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Lessons learned

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 15, 2017 2:50 AM

Drumguy
Regardless, that's impressive for track on carpet!

He has several interesting "carpet" layout videos.

My point remains ours is a simple hobby complicated only by us as we strive for perfection while forgetting the very basics..

Larry

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, July 15, 2017 9:20 AM

Re: s-curves. Big difference between shoving and pulling. Big difference with mixed length cars and motive power. Personal experience (and that of friends and clients) indicates that some types of s-curves are problematic in many (not all) situations.

Those who make blanket statements that "s-curves don't matter" are potentially misleading the less-experienced.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 15, 2017 12:02 PM

cuyama
Those who make blanket statements that "s-curves don't matter" are potentially misleading the less-experienced.

Just as much as "experts" over complicate the simple while overstating the obvious which can be far more misleading..Even small ISLs can use various sizes of freight cars without issues.

That "carpet" layout with its "S" curves and snap roadbed track goes against everything we been taught to avoid..

Remember back in the early days of  N Scale when the all knowing N Scale "experts" said you can't switch cars in  N due to the truck mounted couplers?  I switched cars on a daily bases back then while using Rapidos.

Even today that old myth is still taught and believed by many.

Larry

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Posted by kasskaboose on Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:50 PM

Goodness knows I've got plenty of lessons learned even from my first layout:

-Not wanting to learn, learn and learn some more!

-Using different radii throughout a curve

-Shorter curved turnouts over longer ones

-Not writing down what you plan on doing and do it

- Avoiding tedious projects by not treating them in an assembly line fashion

- Not asking questions or seeking help from others

- Trying to squeeze too many structures or seeking perfection when reality doesn't ever appear that way.

That's a start...

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 16, 2017 6:47 AM

kasskaboose
Goodness knows I've got plenty of lessons learned even from my first layout:

And IMHO those are the best lessons since they come from hands on experience.

All my classes on safety and operation rules did not prepare me for my student brakeman training..I still had tons to learn on getting the job done under the whims of the conductor and the demands of every day operation.

Larry

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Posted by mobilman44 on Sunday, July 16, 2017 7:59 AM

Hi!

I think it was pretty smart of the OP to start this thread before he jumped into the layout build.  And he got lots of good advice and direction as a result, and that doesn't leave me much to add (but I'll give it a shot).......

Building a layout, especially that first one, gives you hands on experience in so many skills (design, woodworking, wiring, various arts, etc., etc.).   Take your time, and do it right, before proceeding to the next task.  IMO, the trackwork and wiring are the two areas in which your "good enough" level needs to be pretty high.  Imperfect trackwork and inadequate wiring will eat at you for the life of the layout, and could even drive you from the hobby.

ENJOY!

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Sunday, July 16, 2017 8:27 AM

Do not glue coupler boxes shut.  Use a mechanical fastner of some sort (a screw is generally prefered).  

Check commercial turnouts with the NMRA guage, verify that they meet the specs for turnouts (spoiler alert, sometimes they don't, and its super frustrating to find later).  I found this video to be useful in understanding the NMRA track standards.  It is a four part video series.  This is part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBdWvMHEN8s

Get a NMRA standards guage.  

Google "TOMA - the one module approach".

Pick up a copy of John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation, which should be available in well stocked local hobby shops or from our hosts here at Kalmbach.  

Learn the difference between live and dead frogs, and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

All new run trains and most older equipment will run just fine on code 83 track (assuming HO).  Only large "pizza cutter" flanges require code 100 track.  IMO code 83 track looks more realistic than code 100 (code 100 ties are about 3 scale inches over size in width, it is noticeable when you place two types side by side.  

I started out with code 100 because of the misconception that I would want to run trains without having to do any modifications.  I have yet to purchase a locomotive that needs code 100 track to operate (they are getting pretty hard to find).

The Kadee coupler height guage is a pretty useful tool (I gave mine away to someone who uses Kadee's).  

 

 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 16, 2017 4:25 PM

BMMECNYC
Get a NMRA standards guage.

Excellent advice. A MR tutorial on the NMRA gauge featuring  Jim Hediger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX8-79iLCZQ

 

Larry

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, July 16, 2017 11:21 PM

   Plastic wheels and brass rail!  Avoid like the plague!

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, July 17, 2017 3:15 AM

NHTX

   Plastic wheels and brass rail!  Avoid like the plague!

 

Yet,that combination worked for years and still works.

Experience will show there is no plague about that combination.

Larry

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Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, July 17, 2017 11:42 AM

NHTX

   Plastic wheels and brass rail!  Avoid like the plague!

