What’s in the Shops: Flexible rolling road

An essential part of fine tuning and maintaining a collection of locomotives is a rolling road. Nigel Burkin looks at the KPF Zeller rolling roads available in the UK from Ten Commandments Models

A rolling road is a static test unit for model locomotives and multiple unit testing and running-in and has proven to be a very useful piece of equipment to have on my workbench. Setting up the layout just to test a locomotive or to run a new locomotive in after purchase, something that is strongly recommended by the manufacturers, can be a bit of a chore. A rolling road is a quicker and often better way of achieving the same end.

Eight N gauge pick-rollers means that a large steam locomotive such as the Graham Farish GWR Castle Class or similar can be tested and run in.

Experienced modellers, particularly those who build locomotive kits or spend time undertaking modifications to ready-to-run models will routinely use a rolling road for testing models. Testing can be done conveniently at the workbench, under very controlled conditions, and without having to follow a model around a layout. The dust sheets and covers can remain over the layout while the rolling road is used with a controller.

A great deal of fine-tuning can be achieved by watching how a model runs on a rolling road and fine adjustments can be made accordingly.

The OO/HO gauge pick-up rollers are shown in this picture. There are four rollers per unit and power is transmitted from the side bars to the rollers through the extended axles.

The manner in which the motion of steam locomotives is working can be observed for tight spots or binding, which is easier to detect including the point at which it happens. Less-than-concentric wheels may be identified, together with a whole host of other small defects that would be harder to see when testing on a layout.

In addition to test running and running in, rolling roads allow those modellers without a layout (possibly owing to space constraints) to give their models a good run and to appreciate the sophistication of modern mechanisms and high-fidelity digital sound too. I have frequently tested new decoder and digital-sound decoder installations using a rolling road and have picked up problems at an early stage before damage could occur.

For the full article, see September’s edition of Modelling – available now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors