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slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/27/20 6:36 p.m.

Okay. It's decided. I'm getting back into model trains.

I'm doing it the clumsiest way possible, by acquiring used items piecemeal.

Some Bachmann EZtrack is on the way along with the necessary items to run it.

I bought a few used train cars and a locomotive that will sorta work I guess.

I researched coupler technology and now I have some Kadee couplers on the way to upgrade as many of these as I can to that style. I may have to keep one car with a horn-hook on one side to attach to the old loco if that's too hard to convert.

The plan:

Somehow clear enough space for a 37" diameter circle of track. Put track on it. Add scenery and stuff. Maybe run trains around it sometimes. Add more scenery. Drive 1/87 scale automobiles around making vroom noises. Someday later, make more room for a bigger layout, convert to DCC, add more scenery. Ignore rivet-counting.

 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/27/20 6:42 p.m.

I found this in the basement. It's a small diorama I made at train camp as a kid. Only about 18" long. Maybe I can find some use for this, or just keep it around to look at.

slefain
slefain PowerDork
10/27/20 9:12 p.m.

Paging Wally, Wally to the itty bitty HO scale courtesy phone please.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
10/28/20 6:54 a.m.

Boy, I really tapped into an undercurrent here.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/28/20 7:02 a.m.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
10/28/20 7:15 a.m.

I have that book, if anyone wants it. Bought at a library sale and realized I'd already read it.

I've found it easier to buy Atlas trucks with couplers attached to change out older rail cars. N scale Kadee conversions are really fiddly. When I was in the N-trak club I had a string of hopper cars I'd leave the big ugly couplers on as I only ran them as unit trains. Put proper couplers just on the two end cars.

While most cars seem to run okay no matter brand or age I'd spend decent money on a good locomotive from Atlas or Kato. I've had hit/miss success with Bachmann unless they were made in the last 5 years or so. Older Bachmann stuff sometimes would run great out of the box but after several hours of use would become cantankerous, and no amount of cleaning/lubing would improve them.

Try to find an old MRC transformer.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
10/28/20 7:45 a.m.
ddavidv said:

 

While most cars seem to run okay no matter brand or age I'd spend decent money on a good locomotive from Atlas or Kato. I've had hit/miss success with Bachmann unless they were made in the last 5 years or so. Older Bachmann stuff sometimes would run great out of the box but after several hours of use would become cantankerous, and no amount of cleaning/lubing would improve them.

My experience with Bachmann equipment was very similar. I bought a Bachmann Santa Fe 3700-series Northern as a kid that I was so proud of and then quickly became contemptuous of it. The trailing truck would not reverse through a diamond without snagging. and the motor/drive mechanism was always loud and rough-running despite proper break-in and lubrication. I was much more pleased with my Kato and LifeLike equipment. I also had an old Mini Trix (it was marked as being Made In West Germany, to give an indication) B&O F3 that, while not the most realistic in appearance, ran like a champ and never gave me any grief.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/28/20 8:32 a.m.

I may have gone down a rabbit hole last night while laying in bed failing to fall asleep. I was looking at HO scale big rigs, and found one from plastic kit maker Lindberg. Next thing you know, I'm learning about Lindberg's short-lived train offerings.

http://hotraincollector.com/lindberg-line/

Well of course now I want to get one of those switcher locomotives. Why can't I just like normal stuff? Why do I gravitate to the obscure?

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
10/28/20 9:00 a.m.

In reply to slowbird :

We're pretty happy with "mainstream" engines and such.  Our problem is that every single building and scenery item on the layout has been scratch built so far (except one Kato double-span bridge).  I did finally buy a commercial billboard kit figuring I'd just paint it and slap it on the layout.  Nope, the center support is solid wood and needs to be hollow to run lighting, so I'll either have to carefully drill it out or scratch build at least the support post.  frown

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/28/20 9:26 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

I'd be interested in that book. It's been on my wish list for a while.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/28/20 11:13 p.m.

Messing around with Anyrail. It'll be a while before I expand beyond the basic circle layout, but it's good to brainstorm.

I guess some people recommend 22" or bigger curves. We'll see if I can make these 18" and 15" curves work. I like a challenge. Consider this the Altoona Curve but with a town in the middle. devil

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
10/29/20 6:48 a.m.
NickD said:

Boy, I really tapped into an undercurrent here.

That's no E36 M3...

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/29/20 7:05 a.m.
slowbird said:

Messing around with Anyrail. It'll be a while before I expand beyond the basic circle layout, but it's good to brainstorm.

I guess some people recommend 22" or bigger curves. We'll see if I can make these 18" and 15" curves work. I like a challenge. Consider this the Altoona Curve but with a town in the middle. devil

I always have trouble with elevation changes on small layouts like this.  How in the world do you keep the track level?  Seems like raising a curved section always introduces some twist.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/29/20 11:31 a.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

I actually have no idea. This may be a terrible design! laugh

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/29/20 12:08 p.m.

Woodland Scenics has an expandable segmented foam incline that makes a nice transition, especially if you are doing curves. Not super cheap, but it beats a railroad that constantly derails. 

 

18 inch diameters are fine if you stick to short locos and cars. Think 0-4-0, 0-6-0, SW2, GP9s. 

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
10/29/20 12:16 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Having made my own risers for the small grade changes on my railroad, if I had it to do again, I'd absolutely spend the money on Woodland scenics risers.  I spent a TON of time making them, then even more sanding and shaping them and they still aren't as good as the Woodland stuff probably would have been right out of the box as far as creating smooth inclines and gradual transitions.  Based on my experience, this isn't the place to try to save a few bucks on your benchwork. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/29/20 1:08 p.m.

In reply to kazoospec :

I got burned doing just that. $18 for the kit is cheap compared to a railroad that can't run trains.

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/29/20 4:22 p.m.

Must not fall under the spell...

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/29/20 4:35 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

Just wait till you get into multiple scales. God help you if its post war Lionel.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/29/20 4:39 p.m.
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) said:

Must not fall under the spell...

Resistance is futile!

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
10/29/20 4:59 p.m.

I have nothing good to add here except the fact when people talk about hobby trains I can't help but think of the Adam's Family set.  I know, not 1/87 but good stuff.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/29/20 5:55 p.m.

I like the look of those foam inclines a lot. Thanks for the heads-up.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/29/20 7:19 p.m.

I wasn't sure if I was going to set mine up this year but now I think I may have to. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/29/20 8:44 p.m.

For some reason I don't have much interest in anything bigger than HO. I'll probably go N for my post-retirement build. 
 

In my attic I have a little platform with a little Z gauge oval on it. Dad and I built it to fit in a glass display box end table. It's just plain but we had a few little holiday scenery bits to go in it. 
I think it might be Markland?  Not sure where the rolling stock is. 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/29/20 10:19 p.m.

I don't know if it's feasible to replicate this in scale form, but I aspire to this level of spiraling.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brusio_spiral_viaduct

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