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!
“I have a problem with several older 00 (4mm) locos running on DCC over points where they sometimes stall. I understand that there are ‘stay alive capacitors’ available to overcome this problem. My question is:- do these work and if so how are they connected in relationship with the decoder? Look forward to any members ideas/experience. Many thanks.”
This little scene (from the Brisbane Model Train Show) shows how simple ideas are sometimes the best. Although there are just 4 workers, a wagon, a vehicle, a shed, and a small piece of machinery… the scene takes up very little space yet really draws the eye in to see what’s going on. To add even more interest, some of the elements could be animated to show some movement and further captivate attention… more on that in coming weeks.
“Does anyone have an easy way to wire reed switches to a layout? Specifically, cylindrical reed switches. Thanks. ”
A reed switch has two metal reed contacts enclosed inside a glass cover. One contact works like a North magnetic pole and the other a South magnetic pole. The reeds spring together when near a magnet, which lets the current flow. When removed the reeds split apart and the current stops flowing.
In simple terms, a reed switch works like a ‘drawbridge’ in an electric circuit. A closed switch has the ‘bridge’ down so the current can flow through the circuit; an open switch has the ‘bridge’ up so no electric current flows.
Drew asks readers:
“Does anyone have a suggestion for model RR paints? Since Poly-Scale stopped manufacturing their paints, I have been unable to find suitable paints for the RR’s I model. If the manufacturer and/or supplier is in Europe, do you know if they will ship to the US? I of course, am looking for 1 to 3 OZ. bottles (50ml to 100ml ?). Thanks very much for the information!”
A helper engine is a locomotive that temporarily helps a train in need of additional traction or power to climb a gradient. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, a helper engine might be called a bank engine (or banker). The term pusher engine is also used in the USA. Regardless of what you call them, these engines are most commonly used in mountain divisions (helper districts) where the ruling gradient might necessitate substantially more power for a train to climb.
In some situations a helper, with its own crew, would be utilized to assist the train over a short distance. The rear end caboose would be removed so the
helper locomotive could couple onto the last car in the train. On reaching the top of the rise, the helper would cut off and the train reassembled ready for its downhill trip. The helper loco would then return to where it first joined the train, and be ready to assist the next train.
In other instances a train would be assisted by a Distributed Power Unit (DPU). This is basically an unmanned helper locomotive remotely control from the lead cab. Depending on the load and gradient, it could be positioned at the rear of the train or in the middle. Apart from helping a train climb a steep gradient, a DPU can have benefits on flatter land. Instead of being added just before the climb, it could operate the length of a division.
There are definite advantages in distributing locos throughout a long train and having them operate at the same speed. This can reduce the physical forces on the coupler drawbars and cars. By doing this; fewer cars get pushed (and pulled) by each loco set. Locomotives can be positioned mid-train, at the rear end, or in both positions, to reduce the time required to set and release the brakes.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one with old paint bottles with smudged or rubbed off label wording (e.g. color name). Although this is not always a problem, the bottles when smudged or dirty can all start to look the same.
One idea is wrap some clear carton packaging tape around the entire bottle to protect the label as soon as you get it home from the hobby shop. You could also write the date on the label before covering it with tape.
The other idea is brush a small dot of the paint on top of the lid. This will make it easy it easier to locate a color without needing to read the label.
This quick video shows how easy it is to travel by high speed bullet trains in China. Although the bullet trains don’t travel as fast as aircraft, they have other advantages: You get to see the countryside; they are more comfortable than planes (loads more leg room); there’s no waiting at a luggage carousel (your bags travel with you); check-in time is less (up to 15 minutes before train departs), and the bullet trains are ALWAYS bang on time!
5 Miles by Driverless Train and Ride a Tram on the Outside of a Tower 111 Floors Up! You gotta be crazy?!
This short video is interesting to watch (and share with friends).
The video was shot in Guangzhou, Southern China. The APM train has no driver and runs to the 600 meter tall Canton Tower where you can ride a 6 meter per second elevator and climb aboard one of the glass bubble trams that rotate on rails around the OUTSIDE of tower. There is also an observation deck and glass bottom floor if you want to further test your nerves.
You are welcome to share this on Facebook, Google +, or by email with friends. I hope you found it interesting.
“This morning I pruned my daughter’s Nandina (sacred bamboo) plant, being careful to set aside the spent seed bracts. They make great tree armatures very similar to sea-foam and crepe myrtle. I have 2 shopping bags full of trees which I am donating to one of the local hobby shops for use on their layout or giving to customers.”
In some countries a “below ground” commuter train system is called the subway, or the underground, but in China the system is commonly referred to as the Metro. And (as you’ll see in this short video), Metro lines are expanding in big cities across China. It makes sense really, because apart from being environmentally friendly, underground trains reduce road congestion, and reduce the reliance on cars, motorbikes, and buses. They are also incredibility efficient at moving large volumes of people quickly.
As an example; in Beijing an average of 9.3 million people use the Metro daily. In Shanghai around 8 million use the Metro daily… and those numbers are increasing as more lines get added. Beijing already has 18 lines (319 stations), Shanghai has 14 lines and 337 stations… and expanding.
In cities across China (like Wuhan, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dilian, Chengdu, Ningbo and Xiamen to name a few), construction is underway to build new metro lines underground.
In China the stations and trains are spotlessly clean and well maintained (no graffiti or litter anywhere). Most commuters are busy on their mobiles and just want to get from A to B.
If you have been model railroading for some time, then this quick tip might seem obvious, but not so for newcomers to the hobby who struggle to keep their ballast in place. They glue it down and after a while with it comes loose, potentially causing problems.
The first thing is to not apply too much ballast. The more you use the more you’ll need to stick down.
Many experienced railroaders will wet the ballast first before applying it. You can use a plastic syringe, or a small indoor plant sprayer (from a garden store). Fill it with ordinary water and a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent. Then gently spray it over the ballast before applying a 50:50 mix of PVA glue and water. Personally, I have had more success using 70% isopropyl alcohol as the wetting agent instead of tap water. I hope this helps someone.