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Confusion Laying Track

Nick writes:

“After spending a lot of time on updating myself with the model railroading methods used these days. I have obtained a lot of the supplies I need to begin my project. However, I believe I am now suffering from ‘information overload’ when it comes to the method I will be using to start laying track.

I was all set to nail my cork and track to the benchwork and I really like the use of foam board for some areas of my layout that I have seen many modelers using in the videos that I have watched.

Now I’m just staring at everything, not knowing what to nail, should I use caulk or liquid nails? I don’t need a lot of detail but if you would share your choice of track laying method you prefer I hope it might help me out moving forward with some confidence. Thank you.”

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Track Compatibility

Chuck has HO scale and asks:

“Can Bachman EZ track be connected to track that is used with trains from Bradford-Hamilton trainsets?”

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Cleaning My Ballasted Track

John from the UK explains how he cleans his ballasted track:

“First I Hoover all the ballast with the brush on the Hoover. I then spray the ballast with water, as if you are just ballasting your track.  Then I leave it for a few days to dry. I then clean the rails with a rubber eraser and Hoover the track again, and it will look as if you have just ballasted the track. It looks nice and clean.”

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Power Supply For Layout

Peter submitted this question, and it might be helpful if would add some more details in the comments area below:

“Can someone recommend or suggest a power supply to power accessories only on a layout?”

If you can assist Peter, please add your suggestions below.

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Operating Digitrax DCC System

Lloyd asks readers:

“I have an HO layout that I have not touched in 5 yrs. I have Digitrax as my system. Can anyone tell me how to operate the system to get it up and running? I had it running before my surgery but totally forgot how to get it started. For some reason, I can’t find the books for it.  Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.”

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Engine Slows

Keith models HO and writes:

“My engine slows dramatically in two sections of the track.  I have cleaned the track.  I thought it might be out of gauge, so checked that.  It seems to be O.K.  This happens on both my engines, but more dramatically on the older one.  Has anyone experienced this?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

Add your comments and suggestions to help Keith using the link below.

If you have a question(s) you would like to get published, just send it to the Blog Moderator by clicking the ASK A QUESTION link below. If you want to include a photo or drawing, you simply need to notify the Blog Moderator when submitting your question. He will reply and tell you how.

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How Do You Uncouple Stubborn Cars?

Ross sent in this question:

“Hi to everyone. Just wondering the best way to uncouple stubborn cars during an op session? I’m very new to things, but already not a big fan of the Kadee magnets, which I’m finding a bit inconsistent when I want to keep my fumbling hands and elbows away from the scenery. I saw one guy on video using a pick thingy sharpened and flattened at one end. He wedged it between the coupler jaws and opened the couplers with a little twist. What do people use?”

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Is There A Quicker Way To Clean Freight Car Wheels?

Mervyn asks:

“I’ve airbrushed and weathered most of my 136 freight cars and have got them looking good. A lot of work but worth it. I now want to remove any grime and gunk build-up on the car wheels. From experience, I know it will take at least 15 minutes to clean all 8 wheels on just one car by swabbing an Isopropyl Alchohol soaked Q-tip against the wheel tread and rotating the other axle wheel. I calculate about 34 hours of repetitive work. Is there an easier/quicker way?”

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60 Ideas for Background Industries

You might be interested to know… the webpage featuring the 6 newest buildings in the range also includes an interesting list of around 60 ideas for industries that could be developed against the backdrop of a model train layout. The list, which is by no means complete, might stimulate some ideas. If you have any ideas for other industries, you can publish them in the COMMENTS under this post. Here is the webpage link with the list of 60 industries  CLICK HERE

Now Available Individually, or in 3 Special Buy Packs

The newest series of plans is proving popular with OO, HO, and N scale model makers, so new options are now available for customers. The 6 downloadable plans can still be purchased individually. Added to this are 2 new special buy packs featuring 3 buildings in each, and a below half price pack featuring all 6 buildings in the series…the best buy!

There’s also a couple of helpful step-by-step video construction tutorials on the webpage and some scale charts to use as a guide to sizes. For details of the 3 special-buy packs CLICK HERE

scale model railway industry buildings

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How To Slow My Athearn RTR SD40

Tom writes:

“I have an Athearn RTR SD40 which won’t slow down. I’ve tried speed table programming without success. It has a soundtraxx Tsunami decoder. Anyone else had this happen?”

Add your comment, and view answers sent in by others by clicking ADD A COMMENT below.

