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Russian

Saskatoon railfan
Hello, some of you may know me as the crazy guy posting lots of pictures from Winnipeg on RRF. Throughout my life I've always been interested in trains, whether riding them, playing with Thomas trains when I was a kid, repainting for MSTS, Lego trains or photography, which is what I've been doing for two years now.


I have recently moved to a small town, which means I won't be able to railfan nearly as much as I used to, so I would like to try my hand at modelling. I was thinking of having an urban city on a flat surface, pretty much like Winnipeg. I already have a lot of scenery and vehicles, from all the Matchbox and Hot wheels sets I've collected as a kid. I have also won a track set in a contest about 5-6 years ago from a now closed modeller club (the building was torn down). It has: (all HO)


- BN 980 C-Liner (fictional)
- CNJ gondola
- BN 60' boxcar
- BN 50's caboose
- 12 piece track circle


Not a lot, but a good start. Last time I ran it about three years ago (I then moved to a small apartment which didn't have space), but I stored it all in good shape.


I hope you can excuse my stupidness, as I'll ask some pretty basic questions. (kind of reminds me of the time when I first joined RRF and thought that every blue engine was CSX )


1.
I live in a small town (pop. 6000), thus I'll be doing most of my purchasing online. The only major store nearby is a Wal-Mart. Realistically, how much model trains stuff can you buy there, if any?


2.
In my online searching it appears that most model RR stuff in HO is made by Athern, is that just my impression or are there other major brands (for rolling stock and CN/CP/VIA locomotives)


3.
I noticed that some engines and rolling stock are sold as undecorated, i.e. no paint. If I buy them, how could I get them painted? For instance, lets say I buy a F40PH-2 undecorated and want to paint it in VIA colors. Are there decals I can buy for the job, or do I have to paint it yellow/grey/blue, then add decals? How difficult would it be to paint it then? I'm only asking because a lot of things I see online are not available in CP/CN/VIA colors, even though undecorated rolling stock is. Please don't think I'm crazy, but I was thinking of repainting my BN caboose into a CN caboose, how hard would something like that be? (I've already got a nice CP caboose coming http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/dto/item140-5373.html) Same question for containers. Is it normal for them to be undecorated or are some pre-painted? I'm only asking because I've found a lot of container decals for sale.


4.
As vague as this question is, where do you guys buy your stuff? (at a reasonable price?). One place I found is http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/
They have a lot of stuff at ok prices ($123 for an AC4400CW is not reasonable BTW, that's less then my whole budget at this point). But still they don't have some things. For insane I want to buy an Athern F7A/B set in CN zebra paint (dummy or powered) - they don't have it, while Athern says its either discontinued or temporary out of production. Thus I'm turning to the used market for help. Is there a good, safe site for that? (I'm still searching the links directory for one)


5.
Speaking of dummies, how common can they be? For instance in a 4 unit lash-up, if 3 are dummies, is that ok? Also, can dummies be leaders or will that make the train run badly? I'm asking because I'm considering buying this dummy (http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/dto/item140-3037.html) and having the C-liner BN mentioned earlier as trailing power right behind it.


6.
That CP F7A reminds me of another question. As you can see, it's not too detailed up front, do I assume that accessories such as a numberboard and a light are included, or can I buy them separately as a kit? The same goes for handrails and other small accessories on other units. I.e. in the preview they are without them. I've also found a Canadian widecab for sale. Does this mean that I can buy a GTW GP40-2, remove the cab and then put in the Canadian cab and call it a CN GP40-2L(W), or do I have to build the whole unit from scratch? (I don't think I have skills for that yet).


7.
I've heard from a friend (don't know if he hangs around here, he's at RRF a lot though) that everything is a lot smaller on the model RR. So what would a good ratio be? For instance a 100 car train would be 20, 40, 60 cars?


