several questions

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BIG DOG

Member
I have few/several questions for you guys/ gals

#1 has 2 prts) what size ballast should I use med or fine? B) how in the world do you keep it out of the switches?

2) I have some model power cars and engine How OR can I change the couplers over to what is on the med/upper grade bachman cars/engines?

3) I am running 7 switches on the model power tranformer, when I click a switch the train slows or stops completly until the switching process is over,
Should I run the train/s on one transformer and accesories on the other?

4) I just found out about DCC can I upgrade my engines at a later date if I choose to go that route?

again THANKS!!!!!!
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
1, I'd go fine, to keep it out of the switches, just tape over the spot...
2, dunno, don;t own any Model Power...
3, I'd say separate!
4, YES you can always upgrade later on.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
2) From your description I would guess that you have a couple sets. Eventually you want to move toward knuckle couplers. Of that type coupler, Kadee makes the one most commonly used. If you go to the Kadee website, you can find which ones you need to convert your Model Power cars. You should determine though, whether it is worth your money and effort to convert the Model Power cars. If they need couplers, wheels, and weights to make them perform well, it might be cheaper to buy a car that fits the higher standards.

3. Once again is sounds like you have two sets. Split the power.

4) DCC is the greatest advancement in model railroading since sliced bread. AS for upgrading your engines--anything can be converted. The question is, should they be converted? Poor performers, will not get better with DCC. If you are working with train sets, chances are, it's not a good investment to upgrade your locos.

If you decide you should upgrade, do it at your own pace, keeping your ulitmate goals in mind.

I'm making the assumption that you have pre-packaged train sets. I could be wrong. If you get more specific with what you have, we can be more specific with our recomendations.
 

BIG DOG

Member
Thanks so far,
yes, I bought sets, the Bachman has the knuckle style couplers and heavy rolling stock, the engine way out performs the model power, I actually was just going to use the model power to do rolling stock deliveries to the various "pickups" and let the Bachman engine do the freight hauling.

I plan on getting a steam engine then buying some passenger cars (in seperate pieces) and that serve as a "tour" train

while on the subject of "delivery and pick up" how do the "coupler/decouplers" work? (so I can leave a car at one stop then pick it up later after its been loaded)

THANKS
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I would suggest keeping your old engines and waiting to upgrade until you can get engines that can perform really well. In steam, this would mean Proto 2000, Bachman Spectrum, Broadway, Althearn Genesis--and in Diesel this would meant Atlas, Kato, Proto 2000, Broadway, Althearn Genesis. There are bargains out there; you need not necessarily pay more. Let us know when you are ready and we'll help you.

Coupling with knuckle couplers is a matter of backing one car onto another. They will latch. Uncoupling is a little trickier. Kadee makes magnets that either sit between the rails or under the tracks. When you position two hooked couplers over the magnet, the metal "air hoses" separate and disconnect. You can get electromagnets as well.

There are two types of uncouplers. Delayed and undelayed. The undelayed work like I just described. The delayed allow you to push a car after it is uncoupled a ways down the track to the position you wish to leave it.

These magnets are a little tricky and work best if you have all one type of uncoupler. Most people settle on Kadees, a few on McHenry and even fewer on the Bachman EZmate.

Many people go a different route and use a wooden skewer--like you used for barbecuing. You simply stick the stick between the couplers and gently twist. All the clubs I have done ops on used the skewers.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
Ballast

Hi Big Dog
I would have to add that you should mix the ballast. I model the New York Central. I mix Woodlands Scenics 3 parts fine dark grey to 1 part fine cinders. Then maybe mix in some fine buff here and there. It's just looks more real doing it this way. You can even change the mix to maybe 2 parts fine gray here and there. Before you lay the switches paint the roadbed black or dark grey under where the switch points will be. I attached a photo. Look at the ballast and notice the switch points. There's no ballast only grimmy black paint under them.

NYC_George

View attachment 5525
 
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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I like to use the med ballast (HO scale of 3.5") on my mainline and fine on sidings and "old" trackage since they are not as well maintained. Coloring is a matter of preference that varies from layout to layout; that you should take a look at yourself. I would however stay with the grays to dark grays with cinders being used by itself in yards and sidings or mixed with other and only if you have steamers to make the stuff. If you use a lighter gray, you can always darken/dirty it up with india ink/alcohol solution. There are many ways you can go about this and it is very much a personal preference.

EDIT: If you are into specifics, then you will need to consider the era and the location of your railroad. Different parts of the country use different materials in different time periods. When I was a kid, many spurs and shortlines still used cinders and the mainline used limestone. After the steamers retired, limestone was the only thing used on the roads that I remember seeing. The limestone was a grayish white when first applied, but would darken with time to a dark gray and be coated with oils and other drippings from the trains. Also, if you look at mainlines today, you will see the ballast is around 2.5-3.5" in diameter and usually will always be of a strong material to handle the heavy loads. Many spurs/sidings seem to favor a smaller size.
 
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NYC_George

Well-Known Member
Dark Grey Ballast

I have few/several questions for you guys/ gals

#1 has 2 prts) what size ballast should I use med or fine? B) how in the world do you keep it out of the switches?

2) I have some model power cars and engine How OR can I change the couplers over to what is on the med/upper grade bachman cars/engines?

3) I am running 7 switches on the model power tranformer, when I click a switch the train slows or stops completly until the switching process is over,
Should I run the train/s on one transformer and accesories on the other?

4) I just found out about DCC can I upgrade my engines at a later date if I choose to go that route?

again THANKS!!!!!!
Big Dog I said grey ballast. It should read dark grey. Grey's to light.

NYC_George
 

BIG DOG

Member
I remembered my other questions!!!

what do you guys use for "black top"? also, Can you buy item for buildings such as tin, brick and and side walk material?
 




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