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Make Your Own Scale Model Wild West Town – Very Realistic!

Download These Plans for Super Realistic Scale Model Bridges, Walls, a Pedestrian Over-Bridge Etc

Plans for Realistic Walls, Tunnel Portals, Pedestrian, Road and Rail Bridges – Click Here

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Ideas for Food Industry on Layout

A question from another readers:

“Hello I am wanting to build a new HO scale layout I want a food factory on this layout and another industry. It needs to fit in a very small space 1 and a half feet by no more the 9-8 inches please give me tips and advice thanks – Brock Ian”

Add you suggestion (and view suggestions from others) using the COMMENTS tag below.

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Wiring an Atlas Switch with a Plastic Frog in a DCC Environment

Tom has this question for readers:

“I use Tortoise switch machines to control my HO switches. I would like to use the switch machine to change the current for the switched rails but don’t know understand where to connect the changing current lead from the tortoise as there does not appear to be a common point for both rails coming off the frog. Do I just solder is to both of the rails coming off the frog or is there a better/more correct way to do it?”

Add your answer, or view answers using the COMMENTS tag below.

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How Many Power Districts Are Needed?

Ho railroader Joseph asks:

“Hello all. I have a medium size layout in my basement. It’s 303 feet of track total. 3 continues loops. I’m going to separate into 5 different power districts. Do I need a separate booster for all 5 districts?”

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When Do I Need Insulated Joiners?

insulated rail joiner model trains ho scaleMaurice a keen member of the Online Train Club Member used the ‘ASK A QUESTION’ link to submit this question for readers:

“If I have a DCC setup, then why would I need to use insulated joiners?”

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Best Place to Railfan In Asheville NC?

Brock Ian who is interested in HO and a keen “railfan” enthusiast asks:

“Hello, What is the Best place to Railfan In Asheville NC? Thanks.”

Add your suggestions using the COMMENTS tag below.

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Mystery Rail Yard #3 – Guess The Location

The first two mystery photos certainly generated considerable interest and confounded many. Following numerous requests I have included a third mystery photo for you to guess. Have a go – it doesn’t matter if you get the country or city wrong… the fun is in trying to guess a likely location. It won’t be long before someone gets the right answer and supplies some history and details. You’ll be able to follow the picks and see the correct answer when it gets published. Click the COMMENTS below this post.

rail yards

If you think you know where this photo was taken, simply add your answer using the COMMENTS below this post. That’s also where you will see the answers submitted by other readers.

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Rubber-Tired Metro Trains part of Taiwan’s Rapid Transit System

Many readers who were guessing the answers to the two mystery rail yard photos recently posted on this Blog were surprised to learn that mystery photo #2 was taken in Taiwan (mystery photo #1 was at Seoul Station in South Korea). Taiwan’s greenery and mountains in the mystery photo #2 came as a surprise to many who thought the photo was captured in Europe, South America, Japan, or maybe New Zealand. Not so; Taiwan is generally very green with the main population hubs concentrated in a few big cities.

The big city of Taipei in the North has an extensive and very efficient mass transit metro system that reaches out in all directions including a direct line from Taipei’s Main Station to the main international airport – Taoyuan International Airport. You can get your boarding pass and check your bag in at Taipei Main Metro Station and board the train for the airport which saves a lot of time at the airport end.

Most of the Taipei metro system is underground, but the Brown Line which operates from Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center to Taipei Zoo operates above street level on rubber tires (tyres in British English).

taipei metro train brown line

The Taipei Brown Line opened in 1996 and is not the only train line in the world to run on rubber tires. There are many other examples. The rubber tires on the cars run on rolling pads inside guide bars for improved traction.

The Brown Line in Taipei stretches 15.6 miles (25.1 kilometers) servicing 24 stations across 7 districts in Taipei of which 22 of the train stations are elevated above street level and 2 are underground. As of Sept 2011, Taipei’s  Brown Line, with it’s driver-less trains, transported on average of 180,000 passengers daily, although this figure has likely increased somewhat since then.

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How To Convert To DCC

Jamie asks readers:

“I have just converted to n gauge from oo and purchased a couple of hobbytrains plasseur and theurer tamping machines and now wish to convert them to dcc. Has anybody got any idea how to do this?”

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Lionel 0-4-0 Switcher Repairs?

Rusty asks:

“Does anyone know where I might get my two Lionel engines repaired? I have 2 that won´t run. One is an 0-4-0 Switcher (die cast) and the other one is a 2-4-2 (plastic) Columbia. I have taken both apart and touched both sides of the armature cover and it tries to move. Both armatures spin when I roll the engine, so they´re not frozen up. HELP!”

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Photo Mystery No. 2. Can You Guess The Country Where This Railway Photo Was Taken?

