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!

Laying Fixed Rails on Curves

Bert models N scale and asks readers:

” When laying flex track on a curve, should the “fixed” rail be on the inner or outer circle?  Should this practice be followed throughout the layout for straights and sidings? “

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

1 comment  Ask A Question

Is Oasis Florist Foam Any Good For Making Landscapes?

oasis florist foamJohn W asks readers:

“I read about using Oasis Foam for scenery, but I wonder if it might be messy, too lumpy, or too fake looking? How easy is it to use and color? What can it be used for? Any tips please.”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

Starting Off With DCC

Ben asks readers:

“I am building a 4ft x 10ft OO gauge layout and want it to be DCC. I want some suggestions for an expandable controller please.”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

Click To Add A Comment  Ask A Question

A Mix Of The Old and New

model trams on railroad layout Here’s a mix of old and new spotted on Ian Williamson’s N scale “Midway” layout. The scene is no location in particular, just a smallish city with a CBD. As can be seen this city is well serviced by public transport including trams that run frequently. Most of the buildings are by Tomy and Tomix, the trams come from the same manufacturers. The movements are controlled by an automatic train reverser with diodes in a block system.

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

Anything Better Than MRC Control System?

Troy asks readers:

“I’m changing my N scale layout to DCC and have heard good things about MRC control systems. I’m not sure exactly what I should be looking for in a system, and wondered if there is anything better? How easy is it to set up and operate? Will it give me enough different functions in the future? Haven’t thought much about what switches or signals I’ll need yet, so perhaps I should do that first?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

Where To Find Model Railroad Photos

David asks readers:

“Where can I fine pictures of different engines like SD-45, GP-35,F-45?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

N Scale or HO Scale?

Nigel asks readers:

“I plan to build a train set up in half my double garage. Although I have quite a bit of space… enough for an HO set I think… I somehow prefer the look of smaller N scale trains. With this amount of space is N scale too small given that the cost longer term might be greater for me to fill this space with enough of the smaller track and trains, or should I just add more extensive (hopefully not too expensive) scenery like rolling hills etc?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

60 comments  Ask A Question

Keeping Your Train Room Dry

train room in basementBen writes:

I see Dale posted a question a week or so ago relating track rust and mentioned the effects of humidity, so I thought I’d write a few words on setting up the right conditions for a layout.

One of the first things is to get the room prepared before constructing any benchwork for the layout. I know it is hard to resist just jumping in and getting started with a hammer and saw, but there are several important things to consider first apart from planning the size, shape, track configuration, scale etc.

The first job is to make the room dry. Dale mentioned his layout was in the garage and that’s a common location, as is a basement. Unfortunately basements and garages can get damp. If the space is not dry there will always be the risk of the benchwork not being stable, because humidity could cause the timber to swell. When the humidity drops the timber could dry out causing further changes or movement. This can impact on track levels and effect the sub-roadbed.

A couple of coats of waterproofing paint on the concrete block walls will help keep dampness at bay. In a lot of situations, a dehumidifier might be required to control room temperature and humidity levels. Adding insulation in the ceiling and walls will further help to keep the room dry. A drop ceiling can help with insulation and prevent dust from dropping onto the layout when someone walks across the floor on the upper level.

If the basement walls are not already insulated, start by putting up furring strips (a strip of wood tapering to nothing used in construction work) and styrofoam. Although there might only be ¾” of insulation, it will be better than having none. These furring strips can be attached to the basement walls using Tap-Con masonry screws. This will also be a help if your plan is to make your layout multi-level and intend to fix the upper layout level(s) to the wall. Using building adhesive and/or cement nails can fail over time so be careful with the weight loading. Having half your layout crash off the wall or rip wall panels loose can be disastrous. I would rather do a job once and do it right than to have to repair things after they have gone wrong.

If you have basement/garage windows you’ll need to decide whether or not to cover them with drywall or keep them accessible. Doing so would keep direct sunlight off the layout and probably mean you could include a realistic uninterrupted backdrop.

You’ll still need good lighting even if you don’t cover the windows. However, this raises another issue; the placement of the lights to be accessible and so the operators can see what they are doing. One option is to have lighting circuits finish in outlet boxes. Doing this will provide some flexibility as your layout takes shape. The lights can then be placed anywhere on the ceiling and be easily plugged in. The ceiling boxes won’t then need to be located exactly.