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DCC Locomotives Go In Opposite Directions

Roger is puzzled with this:

“After installing a decoder in my Atlas C425 it goes in the opposite direction to my other DCC loco. Strange, I thought both DCC ready locos would run the same way?”

If you have a question you would like published, send it to the Blog Moderator using the link below. If you have a photo or drawing to include, then simply advise the Blog Moderator when submitting your question. He will tell you how.

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LED Lighting for an Old Style Country Train Station

Victor writes:

“What lighting should I use for above the doors of an older style ’50s country train station I’m going to build? I want the lights facing downward, and be in keeping with the scene. Would yellow 3mm LED’s above the doors under the overhang work? I know I’ll need to allow space for wires and resistors. I’m fishing for ideas if someone can help.”

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Engine(s) Drawing Too Many AMPS

Allan writes:

“First I would like to say I’m actually asking this on behalf of my Dad. (he doesn’t know that I am doing so) I don’t really know much at all about this specific issue or the entire hobby to be honest with you.

So the issue is that three of his engines are drawing 3X the amps that they used to and therefore and either are not working properly or at all. Now I believe he was told to (or suggested to) add a second power supply to the layout being that the layout was quite large. Now, Dad (Bert) has done so now but that did not fully correct the issues he was having.

So my question to anyone that would like to offer some advice is …. What is it that’s causing this high amperage issue in these engines and how can it be rectified? The brand name of these engines is Athearn I believe and please forgive me if I have miss spelled this. All three of these engines previously did run perfectly fine. At that time apparently, they were drawing 1 amp and are now drawing 3 amps each.

Thank you very much in advance for any help or direction in this issue. Thanks again Allan (& Bert too).”

Add any comments or suggestion you have below.

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Z21 and Hornby R8247

Michael is seeking help:

” I have several HORNBY OO GAUGE R8247 DIGITAL ACCESSORY DECODERS on my layout and I have upgraded to a Z21 However I cannot connect them to my new Z21 unit. Can anyone help?”

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Wiring For DCC

Nick is planning an HO layout and asks:

“I am starting a new layout after a 25-year absence from the hobby. I am excited to embrace some of the newer updated equipment and model railroading methods used today. I have already purchased a lot of new tracks to replace all of the old brass tracks from the ’70s. My plan moving forward is to construct my new layout using DCC. Is it good practice to do so 100% or is there a reason why I should still wire the layout in DC first? I only have one (1) good loco left from the ’70s. In addition, is it recommended that I install all the switches and turnouts in DCC?
Your thoughts please?”

Please add your comments below to assist Nick.

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Walthers BNSF GE ES44C4 With Tsunami 1 Decoder

Kim asks:

“I don’t know how to adjust CV’s to my Walther’s HO BNSF GE ES44C4. It needs to be slowed down. It has a Tsunami 1 decoder. How do I find the right CV to reduce speed steps to be matchable to other locomotives?”

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How To Make Large Blue Backdrops

Steve models HO and writes:

“I see the large blue backdrops with the curved corners at the ends of the model tables instead of just a sharp corner. I originally thought of just using a piece of 6 mm floor underlayment 4 x 8 foot cut in half lengthwise to 2 foot and screwing these strips on the back of my table. But now I would like to make the taller curved backdrops. Is this material cardboard or what is it made of to make it curve like that Wood without being too stiff and porous? Can you buy these blue backdrops already made and decorated?”

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Police Office and Prisoner Cells on South African Trains

Regular contributor Peter Field from South Africa shared these interesting photos and story:

My layout is currently covered due to the transformer speed controller packing up and non-available here in Natal but have sourced two in Cape Town which is being sent up to me.

In 2010 with the World tournament soccer in South Africa, the police commissioned the railways to build I am told about 12 of these mobile charge offices that would be attached to certain passenger trains to convey people and fans between games in RSA. As they were expecting the hooligans to arrive from Europe and England. However, they put these charge offices on quite a few passenger trains operating then.

Prisoner coach RSA Police Model Trains

The charge office comprised of a charge office, counseling room, toilet, shower, and two to three-compartment for 5 to 6 officers who would be on duty for the duration of the journey, and yes 4 small lock-up cells at the rear of the coach with small fanlight windows. After the games, they were stored and recently brought to control crowds in the trains from Corona Virus with distancing, etc.

I have seen them on container trains as well as they are used to guard the containers on route to and from Durban harbor that were being broken into and items stolen.

Here is a picture of a charge office and some interior shots of the office.

My Kiwi (New Zealand) Diesel is doing well here amongst the South African Railways locos on my layout, as it is a lease and lend loco to the SAR fleet. Cheers for now and good running!

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