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    HO scale mile

    Red Oak & Western gets it correct. HO is defined as 3.5 mm = 1 scale foot. If you work out the dimensional analysis, you get a scale factor of 35/3048 (or 3048/35, depending on whether you want to multiply or divide). For most calculations, 1/87 or 1/87.1 is sufficient.
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    Digitrax zephyr, need reply SOON

    Digitrax makes one version with a power supply, and one without: about a $20 difference if I recall. The standard set comes with the power supply.
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    Operating Hump Yard

    You could do it with Sergents, but it would be manual (like the prototype). If you're the engineering type, it might be possible to design some sort of arm with a magnet on it that swings down to uncouple the cars. What I would be most concerned about is the size you have. I really doubt 12...
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    Need help on a decision!

    Hmmm.. I think you need one of them Copper Range Baldwins. (Too bad no one makes any)
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    An idea for modern era modelers...

    Probably every layout or module set of mine has some abandoned roadbed or infrastructure to give it a sense of history. Something about old mainlines or branches or spurs missing rails or ties, but with weeds to spare just fascinates me. Of course, seeing as how I live in the rust belt, there...
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    Let's get LOADED!!!.....

    Holy crap, I'm somewhat famous. Those coils are made by my good friend. Those two pictures were taken by me on my layout, since he doesn't have any scenery on his. How ya like those ore loads in the background? Real iron ore that I've collected and sifted. Of course, now that some of my...
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    Powerlines

    Well, it depends on what you're planning to run off the powerlines. A few streetlights or interior lights ought to be fine, but something like a motorized bridge would probably be right out. CAT-5 cable works out to a little less than 3 1/4 inches in HO scale with the insulation, which I'd...
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    Layout Scene Rework (Town/Steel Mill)

    That's what I was thinking about. I do a lot of railfanning down near Gary and Chicago, and always try to find the 'bottle train.' Though now it runs from one of the blast furnaces in Gary. Not too often does one see a train chugging along at 15 m.p.h. on the Water Level Route! Also of...
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    Layout Scene Rework (Town/Steel Mill)

    I hope you don't mind if I butt in a little here, but I have a suggestion. Since there's no room for a rolling mill on your little (heh) peninsula there, you could always separate your steel mill into two parts. Put the majority on the peninsula, and the remainder somewhere else on your...
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    Honest Opinions Please

    It's not work, it's having fun!
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    Honest Opinions Please

    Friction bearing wheels I know it's probably not what you were looking for, but I'd like to offer one bit of constructive criticism. Almost no one gets this right: the wheel faces on friction bearing trucks are black, not rust orange/brown. Oil from the bearing leaks onto the wheel face and...
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    Sound?

    Depends on what company's decoder you're using. Soundtraxx decoders allow auto or manual notching, with manual DB. (Manual means the sound is independent of throttle setting/locomotive speed.) QSI and I believe MRC are strictly auto notching. The newest LokSound decoders allow manual...
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    How do you make realistic snow

    My previous layout was covered in deep snow; I used baking soda. It's incredibly cheap and effective. There are two downsides to it: it's hard to glue, and will corrode nickel silver if it gets wet. For this reason, I used the Woodland Scenics snow for areas near tracks. One technique I...
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    Athearn RTR SD60?

    I need a 1990ish C&NW 6-axle for my ore trains, and I've pretty much narrowed down the choice to the Athearn RTR SD60 or Atlas C40-8. Since I have no experience with the Athearn RTR locomotives, I have a few questions that I hope someone here can answer: -What motor does it have? Is it the...
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    Help with Atlas DCC installation

    The LC motor control is less than stellar. The common way to fix it is use a separate decoder for the motor, as it sounds like you did. If it still stalls and jerks, then there must be a problem with your motor decoder (I'm not sure what an 'MCD' is). If you're sure that the motor decoder is...
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    Action Shot

    I like both A and B. I think the 'quality' of A is better, but composition of B is better. Namely, I like the crop on B: there's more room in front of the speeding train. It just looks more like a fast train flying through the country. However, the stationary and therefore blurred car does...
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    Complaint about Walthers coupler boxes!

    Heh, you think putting a Sergent in a Walthers airslide is bad? Fixing the coupler issue on my Airslide was a cakewalk compared to fixing the coupler issue on my Kadee boxcar. Now that's one funny draft gear box! Took half an hour to figure out how the dang box comes off (and that was after...
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    At what height should I build?

    I'm a few inches shy of 6 feet, and I definitely prefer the track to be over 50 inches off the ground. The lowest point on my layout is 54 inches, and happens to be the only yard. Since I model ore operations, there isn't much finding individual cars in a yard and switching things around...
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    In the destructive mode..........

    It was hidden under a bunch of crap from a few months prior. So it wasn't quite "in" the layout, but close enough. (Interesting side story: the hammer was originally found in the ceiling! When my dad was installing new fluorescent lights many years ago and had the ceiling tiles ripped up, he...
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    In the destructive mode..........

    Destroying a layout is great fun! When I ripped out my old layout last winter, I just beat everything with a hammer. All the track that gave me problems went flying across the room. Scenery went up in dust.. Shards of wood and metal shot up everywhere. After I thought I had exacted my...




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