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Jimmy

New Member
Hello All- Since I am completely new to the world of model trains, please forgive me if my questions seem stupid. I am just trying to make out heads from tails right now about inheritence of locomotive models I got (and many of you may curse me for being a fool who got a chance at this) from my lately deceased uncle. Most of the models he had seem rather special with his collection dating from 1950s to 2012, though of course I am no expert. The painstaking care he took for all these beautiful trains is something I want to be worthy of to even touch.

Unfortunately, I got around to his place rather late. Exempting locomotives, the tracks and transformers (and all the building sets) have been auctioned up by his daughter. What a waste, but I am still glad to save nearly 39 locomotives.

All in all, I feel like sitting on treasure. As sinful as it may seem, I want to open up one of the locomotives, and create an amazing track in my uncle's memory (I plan to buy a carriage and have it etched with his initials). However, as I mentioned above, I am clueless as to what track or transformer I should get. Details of locomotive I am planning to get running is:

Scale: N
Build: Bachmann
Model: USRA 4-8-2 Light Mountain Steam Loco "NYC"
Product: #81651 *156
Link (the one I can find closest to my model): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bachmann-81651-Spectrum-Locomotive-Powered-Unlettered/dp/B000BPMADY

So my questions are:

1- Can I get just any nscale track or starter kit to run my locomotive with? Or are there any special requirements about it?

2- For instance, can I buy these to get going (I am in Australia, where purchase options are highly limited):

track: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/N-scale...a-points-x2-curves-straights-VGC/174273139459
transformer: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Model-T...-Transformer-by-Cashless-Broke-R/402272569557

I am not even sure if these two things will be inter-compatible with each other and then compatible with my locomotive.

3- If those are senseless options, can I get recommendation to some cheap startup kit. I want to start small, and feel my way around before I put any significant money into the hobby; I want to have it well researched and be confident about what I am doing. I think there are track sets by company named Kato that have transformers and basic tracks to get you started. Are those any good?

4- Are there any adverse affects of keeping the models in air tight boxes for too long without giving them regular run. I am afraid I can only give them a chance once in a while due to lack of time, but bit too scared to unpack them too.

I appreciate any advise lovely people on this forum can provide.
 
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
The only concern I have about the track is that it is steel. Steel can rust, so more maintenance is required. However, for that amount of track that is a pretty good deal. It should be fine, just be aware that it will need regular cleaning.
As for the controller, it looks like a simple DC controller. Not much to go wrong.
If your N scale locomotive is like the one in the link, it should be fine with DC. The link says "DCC Ready", which means that there is provision in the locomotive for a DCC decoder, but the decoder is not there, so it should run just fine on DC track. For a small simple layout I think what you are looking at should work fine.
Welcome to the forums!
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Greetings and welcome to here.

My understanding is that N-scale is basically N-scale and that any n-scale track and power units are basically interchangeable. Differences being DCC (digital) controls and DC (analog) controls.

A cheap startup would work for what you're looking to do. I know flyboy2610 has answered the track and controller question.

Air tight storage should be fine, but be aware that long term storage can be hard on the locomotives. I had an HO locomotive that was new in the box for over 20 years before I ran it and I have had to almost rebuild the workings as the electric motor locked up. I does run pretty well now.....
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Yes, you can use any N-Scale track. The more modern track is made of nickel-silver, a copper/zinc/tin alloy. Older brass or steel tracks will work, but will require a bit more attention periodically to remove oxides which are not electrically capable.

Your locomotives are not AC (alternating current) as is the case with most European toy trains which have a small sliding metal shoe between the driving wheels that slides over small buttons in the middles of the cross-ties. They are most commonly DC in N. American train models, which requires you to use a DC variable voltage source of power...which you appear to have.