8.
As of right now I have one controller, which is attached to the track. Do I need two controllers to control two trains, three for three, etc., or can I use one? The one I have has 4 sockets, 2 are used for the current BN solo train.



9.
Lastly, I need some help with rails. As I already said, I have 12 curved pieces whch make a nice round and useless circle. I was thinking of buying a starter package: http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/dto/item150-0088.html
which looks pretty good. There's a lot of bulk packages with 100 rail pieces in each, but I don't know if that's too much for me right now. Is there some place online or a program where I can estimate or check what my track outline will look like?


Once again I'm sorry for asking so many questions. If there's something else I should know, please tell me. I've been looking at modelling for many years now, and without an active railway nearby, want to get right into this hobby. I know I haven't been too active on this forum, but I think with time I should get the hang of it and start posting more, including pictures of my layout, which is currently a flat dark space.


Thank you very much to whoever answers this thread, I really need help!!!
 

Lady_Railfan

House Mother, Cheerleader
Hi Roman. Nice to see you over here! I know NOTHING about HO, so I can't answer any of your questions, but there are some very talented modelers here, and I'm sure someone will post some answers for you soon. In the meantime, you might browse the HO section of this site --- I'm pretty sure that some of your questions have been discussed there.

I look forward to seeing pictures of your progress, and reading more about your new layout!
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Hello Roman, if you're ever lost just feel free to ask someone... for starters:
http://www.walthers.com will be one of the largest sources...
http://www.kasloshops.com Might have some VIA rail stuff...
http://www.rapidotrains.com More Via rail, *everyone check them out hey...*
http://www.rrtrains.com Buy the $50 membership, stuff becomes cheep in the long run.
http://www.preownedtrains.com If you want to buy cheep, and care less if its been used (or just pre-owned sometimes)

EDIT oh hey, track planning free:
http://www.atlasrr.com
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Roman, well I'm in a smaller town (4000) about 35 miles to the West of you. No fun being a stranger in an area. I also doubt there is a hobby shop anywhere's near your town, but there are some that are quite helpful in obtaining the parts you want at a decent price and mailing them to you, so don't dispair. It may take a little time to get you set up with the railfan crowd and the lone modelers, and hobby shops who are decent with their prices and service.
Do you have any idea of what is in that track set, other than the number of pieces? I'd like to dissuade from purchasing the track set. Most of us around here use flex track, 3 ft. lengths which can be cut to fit, and use the Atlas Customline or better turnouts. I believe you will find this trackage more flexible for planning and building your layout.
For CN decorated models, I guess that would be Athearn followed by a much superior more pricy out of the box Canadian models by LifeLike (P1K and P2K).
As far as the Dummy F unit goes I have a Bachmann (I think, better detail than the Athearn) that you can have. I believe if it was weighted with a bit of lead it would work with with your C liner.
A word of caution when ordering from the U.S. Our Post Office will convert the $US you pay for an item to $Can. charge you 15% HST tax and another $5.00 for collecting it :D . Unless you have PayPal or something like it the Post office will sell you a money order for $US at the going bank exchange rate, charge you $5.00 plus 15% service charge for it and a stamp costing near $1 to mail it, so what looks like a good buy can turn out somewhat more expensive than if you purchased it here.
There are train shows here that you can attend, good places to meet other modelers and pick up some used items at decent prices. I needed 10 cabooses, I picked them up at average $1.25 each. I buy mostly Athearn locos as they are the ones I can afford. If I only needed a couple of locos I'd have purchased Atlas, Proto or the PK line from LifeLike. The next show I believe is Truro, about 70 miles from you, on third weekend of Oct.
In regards to a layout, think of what you would like, that will fit in the space you have available, or let us know how much space you have for it and we'll go from there.
A flat layout is good and might be best for your first attempt. A rugged terrain can be simulated by hills and valleys with the rails remaining on a flat surface like this pic. click on the photo for the bigger view.
Cheers Willis

Oh! my :D Josh got posted before me, Things are somewhat different for us Canucks, Walther's has a minimum order requirement of 1000 $US and will only ship by UPS. Now UPS is a bad word up here and really they are not to blame. They ship to a broker who does the taxman's work for him, then charges a brokerage fee, so an item which you paid $10 or less for, could end up costing you ( brokerage fee,service charge and taxes) around $40 or $50 more to get it, so what ever, stay from UPS shipping, if they will not ship by USPS just forget it and order from a Canadian dealer.
 
