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Preferred Track for Beginners Layout

Andy sent in this question:

“I am planning an 1800×1200 (6×4) N scale layout of logging & mining operations. It has been almost 40 years since I last had anything to do with Model RRs. What is the preferred track type for use that is available in Australia? Thank you in anticipation.”

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Engine Maintenance

Frank asks:

“I have several HO engines that have been in storage for a number of years and now will not run. Are there any recommendations as to how to clean or lubricate them and is there information explaining cleaning and maintenance issues?”

Add your suggestions and see the comments by others below.

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Insulated Turnouts

Mike sent in this question:

“What is the difference and advantages of insulated vs uninsulated turnouts for DCC?”

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Signal Pilot to Control Railroad Crossing Lights

Ed models HO scale and asks readers:

“Can anybody tell me where or how to get a manual for a signal pilot to control railroad crossing lights? The one I have is in German and I don’t read German. I need all the info that I can get.”

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Electrical Block Detection

Paul models HO and asks:

“I am still building my 5 module layout and plan to use electrical block detection in the future. I will run DCC NCE and operate a complete loop with an isolated section for each module as well as a siding. I want to include lights to indicate if the track is occupied or not. I would appreciate any thoughts on what I’ll need to make all this happen. Thank you in advance.”

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Loco Speeds For Consists

Jamie is into N scale and posted this question:

“Is there a decoder that can regulate the speed of a loco in a consist? I only have two engines… an Atlas and a Kato… but the speeds don’t match well. I don’t want to risk damaging them. Any suggestions?”

To add a suggestion or see the answers, click on the COMMENTS below.

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Fascia Material

Anthony posted this question:

“The edge of my 4ftx8ft layout is untidy so I’ve decided to add a facia of some kind to smarten it up. What material would you recommend I use without breaking the bank?”

Send in your question for publication (use the ASK A QUESTION link below), or add an answer/suggestion (use the COMMENTS link below).

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Which Adhesive To Use?

Lester has this question:

“I decided to build a retaining wall on a longish section of my layout and want to use the right adhesive. I imagine it will need some clamping to the wood while it dries in place, but I am concerned that contact cement might grip too quickly and not allow enough time for me to adjust and check the positioning. By the way, I thought foamboard might be the best and cheapest material to use for making the wall. I would be interested to hear any ideas. Thanks.”

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Download, print, and build these plans to OO, HO, or N scale. Plans can be purchased separately, or grab one of 4 discount packs currently available. Pack D is the best buy and includes all 15 buildings.

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Amtrak Genesis P42

Newbie to the hobby Peter has started with HO scale and asks:

“I just got an Amtrak Genesis P42 loco. I run it on address 03 all good. The loco address on the engine is 77. My question is, do I program it with address 2? Or, should I set it as 0077 using the? Kindly a newbie. Thanks.”

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Opening up a Pennsylvania Coach 6001

Jeff models G scale and has this question:

“Hi all – I need to change the lights in my old G Scale Pennsylvania Coach #6000. There are no screws anywhere. I think I need to pull the roof off but I can’t get it out of the body. Any help would be great. Thanks a bunch.”

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Digitrax DT602 Connection Problems

“I just connected a Digitrax DT602 (not duplex) with no batteries. As per manual on page 4 item 6: press power key and soft key A in order to toggle track power, LED indicator on command module, on and off. This doesn’t happen. Please provide any info if I am doing anything wrong. Thank you.”

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Digitrax Controller

Peter T models in HO and asks:

“I am presently using the Digitrax DCS52 controller and would like to add a Digitrax UT6 utility throttle via the loco net of the DCS52. The question is: does the address of the UT6 have to be changed so that it is different than the DCS52? And, how do you do that? Thanks for any assistance.”

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Roco Steam Engine with a 5 Pole Motor

Rudy asks:

“I’m planning to buy a newly released HO Roco Steam Engine with a 5 pole motor but no flywheel. Can I count on it running slow and smoothly, with realistic starts and stops with no jerking motion without a flywheel? All thoughts would be helpful.”

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Inner and Outer Helix Tracks

Graeme asks:

“I am looking at a double-track HELIX, is there a way to have some indication of the outer track and inner tracks? I am using the following Numbers for A=31.6, B=3.75, C=19.5, (was using D=6, but now D= 7, to accommodate, some special POINTs/Switches E=8. I am looking at having 3/8th threaded rod for supports. I am also looking at the 8 Sections, (1/2 inch thick) per ring to be of a special shape, having the JOINING portions at an ANGLE and to be grooved on these Ends and have an INSERT (3ply) for each join, to be screwed only.”

Add your thoughts below if you can assist Graeme.

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Engine Stalls On Straights

Lester sent in this question:

“I bought a Bachmann engine that must be more than 30 years old and tried it out on my basic oval test track which has a straight piece on each side. It runs ok on the curves but is starts to stall on the straights. My voltmeter showed no power loss. I then cleaned the track, but it still runs ok on the curves and slows a stall on the straights. It baffles me. Any thoughts?”

To add a suggestion or comments to assist Lester, please use the COMMENTS link under this post. No login required.

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Rail Spacing and Distorted Track

Owen sent in this tip to share:

“This might help someone with the same problem I had. My Baldwin 4-6-0 loco was derailing after exiting a turnout onto my straight track section. No problem with my other 3 locos. I eventually checked the rail spacing widths and found the rails narrowed just enough causing the front wheels on my 4-6-0 to ride up and come off the track. It was hard to spot because by the time the loco stopped part of the 6 wheels would already be off the track. I think I might have accidentally narrowed and slightly bent the track when laying it. Apart from being careful handling track, this experience taught me to measure track and check rail spacing using a gauge, and to run the locos very slowly through troublesome areas to hopefully identify any problems. I hope my experience with this problem saves other people some time and frustration.”

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Athearn Iron Horse HO Starter Train Set

Wayne asks this question:

“I acquired an Athearn Iron Horse HO starter train set which I understand is DCC ready but I haven’t got a decoder yet. When I use the dial to start the loco there is some sound but it doesn’t move until the dial hits 25. Is this to be expected or is there a power distribution issue? I have no problems with it because it is taking off smoothly.”

You can view the answers or have your comments or suggestions published by using the link below.

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