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46  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: May 02, 2015, 03:34:10 PM
Been a while, but I have some updates to share over time...

I got a few new locomotives. First off is one from IHC:

It's their Premier series 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive! If the body looks familiar, IHC reused TYCO's old 2-8-0/Chattanooga steam loco tooling, except it's obviously a much better runner, with a nice flywheel can motor, all-wheel drive, even the tender has electrical pick-up and a headlight on its back! I have since replaced the horn-hooks with knuckle couplers (an E-Z Mate coupler could fit easily into the tender's coupler pocket, but the front pilot required a small-hole coupler, but a Life-Like knuckle coupler did the trick nicely.

Walthers Trainline BNSF GP9M locomotive in the "Heritage I" paint scheme. I bought this at a train show in Wilmington, MA last March, and it even came with a decoder already installed! The previous owner even installed an LED headlight on the front.
As I said, one reason why the BNSF Railway is my line of choice for my model railroad is because, according to Wikipedia, its' assortment of locomotive colors make it one of the most colorful large railroads in North America.

Another Walthers locomotive, but this time it's an Amtrak F40PH in the "Phase III" paint scheme! I've always loved those locomotives in that paint scheme, as I used to see them a lot at South Station (I even remember seeing one pull an MBTA commuter train when I was younger!) It even has Operation Lifesaver markings, as I thought I wouldn't mind having a locomotive with them (I remember seeing an MBTA F40PH once with the Operation Lifesaver logo.)
I went with the Trainline version, for when I eventually install a DCC decoder in it, it's a relatively easy hardwire upgrade (compared to the old Bachmann Spectrum F40PHs!)
The Trainline F40PH is a little more upscale than their GP9M, with a reversing headlight and dual flywheels. There are even detail pieces you can apply (so far I put on the plow thingy, some truck details and the back railing.)

But now that I have more engines and a large layout, my trains seem to struggle a bit. I tried cleaning the track, and wheels on several locomotives, but it appears that the power for my E-Z Command unit may not be enough right now (just one amp.) SO, I ordered the E-Z Command 5-amp booster, since I figured I've had DCC for over a year now and am willing to upgrade it a bit more. (I might get a walk-around companion for it too, so I can have walk-around control and a second throttle.)
47  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Power Supply for Accessories on: May 01, 2015, 12:13:07 AM
I have a DCC layout, so I use several of my spare TYCO and Life-Like power packs (basic kind) for powering my accessories. I have a TYCO pack on my control panel next to my E-Z Command unit for powering the turnouts and TYCO remote-operated accessories (like the log dump car and freight unloading depot), and several more under my train table for the various lighted accessories. I do "group wiring" (have several bare wire ends twisted into the ones going to the power) so several lights/accessories can be powered by a single power pack.

If you do this, you can use just about any conventional train power pack as long as it has AC terminals. Doesn't matter if it's the current Bachmann model, the older ones, A.H.M, Life-Like, Model Power, TYCO, etc. They'll do the trick nicely.
48  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: February 20, 2015, 03:09:45 PM
One of the guys who's also working on this layout got another Bachmann Sound Value locomotive...

A Boston & Maine GP7! It does sound pretty cool. I also like the bell sound on it (the steel EMD bell sound; I frequently hear it on the MBTA F40PH locomotives I almost always see pulling the commuter trains in my area.)
He also has a 2-6-0 Sound Value steam locomotive (Burlington Route.) Pretty neat stuff!

I also got this for the layout. Can't have too many autos, and I've always liked the look of TYCO's signs. The seller also included some Lima-made autos and the Plasticville crossing signals and gates in the box. How nice
For those unfamiliar, TYCOSCENE was a layout board TYCO sold in the 1980s that you could set up your trains on if you didn't want to nail the track down onto plywood or whatever. A few TYCO train sets came with it as well. We plan to get such a layout board for the museum. (Bachmann had a similar layout board included with their "Powerhouse" train set in the 1980s.)

Just a nice view.

The train passing through the railroad crossing.

