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31  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 01, 2018, 05:17:16 PM
OK, not only am I doing some track test-fitting on the initial 4x8 section of my train table, I'm also organizing where structures and operating accessories will be located, for the most part.

The complete TYCO Center Street 1982 building set! A friend of mine custom-painted the school for the former downtown museum HO train layout. I only have one building from the 1981 set: the Loew's movie theater, but that is all I need.

Another shot of some of the structures. I unpacked a few more after this photo was taken.

The fast food district. Again, I placed the Life-Like KFC and TYCO Burger King structures near a railroad crossing to mirror the real fast-food district in the neighboring town of Bridgewater MA (their Burger King was originally a train station, which would explain its' location right next to the tracks.)

Getting in some freight and passenger train action. I find that my five-car Amtrak train would be better for running through the entire length of the layout once the additional platforms are built and attached (otherwise I'll just have the locomotive pull three cars.)

Near here there will be a train station with a Bachmann Plasticville platform in-between the two tracks.

For my trial run I am using none other than my first DCC locomotive: the Bachmann BNSF GP40 that came with my E-Z Command control unit and wiring, which I bought almost three years ago when I was building the previous layout!

Where a left-hand turnout will be going that will direct the trains to the second platform I am currently substituting with my Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bridge. On the final setup, it will be going on the second platform over a ravine carved into the insulation foam.

Look, I can now set up the plastic electric windmills I've had for a couple years now! It seems these windmills and the railroad both seem to go together.
32  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 31, 2018, 06:46:13 PM
Big update today!

We got the first table standing up! Boy is it taller than the old one, but I like how I can now see the trains at eye-level when I will be sitting at the console, and I can store some containers underneath the layout during the construction period! As you can kind of see, space is a little awkward at the moment, but keep in mind, we just moved into the house over a month ago, and still have a bit of unpacking and organizing to do in the basement. I even took the opportunity to do some more track test-fitting and such.

Here is where two of my TYCO Prestomatic accessories are going. After the photo was taken, I extended the siding with the operating boxcar bin a bit. That blank E-Z Track siding is where the Life-Like Operating Coal Tipple will go (it will be the post-1996 version designed to also work with Power-Loc or other similar roadbed track.) For the TYCO accessories I will place cork roadbed underneath them.

TYCO operating crossing gate and piggyback loader/unloader terminal. Again, I'll place cork roadbed underneath the terminal, and make a slightly longer incline for the ramp to go to the small road I'll be making once I do scenery (that won't be until the second and third extensions are built.)

And for the heck of it, here are the Bachmann and TYCO crossing gates together. It really lets you see how similar both are. (Again, the TYCO gate is the early version with a more detailed base, a separate track section (I used a nickel-silver Atlas Code-100 track section on it for better electrical consistency) and better operation than the TYCO crossing gates from the mid-70s onward.) On the other side of the track across the TYCO crossing gate, I will place another crossing signal there (maybe an operating one.)

Nope, this isn't Bachmann. It's actually a Model Power Lock-It nickel-silver lighted bumper track section. I mentioned how Lock-It was Model Power's answer to Bachmann E-Z Track and could even connect to it (Bachmann wasn't pleased by that and filed a lawsuit!)

From the other side.

Unpacking my boxed locomotives and rolling stock, along with my E-Z Command setup...

Already able to run a train on this! I am substituting a couple of sections right now that will be replaced when the table is added onto. I am using the Bachmann DCC GP40 locomotive that came with the E-Z Command unit when I bought it nearly four years ago. Among running at first it seemed to struggle, but after a few laps it ran more smoothly (I guess it needed to be broken in after being in storage for some time; I may also give the track a quick wipe-over with my track-cleaning boxcar to be safe.
33  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 30, 2018, 11:25:51 AM
Well, whatever I use, it's for the most part pretty sturdy. I attached the thin plywood to the top because the existing particle plywood was at a lower height than the other sections I was using. Keep in mind I'll also be putting 2 inches of extruded insulation foam on each platform.

I've also now built the second platform...

And have started attaching legs to them!

I'm really getting close now. And for track, all I need now are three more left-hand turnouts and four more 18"-radius curves, and I'll have all the tracks I need!
34  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 24, 2018, 11:14:42 PM
I got a frame built under the first 4x8 sheet of plywood!

Starting work on it before cutting additional 2x4s...

