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Judead

New Member
I am as green as anyone could be but I have had a great fascination with trains ever since I was a little boy. I am 36 years old with. 5 year old girl and a 2 year old girl. I would like to do something hands on with them that builds pride in doing something with your hands. I am not one to start small but space at this point would be the limiting factor. I would like to build a kit that would expand to have multiple trains. I have read a lot on this forum and will follow advice on downloading scarm as well as buying the book track planning by mr Armstrong. I would like to do a CSX train in blue as that is what runs here and I want the girls to have a living memory of their childhood as we have a rail that is about 100' in front of our house that hauls freight 6-8 times a day and through the night. What would be a top of the line engine? Keep in mind I won't involve the two year old yet but I do want to get the five year old involved. A 4x8 is where I would start? For a table? Also can you point me in the right direction for what I need to make a good kit? I would rather piece together good parts then buy a kit and have to sell parts later. I am capable of fabrication as I have a vinyl graphics shop which might be of use to you guys as I have a wide format digital printer that can make decals. It is 64" wide. I have built my own race car and drag raced so again I have about every tool you can imagine. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I am going to post this in the general discussion too. Thanks in advance.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the forums Judead, glad to have you onboard!

I usually point new modelers to Ready to Run (RTR) sets with sectional track with roadbed, because it's simple and easy to be up and running quickly. In your case with your experience in fabrication you should have no trouble going with a more advanced track system. So I'll leave the recommendations to the true experts in that.

For future reference 1 post in the proper thread will serve you best so you can have all the replies in one place.

Happy Holidays and thanks for sharing your hobby with us!
 

Trussrod

Well-Known Member
Hi Judead & Welcome to the forums.

I'm one of the old timers on here having just turned 69 and have been involved with HO model railroading since I was about 8 years old. Of course a lot has changed since then.

Your thinking and background are well suited to the hobby but in most cases you'll be working with with wood rather than metal.

I very much agree with you that buying individual Locomotives and cars allows you to basically hand pick what you want and you'll get various CSX items that fit for the type of layout your building.

There are several things to consider in when planning out a layout. 1st is how much space can you allot to building the table work? The reason I say this is due to the fact that many of the newer larger Diesels require a much broader radius curves than you will be able to fit on a single 4 x 8 sheet of Plywood. Besides, if your thinking of doing something similar to an Oval of track of one type or another you will get real tired quickly of always watching the trains go around the same oval.

If you can afford the space and want to do something in a fairly simple table type of layout that will offer considerable variation I would highly suggest an 'L' shaped table. By getting two sheets of 4x8 plywood or even OSB and cutting one in half length wise and the other in half width wise. This way you use the two 4' x 4' sections as a base for the return loops of track and the two long narrow strips to connect together in a corner which will all you a lot more space and variation in a track plan and much more pleasing to operate your railroad on as you'll watch your trains making both right hand turns as well as Left hand turns. If you add some elevation differences into the layout it even adds a lot more to the operation enjoyment. Also being about twice the size of a 4x8 you'll also be able to incorporate various industries along the route to pick-up cars and deliver them to other locations. So give this some thought. An around the wall layout can be very enjoyable and easier to work on as long as you don't make the table work too deep. Usually 30" is about maxium depth for fairly easy reach over. Depending on your height and the height you build your table work, usually about mid chest height to make it enjoyable for you and you may have to get a small step ladder for the girls until they get taller.

I have a considerable number of supplies available that you may find useful and my supplier is in the Mid-West so shipping will be reasonable.

If I can offer any more help feel free to get in touch.
 
G'day Judead....We all start green....but we , make mistakes , stuff up , come up with ideas , change our mind several times (I did and still do) , but to be totally honest that's the real charm of it all...There's as much fun in the journey as there is in the destination... My only tip for you is this..If you go with HO or N Scale buy DCC Ready , On Board or Dual Mode locomotives...right from the outset...Even if you buy a basic starter set in DC, mind you most DCC starter sets are price competitive now anyway.. , this'll allow you to run into DCC without much trouble later on ...because you will , almost certainly want to do that anyway...If you go with O scale etc..same thing...factor in the right stuff for easy upgrades so this will not cost you too much later on...The other choice is DCS...that MTH do...It's a bit frustrating making it compatible with DCC but if it's run as a dedicated system I think it works really well..No matter what else happens you've found the most amazing forum there is..It's fun , informative , as friendly as it gets and covers all the bases..Great to have you with us...Cheers Rod..
 
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jdetray

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the forum!

Manipulating HO scale trains requires a degree of dexterity that even your 5-year-old may not yet possess. So you will probably have to handle the trains at first. However, give your 5-year-old a year or two, and she'll be fine and can teach her younger sister.

If you have the space for a 4x8 layout, you may want to consider a shape other than the usual rectangle. Byron Henderson is a model railroad designer whose web site shows some examples that are much more interesting than an 4x8 rectangle but fit in the same space:

http://www.layoutvision.com/id57.html
http://www.layoutvision.com/id56.html
http://www.layoutvision.com/id58.html

Food for thought.

- Jeff
 

Judead

New Member
Welcome to the forums Judead, glad to have you onboard!