If you wanted to operate digitally, you'd need to purchase a Roco or a Zimo or a Lenz (these are European designs) DCC system with the appropriate voltage for N-Scale. You would also need a suitable N-Scale sized decoder for each locomotive. These must be installed by yourself or by someone nearby whom you have yet to meet who can do it for you. Installation gets more tricky the smaller the items. If your one locomotive has a pin connector inside, then you only need to get the decoder that matches that number of pins and connector. What I mean to say is that you will have to spend money for this to operate on DCC, but DCC is the modern way of controlling the locomotive's movements realistically, and not having to dial up or down the voltage to the rails.

I have not had troubles storing locomotives in boxes for extended periods, but I tend to run mine about every two years. I rotate about 24 locomotives, and it takes me at least two years to get back to the first. They run fine. Just store them in a modestly dry place, and don't let them stay in hot surroundings, such as an uninsulated garage or in an attic where temps rise above 30 deg C. Humidity should never exceed 66%.

Edited: corrected spelling of Lenz.
 
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Jimmy

New Member
The only concern I have about the track is that it is steel. Steel can rust, so more maintenance is required. However, for that amount of track that is a pretty good deal. It should be fine, just be aware that it will need regular cleaning.
As for the controller, it looks like a simple DC controller. Not much to go wrong.
If your N scale locomotive is like the one in the link, it should be fine with DC. The link says "DCC Ready", which means that there is provision in the locomotive for a DCC decoder, but the decoder is not there, so it should run just fine on DC track. For a small simple layout I think what you are looking at should work fine.
Welcome to the forums!
Thank you so much for your valuable inputs. This information will sure come in handy!

I do plan to run these locomotives once every couple of years, so I guess it should be fine.
 

Jimmy

New Member
Greetings and welcome to here.

My understanding is that N-scale is basically N-scale and that any n-scale track and power units are basically interchangeable. Differences being DCC (digital) controls and DC (analog) controls.

A cheap startup would work for what you're looking to do. I know flyboy2610 has answered the track and controller question.

Air tight storage should be fine, but be aware that long term storage can be hard on the locomotives. I had an HO locomotive that was new in the box for over 20 years before I ran it and I have had to almost rebuild the workings as the electric motor locked up. I does run pretty well now.....
Thanks a lot! Looking forward to having a fun on this forum. Appreciate your time for confirming on flyboy2610's information.

I don't plan to keep my locomotives a chance to run every year or two. So I guess, it should be fine.
 

Jimmy

New Member
Yes, you can use any N-Scale track. The more modern track is made of nickel-silver, a copper/zinc/tin alloy. Older brass or steel tracks will work, but will require a bit more attention periodically to remove oxides which are not electrically capable.

Your locomotives are not AC (alternating current) as is the case with most European toy trains which have a small sliding metal shoe between the driving wheels that slides over small buttons in the middles of the cross-ties. They are most commonly DC in N. American train models, which requires you to use a DC variable voltage source of power...which you appear to have.

If you wanted to operate digitally, you'd need to purchase a Roco or a Zimo or a Lens (these are European designs) DCC system with the appropriate voltage for N-Scale. You would also need a suitable N-Scale sized decoder for each locomotive. These must be installed by yourself or by someone nearby whom you have yet to meet who can do it for you. Installation gets more tricky the smaller the items. If your one locomotive has a pin connector inside, then you only need to get the decoder that matches that number of pins and connector. What I mean to say is that you will have to spend money for this to operate on DCC, but DCC is the modern way of controlling the locomotive's movements realistically, and not having to dial up or down the voltage to the rails.

I have not had troubles storing locomotives in boxes for extended periods, but I tend to run mine about every two years. I rotate about 24 locomotives, and it takes me at least two years to get back to the first. They run fine. Just store them in a modestly dry place, and don't let them stay in hot surroundings, such as an uninsulated garage or in an attic where temps rise above 30 deg C. Humidity should never exceed 66%.
Can't thank you enough for detailed information you provided. Yes, it does make sense about what you are saying; I will dig deeper to get to DCC at later stage, and for now will go with simple DC. But its good to know there are people to help you with information and who know what they are talking about.