The finished frame. It will be a lot better than just resting the 4x8 on that old dining table for sure.
35  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 22, 2018, 07:05:05 PM
Trying some test-fitting and laying of the E-Z Track I have so far for one of the 4x8 sections. Once I've assembled the benchwork and attached the insulation foam to the tabletops, I will assemble the track first and run the trains on it for a while, deciding where I'll put different things, before I'm ready to do landscaping. I got this plan from Robert Schleicher's "The HO Model Railroading Handbook: 3rd Edition" and the "Bachmann Model Railroad Club Magazine" issues.

Still need to get some more track; I need some more left-hand turnouts and a Connector Assortment and a couple of 18"-radius curved rerailers (for the road I am planning that will cross at a couple of curves.)
I was also able to remove the connection clips from one end of two of the E-Z track sections so I could connect my TYCO crossing gate!

It does look cool seeing the Bachmann and TYCO crossing gates together like that, especially when you know that Bachmann's dual crossing gates draws some inspiration from the TYCO version.

I've already come up with a plan on where my roads for the vehicles running through the layout will be, along with a couple of industrial areas and the drive-in movie theater.
36  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: January 20, 2018, 11:32:43 PM
Well, today we got most (if not all) of the materials I need for building the benchwork for the new layout! My carpenter cousin who stopped by to install a railing on our basement stairs also helped transport the material for me.

As I said, I'm going to use extruded insulation foam on the plywood. But Lowe's 2-inch-thickness sections are just two 1-inch sections stuck together, and it looks kind of uneven, but it appears that is so it's easier to put two 2x8 sections together. Also, because the old 4x8 I originally started out with didn't match the thickness of the 4x4 and the new 4x8 (which are 3/4-inches thick, the old one is a half-inch thick) we got a 1/4-inch 4x8 to put over the original 4x8 to even out the height.
In building the train table, I will be combining methods from the World's Greatest Hobby video (as uploaded on YouTube), the Bachmann Model Railroad Club Magazine, and a few other sources (such as Robert Schleicher's "The HO Model Railroading Handbook: Third Edition" and the TYCO Layout Expander System manual). The supports for the 4x4 from the old layout will be reused, but the height will be increased on the legs.

I've also now got around 3/4 of the track I need to build the layout. When the benchwork is finished, I will probably assemble track first before doing any landscaping to see how it looks, then decide where my roads will go. (For that, I will be using 1/8-inch thick Foamcore strips, same with several building sites.) I'm even going to carve and cut a ravine into the foam in which my Bachmann E-Z Track blinking bridge will go over!

Testing it out for this photo. I discovered that compared to the old version Bachmann made from the 70s to the 90s, this one uses an LED light and nickel-silver rails, and doesn't draw as much power from the track thanks to the LED, so it doesn't interfere with the operation of the train as it rolls over the bridge!
37  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 08, 2017, 07:53:34 PM
I've got a decent pile of boxes and containers in the corner of the basement section of my new house where my model train layout will be going. It does make for a neat sight: the beginnings of a brand-new model railroading experience!

As for benchwork, the existing 4x8 and 4x4 plywood sections will be handled by the movers we are hiring. I am not going to be reusing the ancient ratty dining table I have set the 4x8 on all these years; I am going to build a new, simple but sturdy frame and legs for the plywood sections (including the new 4x8 I plan to get to complete the "U" shape), somewhat following the steps described in stuff like the Bachmann Model Railroad Club magazine or the old TYCO Layout Expander System manual, but adapting it for a 12x8 "U" shape and for DCC and E-Z Track.
The layout will be semi-permanent, as the scenery will still consist of green and brown ground foam landscaping material on the painted platform, like my previous layout (I still find it looking more realistic than a grass mat or green felt), and I may attach the E-Z Track with some sections of double-sided tape instead of nailing or gluing it firmly to the plywood, should I need to make any adjustments. It'll be the best of both worlds!
38  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 07, 2017, 10:59:12 PM
Been moving more train stuff to the new house, and I also bought some more E-Z Track as well, including Bachmann's E-Z Track Expander set (nickel-silver version.)

I bought a new-old-stock set from the late 90s or early 2000s (judging by the E-Z Track logo on the top), but it's virtually identical to the version available on the market today, complete with those older-style bumpers (I don't care if they're not that realistic-looking, as long as they do their job.)

The actual move to the new house is going to be later next week, but I probably won't begin construction on the layout until after Christmas. For this layout, I'm going to follow a lot of the steps Robert Schleicher published in "The HO Model Railroading Handbook" (1998 edition) and those Bachmann Model Railroad Club online magazines.
39  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 04, 2017, 01:29:03 PM
Looking at your layout plan, I hope you're leaving space around the back side to get at any derailments or problem areas.


I plan to put the layout in the center of the area so we can walk around all sides of it.
40  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 03, 2017, 07:02:12 PM
Bought some more track for the impending layout and dropped it off at the new house, and took a picture of the track I will be using for the layout so far. I'm going to need a lot more though...