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sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
Well, first of all I'm on my way to bed so I won't address all of your questions until tomorrow when (hopefully) I'm a little more coherant. As for where I buy my stuff, well (insert shameless business plug here), for the most part I buy it from myself (as strange as it sounds...). The link in my sig will take you to my store. If you're ever interested in anything from Stewart (www.stewarthobbies.com) or Bowser (www.bowser-trains.com) just drop a line and I'll see what I can do for you. :D
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
QUOTE=Lady_Railfan]In the meantime, you might browse the HO section of this site --- I'm pretty sure that some of your questions have been discussed there.[/QUOTE]
Yes, I went there right after I posted. Lots of good stuff, I'm getting educated by the minute...


jbaako, thanks for the links, will check them out for sure.


No fun being a stranger in an area.
Stranger? I still drive with Manitoba plates and get weird looks all the time.


I also doubt there is a hobby shop anywhere's near your town
I'm guessing there could be a hobby shop in Halifax, that's a two hour drive.

CBCNSfan said:
Do you have any idea of what is in that track set, other than the number of pieces?
According to http://www.dollhouses-trains-more.com/item.aspx?strLocation=0,56,&strSortBy=NAME&intPageNumber=8&strPkLinks=10636&strPage=store.aspx
a lot of stuff is included.


Most of us around here use flex track, 3 ft. lengths which can be cut to fit
That sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about it? Is it all strait lines or does it wary?


I believe if it was weighted with a bit of lead it would work with with your C liner.

I see, sort of like adding ballast for branchline units.


A word of caution when ordering from the U.S...so what looks like a good buy can turn out somewhat more expensive than if you purchased it here.

I know that, but I don't think I have much choice. What are some Canadian dealers/wholesalers? Are any of them online? I guess I'll have to order a catalogue and buy from them.


I needed 10 cabooses, I picked them up at average $1.25 each.
Wow, I figured that CP caboose I showed above is going to cost me about $9 after currency conversion, shipping and tariffs...


The next show I believe is Truro, about 70 miles from you, on third weekend of Oct.

I'll try to attend, even though I'd be busy with the university by then.


or let us know how much space you have for it and we'll go from there.

I have a large chunk of the basement to full around with, but don't want anything bigger then 2x2 (meters) just yet.


sushob said:
Well, first of all I'm on my way to bed so I won't address all of your questions until tomorrow when (hopefully) I'm a little more coherent.
I started answering yesterday, but soon started mumbling and decided to hold off until today. Those units are "a bit" too much for me. At $150 a piece, with shipping that'll be about $200 Canadian, a lot of money I don't have.:(


Today I was getting ready to test out the basement by setting up what I have (tons of scenery plus track oval), and though about tables.


What would you recommend? Buying some used furniture or going to a lumber store, such as Home Depot and buying some wood, making a table out of that? Also, how high should it all be? About 3-4 feet I'm guessing.


Once again, thanks to all who have responded.
 

Old 97

Hogger
Russian[color=black said:
Today I was getting ready to test out the basement by setting up what I have (tons of scenery plus track oval), and though about tables.[/color]


What would you recommend? Buying some used furniture or going to a lumber store, such as Home Depot and buying some wood, making a table out of that? Also, how high should it all be? About 3-4 feet I'm guessing.
Hey Roman,

My vote is for Home depot and making a table out of plywood,2x4's and two saw horses!
 

galt904

Member
Russian said:
I was thinking of having an urban city on a flat surface, pretty much like Winnipeg.
Good city to model if you just have a sheet of plywood! :) Actually I do admire Winnepeg from driving through it a few times, and I like the rich fertile area around it.

