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121  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: April 01, 2014, 12:14:26 AM
Finally finished applying the landscaping (except ballast) to the original existing plywood!

As you can see, it is already looking much better than the old layout.
Though once the landscaping on the second sheet of plywood is done, I still need to get some new buildings! Probably a mix of old and new (definitely some Plasticville!)
122  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: March 30, 2014, 07:18:30 PM
& I would also put in a YARD AREA as well since your into the building stage of your layout.. Most people building a Layout include an area to store there Trains & Rolling Stock & as well make it more fun in operating sessions because you can switch out rolling stock & make up other trains as well....

Keep up the good work....

As a matter of fact, Stage 2 of the layout will have some sidings to make a small rail yard!

Placing some of the buildings onto my layout now. I'll get around to weathering them soon.

Finished another end of landscaping; there is only a little left on the first sheet of plywood now that needs to be decorated, along with the rest of the second sheet.

I have also now hooked the track and blocking control to my MRC Tech-4 280 power pack, along with wiring up two of the switches. I ran one of my locomotives on the completed loop on the original existing plywood and it worked pretty well.
123  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 1970s style ho scale layout on: March 30, 2014, 07:06:50 PM
You would be better off getting a Bachmann 2-8-0 instead of the Tyco.  That is if you plan to run it. 

For running on my layout, I do plan on getting a Bachmann Consolidation. I know Bachmann made a nice Santa Fe 2-8-0 Consolidation locomotive in the "Bachmann Plus" line in the '90s. (Or maybe once I get more cash I'll get the Spectrum version instead!)

And jbrock27, when looking for track on eBay I always look closely at the pics to see if it really IS nickel-silver. Usually I would tell by the color of the rails:
Gold, copper or rust-colored: Usually brass
Completely silver: Steel
Pale-gold and shiny: Nickel-silver

At least with Bachmann's E-Z Track it's easy to tell the nickel-silver sections from steel!

Though if you're simply replacing the track from an old train set (doesn't matter if it's Bachmann or Tyco or whatever) and you want to still use snap-track, then just get this:

If the set came with just a circle or a 45x36 oval of track, this is a decent upgrade; you get a nice 54x36" oval with passing siding, except the switches are manual (you can upgrade them to remote switch machines though.)
It connects using terminal joiners; just hook them up to your set's power pack (if it still works, or a new and better power pack), put the locomotive and cars on the track, and you're ready to go!
124  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: March 30, 2014, 12:28:02 PM
Re: the TYCO crossing gate-I used to have one-did you replace the section of straight track that came with it or are you saying it came with nickel silver?  The reason I ask, is, to my knowledge, TYCO never produced n/s track-only steel and brass.  So if the crossing is stock and has not been modified, you may want to check to see if it is n/s by placing a magnet on the rails Wiley.

PS  And before the "S" curve police arrive, let me point out to you that it looks like you have one coming off the left handed snap switch that runs near the post, diverging to the interior of the layout.

Yes, the early Tyco crossing gates had a removable track section, very much like the older Bachmann crossing gates did. So I took advantage of that and replaced the brass track section with nickel-silver, to be consistent with the rest of the track there. Beginning around the mid-to-late 1970s, those Tyco crossing gates had the track built right onto it (likewise with similar crossing gates from Life-Like and Pemco; Bachmann still had a removable track section on their crossing gate until it was modified to work with E-Z Track.)

And I am aware of the S-curve, but in most cases I will slow the train down there as I go through, as it's often wise to slow down a train when it's traveling through a switch.
125  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 1970s style ho scale layout on: March 30, 2014, 12:23:34 PM
My previous railroad layout had somewhat of a 1970s theme to it, mostly with rolling stock, accessories and buildings:

As I am interested in vintage HO train products, that was a given. Except the only 1970s locomotive I used on this layout was that Tyco diesel switcher, the older version that used Mantua's little (and effective) motor instead of the crummy "PowerTorque" pancake motor. (Though I may get a Tyco "Chattanooga" or Santa Fe 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive, mainly for collecting purposes; it's nicely detailed, but it has a "PowerTorque" motor that was placed in the tender car.)
If the OP reads this, if you're going to do a 1970s layout and you have brass track, I DO NOT recommend using it. Most model railroad manufacturers in the 1970s just used brass track (including Bachmann), and while it can be a good electrical conductor, it oxides rather quickly and often requires a lot of maintenance. Steel is a little better, but still not as good a conductor as nickel-silver (I know AHM and Tyco both offered steel track in the late 1970s; Bachmann didn't start making steel track until around 1982 or 1983.)
If you want traditional tie-and-rails sectional track for this "70s" layout, I recommend getting new Atlas Code-100 nickel-silver track. Even older locomotives will perform better on it! Otherwise (particularly if you aren't going to be using any of those old "action" accessories that require conventional track) go with Bachmann's nickel-silver E-Z track.
126  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: March 29, 2014, 07:48:08 PM
Been a while, but I've got plenty of updates!

