Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After about 3 weeks delving into N scale, I have learned (I think) the following:

1. Metal wheels on rolling stock is preferred by all, but the cars are sold with plastic wheels. But the manufacturers also sell metal wheels separately. But you have to know the length that you need.

2. Couplers are different for each brand, Knuckle couplers are preferred. From brand to brand they may or may not be compatible. They may be truck mounted or body mounted, but this info is not provided on stock for sale.

3. Track comes in codes, and one needs to stay with whatever code is selected. Also, one needs to use one brand only to minimize compatibility problems.

So far, I have learned a lot including the lack of standards in most areas. My congratulations to those who have built impressive layouts in N scale. A labor of love.

Jim Hataway
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
1. Some cars do come with metal wheels.
2. Most couplers work together, the only ones that I stay away from is Kato.
3. As far as I know Peco is the only one that you can easily change codes, the others you can but you will need to made some custom jointers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
There are pros and cons to metal vs plastic wheels.

Metal tends to go longer than plastic without getting as dirty (don't have to clean as often), and also adds a bit of weight to the car. They do make more "klatety-klak" noise on the tracks, which may or may not be something you mind. But the biggest negative I find in metal wheels is that they are much more susceptible to derailments on minor imperfections in your track work. Turnouts are usually the culprit on derailments, because of both the frog and the moving point rails. Any minor flaws in those areas are going to be exploited by metal wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
It ain't necessarily so.

After about 3 weeks delving into N scale, I have learned (I think) the following:

1. Metal wheels on rolling stock is preferred by all, but the cars are sold with plastic wheels. But the manufacturers also sell metal wheels separately. But you have to know the length that you need.

2. Couplers are different for each brand, Knuckle couplers are preferred. From brand to brand they may or may not be compatible. They may be truck mounted or body mounted, but this info is not provided on stock for sale.

3. Track comes in codes, and one needs to stay with whatever code is selected. Also, one needs to use one brand only to minimize compatibility problems.

So far, I have learned a lot including the lack of standards in most areas. My congratulations to those who have built impressive layouts in N scale. A labor of love.

Jim Hataway


Jim;

1) Overkast's response shows that not everyone prefers metal over plastic wheels. I agree with all the things he says about metal wheels, except one. That's his contention that plastic wheels are somehow able to handle imperfections in the track better than metal wheels. In fact I've found the opposite to be true. That just goes to confirm that different people have different opinions.
Many cars come with metal wheels from the factory. Atlas, for instance makes its own metal wheels, and puts them on their cars. Nearly all older N-scale cars (except for Micro-Trains) came with metal wheels. They were often mounted on steel axles, which could be a problem when using magnetic uncouplers. Some had very deep flanges, others, ConCor's metal wheels for example, were fairly close to the NMRA standards met by most contemporary, after-market metal replacement wheelsets.
Today's after-market wheelsets are non magnetic, have shallow flanges, and are very free-rolling.
Yes they do come in different axle lengths, but the difference is only a few thousandths of an inch. Truck frames can usually be spread, or pinched inward, to accommodate these minor differences. Also the package typically lists the brands of truck the wheels are made to fit. Simply buy the replacement wheelsets designed to fit your trucks.

2. Couplers, on today's rolling stock, are all knuckle couplers and are often compatible from one brand to another. In theory, they are all compatible, but in practice, some brands, Kato, for example, don't work well with other brands. My advice is to first try using whatever knuckle couplers come with the car. If they have problems, then replace them with Micro-Trains couplers. Gradually your railroad will probably evolve to using all Micro-Trains couplers, since they are the best. Most experienced N-scale model railroaders use nothing but Micro-Trains couplers.

Body-mounted couplers are slowly gaining popularity. Many N-scale cars still do come with truck mounted couplers though.
Each type has its advantages. Truck-mounted couplers handle tight curves (under 12" radius) better. Body-mounted couplers help keep cars on the track when a train is being pushed backward onto a siding, or a yard track. They also look more realistic, since real railroad cars have body-mounted couplers.

My advice is "Pick one mounting system, or the other, and then use it for every single car, and locomotive, on your railroad."
The worst case scenario is to mix body-mounts and truck-mounts. That mix will all but guarantee a derailment when cars are pushed backward. Most current production Locomotives, and many cars too, come with body-mounted couplers. I would suggest going with all body mounts, if you can.
Avoid/replace tight curves. They are the only place where the truck-mounted couplers have the advantage. My minimum radius is 16" and I use body- mounted couplers.