The temporary setup, again. The real layout is going to be a variation of one of the track plans from Volume II of Bachmann's "Model Railroading Made E-Z" track plan book.
We also peaked at the new Bachmann 2015 catalog online. The owner will order a physical copy of it as well. There's a LOT of stuff in this catalog we may get for this layou, like some more sound-value locomotives, like the upcoming Amtrak GG1 or the Conrail "Heritage" unit. (the CSX sometimes borrows it from NS.)
49  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Bachmann 2015 Catalog on: February 19, 2015, 06:34:58 PM
Ooh, nice! I've been considering buying one of those E-Z App locomotives for my layout (I already have an iPod Touch), probably the Santa Fe Warbonnet model.
And there's a LOT of new stuff we plan to get for the model railroad museum I'm helping out with.
50  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: February 08, 2015, 02:02:36 AM
Well, the real setup will not be going where it currently is now.
And we do have a Bachmann Plus Conrail B23-7 from the mid-90s. Maybe we could stencil "CSX" underneath or something.
And as for that split thing, I noticed how Conrail and NS's GE Dash-style wide-cab diesels have the headlights placed above the cab windows instead of on the nose. I guess it's a matter of preference. It also makes it very easy to tell if a CSX wide-cab GE locomotive is an ex-Conrail unit, like this:
51  Discussion Boards / HO / New HO layout for the local model train museum! on: February 07, 2015, 09:30:59 PM
Now before I begin, there's gonna be a LOT of Bachmann stuff involved in this layout, thus making it perfect to share here!

For some who don't know, I volunteer at a hobby shop in Brockton, MA (Hogie's Hobbies), and the owner is setting up a museum in his shop. Me and a few other volunteers will be putting together an HO-scale layout for this museum! There will be plenty of Bachmann stuff, as the shop is an authorized Bachmann dealer. So far we'll be starting with a large L-shape framework that will get bigger in size over time. For now we have this temporary setup:

It's pretty neat, I will say.

I recently got this for the museum. Bachmann sold this pack in the early 80s, and it was a pretty interesting idea to do so. We can display the box as a museum exhibit, and use the structures on the layout! Two birds with one stone!

Currently we're running the "Thoroughbred" train set on this temporary layout. Mr. Hogan usually sells this since the Norfolk Southern runs in the New England area. He's also planning to sell Bachmann's new "Coastliner" train set, because the freight trains running through our area are typically pulled by CSX GP40 locomotives, like the set has:

(The MBTA owns the track line running through Brockton, but CSX runs the freight trains on the route, taking it over from Conrail.)

Walthers Cornerstone Merchant's Row I, Bachmann dual crossing gates, and a TYCO/Pola Howard Johnson's building! (We got this because of how Brockton used to have a Howard Johnson's restaurant.)

The real layout will be built using E-Z Track, with 22" radius curves for the outer oval. We also plan to get Bachmann's "Digital Commander" train set to start it up, so we can have a DCC unit and a couple of decoder-equipped locomotives to get started. Anyone who's volunteering can bring their own equipment to run as well. (I have some Amtrak stuff I think would look good on the layout.) Since the owner is also into vintage model train stuff, you can expect to see quite a bit of vintage Bachmann stuff on the layout (along with A.H.M., TYCO, etc.)

I'll post more updates as I go along.
52  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 15, 2015, 05:31:53 PM
Great layout Wiley, what do you think of your Proto with the LL8 in it? I've been using DH165LO, but thought about trying the LL8.

So far it's pretty good. The headlights are the originals that came with the locomotive, and work really well with the decoder, so I don't have to replace any bulbs as the locomotive's instruction sheet described!
53  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 07, 2015, 10:16:00 PM
Here are some more updates!

My Proto 2000 GP9 now has a DCC decoder in it! (I used a TCS LL8 decoder; it was a pretty easy plug-and-play install job.)

The classic Pola "Aunt Millie's House" building kit (TYCO version.) I'm using this as a farmhouse for the layout's farm.

The town library so far. This is a Bachmann Plasticville Silver Series kit (sold in the mid-to-late 1990s), which claims to be more detailed than the "regular" Plasticville kits. I may do some painting and detailing to it on my own soon.

The residental area of my layout in its current state.

I've also now put the Bachmann "action caboose" loading platform here.
54  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann ez track auto crossing gate on: January 07, 2015, 09:34:07 PM
Or you could also get one of the older versions of Bachmann's crossing gate from the 70s to the 90s, like this:

They come rather cheap on eBay. The piece you're looking for is the same on both versions. And the older crossing gate can be handy for spare parts. In fact, the new E-Z Track version of the crossing gate is nearly identical to the original version here, just with the E-Z track alignment tabs (though the box says it could also be used with other track brands), nickel-silver rails, and more prototypical colors on the signals and gates.
55  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 04, 2015, 07:01:02 PM

Still hoping for a reply.

