Steel Ties and Turnouts for PROTO:87

Following Weinert’s recent introduction of Mein Gleis, there is more news about track – this time from RST Modellbau. The small company introduced super detailed steel and wooden ties for hand-laid track in 2009 and just announced a set of steel ties for the German EW190-1:9 Fz (St) turnout template with 190 meter prototype radius. This long-awaited release fills a void in the available PROTO:87 lineup, which had been dominated by models with (real) wood ties or ties made from PC board. In this interview, RST Modellbau’s Ralph Steinhagen tells me more about the new turnout.

Johannes: Your steel track tie set was very well received. Did you always plan on adding a turnout kit to your product line or was that something that you decided after the track came out?

Ralph: It’s true that despite a slow start, the steel as well as the wooden tie sets turned out to be a pretty good success.

Originally, I wanted to manufacture the steel ties in small numbers for personal use only. Wanting to model them perfectly, I discovered the complexity of the matter and realized that it could only be done right with plastic injection molding.

When you take into consideration that at the beginning of the 1940s 40% of German track had steel ties, it is remarkable that no major manufacturer had steel ties in their program. Due to this circumstance and repeated customer inquiries, I realized that in the long-run I am not going to get around producing a turnout with steel ties.

RST Modellbau steel ties (note the nicely detailed rail joiners).

RST Modellbau steel ties (note the nicely detailed rail joints).

Johannes: What challenges did you face when developing this kit?

Ralph: Most problems are solved in theory only and I am sure that I will face great difficulties. For instance, I need to include the points and ground throw mechanism because most modelers will not be able to make the complicated parts themselves.

Johannes: What’s included in the kit and what other tools and materials does one need to assemble the turnout?

Ralph: The kit is essentially a set of individual plastic ties and tie plates, a lasered cardboard template and a cast nickel silver frog. The kit is pretty sophisticated and geared towards experienced modelers and naturally you need a few tools to put it together – but nothing that’s not in a modeler’s toolbox anyway.

Steel ties detail.

Steel ties detail.

Johannes: Can you use other track than code 70?

Ralph: No. Since the frog is made from cast nickel silver and the points are made from code 70 rail it is not possible to use a different rail size.

Johannes: The turnout can be used for either RP-25 or PROTO:87. How did you set up the kit to accommodate the two standards?

Ralph: The kit will feature two different frogs and guard rails with 0.5 mm flange width for PROTO:87 and 1 mm for RP-25. These can be easily dropped in.

RST Modellbau track with wooden ties.

RST Modellbau track with wooden ties.

Johannes: How much will the kit cost?

Ralph: I don’t know the final sales price yet. Only after receiving all proposals for cast parts and tooling, I will be able to finish the calculation. I hope to offer the kit for under €100, though.

Johannes: Do you have plans to release more turnouts in the future?

Ralph: Depending on the success of the first turnout, I am considering developing a turnout with 300 meter radius (300 EW).

Wood tie detail.

Wooden ties detail.

Johannes: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

Ralph: It was my pleasure to tell you about my current project.

Find out more

RST tie sets, track and accessories are available directly from RST Eisenbahnmodellbau’s Shop.

Are you a prototype modeler and interested in being featured on this blog? Contact me at

Images courtesy of Ralph Steinhagen. Used with permission. is not affiliated with the manufacturers of the products mentioned on this site and did not receive payment or samples for review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.