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  1. J

    A question about bolster to bolster truck centers

    Athearn Truck Spacing Blues90, Most models has a somewhat shorter wheelbase due to clearance issues - I suspect the trucks might have swing issues with the steps if they were perfect. As you noted, the prototype has 34' centers. Jim
  2. J

    GN Empire Builder

    The SDP40 engines were delivered in the orange/green paint scheme, and were used system wide on the Western Star/Fast Mail and the Empire Builder. The SDP45's arrived later and were delivered in Big Sky Blue. They were also used in the same trans-con service. I know of one SDP40 that was...
  3. J

    Steam Locomotive Question

    That GN ABA set of FT's are the Marias Pass helpers. The GN bought special ABA sets(with the FTSB booster) and no D/B for use on Marias Pass. IIRC they were originally numbered in the 5900 series and were renumber to the 300 series. Nice Photo!
  4. J

    Difference in Athearn Shells

    Most of the RTR line is based off of the old BB shells. For the most part, they have been upgraded with body mounted couplers, and the 'Hex' driveline. Also DCC Ready and the new handrails/paint jobs. When Athearn was sold the first time(early 90's), there wa a rather steep price increase...
  5. J

    Cork Roadbed Alternative

    A friend has used Vinylbed for his 'basement' size layout. The stuff looks good, but is more expensive than cork. Also, it is not 'split' down the middle, so he had to mark lines on either side as a guide when laying it. He did have some problems getting it on one of his orders. It appears...
  6. J

    How to Wire HO-12 in DCC

    What you have is 2 reversing loops. You can use insulated rail joiners for each loop, or make the top of the straight section the reversing loop(only one ARU needed then). As far as you numbered questions: 1 - I solder bare wire feeders(cheaper and I can put them where I want them). 2 -...
  7. J

    How to make an accurate military railroading operation….

    The DODX flat cars you are picturing are the 'modern' era cars with M1A1 or M1A2 'Abrams' tanks on them. The M48 'Patten' tank is a 50's era tank, and was produced up through 1959. Upgrades through the 60's(diesel power plant/90 mm gun). There was even a limited upgrade to a 105mm gun in the...
  8. J

    help program loco

    It depends on your 'throttle' but the basics are in the Digitrax manual. Use either a dedicated 'program' track or get all other engines off of the layout if you are programming the address. With a DT400 series throttle: o - Push the “Prog” key o - Make sure “Pg” is displayed in the...
  9. J

    Digitrax DT400 Tether length?

    The 'length' of the DT400 'cord' is really not an issue with placing UP5 panels. Remember, you can 'unplug' your throttle and the train will still keep running. My layout has 4 plug-in panel locations, spread over 78' of fascia. You do not need a UP5 panel every 15' so that you cover every...
  10. J

    Sounding too Complicated

    I assume you are talking about MRC DC power packs? They are not DCC - If you buy a DCC system(Digitrax Super Chief for example), you will need at least a 5 amp power supply(those MRC power packs do not put that kind of 'juice'). There is one Digitrax DCC system(Zephyr) that has a feature...
  11. J

    PR3 and Locobuffer USB

    Ken, The T55 sound decoders are Digitrax. You will need the Digitrax PR2 or PR3. Every manufacturer has their own hardware to download sound projects into the sound decoder. The Locbuffer USB will not download sound projects. That said, if you get a ESU-LokSound sound decoder, you...
  12. J

    Comparing F-7's

    Both Wathers(P2K) and Intermountain is QSI sound decoders. Athearn Genesis uses a MRC sound decoder. I am not sure what BLI uses in their current stuff. The started out with QSI, went to ESU-LokSound with the 'Precision Craft' line, and then 'something else' with the 'Blue Line' engines...
  13. J

    Atlas snap switch

    The 18" radius curve starts 3/4" from the straight end of the switch. A full 30 degree section of 18" radius should match from that point to the end of the 1/3 curved section when attached to the curved end of the switch. This has not changed for years & years. That said, a Snap Switch is a...
  14. J

    Another newbie Atlas turnout ?

    Duke, Before you destroy the switch. Get an NMRA gauge and check the turnout AND the wheels on your 15-20 year old cars. The Atlas switches do indeed have a stamped point assembly, and the 'point' is rather blunt. Our club has over 200 of these(both new and used)and we have only replaced...
  15. J

    When did railroads begin adding “taconite extensions” to ore cars?

    Minnesota Taconite Ore Cars The Minnesota Taconite Admendment was passed in 1963. This changed property taxes on mining and jump started taconite production in the state. Taconite production methods had been developed and a state tax law change was put into effect in about 1941. This was...
  16. J

    Atlas Turntable

    If you use Atlas code 83 flex track, it will mtch the height of the rails on the code 100 turntable. Atlas made their code 83 ties 'taller' so that they would match up with their code 100 flex track. If you are using Walthers-Shinohara or M-E flex track, you will need to 'shim' the track to...
  17. J

    Digi Trax

    I see this all the time. #1 is the usual culprit, and it is not limited Digitrax wireless. 1 - Make sure you have 'fresh' batteries in your throttle! 2 - Turn off DC in the decoder & the Digitrax system. 3 - Lousy/noisy wiring on the track/Loconet bus. Jim Bernier
  18. J

    train speed on #6 turnout

    #6 Turnout Eddie, The prototype usually has a rule that the speed through a switch should be no more than twice the # of the turnout. Hence, a #6 would give you 12 mph. How does that scale down to HO? The physics do not scale down at the same ratio, and our models are 'top heavy' at...
  19. J

    HO Track Angles

    Atlas Track Geometry Atlas has basically 2 different geometries for their track: o - The 'Snap Switch' has a constant 18" radius curve through the divirging leg and leaves the tangent at a 20 degree angle. o - The 'Customline' trackage uses prototype configurations and use the '#'...
  20. J

    Track Question...

    Last month in the NMRA 'Scale Rails', the Conformance Chairman did a review of several brands of HO turnouts. None really passed every checkpoint. I see Peco has taken him to task in the current issue, and there seems to be an issue with the measurement tools being used. That said, I have...

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