3. Track does come in different rail codes. The code is simply the height of the rail in thousandths of an inch. It is quite possible to mix different rail codes. The only important thing is to keep the rail tops even, where one rail code meets another. This is also realistic. Prototype railroads often used different sizes of rail on their mainlines, sidings, yards, and branch lines. Unless you are using a roadbed track, like Kato Unitrack, or Bachmann EZ-track, you should not have any problem mating one brand of track to another. Even roadbed track can be modified to mate with flex, sectional, or another brand of roadbed track, in most cases.

I believe that building a good model railroad is equally possible in any scale. N-scale is no exception.

Have fun;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
I have noticed on my temporary point to point layout for testing that even though I would prefer MT couplers, the AccuMate ones on my diesel seem to work very well, line up perfectly with MT couplers and I seem to be able to decouple with a home made PIX easier at the diesel then I do between rolling stock. That just may be me though.

Not sure about those metal wheels. The decision on those is waaaay on the back burner for me at this stage of the game.

I would recommend to anyone to use Peco Code 55 Flex track on their builds. It seems to flex well and hold its shape well. I have now tested all three Peco turnouts types and I chose UniFrog hands down. No brainer IMHO. The only issue that I have found using them is currently I have only found them in straight configuration. I would love to have some in curved so hopefully those become available soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Overkast's response shows that not everyone prefers metal over plastic wheels. I agree with all the things he says about metal wheels, except one. That's his contention that plastic wheels are somehow able to handle imperfections in the track better than metal wheels. In fact I've found the opposite to be true. That just goes to confirm that different people have different opinions.
Good point Traction Fan, and this response gave me some pause to think about why my opinion is this way? And it could be the fact that I only purchased 1 package of 12 metal wheels (good for 3 cars) and only have experience with those wheels! That being said, they are Fox Valley Models wheels, which I had chosen after doing extensive research over the years. Fox Valley are really nice wheels, but I think the flange on them is very thin compared to other manufacturers' metal wheels. This is probably what makes them especially fickle to imperfect track work and why I think the plastic ones are performing better (at least for me on my set).

Thanks for the "check-thyself" ;):D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
Fox Valley Models wheelsets

Good point Traction Fan, and this response gave me some pause to think about why my opinion is this way? And it could be the fact that I only purchased 1 package of 12 metal wheels (good for 3 cars) and only have experience with those wheels! That being said, they are Fox Valley Models wheels, which I had chosen after doing extensive research over the years. Fox Valley are really nice wheels, but I think the flange on them is very thin compared to other manufacturers' metal wheels. This is probably what makes them especially fickle to imperfect track work and why I think the plastic ones are performing better (at least for me on my set).

Thanks for the "check-thyself" ;):D
Overkast;

I have used Fox Valley Models, Intermountain, and most recently, Micro-Trains metal wheelsets. They all seem to work quite well. I think you had it nailed pretty well in one of your responses telling the OP to check his track, and especially turnouts, as a derailment problem's most likely cause.
I make my own N-scale code 55 turnouts and I have found that making them accurately by meeting all the applicable NMRA specs. is an enormous help in preventing derailments. However making accurate turnouts is also a great way of finding faults in wheels. If a wheelset is out of gage, or has flanges too deep, it's guaranteed to derail on such a turnout. The commercial turnouts all have their flangeways too wide, and their frogs too deep to meet the specs. in an NMRA gauge. I think the manufacturers did this intentionally to let slightly off adjustment stuff pass through.

I'm not sure what you mean by, Fox Valley Models wheel flange being "thin." If you mean it literally then I don't think it should matter. If you mean the flanges are shallow, then that's a good thing. The "Flangeways" tabs on an NMRA gauge not only measure the width of the flangeways, and the distance between them, but also their depth. My turnout frogs are made with flangeways only as deep as the tab on the gauge can reach down. A deep flange wheel would not make it through. Prototype flanges are quite small, compared to the rest of the wheel. A 33" or 36" diameter wheel has only one inch of flange depth. The flange is about 1/2" thick and the rest of the wheel is at least 2-1/2" wide with the tire, or tread, portion being most of that overall width.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
I'm not sure what you mean by, Fox Valley Models wheel flange being "thin." If you mean it literally then I don't think it should matter. If you mean the flanges are shallow, then that's a good thing.
Sorry, I meant "shallow" not thin... And thanks for the follow-up explanation. I agree the commercial turnout frogs' flangeways are problematic, and especially on curved turnouts due to the g-force on a turn pushing the trains cars against the outer rails / edges.

