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getting started

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  • Member since
    April 2002
  • From: Wisconsin
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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 8:38 AM
Also, check this web site (gardenrailways.com) in the "for beginners" section. You can also call 800-533-6644 and we'll send you a free beginner's booklet.

Rene Schweitzer

Classic Toy Trains/Garden Railways/Model Railroader

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,738 posts
Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:37 PM
Also read Cacole's replies to the I NEED HELP posting on this forum. His advice is also excellent.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:32 PM
I am reposting this reply from the I NEED HELP posting...



First, Kalmbach publishes a "getting started in garden railroading " book that is a good starting point, its mostly a collection of articles from past GR issues, but I would also get "large scale model railroading" by Robert Schliecher. Its more detailed and has a lot of good tips.

Second, START SIMPLE keep it to continuous loop(s) (I didnt say small) and a couple of passing sidings for now. I always feel its more important to get the layout running than to be building forever and your trains are collecting dust. You have more incentive to continue when you actually see them running around the yard....

Are there any natural features that could accent the layout? streams? gullies? hills? rocks? Try to work them into the layout in the same manner they would on a real RR. Sketch it out first, then use caulk powder to layout where the track will go then step back to where you will look at it the most and decide if thats where the track looks best. What looks good on paper may be very different in reality.

For indoor layouts switches and sidings are no problem, in the garden though its a headache to wire switches back to a common point, especially if there over 100 feet away so I always feel that in the garden track should be layed for running, not switching. It would be better to have multiple loops with just passing sidings so you can run more than one train, with DCC you could run more than one train on the same track. Any yards, stations, engine houses, etc. should be at the most easily accessed part of the layout, usually next to the operating deck.

Third, I use brass track as its the easiest to get. Whether you decide to use flex track, sectional, or whatever brand, I would use LGB switches only. This is a personal preference but I have had too many compatability problems with Aristo-USA switches and will not use them anymore. LGB locos stall on them and my Bachmann Annie used to derail on them all the time. I'm sure other have used them without any trouble so keep that in mind. My word is not gospil.

I use brass Aristo track and for the breif time (2 months) I had my layout down in the garden (but before I could trench and ballast I got expelled) it oxidized very little, It will turn dark brown eventually hence a track cleaning will be a ritual before any runnnig, unless you go battery/RC or live steam them its just clear the tracks of any debris and run away.

Hope this helps. Vic


   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
getting started
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:19 PM
I'm new to this hobby and I was wondering if you can give me some tips on getting started.

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