I went on the Merkur CZ website today thinking I would buy a 900mm switch and some track to see how it works on my layout. They have a nice estore, so it wasn't that hard (with the help of Google translate) to load up my cart and proceed to checkout. (I'm actually 3rd generation Czech but don't speak the language) Hmm.... Fail! 

I guess they don't ship to the US. There was no US, Canada or Mexico option for a ship to country. I could ship to almost anywhere in Europe, Dubai, Iran, several South American countries or even Belize, but not the US. Do I need to buy my vacation home in Belize to buy this stuff? I also searched eBay and eBay Germany to no avail. Anyone have any ideas? I also could not find a US distributor through Google search.

George

Original Post

George, you have a nice shop in Netherland which maintains a large stock of MERKUR products. He will send to USA without any problem, i don't know him personally but several friends have been very pleased with his service.

His website is even in English, just go there

https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl/en_GB/

All my best wishes,   Daniel

FRENCHTRAINS posted:

George, you have a nice shop in Netherland which maintains a large stock of MERKUR products. He will send to USA without any problem, i don't know him personally but several friends have been very pleased with his service.

His website is even in English, just go there

https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl/en_GB/

All my best wishes,   Daniel

Hi Daniel,

Thank you. He had the products on the website, but did not have the USA as a ship to option. I can get close, Canada.

George

Firewood posted:

There is a Dutch distributor and a British one that may be able to help you. There is also a Canadian distributor for their "Erector" sets, but I don't know if they handle the trains. Some judicious checking on exchange rates would help, I guess. Hope this helps:

https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl

http://www.merkursets.ca

https://www.shamrocktrains.com...-continental/merkur/

Shamrock Trains let me place an order, but it was not fully automated. The site says they will contact me.

Thank you!

George

Tinplate Art posted:

Maybe a tariff issue?

Maybe. They need a distributor to help them import items in quantity into the US. It's not impossible, just complicated. There are lots of forms and filings to make. Maybe they just don't want the hassle. However, I would have thought it was difficult shipping to some of the other places they do.

George

George, have you emailed the company? I have met the Merkur folks at a couple of European train shows and they are real good people. I have also heard good things about the distributor in the Netherlands. I am sure this will work itself out shortly. Miketg

Miketg posted:

George, have you emailed the company? I have met the Merkur folks at a couple of European train shows and they are real good people. I have also heard good things about the distributor in the Netherlands. I am sure this will work itself out shortly. Miketg

I haven't. I'll see if Shamrock trains responds.

Once I do get the track, I will review it for everyone. I think I have a large enough variety of engines to catch any issues. 

George,

I can recommend Rob Giskes (I know him  personally)  from https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl/en_GB/. He will ship worldwide and he is easily contacted via email. It seems very difficult to have direct contact with Merkur, but Rob Giskes knows how to do this and get orders out. I always go to Rob for ETS and Merkur.. 

Regards

Fred

I put a question on Merkur track on the British 0 gauge tinplate forum and got this answer from Bruce Palmer:

Merkur track is basically the same dimensions as the other Tinplate makes such as Hornby and JEP . The depth of the rail section is possibly a millimetre or so less but this makes no practical difference and it can be joined to all the other types without problems . The rail pins are virtually the same as Lionel so the ends of the rail needs reaming out slightly to accommodate Hornby pins at least ...again this is no problem .

Regarding running other makes of locos and rolling stock on Merkur the rail section will take anything , even with deep flanges such as the Bowman 234 here in the UK . The tightest radius Merkur curves are 625mm which of course roughly the same as other manufacturers ..2 foot in the UK .

The points are basically the same as Hornby with a moving plate and therefore do NOT have frogs or check rails like Lionel , so they can accommodate varied back to back wheel dimensions and are universal . Merkur 900mm points can replace the Lionel 072 and are half the price !

We have run lots of makes of locomotives through Merkur points , although I cant recall ever trying JEP .Any problems would be with the gaps in the 3rd rail for the collector shoes but its worth pointing out the Merkurs own locomotives have a spacing betweebn spoons on their collectors of 75mm or less whilst for most other makes it can be up to 100mm.

