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61  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.
62  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 25, 2014, 12:15:21 AM
How's that conductive goop been working on the rail joiners?

You mean the liquid solder substitute? I used it when hard-wiring two of my Walthers Dash 8-40BWs with TCS T1 decoders, and it worked pretty well, but maybe it's because those Trainline Dash 8s are a pretty easy hardwire install job. I've never tried it on rail joiners and don't plan to, as I already have a nice set of terminal joiners on my layout providing power. They're the new Life-Like ones, as they've got slightly thicker wires than the Atlas ones, and seem a little more efficient at supplying power. Now I just need to get the booster unit, or would that be unnecessary for a layout my size when I'm only running two or three locomotives at the same time?
63  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 24, 2014, 10:13:40 PM
JJ, Big Bad Wolf/wiley is running DCC now Roll Eyes

JimJim probably just read one of my early posts in this thread, before I bought the E-Z Command unit set.
When I built the layout, I originally planned to have two blocks with the TYCO blocking control, but then I decided not to and set it up as single-train operation initially, since I knew I would eventually upgrade to DCC, and did not want to go through the hassle of removing all those wires and insulated joiners once I did so. Plus, going with the E-Z Command control that includes a decoder-equipped locomotive made it very easy for me to get started with DCC right away.
It also helped that I researched about it in advance, like in Robert Schleicher's "101 Projects For Your Model Railroad" and "The HO Model Railroading Handbook" (1998 edition). The more I read about DCC, the more I wanted to give it a shot! And I am glad I did.
Now I just need to buy a decoder for my Proto 2000 Santa Fe GP9 (at least it's DCC-ready!)
64  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 24, 2014, 05:10:13 PM
Well, it's Christmas Eve, and things are getting busy on my layout, especially at the church!

Yep, got the Walthers Scenemaster Christmas figures (made by Noch) to use for the holidays.

Santa Claus is spotted delivering presents! But since there's no snow, it means no sleigh. So how DID Santa get there? Or is it just an impostor?
65  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 21, 2014, 11:31:22 PM
Now it's looking more like Christmas on my layout!

My Christmas train! The consist: Bachmann DCC-equipped Santa Fe FTA locomotive, TYCO/Mantua "Season's Greetings" boxcar, TYCO 50th Anniversay boxcar, A.H.M. 1979 holiday boxcar, Bachmann animated reindeer stock car, Life-Like christmas tree gondola car, and Bachmann wide-vision caboose.

The church at Christmastime.

Another Santa can be found at the drug store!

I've also modified my IHC/Mehano Santa Fe Mikado steam engine and made it into a Consolidation, as the rear trailing wheels were rather troublesome.
66  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: good dcc starter pack on: December 07, 2014, 12:36:51 AM
If you want to go the train set route, I would recommend Bachmann's "Digital Commander" train set. It comes with two DCC-equipped locomotives so you can immediately take advantage of the technology. It comes with a 56x38" oval of nickel-silver E-Z track with a small stub-end siding, and it can be expanded with additional E-Z track to make a variety of layout plans.

Since I was upgrading an existing layout of mine to DCC, I went with one of those E-Z Command packs that includes the control system and a decoder-equipped locomotive (naturally I went with the BNSF version). I've been happily running DCC trains for almost eight months and I've been happy with it. (Bought some more decoder-equipped engines and upgraded a few existing analog ones.)
67  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 22, 2014, 05:26:39 PM
Why?  Thinking of switching to O scale?

No, but I noticed it wasn't on Lionel's website, and that made me curious because usually Lionel action cars and accessories stay out for a LONG time.
Turns out the O-gauge Lionel Rodeo Car was only made from 1962 to 1969. Fascinating... maybe that's why Bachmann decided to start making one?

Though I'm thinking some day when I get my own place, I may have both an HO layout and a Lionel "toy train" layout as well.
68  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 22, 2014, 10:53:12 AM
W, if you are asking about LIONEL HO, they've long since stopped selling/making HO freight cars.  There is a  Bachmann connection though-at the time, the same factory producing cars for Bachmann, also produced some for LIONEL.

Of course, if you hanker for "rare" "vintage" "hard to find" LIONEL HO cars, you can always find them for exorbitant prices on Flea Bay.

Yes, but I meant Lionel making the horse car in O scale.
69  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 21, 2014, 11:53:26 PM
Got a cool new piece of rolling stock today...

Bachmann's animated horse car! Not surprisingly, it was in "Silver Series" packaging. It's very reminiscent of Lionel's old horse car (do they even make it anymore?) Almost like something Bachmann would've made in the 1970s or 1980s, but with much better wheels and couplers! (Or maybe TYCO would've beaten them to it?)

Here it is on one of my trains.

Signs of Christmas are starting to show up on my layout too! The town tree was set up next to the church.

The downtown train station has been decorated for the holiday now, too!

My Christmas train so far.
70  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Building an E-Z track layout on: November 21, 2014, 01:25:55 AM
Nice retro bridge and trestle there! Who made that one: AHM, Life-Like, Model Power, TYCO or Walthers?

