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Gaugemaster Q 4 Track Controller

Gaugemaster Q 4 Track controller

Brian sent in this question:

“I just bought a Gaugemaster Q 4 Track controller. When I switch it on makes a buzzing sound. Is this normal?
Thanks. Brian.”

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Which Couplers for Block Cars?

N scaler Roy asks:

“What couplers should I use that look realistic but will never be uncoupled?”

Add your comment, or see the comments of others, by using the COMMENTS link under Roy’s posting.

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Is Atlas and EZ Track Interchangeable

Ron asks:

“Is Atlas N scale and EZ track interchangeable? Yesterday I purchased a Bachmann set 24X44 with 8 rolling stock.”

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Tightest Radius for N Scale Circle?

Charlie sent in this question:

“What can be the tightest radius (in inches) of an N scale circle? I want to create a ‘pizza box’ layout but I want it to run reliably.”

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Replacing Old Couplers With Kadee Lookalikes

Ross wants to hear what others think:

“I am looking to replace the horn hook couplers on several older freight cars. I spotted some Kadee clones that will fit into the coupler mounts on the trucks. Am I wasting my time buying the knock-off clones which are cheaper, or should I stick with Kadee. I know sometimes you pay extra for a brand name. Does anyone have experience using both?”

Use the COMMENTS tag to add or view comments. Use the ASK A QUESTION tag to submit a question to he Blog Moderator for publication.

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Twister Wreaks Havoc On Layout

Online Train Club member Allan sent in these photos to share. He said they were taken at the National Railroad Association Train Show.

tornado twister on model railroad

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Cleaning Oxidized Track Ready For Soldering Droppers

Online Train Club member Erik has this question for fellow hobbyists:

“I want to clean some old oxidized track as I want be solder droppers on various part of the track. I had a go scrubbing it using a small stiff wire brush with borax powder and some sugar soap. I’ve only done a couple of pieces as it is such a slow job. Is there a easier and better way to bring the shine back? I thought about using a fiber glass pencil, but I think it would be messy and will wear away to fast. I thought someone might know of a ‘secret solution’ of chemicals I could use to make the task easier?”

Add your comment below if you can assist Erik.

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Download These Plans for Super Realistic Scale Model Bridges, Walls, a Pedestrian Over-Bridge Etc

Plans for Realistic Walls, Tunnel Portals, Pedestrian, Road and Rail Bridges – Click Here

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Ideas for Food Industry on Layout

A question from another readers:

“Hello I am wanting to build a new HO scale layout I want a food factory on this layout and another industry. It needs to fit in a very small space 1 and a half feet by no more the 9-8 inches please give me tips and advice thanks – Brock Ian”

Add you suggestion (and view suggestions from others) using the COMMENTS tag below.

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Wiring an Atlas Switch with a Plastic Frog in a DCC Environment

Tom has this question for readers:

“I use Tortoise switch machines to control my HO switches. I would like to use the switch machine to change the current for the switched rails but don’t know understand where to connect the changing current lead from the tortoise as there does not appear to be a common point for both rails coming off the frog. Do I just solder is to both of the rails coming off the frog or is there a better/more correct way to do it?”

Add your answer, or view answers using the COMMENTS tag below.

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How Many Power Districts Are Needed?

Ho railroader Joseph asks:

“Hello all. I have a medium size layout in my basement. It’s 303 feet of track total. 3 continues loops. I’m going to separate into 5 different power districts. Do I need a separate booster for all 5 districts?”

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When Do I Need Insulated Joiners?

insulated rail joiner model trains ho scaleMaurice a keen member of the Online Train Club Member used the ‘ASK A QUESTION’ link to submit this question for readers:

“If I have a DCC setup, then why would I need to use insulated joiners?”

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Best Place to Railfan In Asheville NC?

Brock Ian who is interested in HO and a keen “railfan” enthusiast asks:

“Hello, What is the Best place to Railfan In Asheville NC? Thanks.”

Add your suggestions using the COMMENTS tag below.

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Mystery Rail Yard #3 – Guess The Location

The first two mystery photos certainly generated considerable interest and confounded many. Following numerous requests I have included a third mystery photo for you to guess. Have a go – it doesn’t matter if you get the country or city wrong… the fun is in trying to guess a likely location. It won’t be long before someone gets the right answer and supplies some history and details. You’ll be able to follow the picks and see the correct answer when it gets published. Click the COMMENTS below this post.

rail yards

If you think you know where this photo was taken, simply add your answer using the COMMENTS below this post. That’s also where you will see the answers submitted by other readers.