 

Why. At least they don't start a short. Like metal wheels on rails.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by Alexander on Monday, July 17, 2017 1:15 PM
I think I'll use metal wheels with plastic trucks and axles
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 7:51 AM

Alexander
I think I'll use metal wheels with plastic trucks and axles

The only wheels sets I know of that have metal wheels and plastic axles are Kadee, which once was a staple.  They have generally fallen out of favor with many experienced modelers now.  The wheels are sintered metal and tend to pick up dirt more than "turned" metal wheels.  The plastic axles also have more drag. 

I friend of mine once put together a long train of covered hoppers with Kadee wheel sets and he noticed it had a lot of drag.  He changed out all the wheel sets for wheels with metal axles (Jaybee in this case) and noticed a big difference.  Much less drag.

Most modelers now use metal wheel sets with metal axles such as Intermountain, or many other brands like ExactRail, Tangent, Walthers Proto, Reboxx etc.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 8:17 AM

riogrande5761

 

 
Alexander
I think I'll use metal wheels with plastic trucks and axles

 

The only wheels sets I know of that have metal wheels and plastic axles are Kadee, which once was a staple.  They have generally fallen out of favor with many experienced modelers now.  The wheels are sintered metal and tend to pick up dirt more than "turned" metal wheels.  The plastic axles also have more drag. 

I friend of mine once put together a long train of covered hoppers with Kadee wheel sets and he noticed it had a lot of drag.  He changed out all the wheel sets for wheels with metal axles (Jaybee in this case) and noticed a big difference.  Much less drag.

Most modelers now use metal wheel sets with metal axles such as Intermountain, or many other brands like ExactRail, Tangent, Walthers Proto, Reboxx etc.

 

Most of my freight car fleet has Kadee sprung metal trucks with Intermountain wheel sets.......very free rolling, very stable tracking.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Alexander on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 9:01 AM

My concern with the metal axles is wouldn't the flow of electricity flow in through one wheel, across the metal axle, and into the other metal wheel causing a short?

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:32 AM

Alexander

My concern with the metal axles is wouldn't the flow of electricity flow in through one wheel, across the metal axle, and into the other metal wheel causing a short?

The fact that there are thousands of metal wheels with metal axles in use for many years - that should tell you shorting is not an issue.  ;)

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by superbe on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:21 PM

There have been many threads showing how better wheel sets and tuned or metal trucks improve the rollability of cars.

Finally I bit the bullet, bought some Intermountain wheel sets and started upgrading my cars. After I did several I asked myself why was I doing this. I run short mixed freights and never had any problems. My cars are mostly new with some from eBay and I have no idea whether the wheels are plastic, metal, or who made them.

What I'm saying is that "one size doesn't fit all". It depends on how big your layout is, the number of cars being pulled, and if you have a grade. For some of us, cars out of the box are OK but for others they aren't.

Bob

 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:16 PM

Alexander

My concern with the metal axles is wouldn't the flow of electricity flow in through one wheel, across the metal axle, and into the other metal wheel causing a short?

 

Which is why one or both wheels have a plastic insert.  You can still have issues with rolling stock that have metal trucks if there is slop in the wheelset fit.  These would need both wheels insulated or plastic axle.  

I thought Proto wheelsets had plastic axles?

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:39 PM

BMMECNYC
I thought Proto wheelsets had plastic axles?

 
Which Proto?  Life Like Proto 2000 or Walthesr Proto 2000.  IIRC, Walthers version aren't the same as those sold under the LL name for years.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 12:04 PM

BRAKIE
 
NHTX

   Plastic wheels and brass rail!  Avoid like the plague!

 

 

 

Yet,that combination worked for years and still works.

Experience will show there is no plague about that combination.

 

Larry,

Sorry I must respectfully disagree.  There IS a plague with that combination, that I choose to avoid.

I have been running HO trains, actually a lot, for 44 years.  I learned as a kid during the early '80's that brass rail combined with plastic wheelsets resulted in considerable caked on buildup of grime on the wheeltreads--eventually building up to the point where flanges are nearly buried and cars derail.

Then of course there is the incessant cleaning of the brass track to begin with.

I subsequently switched to nickel silver track for my (adult) layouts and used all metal wheelsets.  The dirt buildup on wheelsets is sometimes still there, depending upon the brand used, but it is greatly diminished from what I saw in the past with plastic.  Also, the metal wheelsets track much better.

