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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?

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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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LED Lighting in Downloadable Buildings

LED building lights scale model

Bob might have spotted the LED lighting in Rich’s photos below and has this question for readers:

“What is the best way to control led light bleed in downloadable card stock buildings? Black core flute and interior walls?”

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Track Grade Confusion

Don is into HO and asks:

“I used to understand grades, but not now. What is the best or most grade you can use going up hill and how many inch’s per foot for each one?”

Don here is a handy grade calculator for you http://www.modelbuildings.org/free-track-grade-calculator.html

Don, sorry your other question wasn’t published as it required more clarity and details.

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Strange Locomotive Problem

Wayne posted this question to readers:

“I have several steam locos in both N and HO gauge and they run poorly forward but run MUCH BETTER backwards. Any Ideas, cause or cures? Thank you.”

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To post a question use the ASK A QUESTION link.

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Passenger Car Lighting

Dan models HO and asks readers:

“I have a Rivarossi collector passenger car non lighted and it looks like a Athearn pleasure dome passenger car. I would like to add internal lighting. Please advice . I have the lights for a Walthers pleasure dome car. I do not know the next step. Please advice thanks guys.”

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Downloaded Plans Constructed and Positioned on Layout Ready for Final Detailing

Rich W kindly sent in these photos of a couple of house plans he downloaded from the modelbuildings.org website

model layout houses scale ho

First photos of houses before final detailing. Photos courtesy Rich W.


Here’s what Rich had to say – “I mentioned I would send a few pictures. These is first shots of section before getting put on the layout. I still have some more details to do, but thought you might like to see these. Yes, I cut the windows out and used non glare tape inside the houses. Because of space I had to hang a few near the edge of cliff and so with the texture sheet I made the decking, and cut wood to make the railings. Thanks again.”


scale model houses railroads

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LEDS Without Track Isolators

Michael asks readers:

“Is there a simple way to turn on an LED when a switch is moved using a standard atlas switch control, without putting in a large number of track isolators?

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N Scale Track Plans

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Rail Yard Structures – Best Value!

rail yard buildings

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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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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Scenery Techniques Explained



Model Train Help Ebook

Scenery & Layout Ideas

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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.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

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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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