Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 63 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know I haven't posted here for a couple years now, because I've been more active on the Bachmann and TYCO forums. Well, the TYCO forums are down for now, and I want to find a way to share the new model railroad layout I built this year, so here I am.
First, a background: later last year, we were finally going to be moving to a new house, as my parents had enough on living in a very old house on a busy street corner. So I figured since we were going to move and I was going to have to dismantle the model railroad layout I had at the time that I built in spring 2014, I figured I might as well design and build a brand new HO-scale model railroad layout for the new house we moved into! It helps that the basement is much bigger and easier to get around than at our old house, so I was able to make this layout a bit bigger than the old one, and try out a couple new ideas.
Although I reused the 4x8 plywood from the old layout, I also built all-new benchwork, and as a result the layout is now at eye level when I sit down to operate it, and the space underneath allows for storage of the containers I put my extra model train stuff in as well, hehe. I also built this current layout not being against any walls this time, as my space was set to be near the furnace, and plus I wanted to be able to walk around all sides of the layout anyway to make it easier to access all parts of it.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 1.jpg
It is set up as an 11x8 L-shape, and in constructing this layout I used 2-inch layers of extruded insulation foam from Lowe's (they sell it in a greenish color instead of the more common blue, but it still worked great for me!) and I also went with Bachmann's nickel-silver E-Z Track. It's much easier to put and keep together and aligned than it was with the snap-track on my old layout.
The track plan is loosely based off one I saw in "The HO Model Railroading Handbook - 3rd Edition" from 1998, but I modified it with an extension to make the L-shape. The landscaping is also new, and I reused much of my existing structures and accessories, along with some new ones, along with reusing my existing locomotives and rolling stock (of course.)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 2.jpg
Here's my TYCO manual operating container loader/unloader on the job. On this layout I'm using Bachmann's undertrack uncoupling magnets located near such accessories or whatever. That lighted bumper is actually from Model Power's short-lived "Lock-It" roadbed track line that was designed to be compatible with E-Z Track (Bachmann didn't like that idea and filed a lawsuit over it.)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 3.jpg
The freight train after coupling back to the caboose. Yep, cabooses still live on with my layout! Also note the Model Power 3-light signal.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 4.jpg
Both my current trains passing through the downtown area of my layout. The street here is the Walthers Cornerstone Asphalt street system.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 5.jpg
My TYCO Burger King and Life-Like Kentucky Fried Chicken that are part of the fast food district on my layout. The reason I put them near a railroad crossing is to mirror how it is in a nearby town from where I am (the Burger King was originally an old train station in said town.)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 6.jpg
My A.H.M./TYCO Pizza Hut next to the Walthers Merchants' Row I kit, with a Dunkin' Donuts shop!

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 7.jpg
The downtown train station, consisting of a Life-Like Snap-Loc Dickerson Station kit and a Bachmann Plasticville station platform kit, with an Amtrak Superliner train stopped here to pick up and discharge passengers.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 8.jpg
This intersection has a working Walthers Cornerstone/SceneMaster traffic light! Also note the custom marquee on the TYCO Center St. Loew's Movie Theater.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 9.jpg
Bachmann Plasticville Post Office and Life-Like Hampden Fire Engine building kits. I also set up an old TYCO blinking traffic light to use as a fire station signal.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 10.jpg
My TYCO Center Street Series II building kits. The school was custom-painted by a friend to look more like some of the old school buildings in my hometown.

More images to come in a follow-up post!

And here's a recent video I shot of the layout in action...

Hope you all like it! This has so far been my most elaborate and realistic-looking HO-scale train layout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,805 Posts
Great fun. Lots of action. Lots of interesting scenic
sets to see. And so important, quiet smooth running
trains.

One thought...have you considered a hand held
controller?. That would make switching and operating
accessories easier. You carry it to where the action is.

I use mine chiefly for switching. I set a train running
on the main controller and use the hand held to
work the yards and spurs.



Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,381 Posts
Unfortunately it doesn't look like any of your pictures posted, but the video did come through. And you have my favorite, the Tyco unloading hopper. :) I actually have a large collection of those, including all of the different prints. For the ones I use on my layout, I'll be working on a way to use an electromagnet to unload them through.