Two years for storing locomotive seems about same as the schedule I might be able to set. So, I guess I am good here.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
WHOOPS! My bad! Don't buy that controller! I just looked closely at the label. It's an AC controller for 240V input, such as Europe and Australia use.
This would do much better:

MRC makes good power packs, so you should be fine with it.
Says in his best Grover monster voice: Oh, I am so embarrassed! :oops:
 

Jimmy

New Member
WHOOPS! My bad! Don't buy that controller! I just looked closely at the label. It's an AC controller for 240V input, such as Europe and Australia use.
This would do much better:

MRC makes good power packs, so you should be fine with it.
Says in his best Grover monster voice: Oh, I am so embarrassed! :oops:
Thanks a lot. No harm done, since bidding is still going on that one. And I did realize that it was an AC controller after I contacted the seller. Appreciate your concern, and the recommendation for compatible controller. I will look into it.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Hello All- Since I am completely new to the world of model trains, please forgive me if my questions seem stupid. I am just trying to make out heads from tails right now about inheritence of locomotive models I got (and many of you may curse me for being a fool who got a chance at this) from my lately deceased uncle. Most of the models he had seem rather special with his collection dating from 1950s to 2012, though of course I am no expert. The painstaking care he took for all these beautiful trains is something I want to be worthy of to even touch.

Unfortunately, I got around to his place rather late. Exempting locomotives, the tracks and transformers (and all the building sets) have been auctioned up by his daughter. What a waste, but I am still glad to save nearly 39 locomotives.

All in all, I feel like sitting on treasure. As sinful as it may seem, I want to open up one of the locomotives, and create an amazing track in my uncle's memory (I plan to buy a carriage and have it etched with his initials). "Nothing sinful about that, rather the opposite, it's heavenly in my eyes." However, as I mentioned above, I am clueless as to what track or transformer I should get. Details of locomotive I am planning to get running is:

Scale: N
Build: Bachmann
Model: USRA 4-8-2 Light Mountain Steam Loco "NYC"
Product: #81651 *156
Link (the one I can find closest to my model): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bachmann-81651-Spectrum-Locomotive-Powered-Unlettered/dp/B000BPMADY

So my questions are:

1- Can I get just any nscale track or starter kit to run my locomotive with? Or are there any special requirements about it?
"Just about any will work, the only difference is power, DC or DCC. Many DCC equipped locomotives will run on DC as well."

2- For instance, can I buy these to get going (I am in Australia, where purchase options are highly limited):

track: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/N-scale...a-points-x2-curves-straights-VGC/174273139459 "I don't see any thing wrong with that track and the price is great! If I were you I would start with sectional track with road bed. It's probably your best bet. Sectional track with roadbed is reliable, fast and easy to set up and can be changed over and over." Kato and Bachmann both make good sectional track with roadbed. If you go with Bachmann, make sure it's Nickle Silver track.


transformer: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Model-T...-Transformer-by-Cashless-Broke-R/402272569557 "As others have said, that is an AC output transformer, you need DC. Don't buy this one."

I am not even sure if these two things will be inter-compatible with each other and then compatible with my locomotive.

3- If those are senseless options, can I get recommendation to some cheap startup kit. I want to start small, and feel my way around before I put any significant money into the hobby; I want to have it well researched and be confident about what I am doing. I think there are track sets by company named Kato that have transformers and basic tracks to get you started. Are those any good?
"Lots of good RTR (ready to run) set available. I know this US dealer had reasonable rates when shipping to Australia MB Klein/Model Train Stuff and here is an example of a good starter set. https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/kat...f-starter-train-set-with-track-and-power-pack."