Quite possibly another factor I'm sure, is weight. I don't have any of my cars being weighted properly yet - that's very close to being next on my list of performance testing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Sorry, I meant "shallow" not thin... And thanks for the follow-up explanation. I agree the commercial turnout frogs' flangeways are problematic, and especially on curved turnouts due to the g-force on a turn pushing the trains cars against the outer rails / edges.

Quite possibly another factor I'm sure, is weight. I don't have any of my cars being weighted properly yet - that's very close to being next on my list of performance testing.
I have used this template as a guide to adjust the weight of my rolling stock. I cut it out, laminated it and keep it right with my N Scale ruler as essential hobby tools.

https://wesleysteiner.com/mr/NMRATemplateN.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
762 Posts
Three things I learned:
1) There still are some Rapido couplers out there; notably on some otherwise nice Bachmann Amfleet cars on Amazon.
2) HO scale shipping containers are good for "mock-up" n-scale buildings, especially modern industrial ones made from corrugated sheet metal.
3) Sites like modeltrainstuff.com aren't the "layout police" - they'll never tell you that those lovely wooden, ice-bunker reefers don't go with anything else you've bought.

Hope this helps :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
Curved (and other) turnouts

Sorry, I meant "shallow" not thin... And thanks for the follow-up explanation. I agree the commercial turnout frogs' flangeways are problematic, and especially on curved turnouts due to the g-force on a turn pushing the trains cars against the outer rails / edges.

Quite possibly another factor I'm sure, is weight. I don't have any of my cars being weighted properly yet - that's very close to being next on my list of performance testing.
Overkast;

If you haven't already done this, you might want to try it as an experiment. Measure the guard rail flangeways on your problematic curved turnout with an NMRA gauge. They are likely too wide and too deep as discussed. Glue styrene strips to the inside of the flangeways until they will pass the " "flangeways" tabs, but not pass the oversize single tab on the side of the gauge. Then roll a truck with correctly-gauged wheels through your modified turnout. It should not be able to get onto the wrong side of the frog. Curved turnout, or straight, the wheels will be forced to go where they're supposed to. The bottom of the frog is a different matter, and you may not want to bother with it. Still, it does cause wheels to drop, and then jump back up, and that could cause some occasional problems. If you want to try it, glue styrene pieces cut to fit the bottom of a plastic frog until the :flangeways tab just touches the styrene surface. With that done, the flange should carry the rest of the wheel across the open area at the middle of the frog. There should then be little or no wheel drop. If you have any wheels with deep flanges, they will likely derail. This modification is a great promoter of replacing those old wheels with new shallow flange ones! :rolleyes:

The attached file, "Improving Atlas turnouts" covers this idea in detail, and photos. It's primarily aimed at Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts, but the correcting flangeways, sharpen the points, and provide a notch in the stock rail for them, parts apply to any turnout. Plus the photos of the gauge in use show some of the less often checked, but important, variables. If you're not using "Snap Switch" turnouts you can skip the first seven pages that deal with problems unique to that particular turnout.
The second file is just general info about turnouts, most/all of which you may already know. These files are meant for "newbies" who don't know much of anything yet.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
Good info on the containers

Three things I learned:
1) There still are some Rapido couplers out there; notably on some otherwise nice Bachmann Amfleet cars on Amazon.
2) HO scale shipping containers are good for "mock-up" n-scale buildings, especially modern industrial ones made from corrugated sheet metal.
3) Sites like modeltrainstuff.com aren't the "layout police" - they'll never tell you that those lovely wooden, ice-bunker reefers don't go with anything else you've bought.

Hope this helps :D
GNfan;

1) That's what Micro-Trains replacement trucks and/or couplers are for.:D

2) Great suggestion. Who wodda thunk it!