To be fair, I have compiled a list that tallies how many track sections I need and what I already have, along with structures and action accessories. (I already have a bunch, only new ones I plan to get are the E-Z Track Blinking Bridge and the Walthers Cornerstone Skyview Drive-In Theater.)
41  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: December 03, 2017, 12:45:46 PM
I was in the same situation a few years ago. I had a 4X8 layout with 18" radius. I moved to house with abasement and kept expanding the layout in the basement using 18" and 22" radius. I have gotten larger steam engines and passenger cars that either won't negotiate or look terrible going through the curves.
I am finally biting the bullet and am going to tear every thing down and start completely over with larger curves. I wish I had did this before investing a lot of time and money trying to stay with what was existing.
Don't take offence and this is just a suggestion, but you might want to think about completely redoing your track work now rather than latter since you have the space.

I could, but I mostly have eight-wheel diesel locomotives, along with steamers that run on 18-radius curves just fine, and rolling stock less than 72 scale feet that handle them really well (the longest are my Silver Series Amfleet cars, and they actually run on the curves just fine, even if they look more like Lionel trains when on the curves, but I don't mind that.)
42  Discussion Boards / HO / A new layout for the new house! on: December 02, 2017, 11:48:02 PM
Well, this weekend I got to see the new house my family and I will be moving into! The basement is pretty big and roomy, and I found in the area I'll be working in, there will be enough space for the 12x8' U-shape layout I am planning to build...

The entire layout will reuse my two existing plywood pieces and a new 4x8', with a few inches of extruded insulation foam on top of it, and will mostly be using nickel-silver Bachmann E-Z Track.
I'm already planning on where several action accessories will go, as indicated by some of the "regular" sectional track pieces. The "spaghetti bowl" yard on the top left will include stuff like the TYCO Operating Boxcar and Log Dump Car sets and the Life-Like Coal Tipple, and the TYCO manual piggyback loader/unloader will go on the spur on the bottom of the top inner loop. Near the center section next to a crossing there will be the TYCO Freight Unloading Depot (this time I'm placing it near a straight track line), and opposite of that the track will go over a ravine using Bachmann's E-Z Track Blinking Bridge (I saw one in action at a train show a couple weekends ago, and it appears to now use an LED instead of the old incandescent version.) On the bottom is where I will be setting up the Life-Like Logging Mill and AHM Thunder Mountain Logging Company (yep, I'm going to combine both of them!) The spur next to that using sectional snap-track will be TYCO's Operating Hopper Car unloading area. As for railroad crossings, I will be using a few operating ones, including Bachmann's E-Z Track Crossing Gate, along with TYCO's Crossing Gate and Lighted Signal Crossing. I will feature many different types of structures, including Bachmann Plasticville (of course), along with some others from Walthers, AHM, TYCO, IHC, Life-Like, etc. I'm also going to set up a drive-in theater on the bottom extension of the layout (the Walthers Skyview drive-in kit, which is named after the drive-in theater my hometown of Brockton MA used to have!)

I'm already moving my train stuff into the area where the new layout will be set up in the new house!

So there will be quite an interesting mix of old and new on this layout. I may not start the actual construction until after Christmas though, but at least I've got the exciting planning stages to go through! And it also helps I found a great little hobby shop in Hanson MA, near the bowling alley my brother's bowling team meets at every other Sunday, for me to buy stuff from for this new layout.
43  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: EZ Command Smart Interface on: December 23, 2016, 07:07:08 PM
That's too bad! The idea sure sounded fun.
At least I plan to get a second Bluetooth locomotive for my train layout; running my BNSF E-Z App GP35 has been pretty fun! (BTW, it seems the iOS version of the E-Z App is kind of messed up right now, at least on the iPod Touch.)
44  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Beginning DCC layout on: September 30, 2016, 09:52:14 PM
I've been using the E-Z Command system for over two years now, and it still works great for me.
If you want to start out with a track plan designed to operate more than one train on, I'd look into the old TYCO Layout Expander system. Just build it without all the gaps or additional terminal connections, and you'd have a great DCC layout to start out with! And it can be done in stages too. You can find it here:

(If only Bachmann did something like that in the 70s and 80s, too!)
45  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Amtrak ACS 64 Locomotive on: July 21, 2016, 04:58:50 PM
Finally! Good thing too, as Amtrak has now retired their last AEM-7s, and their only non-Acela electric power is currently the ACS-64s. They sure look cool, and I often see them nowadays when I'm at South Station in Boston.
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