Nice video, you've got a lot going on there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,805 Posts
Wiley

To post pictures easily here on the forum you simply
write your text then look above at the icon strip. Click
on the paper clip. That will present a new screen
with lines of BROWZE. Click on one and it will take
you to the pictures folder in your computer. Select
the photo you want to post and click open. You
can post as many pics as you like.

When done, again click the paper clip and your
pics will be attached to your text.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
It's working; thanks!

Here are some more pics...

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 11.jpg
The industrial rail yard, with the TYCO unloading boxcar in action. For these old TYCO Prestomatic accessories I raised each one using a 1/4" Woodland Scenics styrofoam section cut to fit and made up with the rest of the landscaping, and am using Atlas Code 100 nickel-silver Snap Track connected to the E-Z Track sections with Mehano's track clips (the same kind that A.H.M. and TYCO included in their later train sets.)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 12.jpg
The freight train drops off the boxcar on that siding and picks up the now-loaded hopper car that came with Life-Like's operating coal tipple. Also note the hobos seen in the upper left.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 13.jpg
Another shot of my industrial area, with an auto-carrier train parked there.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 14.jpg
Bachmann's E-Z Track operating dual crossing gates. It looks pretty cheesy when in operation, but I like how it's now prototypically colored, compared to the original 70s version. Also note the Atlas Gateman Tower building kit next to the crossing.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 15.jpg
TYCO's operating crossing gate; this is the early version made some time between 1968 and 1971 that had a more detailed base, smoother operation, and the track section could be replaced (on this, I swapped the original 9" brass track section with a nickel-silver Atlas Code 100 track section for better conductivity and consistency with the rest of the layout.) You can really see the similarity with the Bachmann crossing gate. Next to this crossing is the Life-Like Belvedere Hotel kit.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 16.jpg
Dumping logs from my TYCO Log Dump car...

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 17.jpg
Life-Like Ace Supermarket, Mt. Vernon Manufacturing Company and Town Church building kits, and the 90s Bachmann Plasticville Silver Series Library kit and an IHC Exxon kit. The roads are the new Walthers SceneMaster adhesive street system made by Busch with American colors.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 18.jpg
TYCO's lighted signal crossing. It works pretty simply but still gives off a fairly realistic effect (and is much better than Bachmann's attempt from the 80s and 90s!)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 19.jpg
Bachmann's blinking oil tank; this is the newer version that uses an LED flasher.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 20.jpg
TYCO's freight-unloading depot. Again, I raised it with a decorated Woodland Scenics 1/4" Styrofoam square to allow it to operate well with the E-Z Track. Also note the Atlas Jefferson High School building kit.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 21.jpg
Life-Like's Snap-Loc commuter station building kit, next to the Exxon gas station and my combination TYCO operating hopper car with unloader and Life-Like Coal Yard Build-A-Scene kit.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 23.jpg
The Life-Like Union Avenue School building kit from the 90s with a playground. It's summer vacation right now, but some kids are still enjoying the playground. You can also see a few of the houses here.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 24.jpg
More of the residential area, along with my Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bridge. Compared to the old one from the 70s to the 90s, it uses nickel-silver rails and an LED flasher, so it draws much less current and causes no interference with train operation.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 25.jpg
A couple of nice backyard scenes.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 26.jpg
Here's what may be the most unique new feature of my layout: my Walthers Cornerstone Skyview Drive-In Theater kit! I just had to buy it because my hometown of Brockton used to have a drive-in called the Skyview. The movie screen is designed so you can fit a 7.9" tablet in it; I put a cheap Android tablet in the screen that is streaming old drive-in intermission snack bar trailers and advertisements from YouTube.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 27.jpg
The farm on my layout. The vegetable garden was made using an old Bachmann scenic kit from the early 80s.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 28.jpg
My Life-Like operating logging mill! I still need to finish the water bodies I carved into the layout, but so far it's looking pretty good.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 29.jpg
My TYCO Arlee Station building kit next to the older version of Life-Like's Al's General Store kit that used labels of actual products; in the early 90s Life-Like switched to using generic and parody product names to avoid getting sued. There's also an NJ International Griswold crossing signal here, but it's not hooked up yet. I plan to get some kind of crossing signal controller soon to use with it.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 30.jpg
One of the ledges I carved using the foam, with some wildlife and an old TYCO billboard.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 31.jpg
Another ledge, this time with a campsite.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 32.jpg
The TYCO Lighted Freight Station.

