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Good day everyone, first time on this forum and can’t wait to get some ideas and info from you all out there.
I have a question.... I am restarting HO scale modelling after nearly 20 year break from it, I would like to know people’s feelings and input into what brand track is the best value for money for a amateurish modeller.

thanks in advance

charlie
Charles;

Welcome to the forum!
These days, model track comes in three basic forms. Two of them should be familiar to you. Sectional track, and flex track, were around 20 years ago. Back then, it may have been brass rail track (gold color rails) or maybe nickel/silver track (silver colored rails) Brass track is no longer manufactured, though there is plenty of it on the used market. Nickel/silver needs less-frequent cleaning, and looks a little more like real rail, so it has taken over the market.

The newest form of track is "roadbed track." This is a special type of sectional track with a gray plastic "roadbed" piece attached to the bottom of each track section. The roadbed piece simulates the crushed rock ballast under real track. It also has clips at each end that lock firmly into the next section. This makes roadbed track very convenient for temporary track setups, like around a christmas tree. It is also used on permanent layouts and has become fairly popular. Most current train sets come with roadbed track included.
There are two main brands of roadbed track, Bachmann EZ-Track, and Kato Unitrack. The Kato is a much better quality track, including Kato's "turnouts" (track switches.) The Bachmann track is ok, but the Bachmann turnouts are not ok. They have a lousy reputation for causing derailments, and breaking down. For this reason, if you decide you like the convenience of roadbed track, I definitely recommend Kato Unitrack, and not Bachmann EZ-Track. The two are not designed to connect to each other, or to flex track, or sectional track. It is possible to adapt roadbed track to connect to other brands, or types, of track though.

As for flex track, you have a choice of several brands, and all are good. Atlas, Peco and Micro Engineering, all offer good quality flex track. The Atlas is more flexible than the others, and the Micro Engineering is the most realistic looking. M-E flex track is stiff. It's more difficult to bend into a given curve, but stays in place once formed. Atlas is the exact opposite, very easy to bend, but snaps back to straight the second you let go of it. Some like one type and may hate the other. Others feel just the reverse, your choice.
Flex track in general, is the best value, costing less per foot than either sectional track, or roadbed track. Roadbed track is the most expensive of the three types of model track.

The files below have lots of information on a variety of model railroad topics. Browse through them if you wish.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Welcome to the forum. Didn't you know? We're all professional modelers here! :p
 

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Hi. My name is Bill. I did model railroading back in the 80s. I just got back into it about 6 weeks ago. Bought a Lionel Harry Potter set...and...well...last weekend I bought set #4. I also bought an old (1948 or 1949) ZW transformer 250.

Sets so far
2013 - Lionel Hogwarts Express
1996 - K-Line Alco Twins (both powered) with 6 passenger cars in Golden State livery
1990 - K-Line Kroger switcher + freight set
1953 - Marx Santa Fe Streamliner set A-B-A with freight cars
 

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
 

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Hi, I am a retired 82 year old and have had the Coors Silver Bullet for 10+ years. I am having trouble with initiating the 4 sequences. I will tell an interested person that could advice me what I have tried with no success.
 

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For those of you who, like me, live under a rock, and have
never heard of the 0 Scale MTH train, Coor's Silver Bullet, here's
an explanation.


Old Man Lou

Can you give us a better idea of what you
mean by your post...'initiating the 4 sequences'.

Don
 

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Don, I am not able to open the reefer doors. I press bell+ horn + horn + Direction to stop train. Sound happens but no door opening or closing. The wiring is correct and track voltage is good. I am about to quit with this task because the method is not very user friendly. I devoted too much time and effort. Must be a engine circuit board problem. Three of my reefers have the doors open. I would like to manually close them. Do you know if this is a simple task?
 

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For those of you who, like me, live under a rock, and have
never heard of the 0 Scale MTH train, Coor's Silver Bullet, here's
an explanation.


Old Man Lou

Can you give us a better idea of what you
mean by your post...'initiating the 4 sequences'.
Don, being much more of a novice than you at this, I am glad you posted this link. I had never heard of the train and had no idea what the problem was (other than knowing Silver Bullet was the nickname for Coors Light and a lot of my friends think Coors is the problem).

