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31  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: October 16, 2015, 10:58:43 PM
One other question would that tyco unloader work with more modern 40' containers?

I don't think it would. The containers need to have kind of a ridge on the top for the crane to grab them. This only works with TYCO's post-1978 trailers.

Here's some more new stuff...

Doing some cleaning with my new Walthers Trainline track-cleaning boxcar.
I know Bachmann makes one, but I was tight on money at the time and opted for the Walthers one. I also noted Atlas makes one as well, and I saw that AHM, IHC and Life-Like had made them in the past, yet this is one thing TYCO never made!

Once again it's autumn on the layout. (Then again, it's ALWAYS autumn with the trees in that area!)

A yard worker shouts up to the locomotive crew...

Two of my trains in the dark. The Amtrak train especially looks neat...

My new traffic light setup! The hanging one is a Walthers Cornerstone 4-way traffic signal. I plan to get a Walthers traffic light controller to hook it up to soon, along with maybe an additional signal for one part of the intersection. The horizontal fire station signals are TYCO blinking traffic lights! (Maybe I'll even wire them up so they flash on and off like the real ones do.)

A slightly-longer double-header freight train!

Another configuration for my DCC BNSF Warbonnets. They're on the same address, so I can run double-header trains like this.

My TYCO Corner Drug Store is now illuminated! When I bought it back when I was building my current layout, there wasn't an opening in the bottom of the base, but the roof was removable. I didn't attempt to install interior lighting in it until today; I drilled a small hole in the base and into the table, stuck a Model Power peel-and-stick light onto the ceiling, ran the wire through the hole, wired it up to one of my "accessory" power packs (already powering some of the lights), and it was all set! It does make a difference, especially with the interior detailing.

A shot showing some of the illuminated buildings and accessories on my layout.
32  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Any suggestions for Bachmann's future models? on: October 16, 2015, 08:41:15 PM
I think a train set similar to the Bachmann "Golden Star" set from the '90s should be made. For those unfamiliar...

In addition to the 7-unit train hauled by a Union Pacific GP40, it also included a 56x38" oval of E-Z Track, and several Plasticville kits like the Suburban Station, the Barn, Farm Buildings, the School House and the Signal Bridge, along with a picket fence set, park assortment, and the usual signs, poles and figures. Although this was originally made in the 90s, the stuff featured in this set is still made today, though the Union Pacific GP40 would obviously be the newer and improved model (compared to the older one used back then), and the rolling stock would have body-mount knuckle couplers. It's an ideal set for someone who wants to start out in building a model railroad town.
33  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: October 01, 2015, 03:48:27 PM

What type of track are you using and how is it fastened to the plywood?

I am using mostly Atlas Code-100 nickel-silver snap track, fastened to the plywood with track nails. Did it the old-school way! One of the two lighted bumpers is a TYCO Tru-Steel bumper, and the other is a Life-Like nickel-silver lighted bumper track (they started making nickel-silver Code-100 track early last year.)
34  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: September 30, 2015, 11:22:36 PM
Some more updates...

Sometimes you can't have too many rerailers!

This is the Amtrak train I currently run on my layout in most cases. The locomotive is a Walthers TrainLine F40PH in "Phase III" (with Operation Lifesaver markings) with a DCC decoder installed, and the cars are by TYCO. The first one is in a fictional blue-stripe paint scheme, and the other two are in "Phase I." I find them better for operating on a layout with 18" radius curves than Bachmann's Amtrak cars (the Amtrak cars by Athearn and Life-Like are also suitable for those curves.) At least they look cool being pulled by a more prototypical-looking Amtrak locomotive than what TYCO used to offer.

I've also been working on adding stripes and markings to my roads. They may not be totally realistic-looking, but it's an improvement over the blank roads. Most of the railroad crossing markings were done with a stencil I bought off (Next layout I do however, I might actually put some kind of material down for the roads instead of just painting on the plywood.)

Here's a sight you'd probably never see on the real railroads: a steam-powered freight train and a modern Amtrak diesel passenger train in the same area!

Another good use for the TYCO Pak on my control panel that I use for operating turnouts and action accessories is that I can hook up my Woodland Scenics Tidy Track Roto Wheel Cleaner to the DC terminals for cleaning my locomotives!

The Proto 2000 Santa Fe GP9 doing some yard work, moving a TYCO Santa Fe caboose.

Disaster occurs! Now normally a handcar can't cause a train wreck, but I based this off the early 90s Winnie-the-Pooh episode "The Good, The Bad and the Tigger," where at one point a speeding handcar collides with a runaway steam train, causing it to blow up!