Completed extended train table from early this week. The plywood on the extension can be removed temporarily if I need to access something from the other end.
This is before the landscaping I started this week. Here are where I've decided buildings will go...

Where I'm installing my Tyco operating boxcar station and freight-unloading depot, along with my Tyco lighted yard tower.

I can now finally install that Tyco operating crossing flasher! (The lights don't alternate flashing; they just come on steady as the train goes over the sensor, but still a nice accessory!) I also put my Life-Like Snap-Loc station building kit here.

Tyco crossing gate (with nickel-silver track!) and lighted freight station. On the other side of the second track I will install a crossing signal and gate there. (There will be another crossing on the layout that will use a Bachmann dual crossing gate.)

My two Center St. building kits! I plan to maybe get a couple more, like that Furniture Store one, as I do have room for some more structures on this layout. For those unfamiliar, the Center St. building kits were made by Pola and originally branded by Tyco in the 1980s and early 1990s, then by IHC until the end of the 1990s.

These are the buildings I have so far on the extension. I'm also going to set up a farm here.

On Tuesday I began the landscaping. And HERE'S how far I got as of today...

(The track areas with no landscaping on them will have ballast applied to them.)

My new Woodland Scenics tunnel!

The progress so far as of now.
127  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: February 24, 2014, 07:58:29 PM
I will be able to still access that track by going over to that side of the table. It isn't completely shoved into a corner, because then that would REALLY restrict things for me.

But besides that, we got the lumber today! We will then assemble the benchwork some time this week, and then I will get started on landscaping. I did draw where the roads will go on the existing plywood, and I also did a bit of test-fitting of some of the track to get an idea on how the roads will be positioned and such:

I have a feeling this is going to be quite a project...
128  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO "disaster crossing" on: February 12, 2014, 12:15:49 AM
Rather interesting waste of time labour and materials on the railroads' parts...

Rich C.

You mean the short gates? There was actually an accident there in 1998 when a teenage girl was hit and killed by a speeding train; one train passed and she rode around the gate, unaware a second train was coming. They even have a small memorial near the crossing still.
Or the way they placed the signals?
The MBTA owns this crossing; most of their crossings use gated signals, and many of them have the cantilevers, but not this one.

But anyways back on topic, that information richg posted seems to help. I will investigate it a bit more. It does have a single wire sticking out with some kind of unusual clip. I'll try to get a picture of that.
129  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: February 12, 2014, 12:05:35 AM
W, what are the dimensions of the new layout?

It's like an 8x8 square, but with 1/4th of it cut out.
130  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO "disaster crossing" on: February 11, 2014, 10:12:59 AM
Per the location of the warning lights.  Is there any particular reason you have located the warning light/sign where it is, or is the road located in UK?

Rich C.

For some reason that is where you are supposed to install the warning signal on the base. I suppose I could use it as an "extra" signal of sorts, like at some real-life railroad crossings I've seen:
131  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO "disaster crossing" on: February 10, 2014, 10:36:42 PM
Bachmann had one.

Have not seen any instructions so far.


Yes, mine is indeed Bachmann's version. I think it was the only kind on the market, as Bachmann claimed it was "exclusive."
132  Discussion Boards / HO / A new layout! on: February 10, 2014, 10:07:35 PM
We're doing some reorganizing in my basement, and my father came up with the idea of making an even bigger train table for my model railroad so I don't have to be just confined to a 4x8 sheet of plywood. I agreed, this would be a pretty good idea. But with it would also come an overhaul to my train layout. SO... time to make some new plans!

Here is what will be Stage One of the new layout:

It will be constructed in Atlas Code-100 nickel-silver snap track, and will start of as analog DC (maybe with blocking), before I eventually upgrade to an E-Z Command DCC system.

I plan to reuse the same structures and action accessories, also get some new ones, and of course reuse the same locomotives and rolling stock. (Though I may also make this layout DCC as well.)
The landscaping will also be more improved with this layout. I may reuse several of the trees, signs and poles, but the grass, roads and other parts will be new. (Instead of a mat, I will paint directly onto the plywood and then sprinkle the grass and earth material onto it.)