There has been some incorrect information put out on the internet about modern Lionel not being compatible with Merkur points ...this simply is not true and several people run it over them without problems. I think it was more Lionel operators not being familiar with Hornby type moving plates ...

so , Yes ..you can run anything on Merkur ...... Bruce

sncf231e posted:

I put a question on Merkur track on the British 0 gauge tinplate forum and got this answer from Bruce Palmer:

Merkur track is basically the same dimensions as the other Tinplate makes such as Hornby and JEP . The depth of the rail section is possibly a millimetre or so less but this makes no practical difference and it can be joined to all the other types without problems . The rail pins are virtually the same as Lionel so the ends of the rail needs reaming out slightly to accommodate Hornby pins at least ...again this is no problem .

Regarding running other makes of locos and rolling stock on Merkur the rail section will take anything , even with deep flanges such as the Bowman 234 here in the UK . The tightest radius Merkur curves are 625mm which of course roughly the same as other manufacturers ..2 foot in the UK .

The points are basically the same as Hornby with a moving plate and therefore do NOT have frogs or check rails like Lionel , so they can accommodate varied back to back wheel dimensions and are universal . Merkur 900mm points can replace the Lionel 072 and are half the price !

We have run lots of makes of locomotives through Merkur points , although I cant recall ever trying JEP .Any problems would be with the gaps in the 3rd rail for the collector shoes but its worth pointing out the Merkurs own locomotives have a spacing betweebn spoons on their collectors of 75mm or less whilst for most other makes it can be up to 100mm.

There has been some incorrect information put out on the internet about modern Lionel not being compatible with Merkur points ...this simply is not true and several people run it over them without problems. I think it was more Lionel operators not being familiar with Hornby type moving plates ...

so , Yes ..you can run anything on Merkur ...... Bruce

This is great information. I have high hope that this will work. The track and switches look great from the pictures!

I am buying the manual switch for now. I may try to add a US switch machine to it.  I did not understand the servo-electric switch machines and controller, so I have avoided those at this time. 

George

sncf231e posted:

George,

I can recommend Rob Giskes (I know him  personally)  from https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl/en_GB/. He will ship worldwide and he is easily contacted via email. It seems very difficult to have direct contact with Merkur, but Rob Giskes knows how to do this and get orders out. I always go to Rob for ETS and Merkur.. 

Regards

Fred

Fred, 

Thank you. I may email Rob for my next purchase. Does he speak English, because I don't speak Dutch?

Thanks!

George

Hi George,

 

sorry I did not get back to you sooner, but I have been down with the sinus thing going around.  I expect modern trains should run through the switches just fine. I am planning to run a number of Ace trains through them as well as my prewar trains.

And Rob is the man to go through for the switches, that is who I was able to purchase them from.

 

Roland

Last edited by rdigilio
rdigilio posted:

Hi George,

 

sorry I did not get back to you sooner, but I have been down with the sinus thing going around.  I expect modern trains should run through the switches just fine. I am planning to run a number of Ace trains through them as well as my prewar trains.

And Rob is the man to go through for the switches, that is who I was able to purchase them from.

 

Roland

Thank you

George S posted:
FRENCHTRAINS posted:

George, you have a nice shop in Netherland which maintains a large stock of MERKUR products. He will send to USA without any problem, i don't know him personally but several friends have been very pleased with his service.

His website is even in English, just go there

https://www.blik-en-speelgoed.nl/en_GB/

All my best wishes,   Daniel

Hi Daniel,

Thank you. He had the products on the website, but did not have the USA as a ship to option. I can get close, Canada.

George

And even if you select Canada, the VAT does not disappear??

I've dealt with Rob a few times on Merkur pieces (a couple buildings) Always pleasant to work with and never had an issue having him ship me items to NJ.

samdjr74 posted:

I've dealt with Rob a few times on Merkur pieces (a couple buildings) Always pleasant to work with and never had an issue having him ship me items to NJ.

Yes, his website says he ships worldwide. You just need to email him, because you can't order online. I sent an email today, because I have not heard back from Shamrock Trains.

George

George S posted:
samdjr74 posted:

I've dealt with Rob a few times on Merkur pieces (a couple buildings) Always pleasant to work with and never had an issue having him ship me items to NJ.

Yes, his website says he ships worldwide. You just need to email him, because you can't order online. I sent an email today, because I have not heard back from Shamrock Trains.

George

He usually emails me back within a day or two. Of course people get busy with work, family, etc. But he never left me hanging.

