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Old 12-14-2017, 07:49 PM   #1
traction fan
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]Welcome to the model train forum!

If you are a new model train enthusiast, this thread is a good place to start learning about model railroading. It is intended to help people who are basically "On their first day", or close to it.

If you are an experienced model railroader, I encourage you to contribute to this new thread. However, unlike some other, more general, "how to" threads; please focus on that very start. Go back to the beginning, when you had no model railroad experience. How did you start out? What would you do differently? What would you advise a new modeler to do first?
Your post can be as long, and elaborate; or as short, and simple as you like. It should be as easy for a newbie to understand as you can make it. Beyond that, things are wide open. Please add some of your own hard-won knowledge to this thread; and help a new modeler to get started.

Thank You;
Traction Fan

I'll start things off with two documents that I've written for modelers who are just starting, or perhaps starting over, after a long absence.

Just click on the links to open the pdf. files.

Where do I start (revised version).pdf

MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:13 PM   #2
Mark VerMurlen
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I highly recommend the book "Introduction to Model Railroading" by Jeff Wilson. Its $20 and just over 90 pages. The thing about a book is that is is well organized, coherent, and concise. The above book covers all the major topics of model railroading from picking a scale, planning a layout, basic tools, building and wiring basics, and so forth. Its something that I still look at occasionally.

Forums like this one are great for asking specific questions and getting inspiration from the work of others. However forums are usually not well organized, coherent, or concise. So that's why I recommend reading a book as a good first step. Then come to the internet for additional details and specifics.

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Old 12-23-2017, 08:46 AM   #3
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I recommend YouTube.
Almost anything you want to know about model railroading can be found.
Actually seeing it being done makes it so much easier to do and understand.
You also get to see the mistakes others have made so you can avoid them.
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Old 12-23-2017, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAJ View Post
I recommend YouTube.
Almost anything you want to know about model railroading can be found.
Actually seeing it being done makes it so much easier to do and understand.
You also get to see the mistakes others have made so you can avoid them.
NAJ;

Thank You for contributing this tip'

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Old 01-15-2018, 02:34 PM   #5
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Before you buy anything take some time to see all that is available. If you have a train store reasonably close go there to see the different sizes of trains. Train shows are also a good place to see the various scales. Handle the trains if possible. Determine what size of trains most appeal to you before you buy anything. The time you spend doing some basic research will save you both time and money.

After you have decided what size trains you prefer you can make your first purchases, but consider things like sound, command control, era you prefer, and the space and money you can devote to the hobby. When you are reasonably confident that you know what you are interested in you can make your first purchases. Build a small layout even if you have the space and funds for a basement size layout. When you build a small layout with scenery, buildings and details you gain experience. You will develop all the skills needed to build a much bigger layout. More importantly, you will learn what parts of the hobby you most enjoy. A small layout with a two track yard and an industrial siding or two will do. You will discover whether you prefer switching operations or watching trains run. By the time you start your second layout you will have gained enough experience to tackle the bigger project.

NAJ gave very good advice, watch videos on You Tube. There are video tutorials showing how to do just about anything.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:02 PM   #6
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we should all get together one day and just publish our own book lol.

I'm not sure if this will help anyone venturing into dcc, but..

I was having problems getting a couple of locomotives to program. So i made the wires to the track super short and that solved my troubles.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:08 PM   #7
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hmmm....how long were they previously, Santa Fe? I can't see shorter wires doing much good unless your first pair were several meters long.

Instead, I suspect a simple contact problem...or rather, lack of good electrical contact. A cold solder, dirty surface, screw not tightened sufficiently....who knows.

You could see if I'm right by disconnecting the two already in place at the booster's terminals, and then hook up two new wires twice as long...of the same kind of wire. If they work, then you'd have to suspect a contact problem previously.

Still, I'd love to be forced to eat my words. After all, this is a tip forum, and it could be you have a winner there. I'd love to know one way or another, even if I have to reach for some mustard.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:35 AM   #8
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West Model railroad terminology

From time to time new model railroaders have asked for a list of the terms used in the hobby. The file below is my version. If you are curious about some word you have seen on this forum, you may find it here. No list could include every single word related to railroads. However there are 21 pages of terminology included here; so it should cover the basics well.

UPDATE: There is a new expanded version further down in this thread. It contains all the terms in this version plus several dozen more.

regards;

Traction Fan

Model Railroad Terminology.pdf
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:40 PM   #9
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West More info if you want it.

Here are some other documents I've written up to help modelers.

The "Improving Atlas turnouts" one is directly concerned with the Atlas HO-scale "Snap Switch." However, some of the information can be applied to other brands, and scales of turnouts as well. You might want to glance over it.

The newest document is "Model Railroad Terminology" this one should benefit every "noobie", and even some not-so new modelers.

The $5 switch documents may help you save a lot of money. They tell you about a cheap, and reliable, alternative to the $18 apiece Tortoise switch machine. The second one gives detailed instructions on how to build it.
The other two tell how to make model conifer trees from some common materials, and how to make your own turnouts. This will save you a lot of money too. Commercial model trees,commercial turnouts, and commercial switch machines are three of the most expensive items on a model railroad.

enjoy?, and be educated?

Traction Fan

Improving Atlas turnouts.pdf

Model Railroad Terminology.pdf

Introductory letter for switch machine.pdf

Assembly instructions for switch machine..pdf

Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf

How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:45 PM   #10
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This version of "Model Railroad Terminology has all the terms and definitions of the first version plus several dozen more.

Traction Fan


Model Railroad Terminology 2.pdf
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