Whist on the subject of power circuits, it is a good idea having them along the walls usually under the layout, because running lots of extension cords is a problem waiting to happen. Being able to turn everything off at once when finishing for the day (or night) also makes sense. Having to turnoff several switches is frustrating and could result in something (like a heater or soldering iron) being accidentally left running.

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

Soldering Wires To Track

Kerry asks readers:

“Should I solder my wires in the track, or would I be better to install joiners with leads?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

4 comments  Ask A Question

How to Wire a No 6 Double Crossover

Gavin asks readers:

“I have a Walters shinohara no. 6 double crossover (HO/OO). I can make the frog live, but I have no idea how to wire it up? Any suggestions please?”

double cross-over track

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

4 comments  Ask A Question

South Bay Historical Railroad Society Layout

The South Bay Historical Railroad Society is located in the historic (built 1863) Santa Clara Depot in Santa Clara, California, USA. Within the Depot is an HO and N scale model railroad layout depicting various railroad eras. The N scale layout in this scene is 11ft wide by 52 ft long with 3 mainlines, and helix’s at both ends to service all 3 lines.

This scene shows the residential area and part of the passenger station (right). The layout looks impressive, but I’m not sure I would like to be in one of those vehicles when that double header diesel roars through the town so close to the road. Looks like an amazing layout.South Bay Historical Railroad Society

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

Click To Add A Comment  Ask A Question

How To Make Locomotive Lights Brighter

Oscar asks readers:

“I have a Loco Bachmann H0 GP30 Diesel Loco DCC with a Digitrax DCS 50 Zephir. My question is: the lights, forward and reverse, are in a low intensity. How can I do to put both in high intensity?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

3 comments  Ask A Question

Minimum Turning Circle for Model Trains

Brian asks readers:

“What is the minimum turning circle (OO gauge). I have just had a new shed built it is 3m X 4m unfortunately it door opens inwards. I want to put a layout with the door open but don’t know what the smallest turn that I would need. Any help would be grateful.”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

5 comments  Ask A Question

Converting Tyco Engines to DCC

David asks:

“Can old HO scale Tyco engine be made into DCC?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

1 comment  Ask A Question

How To Resolve Rusted Track Problems

Dale asks readers:

“I live next to the beach in sunny north Queensland, Australia and have my layout setup in our garage. Temperatures average 28 to 36 degrees Celsius. I have an aircon but like to open the side door if it’s not too hot and let the gentle sea breeze in instead of running aircon. Problem is my track has growing patches of rust. Would this be the humidity or maybe the sea spray in the air? Any suggestions for coping with the rust and stopping it getting out of hand?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

39 comments  Ask A Question

Which Oils For Metal and Plastic Gears?

Dave H asks readers:

“What type of oil should I use for a ready-to-run loco? Should I use different oils for metal and plastic gears?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

2 comments  Ask A Question

Tiny Integrated Circuit Transceivers

Denis asks readers:

“Hi. I model British N gauge. In recent years there have been a number of tiny Integrated Circuit (IC) Transceiver/MCUs developed. With these small ICs circuit boards could be developed to fit N Gauge or smaller.
Has anyone tried this? Is there plans or software for sale”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

4 comments  Ask A Question

How To Alter CV Values

Travis asks readers:

“Can someone explain about a CV value and how do I go about altering it?”

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Share This Post

4 comments  Ask A Question

N Scale Track Plans

Watch the video and download 2 excellent N scale ebooks.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION

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).

Submit your model train questions here.

Quick & Easy To Download

HO, N, OO, Z, or S Scale







DCC Made Easy

DCC doesn't need to be complicated. Watch the video now.

Railroad Technology Breakthroughs

Learn how to use micro controls to add life, interest, new features, and efficiency to your railroad.

HO OO Track Plans

Click to watch the video about Tom Hobson's popular "Guide To HO/OO Trains" ebook.

Scenery Techniques

Watch the video now.

Make 6 Background Shops

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.

40 Shipping Container Models

Model Train Help Ebook

Submit Your Article

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.

Submit Your Article Here

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Share With Friends

 

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.