My attempt at an auto-carrier train. Unfortunately, the Athearn auto-loader car has the problem where one of the coupler covers keeps falling off, messing up operation. So I am not running it right now. (I just linked the TYCO auto-loader to my main BNSF freight for now.)

Here's another locomotive I got recently. It's another Walthers Trainline Dash 8-40BW in Warbonnet colors, but it has the "Santa Fe" markings on the sides, small BNSF patches under the road numbers and the orange BNSF AC unit, LED headlights (no headlight on the rear yet), even a DCC decoder already installed! (I believe it's a TCS T1.) A real steal if you ask me  Smiley

One of my current freight train setups, with the Santa Fe warbonnet locomotive. Except for that and the Walthers caboose, the rest of the rolling stock is TYCO!

The train backs into the TYCO piggyback terminal to drop off one of the BN trailers...

The TYCO freight-unloading depot in action.

One BNSF freight waiting for the other to pass so it can pull onto the main line...
35  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: September 03, 2015, 09:22:20 PM
Now that summer is over, I'm going back to my model train layout a bit more (I usually spend less time on it in the summer, and plus I've been helping out more with the model train museum's layout!)

Believe it or not, that TYCO Chattanooga GP20 is actually DCC-equipped, and has LED headlights and Kadee couplers! Normally I go for more prototypical locomotives for my layout, but I always thought that Chattanooga paint scheme looked cool. Definitely an interesting piece from what was once one of Bachmann's biggest rivals...

My current fleet of DCC-equipped locomotives. I may soon be getting an Amtrak Genesis locomotive of some sort (probably Athearn) and one of Walthers's brand-new Mainline Dash 8s.

An interesting kitbash I did; I took the body of a TYCO Santa Fe GP20 (1978 version), modified the inside a bit, and installed it on a 90s-style Mantua GP20 chassis. Not a bad runner so far, but the wheels may need a bit of cleaning (it's been a while since I ran it.)

There was a lot of Amtrak travel going on during the summer, with people going on long train trips and such.

Comparing my TYCO/Mantua Santa Fe GP20 and my Walthers Santa Fe GP9M, both in the red/silver "SuperFleet" colors.

A family camping near the woods on my layout. Hopefully they aren't woken up by passing trains (like when my family and I stayed at a hotel next to the railroad tracks in Old Orchard Beach, Maine!)

A freight train waiting for clearance on one of the switches.

A couple of rail yard shots.

As of yesterday, the kids are going back to school on my layout.

A "daytime" overview.

Some "dark" shots on my layout, showing the various lighted buildings and accessories, as well as the lighted Amtrak cars. I think some day I'll try some of those newer LED building light units by Bachmann.

I also got an E-Z Command walk-around companion for the layout as well; pretty neat stuff.
36  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Any suggestions for Bachmann's future models? on: September 03, 2015, 08:53:11 PM
Maybe Bachmann could make an HO-scale Amtrak ACS-64 electric locomotive? They started using them early last year, and I've been seeing more of them now.
I remember the first time I saw one, in February 2014 at South Station in Boston. I saw as it pulled up to the platform, having just hauled a passenger train from Washington D.C. I remember quite a few people on the platform stopped to take pictures of it, since it was so new!

Because I will admit, it's a little odd how they still make the HHP-8, as all of the real prototypes have since been retired in favor of the ACS-64s.
37  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 13, 2015, 09:35:44 PM
Is the layout supposed to be a depiction of any era or locale in particular?

Part of it is loosely based off the Brockton area, like the way we located the Howard Johnson's and the 7-11. We plan to get a CSX "Dark Future" GP40 (mainly because that's what the freight trains running through Brockton are pulled by), maybe even a Conrail locomotive of some sort. Though it'd be difficult or expensive, we'd also like to get an MBTA commuter train for the layout (Walthers has brought back their MBTA F40PH, but that's about it...)
38  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 13, 2015, 04:30:59 PM
The mountain is finished!

Some of the landscaping is already being done, too.

We even put some deer near the mountain!

We now have a 7-11 set up! It's the Life-Like version from the 1970s and 1980s (now sold as the Ace Supermarket.) We did this because there are quite a few 7-11s in my area.

TYCO log dumping bin.

More landscaping.

A photo of when I tested the log dump car. It works pretty well! We will soon wire it up in the group wiring style with other lights and accessories.

BNSF freight train on the layout, with both TYCO cars. I've already swapped out the horn-hooks with knuckle couplers. I'm going to get some more soon, so we can upgrade any rolling stock we plan to use a lot on the layout.
39  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 08, 2015, 05:07:56 PM
Here are some more updates...