For a good Canadian distributor, try www.canadianexpressline.com , he doesn't have a lot of stuff on his website, but if you sign up for his mailing list he sends biweekly updates of specials/sales/upcoming products. He has a good reputation too from lots of Canadian modellers.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I buy stuff from here:

http://www.fshobby.com/

though he can't carry Athearn. For the other brands, his prices are good.

Wal-Mart isn't an option, unless you're buying wire, outlets, nuts and bolts to build your benchwork!

You could buy EZ-track, Unitrack, or the like (the stuff does look good if you ballast it); a good alternative is Atlas Snap Track. I use this on my layout, with flextrack for the long straights. Atlas is pretty reliable, and priced reasonable.

One powerpack will run about 5-6 locos (presuming it's not the cheapest powerpack there is on the market). To run more than one train at a time, you'll have to wire it up in separate electrical blocks; that would require extra powerpacks. But, if you want to run two locos together (MU), one will do.

Most rolling stock comes in an Undec form, those tend to not sell as well as the prepainted ones, so that may be why you see a lot of undecs available, but nothing in the more popular road schemes. You can always strip and repaint, but undecs take out that first step, which, depending on the plastic used, could be a problem when you use certain things to strip the paint.

Depending on what kind of layout space you have, that really drives the trackplan. Some folks like the switching in the city, so all they need is a shelf. 4x8s tend to be island layouts, and is not space efficient.

My benchwork consists of long 2x4s on simple sawhorses; the tabletops are 2" foamboard attached to a 1x4 box structure.... It's not space efficient at all, I can get way more railroad if I did proper layout design. But, I wuz lazy!

:D

Kennedy
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
For a good Canadian distributor, try www.canadianexpressline.com , he doesn't have a lot of stuff on his website, but if you sign up for his mailing list he sends biweekly updates of specials/sales/upcoming products. He has a good reputation too from lots of Canadian modellers.
That site looks intersting, I'll keep an eye on it.

HaggisKennedy said:
Atlas is pretty reliable, and priced reasonable.
That's why I'm planning on using it, I think the track I already vhave is Atlas as well.

One powerpack will run about 5-6 locos (presuming it's not the cheapest powerpack there is on the market).
I don't know about mine. I've attached photos of it from front and back. So what kind of a powerpack should I buy to run two trains? Are powerpacks assigned to trains?

but nothing in the more popular road schemes.
To my suprise CN seems to be pretty unpopular exept for boxcars, most of which are 40':p (I'm a big CN fan)

Depending on what kind of layout space you have, that really drives the trackplan. Some folks like the switching in the city, so all they need is a shelf.
That's exactly what I want to do, city yards and switch jobs, having the opportunity to observe CN, CP and BNSF Geeps do so at various industries in Winnipeg, not to mention SD40-2's and sometimes even CN GMD1u's![/QUOTE]

I'm suprised that this thread is getting so much attention, I guess there aren't too many people as clue-less as me around. I've also attached a photo of my current roster. Still experimenting with close-up photograhy. Oddly enough close-up come out blurry, while AUTO with flash works out fine.

I've also found a Canadian retailer with reasonable pricing, still no CN F7A/B units though.:p
http://www.georgestrains.com/index.php
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
You guys managed to get most of my questions, wow! I thought it would take forever to answer them. Just two are left, I'll repost them:

The CP F7A (http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/dto/item140-3037.html) reminds me of another question. As you can see, it's not too detailed up front, do I assume that accessories such as a numberboard and a light are included, or can I buy them separately as a kit? The same goes for handrails and other small accessories on other units. I.e. in the preview they are without them. I've also found a Canadian widecab for sale. Does this mean that I can buy a GTW GP40-2, remove the cab and then put in the Canadian cab and call it a CN GP40-2L(W), or do I have to build the whole unit from scratch? (I don't think I have skills for that yet).