I usually point new modelers to Ready to Run (RTR) sets with sectional track with roadbed, because it's simple and easy to be up and running quickly. In your case with your experience in fabrication you should have no trouble going with a more advanced track system. So I'll leave the recommendations to the true experts in that.

For future reference 1 post in the proper thread will serve you best so you can have all the replies in one place.

Happy Holidays and thanks for sharing your hobby with us!
Ill make sure I do I am amazed at how friendly this forum is and I know I am in the right place. Merry Christmas to you!
 

Judead

New Member
David,

thanks for the information definitely will look at a minimum of two 8' x 36" wide boards keeping the reach no more that 30". I definitely will make different heights. You mention different heights which brings me to another question what grades are acceptable for trouble free operation? I think high would be best as the two year old is quick to grab so I want to make sure she can't do so without supervision. How many cars can you have on a string with one or two or three locomotives pulling the cars? You also mention dropping off cars for various industries. Is it possible to automate and have locomotives pickup and drop off cars at various locations? I was thinking of incorporating things the girls know around here such as we have a bun factory that makes mcdonalds buns for their burgers and they use refrigerator cars. We also have a steel recycling company so I was going to incorporate that as well which is box cars with shredded steel in them. Of course there are usually three locomotives tied to a long line of various cars that runs outside of our house constantly. They haul anything from wood to lowes I am assuming to box cars to car haulers to flatcars with wind turbines as well as humvees etc.. I was curious what brands you guys think are good quality? I would like to have them already painted up for CSX but if not I can do so. I am going to get pictures so I can figure out what models they are. I also will go to your website and look around. I am not opposed to paying more if where I am buying from offers knowledge in the purchase.

thanks for the information David!
 

Judead

New Member
G'day Judead....We all start green....but we , make mistakes , stuff up , come up with ideas , change our mind several times (I did and still do) , but to be totally honest that's the real charm of it all...There's as much fun in the journey as there is in the destination... My only tip for you is this..If you go with HO or N Scale buy DCC Ready , On Board or Dual Mode locomotives...right from the outset...Even if you buy a basic starter set in DC, mind you most DCC starter sets are price competitive now anyway.. , this'll allow you to run into DCC without much trouble later on ...because you will , almost certainly want to do that anyway...If you go with O scale etc..same thing...factor in the right stuff for easy upgrades so this will not cost you too much later on...The other choice is DCS...that MTH do...It's a bit frustrating making it compatible with DCC but if it's run as a dedicated system I think it works really well..No matter what else happens you've found the most amazing forum there is..It's fun , informative , as friendly as it gets and covers all the bases..Great to have you with us...Cheers Rod..
i think you are right I am hoping the girls change their minds so we constantly have projects together;) Rest assured I read for a day or two and know dcc is what I want as well as sound. Thanks for the welcome and what is life like down under?
 

Judead

New Member
Welcome to the forum!

Manipulating HO scale trains requires a degree of dexterity that even your 5-year-old may not yet possess. So you will probably have to handle the trains at first. However, give your 5-year-old a year or two, and she'll be fine and can teach her younger sister.

If you have the space for a 4x8 layout, you may want to consider a shape other than the usual rectangle. Byron Henderson is a model railroad designer whose web site shows some examples that are much more interesting than an 4x8 rectangle but fit in the same space:

http://www.layoutvision.com/id57.html
http://www.layoutvision.com/id56.html
http://www.layoutvision.com/id58.html

Food for thought.

- Jeff
Jeff I agree wholeheartedly and there are things I will have to do when she is sleeping as she wants to help with any project I do. Usually she puts her hand on the wrench and says daddy can I do it? I'll look at the links. I was in Evansville ind earlier this year had to wrap to water delivery trucks for mountain glacier. Don't know how close that is to you in ohio?

Merry christmas and thanks for the info!
 
G'day Judead....Great call ...Go DCC , Go Sound...Sound is amazing...and easy to set up how you want it..When I started DCC was well established and I should have begun with it. I had three sets , all US freight in DC ..I loved them and also began with Bachmann EZ Track because the sets came that way..EZ track is fantastic , easy to adapt and extra expansion stuff is cheap but good..I also did some customising of the built in roadbed and reballasted it to make it look more conventional (not so uniform). I also bought several other locomotives and rolling stock. Then one day I 'discovered' DCC...I was hooked immediately...Some of my old locos are adaptable and I have chipped three of them but if you're just getting going in this most amazing of hobbies you may just as well buy the items that are DCC already or are just awaiting a plug in decoder.
Dual Mode is good too for some...One other tip if I may...from personal experience be wary of Used locos off EBAY or similar unless you know the seller..or you know that the loco needs work . I've bought second hand twice and I'm 0-2..to be honest..The only way I'd buy second hand now is from someone on the Forum because these guys you CAN trust...Life down under is great by the way..middle of summer...has to be...Great to have you with us....Cheers Rod...
 