With large scale outdoor operation, the sun heats the track which melts plastic residue off the wheeltreads and onto the track in tiny amounts--the problem is greatly magnified.  I learned to use stainless steel rail and all metal wheelsets on anything operated outside with DC power.  Again, brass rail and plastic wheels is a much greater plague in large scale!

John Mock

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 12:33 PM

PRR8259
Sorry I must respectfully disagree. There IS a plague with that combination, that I choose to avoid.

John,I too must respectfully disagree based on my 60 years of experience and 12 of those years having used brass track and plastic wheels.

What do you think we used in the 50/60s? Yup brass track and plastic wheels and that combination would still work today. Come to Ohio and I will show you a 67 year old club that still uses brass track.

The basics of the hobby hasn't changed over the years other then the "experts" muddling the simplicity of the hobby through books and infomercial  articles.

And apparently NS track needs as much cleaning as brass track  or we wouldn't have so many topics on keeping track clean.

Larry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:23 PM

I'd just like to point out that whoever has been playing with trains the longest, that doesn't make you automatically right over the next person. 

It would be oh so pleasant if people would stop waving their "I've got a gazillions years experience in the hobby" member ship card around here so much.  Just a friendly suggestion.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 3:01 PM

I think the biggest lesson learned here is "Ask any five Forum members a question and you'll get 10 answers." There is more than one way to do everything in this hobby, and in very few cases is there a definitive "best" way. Let's all live and let live, 'mmkay? Smile

--
Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor
sotte@kalmbach.com

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 3:40 PM

Thumbs Up

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, July 20, 2017 7:41 AM

riogrande5761
It would be oh so pleasant if people would stop waving their "I've got a gazillions years experience in the hobby" member ship card around here so much.

Jim,In my sixty years I 've learn a lot of things including what works and don't work. I recall one thing above all...The basics of the hobby hasn't changed that much over those sixty years and what works back then will still work today..

Larry

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Thursday, July 20, 2017 4:35 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
BMMECNYC
I thought Proto wheelsets had plastic axles?
 

 

 
Which Proto?  Life Like Proto 2000 or Walthesr Proto 2000.  IIRC, Walthers version aren't the same as those sold under the LL name for years.
 

I think it was the Life-Like ones that were available until recently.  Came on a blue cardboard card with plastic bubble.  

I did not realize until you asked that walthers had released something new.  I was hoping for a return of the LL wheelsets.  I liked the detail.  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 7:54 PM

Back to the original question...

.

Things to avoid... Buying bargain locomotives. Buy 1 quality locomotive and you will enjoy this hobby a lot more than having 4 you are not happy with and are causing frustration.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:57 PM

SeeYou190
Things to avoid... Buying bargain locomotives.

Kevin,I fully agree unless they're quality locomotives on sale or like some of mine are quality used locomotives  bought at bargain basement prices.

I recently found a good price(50% off MSRP) on a new BLI SW7 with DCC/Sound. I'm pleased with it.

Larry

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Posted by PRR8259 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 11:34 PM

Ok, fine so years of experience does not matter.  Wasn't trying to be arrogant or anything.

Then tell me why the very train store I used to work for, where I had to deal with customers and explain what will work, and why it will or will not work, now no longer carries brass track at all?

And dont tell me it is about money or stocking less items when the inventory of different items...is big...The current sales manager says nobody wants brass track at all, period, end of story.  It does not work as well.  Nobody wanted to buy it anymore, and that is all there was to it.  Perhaps a small part is about appearance, but metallurgy tells us that the thin fim of oxidation on nickel silver is STILL electrically conductive, while the oxidation film on brass rail is NOT electrically conductive.  The large scale crowd grasps this very well as issues are magnified.

I don't clean my nickel silver track.  There is no need to do so.  If I run a new BLI engine whose plating comes off rapidly, then I may need to do a quick wipe down with a paper towel to remov

e plating chips and crud.  Otherwise, maybe I wipe the rails off quickly with a paper towel quarterly.  I use electrically conductive lubricant directly on the rails to keep rails and wheelsets clean.  More than one manufacturer offers that lubricant.  It works.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 21, 2017 1:06 AM

PRR8259
Then tell me why the very train store I used to work for, where I had to deal with customers and explain what will work, and why it will or will not work, now no longer carries brass track at all?

Then a old experience modeler laughs at such thoughts because we used brass track and it worked and knows it still will work..Again come to Ohio and I will show you a club that still uses brass track.

The best question is why we didn't adopt code 70 instead of code 83 as the de facto standard and why is C100 still available? I know the answers behind that.

Larry

SSRy

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