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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I just joined this group. So glad to have found this.
Years ago I bought a Bachmann Alaska RR set in HO.
It was purely for display as I like to collect Alaska items, having been there on four different vacations.
Now I want to get into running an N scale real layout.
I have found prebuilt N scale layouts on eBay from a highly recommended seller and I want to run Kato Alaska RR passenger cars on that. I want to eventually get some freight cars and run that too.
Question.
Can I use the Bachman HO power pack for the Kato trains?
And, I can use any suggestions or help that you people can give to a total newbie :).
Thanks in advance.
Rich
 

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Yes, you can use the Bachmann power pack.

My advice would be to build it yourself so that you learn. A turnkey railroad won't teach you much about model railroading.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Another total newbie question please, can I mix and match different brands of N scale cars in one train?
 

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As long as the couplers match.
 

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Yes, you can run model cars of any brand in your trains. However,
you must make sure the couplers match what you have. There are
replacement couplers for any cars that you want but have
couplers that don't match.

Don
 

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Hi, I just joined this group. So glad to have found this.
Years ago I bought a Bachmann Alaska RR set in HO.
It was purely for display as I like to collect Alaska items, having been there on four different vacations.
Now I want to get into running an N scale real layout.
I have found prebuilt N scale layouts on eBay from a highly recommended seller and I want to run Kato Alaska RR passenger cars on that. I want to eventually get some freight cars and run that too.
Question.
Can I use the Bachman HO power pack for the Kato trains?
And, I can use any suggestions or help that you people can give to a total newbie :).
Thanks in advance.
Rich
Rich;

Welcome to the forum! All you have to do is ask for advice here, and you'll get plenty of it. I agree with the others that you would be better off building your own model railroad, than just buying one ready made. In addition to learning more about this hobby, I think you'll get a lot more personal satisfaction, and plain old fun, out of creating something that is truly your own. You can't get that from just buying something some other person has created.
Also many layouts offered for sale are overpriced. Remember the seller wants to make a profit. To do that, since he likely paid retail for everything, he has to charge you more than retail, sometimes a lot more.

All of the preceding assumes that you have the time, and the desire, to build a model railroad. If you have plenty of money, and very little free time, that would change things drastically. If that's your situation then, for you, buying a premade layout may be the only practical option. In any case, that's your choice to make, and there will be lots of others.

The information in the files below should be enough to get you started. There are also good books available on the subject. One is the appropriately titled "Getting Started in Model Railroading" by Jeff Wilson. It covers a wide variety of model railroad topics in simple text, and many color photos. You can order a copy from Kalmbach Hobby Store or from www.amazon.com

Most N-scale trains are compatible across brand name lines. A Bachmann car and an Atlas car can both be run in the same train, on Peco track.. As already mentioned, couplers need to match, and there can be compatibility issues with some types of track. The files cover both. "A lot about couplers" and "How to build a better first layout" (part 5) respectively, have that information.

What space do you have available to build your railroad?

The real Alaska Railroad is "narrow gauge" three foot gauge, I think. Narrow gauge means that the rails of the track are closer to each other than "standard gauge", which is four feet eight and one half inches. Do you want to model the Alaska Railroad with narrow gauge track, or would you be content with normal N-scale track that represents standard gauge? I highly recommend the latter course. N-scale narrow gauge, called "Nn-3" exists.
It uses Z-scale track, and mechanisms, with N-scale car & locomotive bodies on them. It is a difficult scale in several ways. There is very, very, little equipment available, which means you would have to build virtually everything from scratch. That's not something I would ever recommend to a "Newbie." You will have plenty to learn without jumping into the deep end of the pool before you even learn to swim. Also Z-scale locomotives are a lot more expensive than N-scale ones.

Good Luck & Have Fun!

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Welp, there ya go !! Due to traction fan's usual entry above I will not be having to labor over typing my own advice.. Glad I spotted it before I had ! What a relief ! (y)😷
 

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Thank God.
 

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Welp, there ya go !! Due to traction fan's usual entry above I will not be having to labor over typing my own advice.. Glad I spotted it before I had ! What a relief ! (y)😷
telltale;

You sound bitter. Are you upset about me sending files? I don't know why you should be. They harm no one, and have helped many. There is no reason that you can't contribute if you want to.

