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Spot the Difference in these 2 Layout Photos

A bit of fun to kick of 2017 with another train scene in our popular “spot the difference” series. See if you can spot all 7 differences. Add your answers using the comments link below. Have fun!

Spot the difference model trains

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Solving Electrical Problem With Locomotive

Dennis models in HO scale and asks readers:

“One of my locos is playing up and won’t work when it’s on the track. If I lift it up slightly from the rear with the front wheels still on the track, the wheels start turning like normal. I’m only having this problem with one loco, the rest are fine. Does someone know a likely cause? Thank you in hope.”

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Model Train Layout Photos Sent In By Les

model train layout by LesLes sent in these photos of his layout to share with the comment “From Denver in my basement, where it is always a 1960’s summer day.” It would be good if he could add more information in the comments section below.

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Ben’s Tenterden Model Railway Show Photos

Club Member Ben sent in these photos to share. He snapped them at the Tenterden Model Railway Show in the UK.

Tenterden Model Railway Show Photos

Model train resources…

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How To Wire For Switch Control

Club Member Allan asks readers:

“This hobby is quite new to me so I need some advice. I am a bit confused with turnouts and how to control them. Do I need seperate wiring to control the switches or can I control them with DCC? I’m ok with making scenery and woodworking joinery, but struggle to understand technical wiring issues. Please help.”

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Lift Up Access Needed

Howard asks readers:

“I am getting to old (and decrepit????) to continue crawling under my OO table to get to my control panel. I thought of adding a lift-up hinged panel but wondered about movement, track alignment, connections etc. and how to hide the join. I haven’t built it yet, but I’m sure I can if I know what not to get wrong. Advice appreciated!!!”

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Adding Height to Your Background Scene

Plans for tall background scale model buildings

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Shoeburyness Model Railway Show

Reg sent in this interesting scene from the Shoeburyness Model Railway Exhibition at Essex in the UK.

shoeburyness-model-railway-show5

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Removing Excess Metal on Rail Joiners

Aaron sent in this tip to share:

“I have just recently gotten into railroading and I love it so much. I have run into multiple issues so far but see them as challenges and enjoy finding fixes for my issues. One thing I would like to share that I haven’t seen on any site yet that you will find your rail joining so much easier if you trim the little excess metal from the joiners after you cut them from the strip. This will guarantee that they don’t use up too much area in the joints and cause a gap. Thanks for letting me share and happy railroading.”

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Lens for Louis Marx Signal Light

Lens for Louis Marx Signal Light

 

Reader Robert asks:

“My wife picked up a box of old train stuff in it was a signal light by Louis Marx. Does a reader know of a place I could buy the missing lens.”

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Amazing Perspective in Wayne’s Photo

Wayne sent in this impressive photo he shot at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition in the UK.

Warley National Model Railway Exhibition

More on scenery and backgrounds…

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How To Stop Tunnel Derailments

Michael S asks readers:

“I thought I was doing the right thing by using flex track in my tunnel, but I am experiencing derailments. I do have a rail join in the tunnel curve and I suspect that could be the issue. Your help please.”

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Problem Using LED Strip Lights in Passenger Cars

Cyril asks readers:

“This old dog put some modern LED strips in 2 passenger cars. I thought I was really clever, but they flicker so don’t look so good. My track is clean and can’t figure the cause. Any ideas? Thanks.”

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Merry Christmas… I Hope Santa’s Not Too Late To Your House

Thank you to all those readers who contributed captions for the “Santa at the Station” photo. There were some very amusing captions so it was a difficult to choose a couple to include in my Christmas video. Captions from Bob and Mike were finally chosen after some discussions with “she who must be obeyed.” Another favorite was Jay’s “I can’t believe they left without me!” caption. I hope you enjoy my video below.

And, a special thanks to all those readers who contributed articles, photos, and answers to questions. You’ve made a valuable contribution to the hobby!

Also, very importantly, THANK YOU to everyone who purchased products advertised on this blog. Without your on-going custom, this website would not exist.

A very Merry Christmas to all… enjoy your trains… and have a safe and healthy new year!

Kindest Regards.

Robert

Santa at Station photo by Anneli Salo.

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How To Stop Trains Uncoupling

Phil asks readers:

“How do I stop my N scale trains from uncoupling and jumping the track?”

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Dismantling and Moving My Layout

Barnaby asks readers:

“I thought I would live in this house til I die, but we’ve decided to move interstate closer to the son and daughter. Problem is moving my layout (HO) which was not designed to be moved… BIG MISTAKE! I can’t bear the thought of cutting it up, transporting it, and then trying to put it back together somehow. I made the scenery from chicken mesh and plaster of paris. I really don’t know where to start and hate the thought of cutting or damaging the track, trees and scenery. It is 4 foot by 3 foot one way and from the corner stretches 6 foot by 3 foot the other way. Can anyone else who has been through this type of drama give any suggestions on how or where to start? Also how to protect it from getting damaged by the removalists. Thanking you in anticipation.”

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When to use Low Relief Structures or 3D Buildings on Model Railroads

Plans for constructing the scale models seen here

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DCC for Lights and Train Detection

Peter models HO and asks readers:

“What do people think of there DCC electronics for train detection and lights?”

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Help For Beginners

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help hobbyists “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.



Micro control technology can be used for:

Rolling stock and scenic lighting effects, street lamp lighting, lighting up of structures, emergency vehicle flashing lights, replicating a campfire or arc welding, tall structure tower lighting, block occupancy detection, turnout operation, motors/servos, solenoid, infrared, right-of-way signal lighting, current sense, crossing gate & signal operation, semaphores, flashers, turntable control, gate arms, draw/lift bridge control, fast time clock, DCC testing, scenery sound control, wireless controls, and lighting fixture day to night control. Read more...

The good thing is; a micro controller can be programmed to perform one, or just a few, simple tasks over and over again.

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N Scale Track Plans

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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.

Scenery Techniques

Watch the video now.

Why DCC is so popular

A simple DC (Direct Current) transformer will give you a nice chugging locomotive going one way on your model train track, however, with a DCC unit you can have the flexibility of having an entire train-switching yard happening right in front of your eyes! That is the adaptability that is available with this coming-of-age technology in the hobby!



By using the Digital Command Control, you are opening up a whole new range of possibilities. A continuous electrical current is sent to all of the many things you have installed on your train layout, however, now you have a digital receiver installed in each various items. You can therefore control each and every one of them with the selectable controller and enhance the operation and, more importantly, the look and feel of your system.

The technical side of the DCC is, actually, not as complicated as you might think. In reality, a DCC system is usually easier to wire than a straight DC system.

More dcc ideas...

Deciding the Era and Location

The choice of scenery you decide on all depends on what era and location you are depicting with your layout. You will need to do some good research on the railroad and its surroundings to make sure you get the scenery perfect (if that’s what you want).



If you are depicting a historical train setting or a certain era, you will want to use old photographs to determine how the scenery should be built and laid out. Remember to think through all aspects of the scenery. This is one of the best areas to really showcase your talents, so take your time.

More scenery ideas...

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!

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.

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.

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Scenery & Layout Ideas

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