3) There are no "layout police" (or we'd all be in jail :eek:) There are only nit pickers, :smilie_auslachen: who should be assigned to an especially horrible part of hell, along with telemarketers, door-to-door solicitors, lawyers, and politicians! :laugh:

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Overkast;

If you haven't already done this, you might want to try it as an experiment. Measure the guard rail flangeways on your problematic curved turnout with an NMRA gauge. They are likely too wide and too deep as discussed. Glue styrene strips to the inside of the flangeways until they will pass the " "flangeways" tabs, but not pass the oversize single tab on the side of the gauge. Then roll a truck with correctly-gauged wheels through your modified turnout. It should not be able to get onto the wrong side of the frog. Curved turnout, or straight, the wheels will be forced to go where they're supposed to. The bottom of the frog is a different matter, and you may not want to bother with it. Still, it does cause wheels to drop, and then jump back up, and that could cause some occasional problems. If you want to try it, glue styrene pieces cut to fit the bottom of a plastic frog until the :flangeways tab just touches the styrene surface. With that done, the flange should carry the rest of the wheel across the open area at the middle of the frog. There should then be little or no wheel drop. If you have any wheels with deep flanges, they will likely derail. This modification is a great promoter of replacing those old wheels with new shallow flange ones! :rolleyes:

The attached file, "Improving Atlas turnouts" covers this idea in detail, and photos. It's primarily aimed at Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts, but the correcting flangeways, sharpen the points, and provide a notch in the stock rail for them, parts apply to any turnout. Plus the photos of the gauge in use show some of the less often checked, but important, variables. If you're not using "Snap Switch" turnouts you can skip the first seven pages that deal with problems unique to that particular turnout.
The second file is just general info about turnouts, most/all of which you may already know. These files are meant for "newbies" who don't know much of anything yet.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 487174

View attachment 487176
Thanks for all the great tips and the PDFs Traction Fan! I will definitely check all these areas on the turnouts and the wheels as well to see if everything is plum (I'm betting it's not!).

*EDIT* I just thought of an idea for the frog depth dilemma. Since I have powered frogs (not plastic), perhaps I could use styrene pieces to raise the depth as you suggest, but I could also finish the styrene pieces with a metallic paint coating which conducts electricity as well???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
If I can add my ten cents worth, (inflation raised it from 2 cents)I too am getting back into N scale model railroading after a long absence. I learned quickly that the guys here are awesome and I can learn a lot by just asking. What can be better?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
Powered metal frogs

Thanks for all the great tips and the PDFs Traction Fan! I will definitely check all these areas on the turnouts and the wheels as well to see if everything is plum (I'm betting it's not!).

*EDIT* I just thought of an idea for the frog depth dilemma. Since I have powered frogs (not plastic), perhaps I could use styrene pieces to raise the depth as you suggest, but I could also finish the styrene pieces with a metallic paint coating which conducts electricity as well???
Overkast;

I don't think the metallic paint would stay on very long.
For powered metal frogs, you have a couple of choices that will retain the powered function. I suggest using brass shims, instead of plastic. I'd tin both sides of each shim before installing them. It might be easier to tin a whole small sheet and then cut it into the shims.
As you add each shim,use a low-wattage soldering iron to solder that shim into the frog. That way, the stack of shims will maintain electrical continuity up to the frog floor. If the guard rails are also metal, you can use the same technique to install the side shims. You could use paper towels, soaked with cold water, laying on top of the plastic ties, to protect them from the heat.

Remember, raising the frog's floor only helps with the "drop a wheel and drag it back up" phenomenon. The frog's floor height has no effect on getting the wheels to stay on the selected route. For that mater, neither does any other part of the frog. That's done entirely by the guard rail shims. So, you may want to leave the frog as is, that's up to you.

When I make my turnouts, I use all PC ties, and a thin brass sheet for the bottom of the frog. I fill the entire frog with solder, then file the top surface flat. Using a separate NMRA gauge from the one used for measuring, I scratch shallow impressions on the solder surface with one "flangeways" tab, while the other tab rides in the guard rail flangeway.

Using a razor saw, or Dremel, I then cut the flangeways deeper into the solder frog.The final shaping of the flangeway is done by raking the flangeways tab repeatedly through the cut area. The end result is a flangeway exactly the same size as the tab. Doing this can wear out the gauge, which is why I use one gage only for carving, and a separate gage only for measuring. I also replace the gages with new ones periodically.

This works fine with the fairly heat-resistant materials I use. However if your working on a commercial turnout, it might melt, and/or damage, the plastic tie strip. I think using the brass shims might be a bit safer, but both methods produce heat. . If you decide you want to try the "solid solder frog" idea, (maybe on an old turnout?) The file below explains the whole scratch-building turnout process I use, in considerable detail. Since its quite long, you may want to read only pages 20 & 21. They explain the frog filling, filing, marking & cutting process.