Always had good luck cleaning loco wheels spraying some WD40 or PB Blaster on a paper towel, put the towel on the tracks and run one set of wheels then the other on the towel while the other set is powered by the track.  Easy to see how much gunk is removed by the amount on the paper towel.
Do you know how much the wheel cleaning device costs, if I may ask?  Cost of the cars, as well?  And do you bother to put coupler boxes on the cars?

Let's see, the wire on the terminal joiners are gauge #22.
The Roto Wheel Cleaner device is $30, which is a real bargain to me. Though to get power, you use the included alligator clips and attach them to either the track or the DC terminals of a power pack (I find my spare TYCO power packs to do the trick nicely; you can't have too many of them, and I find them useful for powering lights on my layout in different areas.)
The cars can vary at cost. I also got this lot at a thrift store yesterday; cost me all $25.

Not a bad bargain! I'll probably be saving the hopper unloading set for a future layout or something, but I like how it can operate without electricity. It actually dates back to 1964, from the days when TYCO was a division of Mantua. (In fact, the unloader itself says "MANTUA COAL CO." on it!)

I haven't tried coupler boxes yet; I'd need a lot of screws and the appropriate drill bits to try it out, but I am considering trying it out with one of my TYCO Amtrak cars.
56  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 04, 2015, 12:31:24 AM
Recently bought some more stuff for the layout...

TYCO chrome Shell tank car. It may not be prototypical, but it sure looks cool! I've already swapped out the horn-hooks for knuckle couplers. I also like the separate details on it.

Again, not very prototypical but what can I say? It's Conrail! (I say this because Conrail used to own the tracks running through Brockton before the MBTA bought the line; freight services here are now done by CSX.)

Bachmann tri-level car transporter. I don't plan to run it on my layout because it is pretty long; I just think it looks cool and makes a great display piece. These were made from 1976 to at least 1997. It would be neat if Bachmann started making these again!

This I got for Christmas; a Woodland Scenics Tidy Track roto-wheel cleaner! Handy for cleaning my locomotive wheels!

Life-Like moped dealership!

A couple of my freight trains in action.

Overview as of today.
57  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: adding a smoke unit on: December 29, 2014, 10:52:53 PM
Yep, I remember when I got my Bachmann Plus Santa Fe Consolidation steam locomotive, the others said the smoke unit was a bad idea, so I eventually removed it. For a while it did look pretty neat!
58  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: bachmann to tyco couplers/controllers on: December 29, 2014, 10:26:59 PM
They are designed to be direct replacements for the horn-hooks with the small mounting hole use in old Bachmann, Tyco, Life-Like, etc. cars with talgo mounted horn-hook couplers. For Tyco, and a couple of others, you need to clip 1/16" - 1/8" off the end of the whiskers to fit the coupler box correctly and not bind.


Yep, I learned that was the case for TYCO and the Hong Kong-made Life-Like cars. For A.H.M., newer Life-Like and I.H.C. cars you don't need to do any trimming. Though I haven't really been able to install them on the old Bachmann cars yet; their horn-hook couplers have an odd-sized hole that's held in by a screw.

I remember another problem serious model railroaders have with TYCO's freight cars is how some came in fictional brand names and such. The only one I have for layout use is a Baby Ruth reefer, like this:

Though to be fair, during this time Bachmann also had similar cars showing off brands like that. But that was when TYCO was one of Bachmann's biggest rivals.
59  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: bachmann to tyco couplers/controllers on: December 28, 2014, 09:36:58 PM
The original poster mentioned having "powerful" TYCO locomotives. What kind were they? Most TYCO diesels made until 1975 came with the Mantua MU-2 truck-mount drive, which was a pretty good motor. TYCO diesels and any newly-released steam engines (like their Chattanooga ones of the time) had their PowerTorque motor, which was a crummy pancake motor (sort of like the pancake motors seen on older Bachmann locomotives) that was famous for being rather unreliable. In other words, the PowerTorque drive apparently killed TYCO's model train business.
I do like TYCO's rolling stock. I've upgraded most of them with knuckle couplers, either using the Life-Like ones, or by using E-Z Mate couplers with Kadee talgo truck adapters. Whichever one is used, the whiskers do need a bit of trimming on the ends so they will fit nicely into those Hong Kong-made talgo coupler pockets. A few of them I've even upgraded to metal wheels, and it's made quite a difference.
60  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 25, 2014, 03:52:18 PM
Merry Christmas from Roundpost Junction! Here are my Pola/Walthers Trackside Maintenance buildings I got... (A.H.M. and TYCO also used to sell them)

And of course my Christmas train on its' last day of operation for the year.
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