Now I'm wondering what new buildings Merkur has out

I received the track and switches this week. I will install them this weekend and test a bunch of trains. 

George

For an international transaction that was very quick.  Please let us see the pics and please let us know your results.

I'm still drooling over that Merkur turntable...

Steven J. Serenska

Last edited by Serenska

I was able to get the switches and track set up today. The switches are really smooth! My MTH Premier Allegheny went through it like butter! I was able to get my American Flyer 1681 Hudson to run through them. This engine had a lot of sparking and the e-unit would cycle. I was able to lock out the e-unit (with some effort) and it would run through the switch. I also tried my old Marx Nickel Plate Road engine, and it ran through fine without cycling the e-unit. These are the 900mm switches, which are roughly O72. I think I need to get rid of all of my other switches, Ross, Gargraves, Atlas and Fastrack!

Here are pictures of the switch installed. 

IMG_2033IMG_2034

Here are the trains running through it.

George

Attachments

Images (2)
Videos (2)
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I bought the manual switches. Merkur makes a switches with Servoelectric switch motors. However, I do not understand how those work. They talk about needing a $120+ controller circuit board for them. I think it might be easier and cheaper to retrofit them with Z-stuff, Atlas or Tortoise switch machines. Thoughts?

George

Last edited by George S

One more point, I bought three curve sections of track. It seems to be relatively high quality. It goes together very tightly. I'm not sure it would be great for around the tree, because getting it apart may be tricky.

George

George,

 I thought you would like the switches. I also bought manual switches as they did not have an electric operator at the time I bought mine. The Merkur solution uses servo motor and controllers similar to what RC cars and planes use, but I am sure you could use them with any other switch machine. You could even use them with a Lever frame/rodding control system like Hornby and Bassett Lowke used to make. I like the fact that you can move the operating lever to either side of the switch, and since you can remove them will make it easy to convert to something different.

About the 1681, the e unit in those have always been "twitchy". i have had one drop into reverse on a straight run at a good speed, luckily there were no derailments. In your video it looks like the wheels on the inside of the curve are shorting out on the brass center rail extension that runs back towards the inside rail. it might be possible to bend the brass rail towards the part that rotates (what would that be called? the point sector?) to give a little more clearance between the outside rail and the brass center rail.

Roland

Last edited by rdigilio
rdigilio posted:

George,

 I thought you would like the switches. I also bought manual switches as they did not have an electric operator at the time I bought mine. The Merkur solution uses servo motor and controllers similar to what RC cars and planes use, but I am sure you could use them with any other switch machine. You could even use them with a Lever frame/rodding control system like Hornby and Bassett Lowke used to make. I like the fact that you can move the operating lever to either side of the switch, and since you can remove them will make it easy to convert to something different.

About the 1681, the e unit in those have always been "twitchy". i have had one drop into reverse on a straight run at a good speed, luckily there were no derailments. In your video it looks like the wheels on the inside of the curve are shorting out on the brass center rail extension that runs back towards the inside rail. it might be possible to bend the brass rail towards the part that rotates (what would that be called? the point sector?) to give a little more clearance between the outside rail and the brass center rail.

Roland

The wheels on my tender are too loose on the axel. AF used an insulator to space the wheels. The insulator seems to be too short. Maybe it's worn down. I will need to address that as a project.

George

I added an electric switch machine to one of my Merkur switches. It was not easy. First, I went with an LGB switch machine because the throw of the switch is pretty long and the switch is heavy. This may not be needed with some of the changes I made to switch, but there is an added anti-derail feature of the LGB switch that helped. 

First, the throw of the Merkur throw-bar is too long for the LGB switch. Also, the switch spring is too heavy and the screw holding the switch point is too tight. I removed the spring and loosened the screw. I then re-positioned the throw-bar closer to the screw that holds the point. This required cutting some metal off the base. I'll add a picture a little later. 

The good news is that my modifications worked!

George

Dennis Holler posted:

Very cool George!!  Thanks for posting.  Are those switches based on a specific mm curve or are they like a #6 or 8 style?

 

The switches come in 625 mm, 760 mm and 900 mm curves for the turnout. Those of course are the European dimensions. The 900 mm is basically O72. They don't have anything like a #6 or #8 to my knowledge. The 900 mm fits the O72 track geometry though and works pretty good in those applications.

George 

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