The new benchwork construction should begin next week, hopefully. Until then, I had already dismantled the existing layout to get that out of the way. For the time being, I set up a temporary figure-8 layout of track on the plywood so I can continue running my equipment:

Any comments?
133  Discussion Boards / HO / Bachmann HO "disaster crossing" on: February 10, 2014, 09:56:55 PM
I just got an interesting accessory for the new HO layout I am building. It was made in 1982 and was available until 1985, IIRC, and is called the "Disaster Crossing":

How it works is that if the car is on the track, the train is supposed to stop before hitting it. Then once the car is pulled away from the crossing via the two truck, the train will move on again. An N-scale version was made as well. Rumor has it that this product was discontinued for being deemed "politically incorrect" or something (I'd like to find out more about that!)

However, this did not come with instructions. The box says some assembly is required, but I am not entirely sure how to do so. If anyone has instructions for this, I would like them please!
(This will be installed as part of "Stage 2" of my new layout; I will make a separate thread about that.)
134  Discussion Boards / HO / Bachmann's HO trains, then and now on: February 02, 2014, 09:35:20 PM
Here's a link to a 1984 Bachmann train catalog from 1984, about 30 years ago from this year, from Tony Cook's excellent HO-scale Train Resource (perfect for looking up old Bachmann, Tyco and AHM products, etc.)

In 1984, Bachmann was still one of the really big players in the consumer HO train market. AHM and Tyco were slowly starting to dwindle down a bit, Life-Like and Model Power were growing a bit, and of course there were the higher-quality (and pricier) offerings from Athearn and Mantua, etc. This was before the Spectrum line came out, so Bachmann was still pretty much seen as low-end and cheap (along the levels of Tyco), compared to the high-quality products Bachmann offers today. But back then, Bachmann had almost as large an offering as they do today.

Bachmann came out with an N-scale TGV train set that year, and they also had their "Powerhouse" HO-scale set that came with a decorated layout mat and several nifty operating accessories, obviously to try and get more kids into model railroading.
Bachmann also had a M.A.S.H. -themed train set (similar to how Tyco had train sets based on G.I. Joe, the A-Team, etc.)

They also had their DeWitt Clinton set out at this time, and they just released the John Bull train set. They also had several other sets that came with accessories like bridge-and-trestle sets, utility poles, and a few other accessories.
Some of their other operation accessories available today was also around back in 1984, such as the lighted passenger and freight stations, electronic steam whistle in billboard, that cheesy "diesel horn" oil tank, the blinking light storage tank, "gandy dancer" hand car, crane cars, dual crossing gates and "tracksters," but they also had some other interesting operating accessories available in 1984 that were discontinued by the 1990s, like the Tri-Level Car Transporter and the "Disaster Crossing" (there's a rumor it was discontinued for being too "politically incorrect.")

Get a load of those diesels with "space age electronics." Today you can get those same locomotives but in much higher quality and with DCC (and sound on the DD40X!)

A bunch of these locomotives are still available today, but perform much better and have nicer detail, and are also available in DCC. (The GP40-2 was, and still is, a Bachmann favorite.)

Many of the steam locomotives available at the time are also currently available in improved models, like the Class J and Daylight 4-8-4s.

Back then, Bachmann offered conventional Code-100 track in steel (E-Z track did not come out for another ten years.) It was better than their prior brass offerings, but not as good as today's nickel-silver E-Z track (and other tracks of the same material.)
Also note many of the accessories on the page; those are still available today as well (even the water pump!)
They also used to offer those bridge-and-trestle sets, similar to the ones Life-Like and Model Power currently offer, along with AHM, Tyco and Walthers having offered similar bridges in the past.

They also had "lighted scenic classics" building kits, basically select Plasticville building kits with a structure lighting unit and a little landscaping material.

Their "regular" Plasticville buiding kits were also available at that time, having been a mainstay of the company for over 50 years now.

They also had RC and die-cast cars available in 1984, but I don't know if they sold really well compared to Bachmann's train line. Perhaps they were trying to compete with Tyco or something that way.

Some things just never change, and Bachmann is one of those things, in some ways!
135  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Inexpensive Track Cleaning Tool on: February 02, 2014, 08:55:50 PM
There are those special eraser-like track cleaning pads, like the ones Life-Like and Model Power offer...

Usually I use a Woodland Scenics Tidy Track cleaner kit. It costs around $30 but works pretty well. It comes with only a few cleaning, maintenance and rescue pads, but they are reusable once you clean them (instructions are available.)
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