Rolling Roads


Tom Cunnington


26th April 2020

Reading Time

4 minutes

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a number of blogs with models sitting on rolling roads – probably because we can’t get to our test tracks to show the models working. There are a surprising variety out there – here’s a selection, which we’ll update as we find more…

Example 1 – The Mazero (Marion Zeller). German, but available in this country (website In English as well as other languages.). It’s available in several different sizes. The idea is that the base unit (3 rods with plastic end pieces) comes in sizes (both length and width) suitable for a wide variety of gauges. The roller units are bought with the base unit for whichever gauge you need. Additional roller units can be bought separately.

Snag, of course, is that gauges are limited to those in use in Germany (9mm, 12mm, 16.5mm, 32mm, 45mm). For 16.5mm, the third (central) rod can be used as a Märklin-type centre third.  

The roller units are easily adjustable for any wheelbase needed, but frequent and very thorough cleaning is needed, both of the roller units and of the steel bars.

I’ve mounted mine above/behind my test track, but after a near-accident, I will be making some sort of cradle to catch a loco that falls off.  JJ


Example 2 – This is the Bachus Saddle – sadly no longer available as the owner retired.

Each unit is separate, so you can have any number you need and they simply rest on the track to provide the power through to the wheels. The gauge is adjustable using a grub screw on each side, and you can adjust them to the track gauge as they have a small step in the bottom casting to ensure the rollers are at the track gauge. In this case they are at EM gauge. If anyone knows where to get hold of another pair to allow better testing of Co-Co locos, let me know.


Example 3 – The Hornby rolling road. This one isn’t adjustable so only does OO (and HO) gauge, but as that’s the most popular track gauge.

This is from a previous release, and it was disconinued for a while, is back now as Catalogue number R8211, and still available from a range of model shops now, but seems to have run out at Hornby. It comes with 3 sets of rollers that can be adjusted, and you can buy extra rollers if you’ve got 4-coupled locos etc. The downside is that the wheelbase limit 150mm, so not good for diesels with both bogies powered.

It’s also the same model used by Chris in this blog


Example 4 – Manufacturer unknown, but for 7 mm scale modelling – in this case set to ScaleSeven as described in this blog


Example 5 – Supersize!

3.5″ gauge rolling road for a live steam loco – built from parts supplied by Model Engineers Laser. You can see the loco in action here and find out more about the loco elsewhere in the Blogs section.


Finally – The prototype. Yes these existed and this clip from Pathe News shows a test of 60007 “Sir Nigel Gresley” at Rugby.

I wouldn’t want to be quite as close to the rollers…


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