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You will likely have a good number of spur tracks...tracks in car storage yards...tracks that
are 'abandoned'. Those are all great places to use this steel track. Real track in those
places are usually rusty. On a layout the size you propose you could use a big portion
of that steel track in these areas. Just avoid placing it on mainlines or yard leads where locos will run.
Don
 

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There is no best track code. 83 is close to heavy mainline rail, but still slightly large. Trains run well on it though so it is widely used. Smaller code is used for sidings, yards, and spurs. Smaller rail is also used for narrow gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #124 ·
UPDATE:

I spoke with someone from that train club in California. He said they use Code 100 steel track throughout their layout and have zero problems. He said they run wire from each flex track connection, connected to a main wire to keep the conductivity going, and no problems. I asked about any special cleaning, corrosion, etc. and he said nothing special. He said that if I run the trains frequently there's even less problem.
So I will be using the code 100 steel track on my first section, and nickel silver code 83 for the rest. I'll be able to provide more information once that's all up and running. I still have to build the platforms, get other track parts like switches etc., get a train, get a DCC system, build the actual track supports...

I have an idea: to make a little dedicated car with a cleaning sponge on the track. I will then run this car at the beginning and end of each day, or at least every other day.
 

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UPDATE:

I spoke with someone from that train club in California. He said they use Code 100 steel track throughout their layout and have zero problems. He said they run wire from each flex track connection, connected to a main wire to keep the conductivity going, and no problems. I asked about any special cleaning, corrosion, etc. and he said nothing special. He said that if I run the trains frequently there's even less problem.
So I will be using the code 100 steel track on my first section, and nickel silver code 83 for the rest. I'll be able to provide more information once that's all up and running. I still have to build the platforms, get other track parts like switches etc., get a train, get a DCC system, build the actual track supports...

I have an idea: to make a little dedicated car with a cleaning sponge on the track. I will then run this car at the beginning and end of each day, or at least every other day.
There are commercial track cleaning cars available. Some of them drag a felt pad, or brush, along the track. Some even have a tank to hold alcohol, or other liquid track cleaner. If you make your own track cleaning car, it will need to be heavily weighted, both to do its job, and to stay on the track. You may need to run it alone, behind a locomotive, since the track cleaning car will cause a lot of drag.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #126 · (Edited)
Question:
Looking at a Powercab and Powercab R.
Any input? I’m doing this with very little knowledge. Want to start on the track and layout ASAP.
I have 73 pieces of 35” long steel flex track.
That should get me through the first layout. Just need to get the switches. I will solder every track connection and run a wire from each to a bus wire/cable.
I was trying to decide where to start and as tempting as getting an engine is, I need to get this layout started!
Thanks
 

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So you don't think there is any value in having a locomotive so that you can test your track as you install it? I sure would, especially if I had never laid track before.
 

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I remember when I started my layout. I couldn't afford the locomotive, the DCC system, and the track all at the same time. I started with track and wiring and laid it as perfectly as I knew how.

When the locomotive and DCC system was finally purchased, I was pleasantly surprised with my handiwork. But this current layout is not my first either.

But yeah, if you've never laid track before, I'd at least buy an example of the longest car you think you will run as a proof car.

I did the same thing when I laid a narrow gauge rail on my mountain spur. I did not have a narrow gauge locomotive as it was still in transit (before being sent back to Germany, thanks USPS) so I bought a used HOm passenger coach from e-bay to check the track gauge as I laid it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 · (Edited)
Hey y’all are awesome! Things I hadn’t thought of!
I went down to Litchfield Station today and the Mr. Jack was there-lucky for me because I didn’t know they are closed on Saturday’s!!!

I got some rail joiners and also a simple steam locomotive. Funny because Jack mentioned that it would be a good idea to have something to test the track as I went along.
I’m heading home in a bit with the locomotive in a box on the back seat.
Once I get the money from the O scale trains I sold, I will get the switches and the controller, etc.

Of course, I gotta most on over to the lumber place and get some 1x4x8s to get the layout started!

Haven’t had an HO train in decades, so I’m pretty excited!
 

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CZ.
Just be sure locos are DCC (not analog DC) and may as well go with 'Sound on board'..Because, later on, adding a speaker and a sound decoder will cost near same but will demand hours of (ugh) installation work..
Far as switch tracks, unless you can find Atlas C100 steel, do not ever buy 'SnapTrack' anything..especially if it's brass.
I believe you'll likely wind up with nickle silver C100 switches from Walthers, Shinohara, or Peco, and have to accept the different look between steel and NS...But as an artist I'm sure you will be able to find a way to disguise the sides of the rails with paints to hide the diff...
If you wind up with NS track as well, I'd use the steel in track closest in reach so as to be able clean in easily if, IF there is any rust build up (which I doubt based on what you've found out about it)..
 

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There's a few small tools that you'll find very useful as you
begin work on your layout.

1. A cheap...and I mean dirt cheap...multimeter. You can find the
ideal layout meter at Harbor Freight for around 4.95...but some days
they give them away. It reads voltage, ohms and amps. All you'll need
as your layout grows. A couple alligator clips are also helpful.

2. A razor saw. You'll need it to cut the flex track to meet your
track design.

3. A set of small inexpensive files. They'll help you smooth out
the cuts in the flex.

4. A small CHEAP soldering iron..maybe 25 or 35 watts. Along with
it, get paste resin flux and resin core (not ACID) solder. Get acquainted
with it by soldering 'this and that'.

5. A small wire cutter.

These suggestions are in addition to the various woodworking tools
that you'll need for building your benchwork.

Don
 

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Good advice, Don!

For me, as a beginner, the track planning software AnyRail has been worth the $60 cost, and has been great for planning my layout. I've had several months to prepare for a winter build, and I have revised my track plan at least 20 times before I got a plan I was completely happy with (sirry for the dangling participle, Commander).
 

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Yes very easy... the trick is being able to get them back together again! Steam locos are tricky, because the drivers and drive gear have to go back in a certain way with little room for error. However, it's not too hard to just mask it off while painting.
 
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Discussion Starter · #139 · (Edited)
Picking up wood to start my layout this coming week.
I already started setting up cabinets etc to serve as the front support for the layout. The back will have legs.
Some cabinets that had lower half as big shelves and upper half as book shelves I cut in half, splitting the upper bookshelves from the bottom large shelves. Then I placed the bookshelf part on the ground to serve as supports for the layout along with the lower part.
This will allow me to have the same storage for supplies etc. as before, but more spread out, while giving me more room for layout,
I’ll post pics ASAP.

Got this book today:
Train Pneumatic tool Drill Handheld power drill Camera accessory
 

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Discussion Starter · #140 ·
Here are a couple of the cabinets that will serve as bases for the layout.
Dog Building Flooring Floor Carnivore


the top sections are in this following picture, now on the floor. I may cut them down a bit because they are a little too tall methinks.
Wood Floor Building Flooring Shelf

The big green cabinet and the other wood tall one will be moved to an area without layout. The area behind the ones above will be covered with a backdrop.
The green paint on the walls will be finished above by creating the shapes of pine trees in that green and lighter greens to simulate fog. This is to avoid having to paint all the way up-it’s a very tall ceiling!
The cages in the back will be removed except for one which will have the staging area to store up the locos and cars, since they lock up.
 
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