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Union Pacific Electric Train

HO guy Brock asks:

“Has union Pacific Railroad ever used electric locomotives? Thanks.”

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Amazing Wild West Town Scene Built By Mike

wild west railroad town sceneMike Racine kindly sent in these photos to share.

I named the town Racine City Nevada. I built this for my Pop because he loves old west stuff. The buildings were awesome and easy to build. It just takes a little patience, a steady hand (sort of) and a bit of creativity. The cool thing is you can add whatever woodworks on the outside and the combinations are endless.

Mike downloaded the plans here.

The figures are all hand painted and everything on the dio is scratch built besides the buildings. I decided to paint up a quick background to give it some depth.

You may notice Waldo in one of the pics. That was just me being goofy. I also have an extremely multicolored horse ( not pictured) that I call a “Horse of a different color” (The Wizard of Oz reference). Those are just kinda like a signature because I like to keep everything light hearted.

western town models to makewild west cowboy town scale models

I’ve since moved on to complete two other major projects which was a tropical paradise with waves crashing on the beach and my latest project was the Pompeii Amphitheater which came out pretty cool if I say so myself.

scale models wild western town cowboys

I just wanted to show that with your products and a good imagination you can make any train layout or diorama a beautiful work of art. Mining town plans also available here.

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Setting Up a Layout Using Old Equipment

Richard is seeking advice from others:

“I am about to set up a layout and I have only old equipment that was bought in the 1970’s-1980’s and I am wondering if I will have any problem adding modern trains or electronics to an old equipment layout? I am going to start building soon. I have a room about 10 feet by 8 feet.”

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HO vs HOn3

Wayne would like some guidance from those in the know:

“Either scale would be appropriate for the era modeling, space is at a premium to some extent. Is one head and shoulders above the other – HO vs HOn3?”

Add your comment below.

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Set Up Two Tier Layout

Lou has O gauge and asks:

“I’m using a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood. How do you set up a second tier. Thanks.”

Small space???

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Affixing Stone Ballast

H.O. enthusiast John has this question:

“My track is down and now I want to pretty it up with stone ballast. I have sieved a crushed quarry bi-product and now have bottles of this fine stone to use. I also have the dust to fill in between the sleepers to save the fine stones. How do I glue this ballast down so it won’t move. Keeping it away from points / switches is a well known problem. A common kitchen sieve was used for the screening process.”

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Gluing and Pinning Track in Place

Online train club member Perry posted this question for fellow railroaders:

“I am almost to the point of layingtrain track railways my first area of track and wondered if I need to glue it as well as pin it down? Someone told me I only needed to fix it directly to the board. I’m using 12mm thick marine ply. If I need glue – what should I use?

Use the COMMENTS link to add your thoughts.

The ASK A QUESTION link is under every post if you have a question you would like published.

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Have a Safe Trip Home?


You can read what you like into this.

Photo credit https://pxhere.com/en/photo/310992

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How To Connect IR Switches

Don models N scale and has this question for readers:

“I have a bunch of IR switches a (small bulb) one side is lighter than the other. It has 4 wires coming out the bottom, and I am not sure how to connect the in / out power etc.”

If you have a question you would like published, simply submit it using one of the “ASK A QUESTION” links on this page. Remember to include plenty of details, because poorly worded questions that are incomplete or confusing often struggle to invite good answers.

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How Much Can A Loco Pull?

Don asks readers:

“The grade calculator at http://www.modelbuildings.org/free-calculator-tools.html was great thanks.  What I need most is what is the most grade an HO engine should pull ( ballpark )”

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Assembly Instructions

Peter asks:

“Hi. Does anybody out there know where I can purchase assembly instructions for a OO Mercian Models SG20 Bishops Castle ‘Carlisle’ 0-6-0 loco. I bought this sometime ago and have mislaid the plans. Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance”

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Ideas for Small 55 Inch x 23 Inch Layout

Matt from NSW in Australia has this question for those in the know:

“I live in an apartment (I think you call it a condo in the states) and haven’t got a lot of space for an HO layout. I want HO not N scale because I like the larger train size. Don’t fall off your chair but the surface I have to work with is only 55″ x 23″. I know that’s not a lot of room to play with and know I will need to stick to small switcher engines and the like. My preference is for continuous running with possibly a distorted oval design with possibly 10″ turns? Not really sure what will work best.

I would appreciate any ideas for types of layout and rolling stock etc.? Haven’t started yet so am open to suggestions. Thanks a million and thanks for publishing my question!”

To add an answer or comment click “COMMENTS” underneath. To ask a question click “ASK A QUESTION” underneath any posting. It’s that easy.

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Locomotive Issues

John has a couple of questions for blog readers:

“I have a 4-8-8-4 loco with a 4-10 tender and the only name is made in Italy. I place this N scale loco on a flat track and it doesn’t get under way but just sits there and spins. All other locos get around with no problem.

Also, does anyone know of a repair shop for Trix locos? I consulted the repair shops from a rail mag and many of the shop are no longer in business. ”

Post you comment on the blog using the COMMENTS link under this posting.

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No Train Expected Any Time Soon?


When you look closely at rail yards sometimes you see the strangest things!

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Felt Cover for 4ft by 8ft Layout Board

Lou models O scale and has this question:

“I have a green felt material covering my plywood. How do you attach things (houses etc) to the board? Would I be better without the felt?”

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Derailing Locomotive

Marion sent in this question:

“My husband gifted me with a wonderful BLI HO loco that won’t stay on the track. Our other locos have no problem. Others, who have the same loco, are having no problem, apparently. We have adjusted track, etc., and still have the problem. Some of the wheels are really small, but, again, others don’t seem to be having the problem. HELP!”

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Fixing Dead Spots On Crossing

Dave has this question:

“Does anyone know of anything that can be done to reduce dead spots when a loco passes thru crossing slow speed. Seems like the smaller the angle, the worse the performance (i.e. a 19 degree is much worse that a 12.5 degree crossing).”

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Scaling Objects To HO

David posted this question:

“Does some know the formula for figuring out the HO size of normal wooden dowels? Example how big is a ½ dowel in HO?”

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Mining Town Plans

scale model mining town models

N Scale Track Plans

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Everything DCC

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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.


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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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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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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.

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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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