I've heard from a friend (don't know if he hangs around here, he's at RRF a lot though) that everything is a lot smaller on the model RR. So what would a good ratio be? For instance a 100 car train would be 20, 40, 60 cars?[/QUOTE]
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Russian said:
[...] The CP F7A (http://www.discounttrainsonline.com/dto/item140-3037.html) reminds me of another question. As you can see, it's not too detailed up front, do I assume that accessories such as a numberboard and a light are included, or can I buy them separately as a kit?
One thing you didn't ask but I'll answer up front, "Dummy" means that it is in fact unpowered, if you venture towards DCC you can run more then one powered unit in a consist, where as DC you'd use these dummy's. I'd suggest spending a little more time learning about DCC and buying only powered units (if you look even deeper, DCC installed, OR with a "quick plug".

2. Details are normaly included, but can also be bought separatly and would be refered to as "Super detailing parts."

Russian said:
The same goes for handrails and other small accessories on other units. I.e. in the preview they are without them.
MOST standard locomotives DO come with handrails.

Russian said:
I've also found a Canadian widecab for sale. Does this mean that I can buy a GTW GP40-2, remove the cab and then put in the Canadian cab and call it a CN GP40-2L(W), or do I have to build the whole unit from scratch? (I don't think I have skills for that yet).
Kaslo? The Kaslo CN widecabs (SD50F & SD60F) require quite alot of work, the Kaslo Dash 9 cab is interchangeable with Athearn Dash 9 cabs, but will need to be decorated. This is a case where it'd prolly be better to find the manufaturers website and ask them directly.

Russian said:
I've heard from a friend (don't know if he hangs around here, he's at RRF a lot though) that everything is a lot smaller on the model RR. So what would a good ratio be? For instance a 100 car train would be 20, 40, 60 cars?
What ever you like, the reasoning behind this, is the fact that layouts are typicaly smaller so shorter trains look longer. Not to mention the issues with coupler hold strength.
 
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Russian

Saskatoon railfan
jbaakko said:
One thing you didn't ask but I'll answer up front, "Dummy" means that it is in fact unpowered, if you venture towards DCC you can run more then one powered unit in a consist, where as DC you'd use these dummy's. I'd suggest spending a little more time learning about DCC and buying only powered units (if you look even deeper, DCC installed, OR with a "quick plug".
Ok I'm lost here, so there's DCC which allows multiple units and then there's DC which allows just one? How do I know if my controller is DC or DCC? If my controller is DC, then will a new DCC controller conflict with it?

Is it still possible to run dummies with DCC though? For the first while anyway, my main power is going to be this weird lash-up: (oddly enough, I've never seen either units in real life)

CP GP40
BN C-Liner
CP F7A (dummy)

Not to mention the issues with coupler hold strength.
Could you tell me more about it? On my oval, 4-5 years ago, I ran the C-Liner nearly at full speed (at full it tipped over) with the three cars that I have, and the rear coupler broke. Just today I replaced it with a spare one (it took 20 minutes). I never knew why it broke, but what you're saying rings a bell.

I guess I should change the question - how long are your trains? The longest I've seen is about 30 cars at model shows.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Russian said:
Ok I'm lost here, so there's DCC which allows multiple units and then there's DC which allows just one? How do I know if my controller is DC or DCC? If my controller is DC, then will a new DCC controller conflict with it?
Yours, well the one in the pic you posted, is DC, DCC is way WAY more complex, its using a small microchip, that you program with either a computer program, or on a DCC controller. DCC will have a constant even flow of electricity through the rails, but to make a train move, the controller would tell the chip what to to, then the chip would regulate the running of the engine, and ligths and such (sound if you want that too). If you buy DCC, you'll probly be looking for a starter set, like Digitrax's Empire Builder, and you'll need a separate DCC "decoder" on board every unit (can be quite complex on older units).
DC on the other hand uses the controller to rgulate the amount or power running though the rail which would intern control the speed (hence the dimmer at slow speed headlights).