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 33.jpg
My control panel setup, which I also use for quick repairs or whatever, hence the tools and such. The TYCO pack provides AC output for the turnouts and Prestomatic accessories, and any nearby lights. Other lighted accessories are operated by a couple other train set power packs underneath the layout (one is a 90s-style Bachmann power pack, the other is a blue Life-Like power pack.)

newlayoutaugustoverview    - 34.jpg
An overview from another angle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,381 Posts
So many memories there, and so many of the Tyco cars that I still have. Good stuff! I have a couple of those Tyco power packs, one of them doesn't go through the range correctly any more but it works great for going from zero power to full-on. I use it to power my arduino projects as I test out DCC circuits. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
I had a lot of those Tyco animated industry accessories on layouts in the '70's. Seems I was always getting one or the other for Christmas or a birthday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I had a lot of those Tyco animated industry accessories on layouts in the '70's. Seems I was always getting one or the other for Christmas or a birthday.
Yep; with my layout I like to combine older and newer stuff, and I also like to have some animated action besides the trains themselves. I mean, you have modern landscaping techniques used on extruded insulation foam, magnetic uncoupling, DCC and Bachmann nickel-silver E-Z Track, but also a lot of older buildings and accessories and "toy"-quality freight cars that I've upgraded with knuckle couplers, and on some with metal wheels.

Also, I tend to find running freight trains more interesting than passenger trains. While I find passenger trains to look pretty nice, all you can really do for operation is have them stop at stations to pick up and discharge imaginary passengers. With freight trains, there's a bit more to do, such as loading and unloading cargo at various sidings and such (either imaginary freight or the actual operating cars from TYCO and such), dropping off certain cars and picking them up at sidings, switching and uncoupling operations, etc. Though on my current layout I tend to like having both a passenger train and at least one freight train running at the same time. Especially since my current layout also includes an inner loop in the downtown area so I can have two running at the same time that way (my previous layouts didn't have such a track plan, and I figured since I now use DCC I thought I'd give it a try).

Also, I'm still reminded of all those unprototypical fantasy railroads TYCO had for their locomotives and several freight cars in the 70s and 80s, like the Chattanooga, the Comin' Round the Mountain, the Clementine, the Durango, the Golden Eagle, and most famously the Silver Streak.

I will admit they do look pretty cool, but I prefer to run locomotives with real roadnames on them, mostly the BNSF Railway (along with ATSF and Burlington Northern equipment) and Amtrak, and there I prefer operating more modern and upscale locomotives, often with DCC and/or flywheel motors, including locos from Athearn, modern Bachmann, Walthers, Mantua Classics, etc. Plus, I've heard quite a few horror stories about that cheap TYCO PowerTorque pancake motor, and I remember how Bachmann used to also use those fairly cheap Kader-made pancake motors in their locomotives until some time in the late 90s, when their train set locomotives began to use all-wheel drive can motors. Yet Life-Like still continued using their PowerDrive pancake motors until Walthers discontinued the train sets a couple years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
My first HO scale 'boxed' set was the Burlington Northern with the GP20 diesel in red and gray. IIRC, it came with a yellow low sided open top car, a box car, caboose, and maybe another car or two. Oval track and standard TYCO transformer.

I received that for my eighth or ninth birthday in the very early '70's. I've been hooked on HO since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well, Christmas is coming to my layout!


A photo I took almost a month ago before prepping it for the holidays, showing my auto-carrier train passing the regular freight train. It consists of the Bachmann BNSF GP40 (again, this was my first DCC locomotive), an Athearn auto-carrier car, a TYCO auto-carrier car and a Life-Like auto-carrier car, followed by the Bachmann BNSF caboose.


My current Christmas train consist. An IHC Santa Fe Consolidation 2-8-0 steam locomotive and tender (analog) pulling an AHM Holiday 1979 boxcar, a Bachmann Merry Christmas boxcar, a Mantua/TYCO Season's Greetings boxcar, a TYCO 50th anniversary boxcar, a Bachmann animated reindeer stock car, a Life-Like Christmas gondola, and IHC Santa Fe streamlined cupola caboose.


The downtown train station has been decorated with a "Santa's Landing" roof!


Christmas at the town church!


An apple orchard at the farm!


There's also a farmstand out front now, too!


The freight train loads coal into the hopper as the Christmas train chugs past.


Both trains passing each other.
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 63 Posts
Top