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n scale questions

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n scale questions
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 7, 2002 9:38 PM
If I use the Atlas code 55 track for my main line what do I use for my sidings and branch lines?
How far apart should my communication poles be?
How do I know which couplers to buy and put on locomotives or rolling stock?
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Posted by MAbruce on Monday, April 8, 2002 7:12 AM
Unless you can get (or know how to make) a transition section from code 55 to whatever code (80?) you end up using on the branch lines - I'd stick with code 55 everywhere.

I'm not sure about the distance of poles. I'd go out and measure some real life poles and take it down to 1:160. I wouldn't sweat exact measurements, as anything close will look fine in N-scale.

If you want to use code 55 on your layout, you might want to consider using low profile MT trucks. I've heard of some problems with the regular trucks hitting the railheads on code 55. If you go to the Atlas N-scale forum (http://forum.atlasrr.com/default.asp), you should find a thread (or three) on code 55 track. It has drawn some heated debates that you should carefully read through.

I am personally using code 80, mostly because I already have a good deal of it on hand - and it's cheaper and easier to find. But I'm also waiting to see how the code 55 issue pans out.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:31 PM
Thanks for the advice. I think I will stick with the code 80. I too have some of it.
Can anyone answer my question about couplers? I bought my locomotives and cars at a yard sale, that's how I got into this lol, and most of the couplers are broken off and one of the locos, made by Kato it says on the bottom, is missing all of its front coupler broken off at the truck, I hope thats right.
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Posted by thirdrail1 on Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:44 PM
You don't say what you want to do about couplers. Do you want to replace the "rapido" type with Micro-Trains magnetic knuckle couplers or just replace the broken "Rapidos"? Most modelers eventually replace the rapidos, so if you just want to replace broken ones, you may be able to find someone that will give you some. If not, large boxes of trucks with rapidos are always being sold cheap on eBay. Micro-Trains has a website at http://www.micro-trains.com where you can download a conversion table for various N scale cars and locomotives.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 12:05 AM
For couplers on your rolling stock & locomotives, I would HIGHLY recommend using Micro-Trains, Micro-Trains, Micro-Trains!!! They run very smooth and are compatible with a lot of other small knuckle couplers, just not the large Rapido style couplers. They also look much more realistic. You won't regret it! You can get a 20 pack (10 Pairs) at a dealer for about $35-$40 with optional sized pins and washer rings included. Also ask your dealer or hobby shop about a particular replacement for your particular Kato locomotive. Have fun, Pete
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Posted by MAbruce on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 6:40 AM
Yes, MT's seem to be the favorite. Rapido's work fine, but as you get more into the hobby, they will start to look out of place. Depending upon how many cars you have with Rapido's, converting to MT's can get expensive. But you can convert in stages. Just keep a car or two that has one end with Rapido and the other with MT. That way you can use it as a "transition car" so you can run a train with both styles of couplers.

I'm also envious that you found a Kato loco at a yard sale. Kato is top of the line.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 11, 2002 9:03 PM
You can be more envious Bruce. I failed to mention that there were two kato locomotives there. Plus some track and twelve cars and a few deformed buildings that I gave to my cats to play with. Yes, I am putting the Micro-trains couplers on the kato loco. Some of the cars have them ( I think)and some have the other type and yes one has both! I guess the previous owner was in the middle of converting them himself. Thanks for all the help. I'll be back. LOL
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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 8:07 AM
I guess I'll have to start going to more yard sales!

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 1:00 PM
You could use code 40 flextrack from Micro-Engineering, although this would involve replacing any high-profile wheelsets with low-profile sets from M-T, InterMountain, Atlas, or NorthWest Short Line.

I've used code 55 on my sidings with good results. One of the tricks is removing every fifth or sixth tie, clipping the small plastic strips that connect the remaining ties, and respacing the remaining ties. Ties on sidings and spurs are set a little farther apart than ties on the mainline, usually three or four inches more. Once glued down (I used Goo to attach flextrack) paint this track a rustier color and touch up the ties with a gray wa***o simulate age.

I've found 80 scale feet to be a good measurement for line pole separation. This helps provide the illusion of distance compared to spacing the 100 feet apart as the prototype typically is.

As for couplers, your local hobby shop should sell or can get a book from Micro-Trains that lists all the coupler conversions for N scale locomotives and rolling stock, or check M-T's web site.

Paul Schmidt
Associate Editor
MODEL RAILROADER
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, April 20, 2002 9:46 PM
Thankyou,the line pole separation I can deal with. But all the work laying the track like you just mentioned is a little out of my league right now. I am just getting into this I haven't laid any track yet just a small amount to see if those locos worked.
I have been going over the magazine to try to find out what locos I have. One looks a lot like the U30c in the May MR so I am guessing that's what it is. The other one I am still working on. I am going to take it with me to ask the man at the hobby shop or for the fun of it try to find out myself.

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