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Thanks again Traction Fan. I appreciate how you've documented so much material and are able to provide those documents to both newbies and non-newbies alike!

Interestingly enough, I used an NMRA gauge to measure the track and points on one of my problematic (curved) turnouts, and low and behold it looks like the point rails were out of gauge!!! About halfway up the rails (so the mid section) it was too narrow b/c the tool's tabs weren't both dropping in. So I started to forcefully bend the the outer point rail and it jolted with a small "cracking" sound as if there was a piece of glue or ballast getting freed-up! After that it seems the point rail is back in compliance with the NMRA gauge! Amazing. :thumbsup:

I still have to test it with running trains over it, but I already suspect this may have been my issue all along. And I still need to check all the other turnouts on my layout now, as I just wanted to quick test on my most problematic turnout out of curiosity...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
A nice visit to a nice layout.

Thanks again Traction Fan. I appreciate how you've documented so much material and are able to provide those documents to both newbies and non-newbies alike!

Interestingly enough, I used an NMRA gauge to measure the track and points on one of my problematic (curved) turnouts, and low and behold it looks like the point rails were out of gauge!!! About halfway up the rails (so the mid section) it was too narrow b/c the tool's tabs weren't both dropping in. So I started to forcefully bend the the outer point rail and it jolted with a small "cracking" sound as if there was a piece of glue or ballast getting freed-up! After that it seems the point rail is back in compliance with the NMRA gauge! Amazing. :thumbsup:

I still have to test it with running trains over it, but I already suspect this may have been my issue all along. And I still need to check all the other turnouts on my layout now, as I just wanted to quick test on my most problematic turnout out of curiosity...
Overkast;

I used your link to visit your layout, and see the many photos. It looks like you're making very good progress! I also read some of the text regarding the 18 different design iterations you went through. It sounds like you have taught yourself some good lessons regarding access to hidden track, the joy of repetitive soldering,* etc. :eek:
Well, all I can say is, "been there, done that!" We've all been through those same things, at one time or another. :eek:hwell:

I'm curious about your "Five wires per turnout." Excluding jumpers, I've always used only three. One to each of the two outer stock rails and one to the frog. Where have you needed the remaining two wires?

For your next layout, (yes, you'll probably build another some day) I suggest building it in 2' x 4' sections. This not only makes a layout easier to take with you if/when you move to another home, it also lets you take one section at a time to a workbench, turn the section upside down, sit in a nice chair, and do the wiring, and soldering, in comfort; rather than crawling under a table, and soldering overhead. Huge improvement!

When I was "young and ignorant", (as opposed to, "old and senile", like now) I discovered just how painful "under-the-layout" soldering can get.
At that time, I had the standard "plywood fortress" built from way-too-heavy-lumber. Every bit of track (way too much track, of course.) was held down by nails. From under the table I quite stupidly reached up for my trusty, and very hot, soldering iron. Grasping it firmly by the wrong end, I managed, in lightning quick succession, to burn the inside of my hand, drip molten solder down the inside of my arm, thrust my head up to impale my scalp with a few dozen nail points, and learn how to cuss at a very young age! Trust me, I learned not to do it that way ever again! :smilie_auslachen:

regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

P.S. If you ever want to read more of my pdf files, they are all available in the Beginner's Q&A" section of the forum. Look in the sticky thread "Help a new modeler to get started."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Thanks for taking the time to read my layout thread Traction Fan, appreciate the compliments! Indeed there were many lessons learned just in the design phase alone... I'm so glad I didn't rush to build, because if I had went with some of my earlier designs I would have run into some big trouble in some places!

Regarding your question:
I'm curious about your "Five wires per turnout." Excluding jumpers, I've always used only three. One to each of the two outer stock rails and one to the frog. Where have you needed the remaining two wires?
The short answer is, I have feeder wires going to:
  • Frog power pickup (x1)
  • Stock rails (x2)
  • Frog rails (x2)
Me being a little OCD, I've read enough stories to scare me about:
  1. Rail joiners failing to conduct electricity over time, and...
  2. The tiny thin jumpers between the closure rails and point rails possibly breaking, which would prevent electricity from transferring through the point rail into the closure rail.
That being said, I decided that some worthwhile long-term investments would be:
  1. Soldering feeder lines to the frog rails (in case of joiner failure)
  2. Soldering paper clips as "jumpers" from the stock rails to the closure rails (in case of point rail jumper failure)
This diagram shows black dots for all my solder points (stock rail feeder wire locations may vary but the paper clip jumpers always the same area).
turnout_soldering_diagram.jpg


