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Make Your Own Realistic Model Train Walls and Bridges

Smoke Pellets or Liquid

John has an O scale question:

How does one determine when to use smoke pellets/pills or liquid for Lionel trains smokestacks? Does it matter?”

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Train Scales

R G Cooper has a question that will no doubt get varying answers depending on the country, size of the club, member interests, etc:

He asks: “What scale do most model railway clubs use?”

Add your comments.

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Feedback, Answers, Questions

Regular reader Robert M would like more of the people who post questions to provide feedback on whether or not the suggested solutions offered by readers were actually helpful. Robert M writes:

I regularly look at the problems and suggested remedies. Could those posting questions please provide feedback on whether the suggestions sorted your problem so that anyone else with a similar problem knows what worked?”

Robert M has a good point. Some people do provide helpful feedback to the answers others contribute, but some people don’t bother which is disappointing because in most instances the answers are incredibly constructive. Common courtesy please.

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N Scale Modules

Rodney asks:

model railway modules“I have been trying to find the plans for an N scale module layout. I am looking for information on building four corners and individual modules for expansion. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”

Rodney, the following resource includes 69 N scale plans and links to some other excellent modular construction resources. The pack offer also has a step-by-step ebook on modules titled “Confessions of a Mobile Layout Builder”. Recommended resource.


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Three-Rail Track

Melvin has a quick question:

“I saw a video with 3 rail track and query why the need for 3 rails when two would do? Just curious.”

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How To Model Water

Mason posted this question:

“I know there are lots of fancy ways to model water on a layout, but I am wanting to model a couple of little patches of water a bit bigger than puddles in a sort of ditch on the side of my little country road. I don’t need much water, but I want it to look a bit muddy and stagnant. What material or method should I use without going to the expense of buying resin?”

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Using Tiny Screws on Track Ties

John P sent in this tip to share:

“I was surprised a friend of mine who has trains didn’t know to do this, so I’m sharing it on the off chance some others don’t either. My tip is…I make use of very small screws for track ties. By using screws it is easier if I need to lift the track for repairs, or readjustment. My drill has a screwdriver attachment for the crosshead screws which keeps them in position until the tiny screws are nearly fully screwed in. I can then release the screw from the screwdriver grip. It is then a simple matter of a few final turns to securely seat the screw in place. I have always done this, but it seems not everyone does?”

Add your suggestions or comments below.

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Create a Characterful Miniature Shopping Street Set Against Your Background

Plans available to download here.

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Polarity With Reverse Loops

Craig W sent in this tip:

“With a DPDT switch you can alter the polarity manually when on a reverse loop. It can be done with the track before the reverse loop. You would need to double insulate each end of the rail loops.

DCC requires insulating each rail at both ends as mentioned previously and having an auto-reversing circuit mounted to feed the reverse loop. You won’t notice the engine slow down whereas with DC you would likely stop the engine, change polarity to the track, reverse power to that track to proceed. However, when using DCC the reversing circuit is the way to go for this.”

If you would like to comment on what Craig said, then post your thoughts below.


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Mixing Track Types

Jerry posted this question and would like feedback from others:

“Can the different types of metals be combined on the HO same track? (steel alloy, nickel silver, brass)”

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Wiring Tiny LED Lights

Howie models HO and writes:

“Hi. I just got back into the hobby. The LED street lights have the thinnest wire I have ever seen. How do I fasten them to longer wire to get power to them? So tiny!  Help!”

Add your thoughts to assist Howie.

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Fond Memories of Yesteryear Replicated in Miniature on this Layout

Those were the days!

You are most welcome to share this link with your friends by email or post the link on your website or Facebook page. http://www.modeltrainclub.org

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Turntable Power Source

Ed writes:

“What Power source can be use to power an H.O. scale turntable? 130 degree.”

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Sounds For Post War Lionel Train

Dick writes:

“My post-war O scale Lionel has a tender with some sound options. Can I add more realistic sounds to my setup?”

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Is It Okay To Use Pecos Code 075?

Nigel writes I am into DCC and my question is:

“Can anyone help me out? I do have all ‘Peco code 100 tracks {curves, straight & point} and I also have code 075-Double/Single Slip Crossings; And I want to know, with some of my old polling stock, will this be all right with Pecos code 075? Or will the deep wheel flange on the old stock cause derailments? They also do Electrofrog long crossings And Insulfrog crossing in code 075. I have one Insulfrog Crossing in code 100”

Just a reminder to all readers that you can have your question published by using one of the ASK A QUESTION links under each post.

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Electrical Pickup Troubles with Baldwin Modern 440 Locomotive

Martin asks for help:

“I am having electrical pickup troubles with my Baldwin Modern 440. The tender sound will work when I disconnect the tender and pins from the loco, that is until I touch the tender or attempt to move it. The sound sometimes works when I fidget with the tender. I don’t know what to do.”

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Free Train Room Signs

free model train room signfree model railroad signs


Download your FREE train room signs from https://www.modelbuildings.org

You’ll find the link in the Railroad Resources Category in the top NAV bar on the website.

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Workable Grade For Lionel Engines

Mason posted:

“I have a work area of around 16 foot by 6 foot and plan for 2 levels with my trains operating on both. I am thinking of 6″ to 8″ between the two levels, so am wondering what grade and how many inches of track would look and work best. I don’t want to waste space, but still want it to look natural and not cramped. Plus any tips on figuring the riser heights as they step up the ladder would be a help. Thanks in advance.”

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