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Except for some rapid transit and trolley systems real RRs do not form a huge loop. They are 'point to point' with turning facilities at one or both ends of the line...I mention this because instead of having trains continually running via a huge loop or loops you can build a MRR where you are forced to perform prototype activity...
This is supposed to be a fun hobby. No one should be "forced" too do anything they don't want to no matter how un-prototypical it may be.
 

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There is such a thing as a 'balloon track', and there ARE turning loops in many coal loading facilities. The majority of passenger terminals are push/pull where leading engines came to a terminal, uncoupled, and reversed out through a crossover and went on to servicing. If needed, a terminal switcher would shove the passenger consist forward immediately so that passengers could disembark closer to the terminal or ground transport. And that's only if the train wasn't backed in in the first place.
 

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This is supposed to be a fun hobby. No one should be "forced" too do anything they don't want to no matter how un-prototypical it may be.
Dear sir or madam, you misunderstand my meaning of the use 'forced' because you are trigger-happy to accuse another too quickly !! It's, technically, called 'prejudice'.
I meant that by running a 'point to point' operation it (gratefully) forces one (me and other 'P to P'-ers) to HAVE to run the RR more like the 1:1 scale does, where, except at huge passenger and some intermodal yards where a loop, called a 'balloon track' can be found for reversing whole trains, 99.44% of real RRs are 'point to point', they too forced to turn trains on either a turntable or wye at each terminus. IE. A model P to P railroad forces one to operate more like the real one, if that be your cup of tea; what turns you on, running-wise; the forcing of this particular RR activity welcomed by the modeler as potentially more realistic than some other types of MRR layout configurations, ones usually with main lines running in a circular fashion sometimes called 'roundy-rounds' or 'continuals'....
..Do bear in mind that any above claim/suggestion is not meant as a value judgement of any other model rail's way of going about it...I never lose sight of the fact that it's a hobby where railroading in miniature is in the hive of the bee-holder... 🏬🏭🛤🌄 M
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Thanks everyone for your continued input. I didn't plan for this thread to go beyond it's initial topic, but I'm glad it has. It has been very helpful and I excited to hear more.

..Do bear in mind that any above claim/suggestion is not meant as a value judgement of any other model rail's way of going about it...I never lose sight of the fact that it's a hobby where railroading in miniature is in the hive of the bee-holder... 🏬🏭🛤🌄 M
No worries telltale... that's exactly how I interpreted your previous post. As a matter of fact, your post and traction fan's document on "layout planning" spurred a conversation between my son and I. I brought up the point-to-point concept and he told me he had seen that discussed online. He then said he would really like a working train yard. I said, "Awesome!, we could look at a point-to-loop layout." So rather than sticking some random turnouts in the middle of our long straight-aways, we've now decided to put a working train yard on one end of the layout where there's plenty of room for action.
 

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I'll second what Oki suggests because that is how I took it at face value. By constraining one's options, one is more 'forced' to deal with a problem with limited solutions, sometimes quite creatively. It's what can keep a layout 'young' for a while longer than one with an oval, a rudimentary yard, a passing siding, and a crossover.
 

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I'll second what Oki suggests because that is how I took it at face value. By constraining one's options, one is more 'forced' to deal with a problem with limited solutions, sometimes quite creatively. It's what can keep a layout 'young' for a while longer than one with an oval, a rudimentary yard, a passing siding, and a crossover.
Isn't it really what I'D said in post #23 ? ! Oki was seconding me .... M
 

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Discussion Starter #27
telltale... mesentaria was simply saying he also interpreted your earlier post the same way I did. We both read your post as point-to-point type layouts can "force" (in a good way) modelers to be more creative in their layout rather than building a simple loop. We were both agreeing with you. As I said before, you're comments have already helped to improve my layout design.
 
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My 18 y.o. son and I are starting a build from scratch. Other than owning a Life-Like HO beginner set 8 years ago, we are novices. We've been researching daily, for the last few weeks, about various topics of interest. We have about 75 square feet of space, but plan to start small (perhaps an initial 4x8) with additional sections when we're ready to expand.

Focusing on locomotives we've narrowed down our search to HO --> Steam (style only is fine, doesn't need to puff smoke) --> 2-8-2 Mikado --> Southern rail line --> DCC (preferably equipped).