For your next layout, (yes, you'll probably build another some day) I suggest building it in 2' x 4' sections. This not only makes a layout easier to take with you if/when you move to another home, it also lets you take one section at a time to a workbench, turn the section upside down, sit in a nice chair, and do the wiring, and soldering, in comfort; rather than crawling under a table, and soldering overhead. Huge improvement!
I really like this idea, and already had this thought in the past! It would also be nice to have a modular build because I sometimes fantasize about being in a model railroad club and one day contributing a section (or a few) to train shows.

Sadly, there are no N Scale clubs close to me in Connecticut... N scale is just not as popular for MRR clubs it seems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
N-trak modular system

Thanks for taking the time to read my layout thread Traction Fan, appreciate the compliments! Indeed there were many lessons learned just in the design phase alone... I'm so glad I didn't rush to build, because if I had went with some of my earlier designs I would have run into some big trouble in some places!

Regarding your question:


The short answer is, I have feeder wires going to:
  • Frog power pickup (x1)
  • Stock rails (x2)
  • Frog rails (x2)
Me being a little OCD, I've read enough stories to scare me about:
  1. Rail joiners failing to conduct electricity over time, and...
  2. The tiny thin jumpers between the closure rails and point rails possibly breaking, which would prevent electricity from transferring through the point rail into the closure rail.
That being said, I decided that some worthwhile long-term investments would be:
  1. Soldering feeder lines to the frog rails (in case of joiner failure)
  2. Soldering paper clips as "jumpers" from the stock rails to the closure rails (in case of point rail jumper failure)
This diagram shows black dots for all my solder points (stock rail feeder wire locations may vary but the paper clip jumpers always the same area).
View attachment 487352




I really like this idea, and already had this thought in the past! It would also be nice to have a modular build because I sometimes fantasize about being in a model railroad club and one day contributing a section (or a few) to train shows.

Sadly, there are no N Scale clubs close to me in Connecticut... N scale is just not as popular for MRR clubs it seems.

Overkast;

While the terms "sectional" and "modular" are often used interchangeably*, there is a technical difference. That difference will be important if you want to use the same modules at shows, that you also use as your home model railroad.

True "modules" can be used as part of a large display layout, like those commonly seen at train shows. That's because a "module" by definition, is a particular type of layout piece that is built to match the standards of some modular group. Modules are also interchangeable. For example a four-foot-long-straight, N-trak module can replace any one of the other hundreds of four-foot-long-straight, N-trak modules on earth. The scenes depicted on individual modules may be quite different, but physically, and electrically, the're all identical.

A "section" is only that, a piece of somebody's layout. It can be mated only with the other pieces of that particular layout, and typically, is not interchangeable with any of the other pieces of that layout. In short, a sectional layout only assembles in one way.

So, to do what you want, you would indeed have to build actual modules that met some group's standards, and were physically, and electrically, interchangeable with any other module, of the same size, built to the standards of that group.
The largest modular organization in the world is N-trak, which is an N-scale modular group. Maybe you could look them up, and perhaps find an N-trak club you could commute to? However, N-track modules are all made with a triple-tracked main line, and most have no sidings, or other active trackage. This means they generally don't make very interesting home model railroads.

My own N-scale model railroad is sectional, but not modular. I can take it apart to work on individual sections, and it has already saved years of work by surviving one home move. However, it was never intended to mate with one of N-trak's, or any other modular organization's, display layouts.
I once fantasized about disassembling it, hauling all the sections, plus a fake wall to support it, to a train show and re-assembling the whole thing to show it off. This was never really a practical idea, and old age & disability have made it even more impractical.

Some modelers do build both modules of some kind, and a separate home layout. This means the two don't have to be the same scale. Your home layout would stay N-scale, but your modules could be HO-scale. In most cases though, trying to make two model layouts in different, or even identical, scales, splits both your limited time and money, and tends to retard progress on both layouts. Still, it's an option, if you want to try it.


regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

P.S. I like your turnout wiring, and agree with the reasoning behind it. Good work!

* You can see the two terms being used interchangeably in your own post above, and quite commonly, all over the forum. Not a big deal, the context usually indicates which of the two the person is talking about.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top