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Can Smoke Damage Track

Gene writes:

“Our RR Club has HO and O scale members operating in the same room in our building. The problem is since the O scalers have started using smoke with their engines we have been having more dirty track with the HO members. Is there such thing that smoke can cause dirty track?”

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Old Marklin and Lima Trains

Gerhard writes:

“I would like to say thank you very much for the information you have sent so far, it helps a lot. I am a pensioner and am very passionate about electric model trains. My setup is a Lima product. I recently acquired a lot of pieces of Marklin locos and wagons and rails. How can I determine how old these pieces are? Although it is not adaptable with my own set maybe I can do something with it.”

A note to Gerald – you can submit a photo of the models in question which might assist readers.

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Arduino and Track Rails

Molly models HO and asks:

“The Arduino requires wires be attached from it to the track. What methods can do this? Can I solder the wires to the track? I’m using a Hornby Select for DCC controller but aside from rotating the wires I have no how I could use it. Thank you for any help with this.”

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Bus Wiring – DCC Main Bus

John models OO and writes:

“Greetings from the UK everyone. I have a garden room that is purpose built at 17’ x 11’ and building my dream layout. My question related to main bus wiring. I’ve connected my controller to the track at the nearest point and then daisy chained clockwise around the room. I’m running four tracks all the way around so have simply ‘linked’ wire every 5’ or so to the adjacent tracks to provide power to them. I’ve done this all the way around right back to with 3’ of the first connection by the controller. I’ve used 32/02 cables as the main bus and 7/02 as the short link soldered to the track discreetly. Locomotives run fine one on each track even one on each track at the same time. However, the end of the main bus wire returning, should l connect it back into the controller or just leave it hanging underneath with insulated terminals crimped on. Thanks for reading.”

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GEA with 4-8-2 & 2-8-4 Wheel Arrangement

William models N scale and writes:

“I recently viewed a 1990 Steam Festival that took place on the South African Railway. I feel in love with the class GEA & GEAM with 4-8-2 & 2-8-4 wheel arrangement. Any suggestions where I may be able to find and purchase an N scale operating model of this locomotive. Thanks for your suggestions.”

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Surge Protection?

Tim models HO and asks:

“I will be converting my layout from DC to DCC and will purchase the NCE Power Cab starter set after reading favorable reviews online and in this blog. I read on one website that it is important to make sure to have surge protection to protect from shorts and recommended purchasing a CP6 surge protector. Is this necessary? My layout is L shaped (8′ x 5′) and is 3 concentric loops connected with turnouts. The wires to my turnouts are not connected to any device as of yet. I currently run my layout with the basic Bachmann controller that came in my train starter kit with the 2 wires from the controller connected to one section of track.”

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Track Radius Needed For Rivarossi 4-8-8-4 Big Boy

Ryan asks:

“I’m re-configuring my HO layout and have recently acquired a 40-year-old Big Boy loco to pull several tank cars, boxcars, etc and navigate curves without issues. I was thinking 18″ radius curves but on second thoughts am inclined to try and accommodate 22″ curves instead. Input from anyone with experience would be great. Thanks very much.”

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Is There Space for a Church on Your Model Railroad?

Plans for the middle church above available at https://www.modelbuildings.org/wild-west-town-pack-deal-c

The left and right churches above available at https://www.modelbuildings.org/more-building-plans-pack-deal

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Watch Out For Tennis Balls Hitting A Train

Most layouts don’t have enough space for tennis courts, but this N scale Railroad in Delftse, Netherlands does.

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Using Atlas Contols with Atlas Turntable and Reverse Loop

Ernie models HO and has this question for readers:

“When I connect two controllers in sequence (reverse loop first then turntable) I cannot get second controller to work. If I separate it from first controller and connect power pack to it, it works. When I check second controller with my amp meter when connected to the first there is no current. Idea on problem?”

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Scale Question

Michael asks:

“What train scale is closet to 15mm scale builds and figures; or maybe 25mm Scale: not sure at this time?”

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Building A Civil War Train Scene

Michael asks readers for advice:

“My main focus has been building terrain of Civil War battle sites; recently I have decided to include Civil War rail site battles. Is there any sources of this era detailing Engine / Cars / etc and how the tracks where laid? At this time I not sure if I am going to build an active train layout, just a static scene.”

Post your comments below.

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Track Traction

Bob asks:

“I have a very old Santa FE stream liner with 8 passenger cars. It’s in beautiful condition but it will not move. The wheels just spin. I have oiled the axles, and cleaned the wheel on the engine. the cars are heavy but they were made that way. I have even tried rosin on the track. Anyone have any ideas?”

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Bachmann SD40-2 Windows

Len asks:

“I have a Bachmann SD40-2 (HO) and plan to it strip it back with Isopropyl Alcohol to paint it. I don’t want to damage the glued-in windows in the process. Is there a safe way to pry them out to remove them?”

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LED Lights For Steam Engines

Bernie asks:

“Interested to know what color LED lights is best used in steam locomotives because I’m about to change to LEDs. I’m HO scale.”

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See the Range of Retail Stores You Can Build in the Background or Foreground of Your OO Scale, HO, or N Scale Layout

Plans for the background shops featured in the above video can be downloaded here:

https://www.modelbuildings.org/naturally-weathered-shops-pack-deal

Plans for more background and foreground shops can be downloaded here:

https://www.modelbuildings.org/town-city-shops

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DCC Conversion

David writes:

“I plan to convert my small (and modest) N scale layout from DC to DCC. I’ve read scads of articles on the most popular DCC systems available. Can someone recommend the most-preferred or most-used system for a 4 by 8 N scale layout?”

Please add your suggestions below.

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DCC Decoders

David asks:

“I have four N scale Kato locomotives that are NOT DCC-Ready. What brand of decoder is most-used or most-recommended? Does a single decoder control the engine’s movement, light(s), and sound?”

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