We put in the makings of a rail yard, along with the second Bachmann crossing gate and a TYCO unloading boxcar! As you can see in the third pic, I eliminated that S-curve that was there.

TYCO Arlee Station building kit!

The station next to a crossing.

The Life-Like station is now being used for the trolley line.

Amtrak train at the Arlee station.

Overviews of the layout so far.
40  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 07, 2015, 09:12:46 PM
A few more updates...

A mountain we're going to put on the layout. We plan to put cloths and plaster over the newspaper, and take it from there.

We already did a little bit of the landscaping so far...

Life-Like Town Church I built for the layout.

41  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 05, 2015, 10:31:33 PM
**S Curve Alerts**

One in the direction the BNSF is heading, the other in the shot with the HoJos, on the track the B & M caboose is on-follow the track to across from where the Trolley is.

I didn't put those there; I'm trying to convince the others to remove the S-curves.
42  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: June 05, 2015, 07:41:21 PM
Now we have the foam placed on the board and the track laid!

As we planned, the outer loop uses 22" radius curves, while the inner loop has 18" radius curves. One of the club members suggested a trolley line running in the downtown part, and we thought that was a good idea. Currently it uses old Code-100 brass track, but seeing as it's just the trolley line, which is going to be controlled independently from the main E-Z Track layout, it seems to make sense.

This BNSF locomotive is property of the museum. It does look like mine, except this is a GP38-2 (mine is a GP40-2).

The TYCO Howard Johnson's is already where it will be placed on the layout.

A car stops at the Bachmann crossing gate. We'll be installing another one of them somewhere else on the layout, as well as setting up another railroad crossing with working signals.

The trolley line is still a work in progress. That's an older TYCO trolley with the Mantua MU-2 drive.

This Amtrak train is mine. The passenger cars are Bachmann Silver Series Amfleet cars (a coach car and a snack car), and they operate very well on the 22" radius curves. I also love the lighting on them, especially the red tail lights.

The Amtrak train passing a steam-powered freight (Bachmann Sound Value 2-6-0).

We have more plans in store for the layout. We're going to do more landscaping soon, including the grass, roads, a swamp and a mountain. We also plan to install a few operating Bachmann and TYCO accessories, and we'll also be getting a KFC, Dairy Queen, 7-11, even a drive-in theater!
43  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Nicklei Silver or Steel track on: May 31, 2015, 07:17:59 PM
I remember Robert Schleicher's book "The HO Model Railroading Handbook - 3rd Edition" saying there is no need to discard the steel E-Z Track that came with your set, and that it could be combined with the nickel-silver track.
It also depends on how your layout will be run. If you're going to use DCC, you would definitely want to stick with nickel-silver, as that's more ideal for DCC than steel (this is probably why Bachmann's DCC train sets come with nickel-silver track.)
Of course I'm a nickel-silver kind of guy, and though I don't use E-Z Track on my layout, most of it is Atlas Code 100 nickel-silver, and it's very efficient (I do have a couple of TYCO crossings that use steel track; I just need to clean them a little more than the rest of the track, and it seems to perform just as well.) I even replaced the brass track section on my old TYCO crossing gate with a nickel-silver section, as they used to use removable track, like Bachmann's old crossing gates did (though installing an Atlas Code 100 track section on the old Bachmann crossing gate can be tricky; you'd be better off using the new Bachmann crossing gate, as the box says it can be used with other track brands, albeit with a bit of modification.)
44  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: May 24, 2015, 06:58:06 PM
Well, we already got part of the framework built!

Here is the track plan we will be doing so far...
45  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: May 10, 2015, 06:34:57 PM
Well, it turns out that the tracks need some more cleaning, hence the stalling, so I will do that. I still got the E-Z Command booster anyway, since I figured for a layout my size, one amp may not have been enough.

When I was doing a bit of maintenance (oiling and lubing) to my BNSF GP40, I was surprised by what I saw when I removed the shell:

It did not look much like the diagram that came with it. It even has flywheels! Maybe the DCC version is a little more upscale than the regular/train set version? I know my DCC Santa Fe FT doesn't have flywheels; maybe it's a little older than this GP40?

I also installed a decoder into my Amtrak F40PH, and it works pretty well.

With this consist, I can say if I were running a model train layout in the late 70s or early 80s, I probably would've gotten Bachmann's Amtrak F40PH and TYCO's Amtrak 72' passenger cars for it to pull (as I'm not too keen on TYCO's old Amtrak F9 or GG1, and Bachmann's Amtrak cars would be too big for the 18-radius curves.)

The Amtrak commuter train passing through the rail yard.
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