Russian said:
Is it still possible to run dummies with DCC though?
Yes a dummy is just a totaly empty unit, wil work anywhere, it pulled like a freight car basicaly.

Russian said:
Could you tell me more about it? On my oval, 4-5 years ago, I ran the C-Liner nearly at full speed (at full it tipped over) with the three cars that I have, and the rear coupler broke. Just today I replaced it with a spare one (it took 20 minutes). I never knew why it broke, but what you're saying rings a bell.
There's basic styles of couplers, the old winged plastic buggers (X2f), knuckle in either plactic or metal depending on what kind you buy, most of which are now magnetic uncoupling, and there's some true to scale ones out there, namely the Accumate Proto:HO, Kadee #58, and Sergent's EC87 (which is looking to be the best out of them all, I'm ordering some tomorrow). I'd suggest Kadee's either #5 (the standard) or #58 scale, because they're more forgiving...

Russian said:
I guess I should change the question - how long are your trains? The longest I've seen is about 30 cars at model shows.
The longest I've run on my first layout was 15 with one SD40-2. I've seen much longer though, it really depends on the space you have, and the power you have, DCC will allow you to run more powered units, and allow you to pull more, DC, you can run 2 units but it'll draw more power to get them to go the same speed.

My dad's planned layout will allow for 40+ car trains, although I'm betting he'll stick around the 20 mark, considering he'll have 2 steam engines, and 2 deisels to power the trains.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Also, you you want to improve DC running, I'd suggest, for a beginer, to pick out an Athearn or Atlas train set, it'll give a few more nace cars, some track, and a new DC contoller that can handle more of a load. Plus a shiny new engine...
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
jbaakko said:
Yours, well the one in the pic you posted, is DC, DCC is way WAY more complex, its using a small microchip, that you program with either a computer program, or on a DCC controller. DCC will have a constant even flow of electricity through the rails, but to make a train move, the controller would tell the chip what to to, then the chip would regulate the running of the engine, and ligths and such (sound if you want that too).
Yes, it says DC on it as well. So with DCC there's a chip that has to be placed in every unit, so I open it up and place it inside, then program DCC using my computer? As for DC, doesn't it provide a constant flow of electricity to the rails as well?


DC, you can run 2 units but it'll draw more power to get them to go the same speed.
Wait, so I can run two or more units together with DC? Also, can I have a DC and DCC controller at the same time? The reason I'm asking is because I finally put my train online today (after 5 years of no maintenance it ran a total of 10 track pieces before it died), and discovered that one of my wires (the green one if it means anything), has had its wiring end part snapped. Although it seems to work, I wonder how safe it is and if it's fixable.

That reminds me, what's going to happen if I get two DC controllers? Will they control two different trains?


Speaking of maintenance, what do you guys use to keep your rails and locomotives in shape? I remember reading an instruction on the subject when I first received the kit, but have no idea where it is.


jbaakko said:
Also, you you want to improve DC running, I'd suggest, for a beginer, to pick out an Athearn or Atlas train set, it'll give a few more nace cars, some track, and a new DC contoller that can handle more of a load. Plus a shiny new engine...
I was thinking of doing that, but there aren't too many CN/CP sets, and I don't like some of the cars they put in them, a bit too old for what I'm trying to model. The train set I received is quite a good starting point, as mentioned in the first post of this thread. Upon closer inspection, the CNJ gondola is from 1950 and the BN 60' boxcar is from 1970. That means I'll have to do something with that CNJ gondola, probably repaint it, but that's a different topic. As for a shiny new engine, I was thinking of a CP Rail GP40.