But, on the link you posted, in the center group with the description of the train, there is a tab marked support. If you click it, there is an icon with a book and American flag. That will download a pdf of the manual for the train. When I did that, I found a description of a special sequence under Freight Yard Sounds (FYS) where it should play an arrival announcement, stop the train, open the reefer car doors and blow smoke out to simulate the cold air from a reefer, then close the doors, sound a whistle and departing announcement, then resume traveling.

@old man Lou, I am a little confused because you say there is no opening or closing of the doors and then you say you want to manually close the three open doors. From what I see in the manual, you have to go through the whole sequence each time. After the initial bell, horn, horn, direction button presses, you need to wait 30 seconds, then press direction again, wait another 30 seconds and press direction again, and then wait still another 30 seconds and press direction a final time. I only started with model trains as a hobby in December and I model in N gauge. The closest I come to having train experience that might help is when my son was given a Lionel train about 30 years ago.

But I have found that many times, manuals leave out the explanation that you must follow all of the steps in sequence or it jams up the system. My suggestion is to try resetting the internal computer by placing the engine in neutral, press horn and then press bell five times. Ten you can try the FYS sequence again and go through all of the steps for the whole sequence. I am not sure how time sensitive the button sequencing is so keep an eye on your watch and try to press the direction control as close to the 30 second mark as you can.

I hope someone from the O scale group can chime in here, but if no one does, you might post your question in that section of the forum to get their attention.
 

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Thanks Don, I did have it work initially but one reefer door did not open and three did. I turned off the power to add smoke to the 3 reefers with the open doors. A mistake? Adding smoke to the reefers on the track is more difficult. Ever since I had the Silver Bullet, not all of the reefers operated simultaneously with the sequence. I have their manual and I even tried their default setting as you suggested and it worked. However, I am not able to close or open doors. The RailKing design is very difficult and other people experience the same problem as me. Little Lou
 

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I’m Bill
I’m a grandpa in Ohio who picked up the hobby, using my 6 year old grandson as an “excuse”.
Within 5 weeks I bought 4 used O gauge sets including a 1953 Marx, a couple 90’s K-Lines and a 2013 Lionel Hogwarts express...oh and a 1948 ZW to boot.

My wife and I plan to allocate space in the basement and set up a layout. I’ll do the technical stuff, she the crafty.

Looking forward to connecting with folks on the forum.
 

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I’m Bill
I’m a grandpa in Ohio who picked up the hobby, using my 6 year old grandson as an “excuse”.
Within 5 weeks I bought 4 used O gauge sets including a 1953 Marx, a couple 90’s K-Lines and a 2013 Lionel Hogwarts express...oh and a 1948 ZW to boot.

My wife and I plan to allocate space in the basement and set up a layout. I’ll do the technical stuff, she the crafty.

Looking forward to connecting with folks on the forum.
Mosin;

Welcome to the forum! You will find a lot of people on our O-scale section who share your interest in Lionel & other three-rail O-scale trains.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hello fellow modelers. I am involved in a very odd layout project. Ya just do not ever see anuyone "copy"
Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
I just realized it is rather rude to jump in and post and not introduce myself first. I have my hands full with the ambitious project I decide to take on for my retirement project and I am loving the endless modeling opportunities this provides me. Please do not think I am rue to not post regularly but I am just so busy I can hardly find time to type. And I answer any questions on the page I have on facebook when they are asked of me. I will eventually have my own page for my work but please know if I can be of help to anyone with a modeling question please reach out to me, I will check in and say hi when I can. I love this hobby and I have 50 years of experience to tap from and have built models professionally for Museums as an Exhibit Specialist for many of my later years as a living. This title I was able to obtain and perform because of my interest in this hobby having been sparked and pushed along by John Allen and the skills he inspired me to obtain and to hone as I read every word and studied every photograph of his masterpiece of model railroading the Gorre & Daphetid Railroad from Monterey CA.
The original layout was lost to a terrible fire shortly after his tragic death back in 1973 and his story is one of incredible triumph and the sad truth of being ONE bridge away from finishing his life's work. I want to build his layout so I can finish that bridge for him and for all of us. There are so many great names that guided this hobby from its infancy and out of scale "toys" industry into the light of "realistic excellence" so often found today. He is arguably one of the big forces in the industry and his masterpiece layout certainly inspired more people into the hobby than any one man in our hobby's history. He helped set this entire industry on the course it has taken since his days and his involvement in every aspect of our hobby.

