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Connecting Wagon to Loco Without a Coupler

This question is from Dave:

“I want to put wagons in front of a Arnold br44 engine or run a second engine together. Any suggestions on how to do this without front couplers, or is there a product out there? Any help would be grateful.”

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Superelevations Techniques

Here’s a question from Online Train Club Member Tyrone:

“I am just beginning to lay track on my latest HO layout. I am using flextrack because I find it easy. My question is whether or not it is necessary for me to super-elevate my curves? If the answer is yes, then how should I do it? Also, would I use easements into my curves? This is my second layout and I never did any of the above with my previous layout, and didn’t have any major problems.”

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

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How to Add the Effect of Real Grouting to Brickwork Models

Wayne models OO gauge and asks readers:

“I am constructing a plastic model of a building and would like to detail it giving the effect of grouting otherwise it will look fake. How can I paint brickwork to have the effect of grout between the bricks.”

Submit your question for publication to the Blog Moderator by using the ASK A QUESTION link just below this posting.

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Track Radius Question

Allan has an HO scale question for readers:

“I am finally going to make a start on layout, but my question is how much base board is required for a 22 inch radius track? I have to hang the base on a garage wall with a hinge system. My new home is limited in space so height of layout is limited to 160mm or 6 inch for rises and tunnels. I hope it works.”

To post a question please use one of the ASK A QUESTION links on this blog where you will find the submission form and the editorial guidelines.

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Japan’s Tech-Friendly Next Generation of Bullet Trains

Japanese bullet train

Central Japan Railway has revealed a prototype of the N700S, a “Supreme” bullet train that has been designed to be kinder to both the passengers and the environment. It’s claimed to 20 percent lighter, consumes at least 7 percent less energy and has a ‘boxier’ nose to cut back on the sonic boom-like effect when the bullet train rushes through tunnels at up to 300KPH (186MPH).


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Shorting Out on Peco Code 100 Turnout

Brian has OO gauge and has this question for knowledgeable  readers:

“When joining turnouts running with 12v DC together in a string the locos frequently short out the supply to the track. It would appear to be at the point where one or the other of the loco pick ups crosses a certain part of the turnout. Is this something that can be cured by wiring adjustments?

Add your answer using the COMMENTS link below.

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Spot The Difference with these Scale Models

See if you can spot the 9 differences in these two pictures of scale model people and houses. Add your answers using the COMMENTS link directly below this posing.

Have Fun!

slide puzzles trains

Plans for the scale model houses are available here.

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Stationary Decoder

John has this question for readers:

“I have a Digitrax Zepher control unit. My DCC railroad will have scheduled routes, but I also want to have manual operation with a diagram panel having turnout LED’S and switch buttons. I will have DCC programmed routes but also want to have diagram panel using manual switches with directional LED’s. I researched stationary decoders and feel that DCC Concepts Colbalt DCD-ADS-8SX probably unit best fits my needs. I realize the manufacturer is located in Australia and see only one USA distributor so am a bit concerned before purchasing. I found limited critique of this unit. Any input to product’s reliability/quality would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.”

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MRC Sound Decoders

David has HO scale and asks:

“I have an MRC HO 1730 16 bit universal EMD 567 sound decoder. I’m using the 8 pin plug, but there is a black plug that I need to cut off. Can I cut it off without hurting the decoder?”

If you have a question you would like published on this blog, simply use one of the ASK A QUESTION links under any posting to submit your question for consideration.

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Scale Plans For Backdrop Buildings – See the Range


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Triplex Locomotives

Mathew has this question:

“Hi guys just wondering if Varney ever made a triplex HO/OO locomotive? I picked one up recently and have no information other than Varney stamped on the trailing truck.”

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Manual Reversing Loop Question

Fred runs N scale and posted this question:

“I know that Kato makes a polarity reversing switch. I understand isolating the loop from the main, and stopping the train within the loop before changing the polarity. I just cannot grasp the actual mechanics and timing of throwing the switch. Also, how do I set the transformer to move the the train out of the loop and operate it on the main?”

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Locos Halting at the Same Spot on the Layout – Why?

Dale asks readers this:

“First, I’m just in the process of building a 10’X 16′ HO layout. I have an BLI Big Boy that, besides causing a short at switches, seems to halt and restart at the same section of track, mostly on curves, but not always. The condition is worse when pulling 26 cars. It also is running at about 1 amp. I’ve cleaned the track over and over, but it does not make a difference. The engine is only about two weeks old. Could the track itself have faults in it? I check it with the voltmeter and it always shows about 13v, sometimes dropping to 10v. I’m using an NCE Power Cab. with incline circuit protection with light emitting fuses. However, my smaller Pacific 4-6-2 does not hesitate even under the same load. Engine trouble? And, how do you prevent shorts at switch frogs? Thanks.”

If you have a model railroading question you would like published on this blog – simply follow the directions outlined when you click the ‘Ask a Question’ tag below. Priority will be given to well worded, well thought through questions that assist readers in clearly understanding the nature and details of the problem you want to solve. The best questions usually attract the best answers. Also, please check your questions for spelling and grammar prior to submission as we strive to provide the best quality experience for our readers.

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Distance Between Rails in a Boxcar Depot

Greg is into HO and asks readers:

“I was looking at pictures from boxcar depots from the 40s and 50s and noticed that the car are very close between tracks, and that there were multiple tracks between docks. It looked like the cars were lined up so the doors could be opened between cars and multiple trains could be unloaded at once. If so, what would the distance between tracks be? Was this a common practice? Any information would help in designing a switching layout similar to Union Station and the L & N Building in Louisville, KY in the 50s.”

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Hooking Up Electrical Wires to the Body of a Train

Richard models in HO and asks:

“On a Westside brass K5 4-6-2 motor where do I connect to 2 wires that run off the motor connection?”

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Running OO Gauge on HO Scale Code 83 Track

Jim sent in this question for readers:

“I’m looking at buying some OO gauge from England. Will there be any issues running on HO scale code 83 track? The locos will be DCC on the track as well as turn outs. Any help would great thank you.”

Do you have model railroading question you would like our Blog Moderator to consider for possible publication? If so, you can submit your question using any one of the ‘ASK A QUESTION’ links found on this blog. Please carefully check and proofread your question(s) before submitting. Questions need to be clear and have sufficient information providing enough details to prompt the best quality answers.

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Professional Model Builder

Rebecca asks this:

“My brother loves N scale, and has purchased models and equipment to customize. He is disabled, in a wheelchair and deaf, and tech-shy, so he does no email, but can communicate well by text. His manual nerve damage makes model building difficult. Does anyone know of a model railroad builder, especially in the Sacramento/NoCal area, who might be willing and able to do model work to his specs professionally?”

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Are HO Trains More Reliable To Run Than N Scale?

Mike has this interesting question for readers:

“I am wondering if N scale track is more likely to cause loco hesitation and stoppig than HO? I am ready to tear out and sell then go to HO. I don’t run trains daily but the layout is in a heated and cooled interior room and shouldn’t need cleaning from one week to the next. I have used everything but goo gone or WD 40. No I haven’t bought the expensive brass car.”

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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.


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.

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.



N Scale Track Plans

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Model Train Help Ebook

Scenery Techniques Explained

Bringing Your Railroad To Life!

Scenery & Layout Ideas

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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

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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