Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!
John asks readers:
“I’m creating an HO Timesaver layout. My question is about switches for the turnouts. I have the atlas switches that came with the atlas turnouts. But would like to use different switches for my control panel. Can someone recommend what type of switches I should buy and where I could find them. FYI. I’m using single pole switches for my blocks.”
Alan sent in this info about his layout to share. The photos are amazing!
Hard to believe but the bus is a photo stuck on the backscene.
“When it comes to roads cutting across the layout and abruptly hitting the backscene, I blend it in by attaching a piece of thin card or even paper the same width of the road, painting it the same color then bending it upwards so it rests on the backscene. The road can then be extended by painting it disappearing into the distance. Hope this helps.”
Dean asks readers:
What does it mean when they state “Smart Route can control an unlimited number of turnouts”. See below. Does this mean that I still need to purchase several of the Hare #dccdsphare1 for controlling the turnouts or will this unit control the tortoise without the Hare device ??
HARE DCC Stnry Dcdr
Designed to drive the Tortoise Switch Machine (sold separately), this accessory decoder plugs directly on to the Tortoise simply connect to track power using the two handy screw terminals and the unit is ready to use. The Hare is compatible with all DCC systems that support accessory operations. And, many advanced features are provided to enhance operation including:
Auto Throw automatically throws points when train approaches against the points. Eliminates derailments, layout shorts, loco and scenery damage, and is ideal for difficult to reach turnouts and hidden staging. Works with both insul-frog and electro frog turnouts for Versions I and II.
Smart Route sets up to 13 routes by simple address programming in addition to the primary decoder address. Each Smart Route can control an unlimited number of turnouts. Eliminates complicated programming, the need for computer operation or system macros.
Smart Default Ops allows all Hare-controlled turnouts to move to a predetermined position when layout is powered up or to remain as last thrown. Eliminates possibly fouling the mainline when you power-up your layout.
Operates LED turnout signals or remote panel LED indicators.
Walthers Product Number: 246-DSPHARE1
Walthers Catalog: 2015 HO, page 830
Ed has this question for readers:
“I am a novice. I have a single track on a 5 1/2 foot by 9 1/2 foot layout. I have EZ loc track with five switches. I want to wire in the switches and build a control board but I am totally ignorant on wiring. I have a transformer for every switch (which I found out I don’t need?) and they are Life Like switches with the wiring on three sides of the “block? What do I do with all that? Please respond.”
Model railroading has come a long way with innovations like: smaller scales, DCC, LED’s, electronics, computers, walkaround throttles etc. The same goes for the scenery and structure aspects of the hobby. Acrylic paints, airbrushing, epoxy resin, super glue, downloadable buildings and other innovations have opened new possibilities for creativity in model realism.
This street scene model (using downloadable plans) is a perfect example of the high standard that can now be achieved for a relatively low cost. They are built with using corflute and spray adhesive (other recent inventions).
So, even though technology can be frustrating at times (especially for those of us with gray hair or no hair), it has brought many exciting innovations to the hobby. It’s this changing face of model railroading that will attract a new generation to the hobby. That’s why I keep an open mind and try to embrace change rather than fear it.
Bob has a question for readers about track choice:
I already have the shelf idea in mind but in HO. I’m 60 years old and already have it tough enough working on HO Scale. I put together a HO Scale Model caboose and what a job that was. I have plans of constructing 2 Helix or Heli because of limited space and multi-level shelf. One at each end of the set. I do have one question. What would be the best track to construct a HO Scale train set? I bought 2 Bachmann Starter train sets because I liked the looks of the old style steam locomotives. The E-Z Trrack is nice to put together, but it doesn’t seem to be the best if there needs to be any kind of correction or adjustment, that it is easy to work with that pre-assembled track. Also, I see that Bachman is not as high a quality as BLI or a few other companies. But the pricing is a lot less.
Rich has a question for readers:
“Sometimes I get derailments with rolling stock as they pass through a Bachmann ez track turnout. Sometimes it derails other time the loco follows the switch direction straight (as it is set) and the next car wants to travel up the switch curve. Any ideas as to why?”
Curves look good and generally necessary to turn trains and keep them running without coming to a dead end, but curves use up plenty of room on a layout. And, the radius of the curves will affect the type rolling stock that comfortably operate without derailing and still look convincing when navigating the curve. Longer passenger cars, auto carriers, and large articulated locos will generally require a large curve radius.
S-curves are synonymous with derailments and uncoupling, because having curves going in opposite directions makes it harder for trains to stay on the track. The frame of each car needs to turns in one direction when entering the S curve, and then turn the other way when exiting the s bend. The coupler on the rear end will attempt to follow it through the movement. At the same time the following car will be taking a slightly different route as it won’t have entered that part of the curve. This will produce strong sideway forces on the coupler trying to pull it off the track. So, even though it can be entertaining to watch trains navigating S curves, they are fraught with potential problems.
Share it with your friends.
Here’s a FREE report you can download and share with your model railroading friends on Facebook, by email, or post it on your blog or website if you have one. It is absolutely FREE!
The report walks you through 33 common track planning mistakes that can be avoided, saving time, money and an enormous amount of frustration. Even if you just pick up one or two new things from this report, it will be well worth getting.
Download and share this FREE REPORT HERE
The feedback on the 8 new scale model houses has been excellent with many readers telling their railroading friends about them. The designer certainly spent a lot of time perfecting the accurate and intricate detailing and it shows.