So I have dedicated myself to recreating his layout and "from the ashes" bring it back to life so people can see it again and perhaps visit when it is a bit further along. I dreamed of running a train in that cellar when I was a kid. So I figure now that John set me on a course that I enjoyed so much as a career, I can pay him back in a way, and help add a small part to the ending to his incredible story. I will just rebuild the Gorre & Daphetid so that kid can run that train. This man was a model building giant of a craftsman and it will take some time to do this as he only used a rare few kits or ready made models, he hand built more than 130 bridges and I lost count (never did count) all of the buildings and people and vehicles. Time for all that later. Please hit the like button and follow the page and you will get updates as I load new photo's of the work as it progresses. And I can guarantee I still have much to learn, but I find learning new skills as much fun as using them... And In case anyone is curious. I am actually wiring this in DC as John did. (does ANYONE go DC anymore??) I will be using a PFM sound system and old school "motored" switch machines and some snap solenoids but will have many new LED lighting features and a lot more grass (static grass) and thousands of more tree's. Otherwise it should be a museum quality "exact" rebuild. Enjoy.......... Great Divide Lines

Randy Decker
Adirondack Mountains NY
 

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Hello Randy and welcome to the forum. That is an ambitious and worthwhile project. I can’t think of a better layout plan than a tribute to John Allen.
Yes, people still use straight DC. I’m one of them but I do have a dual controller that enables me to switch to DCC to run a couple of Bachmann sound engines for the grandsons.
We have many members who don’t post often. It’s-whatever. Use the forum for a source of info when you need it.
I have fond memories of working up in Keene Valley and The High Peaks region for a summer with the state DEC. Wonderful country.
Best of success. Will look forward to seeing your progress.
Dan
 

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Howdy, nice ta meet y'all!

Tell me if you heard this one before...

I retired a few years ago, am turning 65 in about a week, and got the itch* to start a layout (again). I've started a few over the years, the last in the early '90s, but life always stopped construction eventually. But maybe not this time....

Went by a hobby shop yesterday, picked up the latest issue of RMC, and a Pikestuff kitbasher kit just to get my feet wet again. I brought five boxes of train stuff down from the attic, my stuff from the 80s and 90s, plus my Dad's stuff from the early 2000s. Mostly HO, with some HOn3. Early diesel and steam era stuff.

So here I am....
Got a few engines, a bunch of cars, some buildings, scenery stuff, 7 or 8 Shinohara code 70 turnouts, and absolutely no idea where, or what, I am going to build.

*the itch started when I read Sam Posey's book and model railroading articles about his layout
 

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Howdy, nice ta meet y'all!

Tell me if you heard this one before...

I retired a few years ago, am turning 65 in about a week, and got the itch* to start a layout (again). I've started a few over the years, the last in the early '90s, but life always stopped construction eventually. But maybe not this time....

Went by a hobby shop yesterday, picked up the latest issue of RMC, and a Pikestuff kitbasher kit just to get my feet wet again. I brought five boxes of train stuff down from the attic, my stuff from the 80s and 90s, plus my Dad's stuff from the early 2000s. Mostly HO, with some HOn3. Early diesel and steam era stuff.

So here I am....
Got a few engines, a bunch of cars, some buildings, scenery stuff, 7 or 8 Shinohara code 70 turnouts, and absolutely no idea where, or what, I am going to build.

*the itch started when I read Sam Posey's book and model railroading articles about his layout
BobT;

Welcome to the forum!
I am 72 and retired. I model the Milwaukee Road near Seattle, Washington in the 1920s. I really like electric locomotives, hence my choice of the Milwaukee. My layout is N-scale, and a bookshelf design based on an old Model Railroader Magazine article. If you're curious, you can see my track plan in the "Layout Design" section of this forum. It's at the end of a post called "Here are the layouts of some forum members."

