearby.

Where's Stig?

This one's for the petrolheads! Top Gear fans may also be amused by the broken-down Ford GT on the ramp of the garage workshop.

The Stig was made from a figure in the Noch "rebels" set, and was the one which resembles a pilot(?) which has been filed down to a slimmer profile and repainted.

The butterfly collectors in the foreground are from the Monty's range. Look very carefully, and you might just spot some butterflies from the Busch small animals pack!

My Tribute to Patrick McGoohan / "The Prisoner"

The Lotus 7 is a casting of unknown origin, which has been painted and numbered to portray KAR 120 C, as featured in the opening titles of that cult Sixties TV classic "The Prisoner". Also of interest is a copy of the Hercules statue, as seen at Portmeirion and featured in the "Arrival" episode when one of the Village Guardians(aka "Rover") made their debut appearance. This was commissioned from Karen Rush.

Have you seen the demonstration of how not to use a pallet truck, and of what could happen in such cirumstances? At least the flashing lights of the Police Smart car are shown to good effect...

Recent Roco Acquisitions to the Fleet

Caption Pending

The Trouble with Trabants is...


One of the several cameo scenes featuring a broken-down Trabant! The others are in the garage workshop; in a skip; on tow; being loaded onto the back of an ADAC wagon; crashed into a signpost; with bonnet raised. Coming soon: on bricks ???

Visiting Trams: One of Two

At the 2010 Festival of Model Tramways, I was priveleged to run a couple of visiting trams, for one day only. This is a Tatra T4 + Trailer in Dresden livery, built from a Herrmann & Partner kit by T&LRS member Andy Scott.

Visitng Trams: Two of Two

Andy also became the proud owner of a five module NGT12DD tram at the Festival. Although it's too long to park up at the tram-stop, or even fit on the loading cassette, we couldn't resist giving it a quick run, alongside my shorter three moduled varaint. I must get round to camouflaging that point motor though...

Something for the Railway Enthusiasts

A closer look at the railway backdrop. The tamper is a Lilliput model, and is therefore mechanically identical to the Bachmann offering, which uses the same tooling. The billboard is part of a Kibri set, the girders of which have been painted with Railmatch Signal Red. Note the chicken outfit, whose wearer has just seen a pickpocket fleeing from the impact of his would-be victim's umbrella, straight into the path of an oncoming Ferrari!

The modern (robot) sculpture which rests below the billboard, came from a Busch pack of aliens. Any resemblance to a certain race of machines which were created by man in Sky One's "Battlestar Galactica" is entirely coincidental.

Police State


A 2010 release from Halling is the two-axle Reko design, which is seen here in its former East Berlin guise. Technically speaking, the Reko trams were actually rebuilds of vehicles dating back to the 1920's and 1930's, carried out in the late 1950's. 

The "Reopened" Branchline (First Exhibited April 2012)

Whilst exhibiting at the Festival of Model Tramways in July 2008, it was suggested by my co-operator, Howerd Counsell, that I convert the static railway museum area into a working shuttle service, just to add a little extra animation. Well, I finally got round to it, having been most fortunate to source the obsolete Faller kit for the DB Pluspunkt (Information Point). Look closely and you will see that I have replaced the name supplied with the kit, so that the station can now be identified as "Hasselhof".

The railcar is by Rivarossi, which is controlled by a Modelex autoshuttle unit, which in turn necessitates two extra 12v DC supplies. The tram running beneath is also by Rivarossi, a Duewag M Type to be precise, which owes its origins to Lima. Thanks, Hornby International!

And the next stop is.... Starr Gate!!??!!

No your eyes do not deceive you, this really is a model of the new Blackpool tram, the Bombardier Flexity 2. The model is one of the first batch of just thirty examples in the UK, manufactured by Leopold Halling. Whilst aesthetically the model delivers, I was slightly disappointed in that only one destination is offered (you normally get a choice), and that compared to the Flexity Outlook delivered two years ago, it is somewhat lacking in that there are no working lights, and that it is not DCC Ready (although that is of no importance to me!)


The Trouble With K4000's is...

An acquisition at the 2010 Festival of Model Tramways was this Halling model of a Bombardier K4000 Cologne tram with Reissdorf Koelsch advertisement brandings. However, it has a tendency to stall on very tight curves, except when the body has been removed to try and trace the fault! Having realigned the wheel contact strips, and replaced the only axle with a traction tyre for one without, the general concensus would be that somehow, the body and seating unit are making the vehicle just a fraction too big for the layout. This explains as to why, if you look carefully, you will notice that the seating unit has been removed, exposing the motors, which has at least helped to make this tram more reliable at shows.

UPDATE 11/04/2011: I have narrowed down the source of the stalling to the restrictive nature of the corrugated corridor connection sides, which are removable... some creative filing may be required where they turn into the car roofs...

UPDATE 21/06/2012: The filing has worked, and this K4000 is now one of my most reliable runners, having been fully reassembled.


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