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Rubber-Tired Metro Trains part of Taiwan’s Rapid Transit System

Many readers who were guessing the answers to the two mystery rail yard photos recently posted on this Blog were surprised to learn that mystery photo #2 was taken in Taiwan (mystery photo #1 was at Seoul Station in South Korea). Taiwan’s greenery and mountains in the mystery photo #2 came as a surprise to many who thought the photo was captured in Europe, South America, Japan, or maybe New Zealand. Not so; Taiwan is generally very green with the main population hubs concentrated in a few big cities.

The big city of Taipei in the North has an extensive and very efficient mass transit metro system that reaches out in all directions including a direct line from Taipei’s Main Station to the main international airport – Taoyuan International Airport. You can get your boarding pass and check your bag in at Taipei Main Metro Station and board the train for the airport which saves a lot of time at the airport end.

Most of the Taipei metro system is underground, but the Brown Line which operates from Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center to Taipei Zoo operates above street level on rubber tires (tyres in British English).

taipei metro train brown line

The Taipei Brown Line opened in 1996 and is not the only train line in the world to run on rubber tires. There are many other examples. The rubber tires on the cars run on rolling pads inside guide bars for improved traction.

The Brown Line in Taipei stretches 15.6 miles (25.1 kilometers) servicing 24 stations across 7 districts in Taipei of which 22 of the train stations are elevated above street level and 2 are underground. As of Sept 2011, Taipei’s  Brown Line, with it’s driver-less trains, transported on average of 180,000 passengers daily, although this figure has likely increased somewhat since then.

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How To Convert To DCC

Jamie asks readers:

“I have just converted to n gauge from oo and purchased a couple of hobbytrains plasseur and theurer tamping machines and now wish to convert them to dcc. Has anybody got any idea how to do this?”

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Lionel 0-4-0 Switcher Repairs?

Rusty asks:

“Does anyone know where I might get my two Lionel engines repaired? I have 2 that won´t run. One is an 0-4-0 Switcher (die cast) and the other one is a 2-4-2 (plastic) Columbia. I have taken both apart and touched both sides of the armature cover and it tries to move. Both armatures spin when I roll the engine, so they´re not frozen up. HELP!”

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Photo Mystery No. 2. Can You Guess The Country Where This Railway Photo Was Taken?

If you scroll down to my posting of Oct 4 you’ll see a scene from a rail yard in a large city. At the time of writing this weeks posting, no one has as yet correctly identified the city where the Oct 4 photo was taken. See the comments under the Oct 4 post if you think you know the answer.

New Mystery Photo #2 – Guess the Country

If you thought that was hard, try and pick the country where this scene was photographed. It is not near a city but is near a small town and the engine is doing some shunting work and reversing. If you want to have a go at guessing the country, then simply add your guess directly below today’s posting using the COMMENTS LINK under the photo.

rail shunting photo

I will add a reply in the COMMENTS section when/if someone picks the correct answer.


Thanks to everyone who participated in this quiz. I’m glad you enjoyed having a go.

The suggested locations were many and varied, although the mountains drew a number of suggestions including: Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Russia, Brazil, PA in the USA, Northern Italy, Soth Africa, Germany, Soth Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Rochester – New York, Australia, Peru, East Africa, Indonesia, Austria, Burma, India, Ecuador – South America, and Slovakia.

Well done to Kevan Mullan who was first to guess the correct location which is revealed in the COMMENTS section below this post.

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N Scale Track Plans

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Rail Yard Structures – Best Value!

rail yard buildings

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help the model railroader “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.

Watch These Club Videos

Club members access helpful new resources each month: diagrams, video tutorials, articles, track plans and more. Watch the tour videos here.

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Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

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Scenery Techniques Explained



Model Train Help Ebook

Scenery & Layout Ideas

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Would you like to write an article and have it published?

Preference will be given to articles that help others progress in the hobby, maybe suggesting an idea for their layout, a quick tip or two... or perhaps a little bit of good advice based on your model railroading experiences.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

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It’s YOUR Railroad!

Your rolling stock and locomotives might actually be the center of attention on your layout, but the scenic features that surround and envelop your layout is what's likely to make your train setup stand proud of the rest. Your selection of scenery and structures will add an element of customization that will make your railroad truly unique.

Scenery, structures, and fine detailing is a fundamental aspect of any good model railroad, particularly if it is intended to replicate a true-to-life railroading scene. How realistic or authentic you make your railroad is entirely up to you... and you alone.

Some enthusiasts like to replicate every tiny detail so as to accurately depict, in every aspect, a miniaturized version of a real life scene.

Others in this hobby adopt a more "free-style" approach and choose to mix and match accessories and features they personally prefer. Even though the purist will possibly be unimpressed with unrealistic or out of context elements, it is YOUR railroad layout so you can make it anything you personally want!

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