I was also quite naive in wanting to purchase the Atlas track. Strangely enough there doesn't seem to be a brand on mine, but it does snap together with a little device, as shown in my little drawn picture. Are all tracks put together that way, or is that a specific brand? The reason I'm asking is because I want the tracks to match with what I already have.


I'm also reconsidering whether its better to buy a start kit (20+ pieces of track) or switches, curves, etc. separately. This is basically the kind of layout I want to build (for now anyway, I want to add to it later), see attachment.


Another question I want to ask is about renumbering. For some strange reason I see quite bit of HO locomotives sold with incorrect road numbers. What would you suggest as a best way of renumbering? I was thinking of making a decal set, but would that work for the numbers up front, on the top of the cab?

That's it, time to go to sleep.:eek:
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Russian said:
Yes, it says DC on it as well. So with DCC there's a chip that has to be placed in every unit, so I open it up and place it inside, then program DCC using my computer? As for DC, doesn't it provide a constant flow of electricity to the rails as well?
Yes but the speed is contolled be the amps that are goign through the line, and on DC the contoller regulates this, were in DCC the decoder does. DCC decoder installation is quite complex, I'll admit, BUT it pays out in ease of operation in the end.

Russian said:
Wait, so I can run two or more units together with DC? Also, can I have a DC and DCC controller at the same time? The reason I'm asking is because I finally put my train online today (after 5 years of no maintenance it ran a total of 10 track pieces before it died), and discovered that one of my wires (the green one if it means anything), has had its wiring end part snapped. Although it seems to work, I wonder how safe it is and if it's fixable.
Yes you can, but they all have to go the same direction, DCC the decoder chooses the direction that the train goes, so, if you really wanted you could make them crash head on...

Russian said:
That reminds me, what's going to happen if I get two DC controllers? Will they control two different trains?
On two different tracks yes... On a single track, no you'll just provide a second power source...

Russian said:
Speaking of maintenance, what do you guys use to keep your rails and locomotives in shape? I remember reading an instruction on the subject when I first received the kit, but have no idea where it is.
Eh... Mine are all mostly boxed right now, no clue myself!

Russian said:
I was also quite naive in wanting to purchase the Atlas track. Strangely enough there doesn't seem to be a brand on mine, but it does snap together with a little device, as shown in my little drawn picture. Are all tracks put together that way, or is that a specific brand? The reason I'm asking is because I want the tracks to match with what I already have.
Atlas track is beautiful, also, look carefully at your current track, is it a brass color of silver? If its brass you might as well throw it away, as brass track is quite crappy. Stick to "Nickle Silver" (NS), Atlas, Walthers, Pico, ME, Kato... I'd suggest using Code 83 also...

Russian said:
I'm also reconsidering whether its better to buy a start kit (20+ pieces of track) or switches, curves, etc. separately. This is basically the kind of layout I want to build (for now anyway, I want to add to it later), see attachment.
It depends how complex the design is, and if you want to use all "Snap track" or some flex track. Snap track would be simple for keeping curves and straights, but flex track allows for the greatest flexiblity in design. Try to stick to a #5 switch as the TIGHTEST you go, if nothing, use #6 or larger, #4 will become quite tight.

Russian said:
Another question I want to ask is about renumbering. For some strange reason I see quite bit of HO locomotives sold with incorrect road numbers. What would you suggest as a best way of renumbering? I was thinking of making a decal set, but would that work for the numbers up front, on the top of the cab?
Newer models include un-numbered units, as for numbering microscale has lots of numbering sets for almost anything you want... There's some printing remover on the market, that will allow you to remove the numbers from a unit. The numberboards, also have decal kits.

*Sheesh that took longer then I thought it would*
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
jbaakko said:
DCC decoder installation is quite complex, I'll admit, BUT it pays out in ease of operation in the end.
I'm having that feeling too. Do most clubs run DCC as well? Does this mean that a DC trainset would not run at a club?