If you scroll down to my posting of Oct 4 you’ll see a scene from a rail yard in a large city. At the time of writing this weeks posting, no one has as yet correctly identified the city where the Oct 4 photo was taken. See the comments under the Oct 4 post if you think you know the answer.

New Mystery Photo #2 – Guess the Country

If you thought that was hard, try and pick the country where this scene was photographed. It is not near a city but is near a small town and the engine is doing some shunting work and reversing. If you want to have a go at guessing the country, then simply add your guess directly below today’s posting using the COMMENTS LINK under the photo.

rail shunting photo

I will add a reply in the COMMENTS section when/if someone picks the correct answer.


Thanks to everyone who participated in this quiz. I’m glad you enjoyed having a go.

The suggested locations were many and varied, although the mountains drew a number of suggestions including: Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Russia, Brazil, PA in the USA, Northern Italy, Soth Africa, Germany, Soth Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Rochester – New York, Australia, Peru, East Africa, Indonesia, Austria, Burma, India, Ecuador – South America, and Slovakia.

Well done to Kevan Mullan who was first to guess the correct location which is revealed in the COMMENTS section below this post.

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Modern Day Scenery Ideas Needed

Doug has this question for readers:

I am building a 4×8 ft n scale layout, and I need realistic modern day buildings cars and trucks. I am finding limited items via Walthers and Woodland Scenics. Any help would be appreciated. I am in the U.S.”

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Overcoming Kato Passenger Car Lighting Problems

Fred model N scale and asks:

“I am interested in the car interior lighting being offered by the company “Bright-Chips”. I am currently using the Kato lighting in my cars, but have 5 new cars coming and these other lights seem to offer more consistent power delivery, thus less flickering. They also offer more light “color” tones. I am most interested in ease of installation and actual performance. Has anyone used them and can give me any advice?”

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Correct Weight Distribution to Increase Locomotive Pulling Power

Samuel asks readers:

“Does one of your blog followers know a way to add weight to my 2 Ho locos to increase their pulling power? Also how to distribute the weight over the wheelbase?”

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Richard Shares Photos of the Models he Constructed

Factory plans HO scale model kits

house ho scale plans construction

Richard sent in these photos to share with readers and says:

“I mentioned I would send a few pictures, this 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 of houses. Because of space I had to hang a few near the edge of cliff and so with the texture sheet that came with the plans I made the decking, and cut wood to make the railings.”

Richard used these plans:

Factory Plans

House Plans

Sharp-eyed readers will note that Richard has cleverly adapted and extended a couple of the backdrop factory plans to suit his own personal requirements. He’s done a great job!

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Cost of Flex Track – Is it Expensive?

Bob wants to hear opinions from readers on the cost of flex track:

“In my old house I had a 4×16 layout. It was built in. We moved in April and I had to destroy it. My new basement is huge and I have set about designing a 10×16 foot HO layout. My prior layout I built using flex track on cork glued to plywood. I just recently priced HO flex track and it was $ 15 for 24 inches , this looks pretty expense if I have 2 scale miles of track on the board. Is this reasonable or am I just looking in all the wrong places?”

Add your thoughts using the COMMENTS link.

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Track and Wheel Code Confusion

Online Train Club Member Ray is interested in HO scale and is hoping someone will explain track and wheel codes for him:

“It’s not hard for me to get confused these days, which probably explains why I am still confused with this different wheel and track codes and how they go together.

For example Code 83 track? Code 88 wheels? or Code 100 track? Code 110 wheels? Are there advantages choosing one over another, what works best etc.? Can someone explain things in simple terms for me please?”

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Guess Where This Railway Line Is – Which Country or City?

Who will be the first to correctly identify the location of this railway location?

The color of the paintwork on the train might be a clue for some, or the side of the track the train is on, whilst the surrounding buildings might be an indicator for others. If you think you know the country, or better still the city, just add your answer (or guess) using the COMMENTS link below. I’ll reply in the COMMENTS section when someone get the answer correct.

mystery railway line

The photo was taken only last week so is very up to date.

UPDATE – The above photo generated a wide variety of possible locations including: Madrid in Spain, Moscow, Tokyo, Taiwan, Frankfurt in Germany, Paris in France, Norway, Philadelphia in the USA, Scotland, Switzerland, Mexico City, United States – Pacific Northwest, England, Australia, Chicago, North Korea, Busan in South Korea, Austria, Yokohama in Japan, Los Angeles, Czech Republic – Near Prague, and Italy. All very different locations in so many ways, yet the real location has a lot in common with railroads in many of those cities and countries.

To see the correct answer simply click on the COMMENTS link below this post.

Well done to Charlie Treft and Martin who were first to guess the collect location. Bill and Ian were close with their suggestion.

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Model Train Help Ebook

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.

Download Your Free Catalog

Model Railroad Building House Plans

rail yard buildings

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

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.


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).

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Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas


Model Train DCC HELP


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