What do you want to build? Well, I suggest you start by reading the first file below. I wrote it for "Newbies" contemplating their first layouts. Now I realize you're not new, but "Where do I start" has some questions, and choices, that may help guide you toward making your own decisions about what kind of layout you want to end up with.
I also suggest you do some online research on prototype railroad history to look for a particular small part of a railroad that interests you.

I recommend you try to think in terms of long, skinny shelves, rather than 4' x 8' rectangles. I don't know how much space you have available. If it's small, then there is a strong tendency to settle for a 4 x 8 as "the most I can fit." Since you apparently will be working with HO-scale, a 4 x 8 will severely limit your track plan options. Basically, an oval, two concentric ovals, or an oval around a figure eight, will be the extent of your main line choices. Yes, you can add sidings, alternate cutoffs, and "branch lines" a yard long, to "fill in the (all too small) empty space." However, doing that will mean little room for structures, scenery, roads, or anything else. This also kills realism since except inside a major rail yard, the real world is not 90% track. The same 4 x 8 cut and installed as shelves circling the room will do a lot to project the illusion that your train actually goes from point 'A' to point 'B' rather than chasing its own tail round-and-round in senseless ovals.

If you are lucky enough to have a large space available, then I caution you to start small, and add on gradually, so that you don't get frustrated, and give up.
An excellent way of doing this is to plan, and build, your railroad in small (2' x4' ) sections. This will let you start and finish one section before moving on to the next.
It also divides up the somewhat-less-than-spellbinding, (but unfortunately necessary) tasks, like wiring, and ballasting, into more manageable, and less mind-numbing, shorter sessions. Speaking of wiring, You can drastically reduce the amount, and complexity, of wiring by going to DCC right from the start. DCC lets you have more precise control at low speed, which is very useful for switching operations. DCC also lets you have sound from the locomotive. Perhaps most importantly, DCC saves the often frustrating work of constructing a large control panel full of toggle switches that is needed to control more than one train with traditional DC wiring. You can learn more about DCC including how to add DCC decoders to some of your old locomotives, from the book, "Basic DCC Wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. You can order it through your hobby shop, or www.amazon.com

The other files discuss the long, skinny, & sectional, idea further, and a lot of other model railroad subjects. Since you have experience, fell free to skip any parts that are old news to you.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Thank you, TF! I appreciate the advice very much.

My first step will be to inventory what I have now, set up a test track, and see what works or is worth saving.
Second step will be to read, read, read, and get caught up on the latest tech, and materials.

After that, we'll see. Most likely something point to point, set in the 1950s...
 

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Welcome all I have not welcomed yet.
Better late then never. :unsure::)
 

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Hello fellow modelers. I am involved in a very odd layout project. Ya just do not ever see anuyone "copy"

I just realized it is rather rude to jump in and post and not introduce myself first. I have my hands full with the ambitious project I decide to take on for my retirement project and I am loving the endless modeling opportunities this provides me. Please do not think I am rue to not post regularly but I am just so busy I can hardly find time to type. And I answer any questions on the page I have on facebook when they are asked of me. I will eventually have my own page for my work but please know if I can be of help to anyone with a modeling question please reach out to me, I will check in and say hi when I can. I love this hobby and I have 50 years of experience to tap from and have built models professionally for Museums as an Exhibit Specialist for many of my later years as a living. This title I was able to obtain and perform because of my interest in this hobby having been sparked and pushed along by John Allen and the skills he inspired me to obtain and to hone as I read every word and studied every photograph of his masterpiece of model railroading the Gorre & Daphetid Railroad from Monterey CA.
The original layout was lost to a terrible fire shortly after his tragic death back in 1973 and his story is one of incredible triumph and the sad truth of being ONE bridge away from finishing his life's work. I want to build his layout so I can finish that bridge for him and for all of us. There are so many great names that guided this hobby from its infancy and out of scale "toys" industry into the light of "realistic excellence" so often found today. He is arguably one of the big forces in the industry and his masterpiece layout certainly inspired more people into the hobby than any one man in our hobby's history. He helped set this entire industry on the course it has taken since his days and his involvement in every aspect of our hobby.