4- Are there any adverse affects of keeping the models in air tight boxes for too long without giving them regular run. I am afraid I can only give them a chance once in a while due to lack of time, but bit too scared to unpack them too.
"They should be fine, maybe a little light weight oil is all they would need, but probably not. In my mind the worse thing you can do to a locomotive is to never take it out of the box. Any misshapen that might occur will not be as bad."

I appreciate any advise lovely people on this forum can provide.
Welcome aboard Jimmy, glad to have you. Your post made my day! I hope somebody loves my stuff when I'm gone.

I replied to your questions above (click to expand if you don't see them)

I want to say a few more things. Since your time is limited and sporatic, stay clear of complex DCC systems. You might have to relearn it every time you use it.

I reccomend you start out with DC. It's simple and easy to use to set up a basic layout.

If you really want DCC, Bachmann makes a very simple, scaled-down version DCC controler. I would start with that when you are ready and have more time and it's upgradable. https://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=264_274&products_id=6593 The price is MSRP, you can find it much cheaper if you search.

If you want a more advanced system later sell the Bachmann system on eBay. That goes for anyhting you out grow or no longer use for what ever reason.

I also reccomend you watch some videos on YouTube. Manufacturers and modelers post many of them. Here is one to start with. https://www.youtube.com/user/bachmanntrains
Here are some track options
https://www.amazon.com/Kato-USA-Model-Train-Products/dp/B000NNJYCE/ref=sr_1_29?crid=Q6WSPHMYSAUU&dchild=1&keywords=kato+n+scale+track&qid=1590574194&sprefix=kato+n+scale+,aps,141&sr=8-29

I just got my latest issue of Classic Toy Trains. There is an article this month "From Oval to Empire" I truley believe; "you don't have to start big."

Have fun with your trains and don't be stranger. For me talking trains is almost as fun as playing with them!
 
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Jimmy

New Member
Welcome aboard Jimmy, glad to have you. Your post made my day! I hope somebody loves my stuff when I'm gone.

I replied to your questions above (click to expand if you don't see them)

I want to say a few more things. Since your time is limited and sporatic, stay clear of complex DCC systems. You might have to relearn it every time you use it.

I reccomend you start out with DC. It's simple and easy to use to set up a basic layout.

If you really want DCC, Bachmann makes a very simple, scaled-down version DCC controler. I would start with that when you are ready and have more time and it's upgradable. https://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=264_274&products_id=6593 The price is MSRP, you can find it much cheaper if you search.

If you want a more advanced system later sell the Bachmann system on eBay. That goes for anyhting you out grow or no longer use for what ever reason.

I also reccomend you watch some videos on YouTube. Manufacturers and modelers post many of them. Here is one to start with. https://www.youtube.com/user/bachmanntrains
Here are some track options
https://www.amazon.com/Kato-USA-Model-Train-Products/dp/B000NNJYCE/ref=sr_1_29?crid=Q6WSPHMYSAUU&dchild=1&keywords=kato+n+scale+track&qid=1590574194&sprefix=kato+n+scale+,aps,141&sr=8-29

I just got my latest issue of Classic Toy Trains. There is an article this month "From Oval to Empire" I truley believe; "you don't have to start big."

Have fun with your trains and don't be stranger. For me talking trains is almost as fun as playing with them!
Wow! What a lovely post, and I can't thank you enough for it. The model trains world is suiting me great, and guys like you is what's making it happen. Your inputs and recommendations are duly noted, and I will be going through all the options and videos you were kind enough to suggest.

I will be getting that Lima track, and one of the simple DC controllers to start with. As you observed, I can always upgrade when required. For now, I just want to try out running N scale models from my collection. I don't know why but somehow N scale attracts me much more than HO or OO. Perhaps its the miniature details of well engineered locomotives.

I would love to see display of forum members' collections either on their shelves or in running; do we have any such post here on the forum perhaps?

I am sure I will have to discuss much more as I go deeper into this amazing hobby. Your time to reply me is highly and truly appreciated!
 




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