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If you have a question to ask others in the hobby, or if you want to answer or comment on a question, or if you want to publish a photo/description of your layout… then this is the place to do it. The Model Train Help Blog is read by around 10,000 railroaders each week.
To answer a question click on the title of the posting and you’ll be redirected to a page where you can add your comment or answer. Or, you can simply click the COMMENTS link under any posting. By doing that you can see what others have to say.
To add a photo/description of your layout, or add a tip for others, use the “Submit Your Article” link in the right hand column.
PLEASE NOTE: All questions and comments get submitted to the Blog Moderator for approval prior to publication. Please spell check and proof read what you write before submission, as only the best comments, questions and answers will be published. We get a lot of questions and comments that don’t make sense so aren’t published. Poorly thought-through questions lacking in specific details run the risk of not being published or answered.
Barry poses this question for readers:
“I am having an issue with trying to program HO locos on my DCC system. I am using a Hornby ‘Select’ controller. I understand that cleaning of track and locomotive wheels is very important to ensure a signal can get through to control unit. I have cleaned the track with a cleaning rubber block and wiped the wheels using a cotton bud with a medical alcohol base. What else should I be checking, cleaning or other actions to the message through?”
John asks readers about DC or DCC:
“I think I posted a while back. I am getting into model railroading (My age 60 plus years) after being out from my childhood. I have bought some DCC on board locomotives on EBay. I get mixed opinions from the only hobby shop in this area. Some say go with DC only as it is much simpler, others say go with DCC. Need opinions since I am getting back into this hobby. Am looking at setting up a 4ft x 8ft with 3 different locomotives. Thanks for any input/advice.
A couple of quick very basic questions for readers:
Dave asks – “What glue holds track to an HO atlas bridge?”
Craig doesn’t specify brands or model numbers in his question – “Can anyone tell me how I can get replacement parts lists for older HO locos that I’m trying to get back together?”
Dave and Craig you might like to add more details using the COMMENTS link below, as this might help readers suggest solution.
Following a suggestion from club member Phil, here’s something new for blog readers.
Our first railroading crossword puzzle. You can download and print out the clues and a bigger PDF version here. There is also a link to get the answers if you get stumped.
You are welcome to add your answers using the COMMENTS link below this post.
ALSO, it would be good to get feedback on the idea of including the occasional Crossword or Word Search puzzle on the blog (relating to railroading). If you think it is a stupid idea say so. If you would like to see more – post your feedback using the COMMENTS link below.
Delru sent in these ideas to share:
“I would like to let folks know how easy it is to add many ‘accessories’ to your table without the train store pricing. For example, we wanted 6 spotlights to highlight various fair rides. Train store cost? $78. We took some small bells, clipped out the ringer, spray painted them flat black, and ran an LED light thru them. Set them upside down (wide bell facing up). Cost? $2.99 for a pack of 24. Just want to encourage people to think outside the box. Now looking for O scale swans to use as rides on an HO Tunnel of Love. Trains are expensive, but your layout accessories don’t have to be.”
Gary from Alberta in Canada sent in these photos to share:
I’m not planning to build a large train layout, as I would prefer to build very detailed dioramas instead, mainly because I model in several different gauges…HO, Hon3, Hon30, On30 and G scale. Attached are some photos of some dioramas I’ve completed in HO and Hon30 scale. One of the photos shows a very small diorama on a black turntable. The size of the model is 4″ x 6″ (10.16cm x 15.24cm) and is in Hon30 scale. It was a challenge to the members of our club to build a scene on a block of wood that size.
I also built an HO scale diorama that had nothing to do with model trains. It was of a turn-of-the-century house that was constructed to fit into an enclosed case. It was built as a wedding present for my granddaughter, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. My wife and flew down there for the wedding in November and had to hand carry the diorama from Calgary, to Melbourne, via Los Angeles. I had to wrap it to fully protect it, and still be able to open it up for security and customs checks. Thankfully, I was able to get it to the wedding in one piece.
Gary – I couldn’t open the file you sent with captions, so perhaps you could add some comments using the COMMENTS link under this posting.
That’s the question we asked in the recent poll and over 90% selected “Absolutely – it’s great to read so many clever captions from readers.” There were also nearly 100 funny captions submitted by readers, so I do my best to find some more to include on the blog. Here’s 4 that made the grade (sorry about the pun!).
Andrew asks readers:
“I have a 6×4 foot, HO scale, DC layout with 3 separate tracks. Throughout the hot summer my tracks have expanded under the heat and are taking a while to contract back to the right position. Is there anyone out there who can suggest a way to stop this from happening all together or at least not as severe? “
Tom asks readers:
“I’m new to the hobby and I just set up my first HO layout. I’m ready to wire it. I have ten Atlas Snap Switches that need power. Atlas recommends an AC power supply that puts out 15 -16 VAC @ 2 – 3 amps. Such a supply seems impossible to find. I’ve seen many people recommend an old computer supply, cellphone charger, etc. . . . but these all put out a DC current. Is there any reason I can’t use DC on the Atlas Snap Switches? (I have two old computer supplies, one puts out 32V @ 3.5 amps, the other 20V @ 11 amps.) Will either of these work without burning out the Snap Switches?”
Bob asks readers this question:
“My mom just gave me a big box of HO train stuff that I know nothing about. A lot of the cars are dated early 70’s to early 80’s. There is one engine that appears like it was built in the 30’s. I want to set it up for my grandson. It has several engines and lot of track but I don’t see any power supply. What do I need to make it go? Thanks.”
Write a funny caption for this old railroad photo and add it to the post by using the “COMMENTS” link below. You’ll also be able to see funny captions supplied by others.
You can also comment on other captions submitted and rate your favorite.
P.S. Share this posting with your railroading buddies on Facebook or by email. I’m sure they’ll enjoy laughing at the captions too!
Stewart asks readers for advice:
“How practical would it be to lift a 8×3 layout by chains and pulleys to the supporting beams in my garage so I can park the wifes Suzuki Swift underneath? I would get into terrible trouble if I damaged her pride and joy. Would it be easy to lift, will it tip sideways, and how safe would it be? Could I lower it onto saw horses for support?”