Yes you can, but they all have to go the same direction, DCC the decoder chooses the direction that the train goes, so, if you really wanted you could make them crash head on...

Crash head on? Sounds like a good idea for complex switching to me.


On two different tracks yes... On a single track, no you'll just provide a second power source...
So if I have a switch, one branch from it is controlled with one DC, the other with the other one? Also, what would an advantage of two power sources be, if any. BTW, does the power source come with its own rail piece for hooking up with the other rails?


Atlas track is beautiful, also, look carefully at your current track, is it a brass color of silver? If its brass you might as well throw it away, as brass track is quite crappy. Stick to "Nickle Silver" (NS), Atlas, Walthers, Pico, ME, Kato... I'd suggest using Code 83 also...
Not sure the kind mine is, I've attached two pictures of it.
I see, can I interchange tracks though? For instance, do Atlas tracks connect to Kato tracks, etc.?


It depends how complex the design is, and if you want to use all "Snap track" or some flex track. Snap track would be simple for keeping curves and straights, but flex track allows for the greatest flexiblity in design. Try to stick to a #5 switch as the TIGHTEST you go, if nothing, use #6 or larger, #4 will become quite tight.

Thanks, I was wondering what those switch numbers meant. But for industrtial areas, tight curves are ok, right? I plan on using "snap track".

Newer models include un-numbered units
Does this mean they include decals for you to number them yourself? Because that would be great!


*Sheesh that took longer then I thought it would*
I know what you mean, I guess its because there are many issues to be discussed, which in return makes this a very helpful thread for beginners, such as myself.
 

Lady_Railfan

House Mother, Cheerleader
....which in return makes this a very helpful thread for beginners, such as myself.
Wow. You guys have no idea how true that is! This is a MUST READ thread for anyone starting out who has "questions they're afraid to ask." Thanks, everyone!
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Russian said:
I'm having that feeling too. Do most clubs run DCC as well? Does this mean that a DC trainset would not run at a club?
It depends on how they run it, IIRC DC on DCC layout can cause a short. In this case, ask the clubs you'd like to run at.

Russian said:
Crash head on? Sounds like a good idea for complex switching to me.
:p

Russian said:
So if I have a switch, one branch from it is controlled with one DC, the other with the other one? Also, what would an advantage of two power sources be, if any. BTW, does the power source come with its own rail piece for hooking up with the other rails?
IF you put the power leads on either branch, if you, say have a mainline and a branch with like 3 industries on it, to run them separatly, you'll need to have on contoller's power leads on the branch, and it SHOULD be electicaly icolated from the main line, which is powered by the other contoller, the only issue this will cause if running a train onto an otherwise unpowered block, it'll stop moving until you tell that contoler to move that train... Hence this is where DCC will work out better, because there can be blocks powered from one power hub, and the contollers transfer the command through the power station. There's a number of books out there on DCC if you want to learn indepth...

Russian said:
I see, can I interchange tracks though? For instance, do Atlas tracks connect to Kato tracks, etc.?
Yes, all HO manufacturers should interconnect, as long as you're not asking to connect, say Atlas True Track with Kato Unitrack, cause the plastic "ballast" roadbeds they come with, have different clips to connect, but the plain track conencts all the same (plain track you'd use something like cork roadbed...).

Russian said:
Thanks, I was wondering what those switch numbers meant. But for industrtial areas, tight curves are ok, right? I plan on using "snap track".
Yes tight curves are ok, its just that you have to watch how snug it is for more modern cars, or longer passenger cars. A #4 switch equals out to an 18" radius curve IIRC.

Russian said:
Does this mean they include decals for you to number them yourself? Because that would be great!
Not that I know of, the two Walthers units I got, I had buy a decal set myself.

Russian said:
I know what you mean, I guess its because there are many issues to be discussed, which in return makes this a very helpful thread for beginners, such as myself.
Yeah its funny cause it seems to get longer every time, lol.
 




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