Traction Fan
 

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No !! I am not bitter !! I'n just saying, for me it just causes me to hold back my own 64 years of experience and knowledge, beginning 1956-ish AF to HO/MRC, to N, 15 years, back to HO.. Analog into NCE/DCC......
I just feel way less need to do it now knowing you've got it all stored and can instantly post it all...
Not bitter. Just, why bother...I'm fine..You're fine,...M 🛤🌄🌵
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just returned here this morning and I want to thank everyone for their help. Especially Traction Fan for all those files. They will be very helpful.
I do not have a large space and I am not particularly good at the skills I need to build a layout so I have decided to go with a pre-made set. I actually found another seller who will build a layout to the exact space I need. He is very cooperative and I am confident he will do a good job for me.
I understand about the cost of buying a layout but it is not exorbitant for my layout, and the man will be putting in the time and effort to build a layout for me so I feel he is entitled to make a profit on his time and expenditure.
Once again thanks to all of you and I am sure I will be back here with more questions. It is a pleasure to join this group and I look forward to my running model trains, though I will not be building.
 

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No !! I am not bitter !! I'n just saying, for me it just causes me to hold back my own 64 years of experience and knowledge, beginning 1956-ish AF to HO/MRC, to N, 15 years, back to HO.. Analog into NCE/DCC......
I just feel way less need to do it now knowing you've got it all stored and can instantly post it all...
Not bitter. Just, why bother...I'm fine..You're fine,...M 🛤🌄🌵
telltale;

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry you feel like your experience is being negated by my files. Frankly, I don't see how. My files are simply things I wrote that I think will help beginner's. They cover a lot of topics, but are by no means intended to be the last, or only, word on everything related to model railroading. I don't know everything. I know that I don't know everything. I often learn things I didn't know on this forum, from other members, including you.
Even getting similar information from more than one response won't hurt anyone. It's actually pretty common.
For instance, right in this thread, there are several responses recommending making sure the couplers match. I doubt the OP minds getting the same advice from more than one person. He responded with thanks not only for my files, but to everyone who responded. I hope you will continue to add your input to the forum. I'm certainly not trying to push anybody aside.

Traction Fan
 

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Hi, I just joined this group. So glad to have found this.
Years ago I bought a Bachmann Alaska RR set in HO.
It was purely for display as I like to collect Alaska items, having been there on four different vacations.
Now I want to get into running an N scale real layout.
I have found prebuilt N scale layouts on eBay from a highly recommended seller and I want to run Kato Alaska RR passenger cars on that. I want to eventually get some freight cars and run that too.
Question.
Can I use the Bachman HO power pack for the Kato trains?
And, I can use any suggestions or help that you people can give to a total newbie :).
Thanks in advance.
Rich
Rich,

Make sure you know the difference between DC and DCC -- matters for what you purchase and what you already have.

There is nothing wrong with getting a prebuilt N scale layout, but as a newbie you should double check with a more seasoned railroader before purchasing. "How do you know what you don't know?" I'd hate to buy what you think is a read-to-run layout only to find it's not.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rich,

Make sure you know the difference between DC and DCC -- matters for what you purchase and what you already have.

There is nothing wrong with getting a prebuilt N scale layout, but as a newbie you should double check with a more seasoned railroader before purchasing. "How do you know what you don't know?" I'd hate to buy what you think is a read-to-run layout only to find it's not.

Good luck
I have been assured by the seller that I am buying a ready to run layout. Thanks.
 

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Just returned here this morning and I want to thank everyone for their help. Especially Traction Fan for all those files. They will be very helpful.
I do not have a large space and I am not particularly good at the skills I need to build a layout so I have decided to go with a pre-made set. I actually found another seller who will build a layout to the exact space I need. He is very cooperative and I am confident he will do a good job for me.
I understand about the cost of buying a layout but it is not exorbitant for my layout, and the man will be putting in the time and effort to build a layout for me so I feel he is entitled to make a profit on his time and expenditure.
Once again thanks to all of you and I am sure I will be back here with more questions. It is a pleasure to join this group and I look forward to my running model trains, though I will not be building.
Rich;

Good Luck & Have Fun with your new railroad!

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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The real Alaska Railroad is "narrow gauge" three foot gauge, I think.

Traction Fan 🙂
The Alaska Railroad which runs from Seward to Fairbanks is standard gauge. The White Pass and Yukon Route from Skagway to Whitehorse, YT is 3' gauge.
 
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