Judead

New Member
G'day Judead....Great call ...Go DCC , Go Sound...Sound is amazing...and easy to set up how you want it..When I started DCC was well established and I should have begun with it. I had three sets , all US freight in DC ..I loved them and also began with Bachmann EZ Track because the sets came that way..EZ track is fantastic , easy to adapt and extra expansion stuff is cheap but good..I also did some customising of the built in roadbed and reballasted it to make it look more conventional (not so uniform). I also bought several other locomotives and rolling stock. Then one day I 'discovered' DCC...I was hooked immediately...Some of my old locos are adaptable and I have chipped three of them but if you're just getting going in this most amazing of hobbies you may just as well buy the items that are DCC already or are just awaiting a plug in decoder.
Dual Mode is good too for some...One other tip if I may...from personal experience be wary of Used locos off EBAY or similar unless you know the seller..or you know that the loco needs work . I've bought second hand twice and I'm 0-2..to be honest..The only way I'd buy second hand now is from someone on the Forum because these guys you CAN trust...Life down under is great by the way..middle of summer...has to be...Great to have you with us....Cheers Rod...

Good of to know I will stay away from ebay then. Cheers to you as well!
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
My experience with eBay has been very positive. I have purchased 5 used locomotives, several freight cars, and a few structures. The condition of all of them has been quite good; no problems at all.

I guess everyone's experience is different. I am careful to deal with sellers who have good feedback and who sell mostly model railroad items.

- Jeff
 

Trussrod

Well-Known Member
Hi Judead, Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

David,

Thanks for the information definitely will look at a minimum of two 8' x 36" wide boards keeping the reach no more that 30".
The idea here is to make it easy to not only reach your trains but also for doing scenery. I have to admit that even I in a few cases have exceeded the 30" reach over and if you have some kind of sturdy smaller step ladder to get up on you can overcome the reach over situation but not always very comfortably but alas it generally only for a short time.


I definitely will make different heights. You mention different heights which brings me to another question what grades are acceptable for trouble free operation?
Elevation variation can add a lot to your layout as it tends separate the areas even if only an inch or two. As to what grades are acceptable is somewhat a personal choice depending on what area your trying to model. For most diesel main lines I believe the grades are generally kept to maximum of 4% but you have to realize also we as modelers or often limited on space so sometimes our grades need to be steeper to gain the needed elevation to cross over another track below even if crossing over a tunnel area. One of the best tricks here is to start your incline as far back as possible to lessen the grade.


I think high would be best as the two year old is quick to grab so I want to make sure she can't do so without supervision.
That sounds like a good idea to me. The height of your layout depends a lot on your height. The more we can tend to view our trains near eye level the more realistic they tend to become. I'm 5' 9" tall and I have my main table height at 45 1/2" and my second level on the mainline is 9"s above that but to attain that I had to have grades between 6 to 8% which is ok as I'm trying to portray back woods rural areas in Colorado which did have some very step grades as well as I probably only be running short trains or may require that I double head or use a helper to push on the rear car which really ads realism to operating and quite a thrill too as I did it one time.
I'm still just using 'DC' but was able to do it.


How many cars can you have on a string with one or two or three locomotives pulling the cars?
That all depends on the traction of which ever loco your referring to and of course if you had two or more loco coupled together their pulling power would basically be doubled or tripled assuming they are all the same.

I'm not really familiar with the new diesels but would think you should be able to pull between 10 to 15 cars up a 4% grade but this is just a guess as it depends of what loco your referring to? I'm in early steam which are much smaller and lighter.


You also mention dropping off cars for various industries. Is it possible to automate and have locomotives pickup and drop off cars at various locations?

Yes, just like the operation on the real railroads, pick-up a freshly loaded car/s and maybe drop of a car or two too be loaded and deliver the loaded car to it's destination, to add some variation to just watching them run. If by automation you mean a database program that will generate a PU/DL schedule for us, yes they are available. I've been playing around with one a bit but I don't know enough about setting up a relational data base to know what to do next in the process. More studding on my part.

Now if your referring to this being done through the use of computers to route the loco's to one spot or another I guess anything is possible but that would alleviate you as the engineer controlling the throttle.


I was thinking of incorporating things the girls know around here such as we have a bun factory that makes mcdonalds buns for their burgers and they use refrigerator cars. We also have a steel recycling company so I was going to incorporate that as well which is box cars with shredded steel in them. Of course there are usually three locomotives tied to a long line of various cars that runs outside of our house constantly. They haul anything from wood to Lowes I am assuming to box cars to car haulers to flatcars with wind turbines as well as humvees etc..

It can get very interesting trying to figure out what materials your going to pick-up and deliver to wherever as well as delivering the raw materials to such as flower etc to the bun factory as an example.


I was curious what brands you guys think are good quality? I would like to have them already painted up for CSX but if not I can do so. I am going to get pictures so I can figure out what models they are.

Many of the guys on the forum seem to like Athearn which I don't have available unfortunnately. But I do have the full line of Atlas, as well as MTH, and Kato and Bachmann.


I also will go to your website and look around. I am not opposed to paying more if where I am buying from offers knowledge in the purchase.
I'll send you a PM explaining my situation and why I have the site without any merchandise in it.

thanks for the information David![/QUOTE]

Your welcome Judead.

Talk with you again, David
 
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