So I have dedicated myself to recreating his layout and "from the ashes" bring it back to life so people can see it again and perhaps visit when it is a bit further along. I dreamed of running a train in that cellar when I was a kid. So I figure now that John set me on a course that I enjoyed so much as a career, I can pay him back in a way, and help add a small part to the ending to his incredible story. I will just rebuild the Gorre & Daphetid so that kid can run that train. This man was a model building giant of a craftsman and it will take some time to do this as he only used a rare few kits or ready made models, he hand built more than 130 bridges and I lost count (never did count) all of the buildings and people and vehicles. Time for all that later. Please hit the like button and follow the page and you will get updates as I load new photo's of the work as it progresses. And I can guarantee I still have much to learn, but I find learning new skills as much fun as using them... And In case anyone is curious. I am actually wiring this in DC as John did. (does ANYONE go DC anymore??) I will be using a PFM sound system and old school "motored" switch machines and some snap solenoids but will have many new LED lighting features and a lot more grass (static grass) and thousands of more tree's. Otherwise it should be a museum quality "exact" rebuild. Enjoy.......... Great Divide Lines

Randy Decker
Adirondack Mountains NY
 

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hi John, my name is Don (user name Rdwarrior), and I am retired in South Florida. I am brand new to model railroading, and in the process of building my first layout. It is HO scale, but to particular era, or rail line. I am just "winging it" as I go along getting used to everything available for the layout. I had a train layout in my late teens, but now I am 83, and finding things have changed drastically. I got bored at home with the advent of Covid-19, so decided to get back into things in my garage. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, and watching many Youtube videos. I have encountered some small problems which I might need some help with, so I decided to join this forum.
I have gotten real interested in DCC, and don't totally understand a few things yet.
 

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Hi John, my name is Don (user name Rdwarrior), and I am retired in South Florida. I am brand new to model railroading, and in the process of building my first layout. It is HO scale, but to particular era, or rail line. I am just "winging it" as I go along getting used to everything available for the layout. I had a train layout in my late teens, but now I am 83, and finding things have changed drastically. I got bored at home with the advent of Covid-19, so decided to get back into things in my garage. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, and watching many Youtube videos. I have encountered some small problems which I might need some help with, so I decided to join this forum.
I have gotten real interested in DCC, and don't totally understand a few things yet.
Rdwarrior;

Welcome to the forum!
If you have any specific questions about DCC I suggest you ask them on our DCC section of this forum, as there are plenty of DCC experts over there. More general questions about model railroad topics can be asked anywhere on this forum.
To learn about DCC in general, I highly recommend the book "Basic DCC wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. It covers the subject quite well in simple, easy to understand, text and many color photos that show how to add a DCC decoder to a locomotive, how to wire a layout for DCC, and shows some of the DCC controllers, and accessories, available. You can order a copy from www.amazon.com or your local train store, if you have one.
In the meantime, you might want to look through the files below. I wrote them for new model railroaders planning a layout. While you're not new, you might still find some useful info in them.
One particular concern you might have in a Florida garage is high humidity. It can warp the wood in a layout unless precautions like making as much of the wooden part as 'L'-girders, and painting, or sealing, all the wood. High humidity can also play hob with the metal rails and wheels, causing them to be coated with oxide deposits that can interfere with electrical conduction between rails and wheels. Do you have a dehumidifier, or air conditioner in your garage? Although I live in dryer Southern California, we still have high temperatures in the summer, so I have an air conditioner in my garage, which is where my own model railroad resides. Another humidity resistant material is extruded foam insulation board. This is the hard pink, blue, or green foam you may find at Home Depot, or Lowes. Today this is commonly used for a layout base, sometimes without plywood under it. Being plastic, it won't warp like wood. It can be carved to make riverbeds or street underpasses, and stacked & glued to form hills.

Good Luck & Have Fun

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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