I think I would like to stick with a new purchase (and warranty). In the new market I'm seeing 2 choices: Broadway Limited (#5555 and #5556) and Bachmann (#54403). BLI is at the top of my locomotive budget and costs about 25-35% higher than the Bachmann (depending on website availability). Looking at pics on the internet, the BLI appeared to have finer detail and overall better appearance in my opinion. Unfortunately you can't always trust pics on the internet. We saw one of the BLIs at a local train shop and it was quite attractive. They did not have a Bachmann on hand.

As far as performance, I didn't find many reviews about these 2 specific models. Summarizing what I did find, BLI seemed to have fairly high approval, while Bachmann was more "hit or miss" and needing more set up work straight out of the box to get them running smoothly.

Right now, BLI is sitting #1 for me. Would love some sage advice from anyone willing to chime in. Thanks!
May I suggest (like others have suggestions), Model Railroad Academy | Online Model Railroad Videos They are a video library (much like Kalmbach, but with more realistic prices). Just sign up for their Emails. You'll start getting them right away. They will be invite you to join the premium membership for about $3 for a year (Normally $70). This will give hundreds of hours of how too's in full length (unlike the free segments you'll see as a non member). Also tours of model railroads from top named modelers. You'll see things like John Armstong's Layout, George Sellios's layout being completed in 3 segments, past and present layouts going back into the 70's.
In a month or so you will be offered the gold membership for about the same amount of $3. With this you get a dozen or so uninterupted vidio tours with question and answer seasons.
You will also get a few free classes, and discounts on upcoming classes. They have a live video chat with a particular thing of interest to modelers.
Every week you will receive huge discount on certain subjects from 50% to 90% off regular prices. They often run the 11 CD set which cover A LOT for under $30.
One thing I would like to point out, and others may disagree with me. But you will eventually run across these adds where you buy into this blog for $27 or more. With that they say you get a book, and 5 t0 7 free books. These free books aren't free. They are only free, and available if you pay the next month blog fee. Most of that information is free online, and on you tube where video's explain things better. And the books are ONLY offered at downloads, so you know it's put together off the web to begin with.
For your question, do a internet search for Model Railroad suppliers. Narrow your search down to US based, or you'll get everything to England and Germany. When you find good ones, book mark them. The good one's let you know of new upcoming releases and chance to pre-order, and let you know when extra's have arrived and are for sale (be quick to buy here if you want it).
You are interested in DCC? If you are doing a 4 x8 layout in HO there is no need for that kind of expense to run 1, maybe 2 loco's. Put that money in good track and loco's. That will take a lot of trouble free mileage, more so than DCC and cheap track and low grade engines!
But you will find out all of this on your own when you do the proper homework before you jump in. This hobby can be super fun, or super frustrating.
It's the way you start out and proceed from doing enough, or too little (or none) of the home work that needs to be done first when you're first starting out.
Be sure of what you're buying and what it exactly is. If it seams like an out of this world deal, it's probably not a deal at all but hype for a low quality product.
And remember, the only dumb question, is the question not asked.
Good Luck, and Love the time with your Son!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Hey Gang, thanks for all the great input. We're continuing our research of layouts, track, controllers, etc, but we've made a decision on a loco.

We ordered a BLI #5555 (2-8-2, HO, DCC, Paragon 3, Southern line). Should receive it sometime next week.

Big thanks to everyone that shared their knowledge.
 

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I've got a HO scale BLI 2-8-2 Mikado with Paragon 2 DCC & sound on my layout that I've owned for about 3 years now. It is my favorite locomotive and I've had zero problems with it. It performs great at slow speeds, the audio sounds good, and it doesn't derail on my layout. I don't have any Bachmann locomotives, so I can't help with any comparisons. Here's a picture of my Mikado with some weathering done to it.
View attachment 547090
Thanks for the childhood memories your pic evoked. Grew up in Seattle, grandparents in Spokane. Great part about seeing them was getting to ride the Empire Builder. Favorite cartoon character at the time was Rocky the Great Northern Goat.
 

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You have to type your message outside of the quote tag of the poster's message your are quoting.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
The new Loco arrived yesterday. My son is over the moon (me too!). We found our old DC controller and enough track for a simple oval to test it out. Looks great and runs smooth. With the DC we're only getting chuffing and some hissing sounds here and there. Can't wait to move to DCC, but will be doing additional homework before we decide on a controller.
547456
 
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