What’s Been Your Biggest Railway Blunder

model railway accidentSo today wasn’t one of my finest but it did remind me of this handy tip that might save you a train tragedy.

Yet again it’s rained all day so I decided to kill some time and give my trains a quick spin. I also wanted to try out an H&M 2000 controller I picked up via eBay (more of this another day).

And all was good until I decided to try out the new (to me at least) H&M.

What happened next wasn’t the fault of the controller but my stupidity!

I parked the loco being operated in a siding, turned off the existing Gaugemaster controller, disconnected the wires leading from the layout and attached them to the H&M controller.

I then connected what I thought was an unplugged power lead.

Before I could do anything the locomotive shot off at full speed down the siding careening into my treasured old Hornby 75 ton crane. I grabbed the controller and killed the power but not before the crane had crashed straight off the track, through the buffers and over the edge of the layout. It landed with a horrible sounding crunch on the floor several feet below.

What I thought was an unplugged power lead was plugged in and the dial on the H&M was turned up to the max. Idiot!

Luckily there was a carpet matt where the crane landed and although a coupling was buckled, the chain to the hoist snapped and the chimney sheared off, the crucial boom arm was still intact.  It’s repairable but it was sad to see this happy childhood memory lying smashed and broken on the floor and it’s undoubtedly the worst accident on my railways for many years.

And the tip?

It’s a simple one.

If your track runs near the edge of your baseboard fit a lip around the edge. A bit of ply, or perspex if you want it to be less obvious, protruding about half an inch above the baseboard will catch any errant locos before they plunge to their doom.

Sadly, I hadn’t hadn’t got around to fitting this yet on my shed layout. An oversight I’ll correct with a visit to the DIY store as soon as it stops raining but don’t let me stop you!

Now I want to hear your train tragedy.What’s your biggest blunder? Your worst and most expensive model railway accident? Write a comment below or drop me a line privately via the contact page or on FaceBook.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
  1. My biggest blunder was dropping my brand new Bachmann class 25 on the floor. I snapped the buffer beam in half. I managed to fix it with super glue but there are still glue marks on it. The second biggest blunder I have ever done was blow a decoder by forgetting the track was live and prodding it with a metal conductive screw driver. The decoder popped and the loco shot off and hit the buffers. Fortunately the buffers were strong enough to take the impact of a heavy Bachmann diesel at full speed.

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