I'm also working on an E-Z Track layout for the local hobby shop's museum.
71  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 09, 2014, 11:08:52 AM
It's also worth noting that back in the '60s and early '70s, TYCO's locomotives were pretty decent. They had good motors (the diesels typically had Mantua's MU-2 drive) and could be solid runners. Only when TYCO was sold to Consolidated Foods Company and they came out with that crummy PowerTorque motor was when they began to go downhill. (From the mid '70s onward, TYCO's locomotives were a lot like the older Bachmann ones from the '70s and '80s, if not worse.) But they still offered a bunch of cool accessories and building kits, and quite a bit of their rolling stock looked cool too. Had I been running a model railroad in the late '70s or early '80s, I probably would've started with a Bachmann or TYCO set like that, but eventually get a better-quality locomotive for it, very much like with my model railroading.
72  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 08, 2014, 10:14:48 PM
A few more updates!

What's a layout with classic operating accessories without a log dump car? This is TYCO's version, made from 1968 to 1982, which operates electrically via remote control (like Lionel's version.) Mine is dated from at least 1978.

A few of my current train consists.

I removed that small siding that wasn't getting any use; plus it made for a cumbersome arrangement at the railroad crossing there. I'm going to get a couple of crossing signal controllers from Logic Rail Tech, and power a couple of my crossings this way (the one pictured, and another one using Model Power crossing signals.)

I got a new Life-Like Town Church building kit too! The old church was looking pretty crummy, like an old run-down building (it was one of the first building kits I attempted to assemble myself as a kid), so I figured it was due for a replacement. It's just the right kind of church for my community.

TYCO traffic light I just installed on my layout. I don't know if I'll wire it up yet, but it does look pretty cool. It even has a metal mast! I believe it has a small blinking incandescent bulb in it; it wouldn't actually sequence like a real traffic light.

Overview of the layout with that small siding removed.
73  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bridges and ez track on: November 08, 2014, 09:50:32 PM
I remember from 1978 until 1996, Bachmann had a blinking bridge and trestle set for HO-gauge...

The track was built right onto the bridge. First offered with brass rails, then with steel. No nickel-silver version was made, unfortunately. It could be used on an E-Z Track layout by connecting it to two sections with the connector-tabs removed.
74  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 03, 2014, 12:45:01 AM

You always have something new. Will you ever run out of space?

Your streamlined cabooses aren't actually streamlined. That's just the industrial look the Pennsylvania Railroad adopted.

Yeah, I don't have much space for new buildings now.
As for the cabooses, the 1970s TYCO catalogs call them "streamlined."  Roll Eyes

Well, I went to a model train show and picked up some good stuff today, including my first Proto 2000 locomotive!

Those who say Life-Like is cheap apparently was not including the Proto locomotives. Look at all that detail! It's even DCC-ready! (I just need to find the right decoder to plug into it... would a Bachmann decoder work?)
I also got an older Athearn SW-9 diesel, also in Santa Fe colors (naturally.)

TYCO Tru-Steel lighted bumper track section from the late '70s or early '80s. I think Bachmann should make a lighted version of their Hayes bumpers; they're especially handy when you have an isolated siding so you can know whether it's powered on or not. (I know Atlas also used to make lighted bumpers, and Life-Like currently makes steel and nickel-silver versions for conventional track. I'm not sure if MRC will bring back Model Power's lighted bumpers though.)
75  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 01, 2014, 09:12:07 PM
Some updates, including a new locomotive!

Mehano/IHC 2-8-2 Mikado in Santa Fe livery. This is the later version that had an improved flywheel motor, and the tender even had a knuckle coupler as default! (No having to do a coupler upgrade among getting it; yippee!) I wound up removing the front wheels though, as they were derailing on the turnouts, making it somewhat like some Mikados that were re-purposed for switcher use in real life. Very nice runner though! This was sold in IHC's "Premier" series. It's not DCC-ready, and though an upgrade is possible, I don't plan to put a decoder in it for the time being.

My Life-Like Proto 1000 F3A. As I said, these are also very nice runners, and this one is also DCC-equipped. Think of these as being Life-Like's answer to the Bachmann Plus and Silver Series lines. I think Walthers is bringing these back in the Walthers Proto line really soon (if they haven't already.)

Check out these two streamlined cupola cabooses. On the right is the classic TYCO version (upgraded with metal wheels and knuckle couplers by yours truly.) On the left is the later version made by Mehano and often sold by IHC (and included in later TYCO train sets.) This one also has metal wheels, but they were upgraded by the seller (bought it off eBay from ggnlars, the seller that often sells older rolling stock upgraded with metal wheels and knuckle couplers.)

I also now have the TYCO lighted signal crossing set up on my layout, replacing the TYCO signal man. Sure, the lights do alternate rather fast, but it's MUCH better than Bachmann's old "dual crossing gates with flashing lights and bell" from the '80s and '90s! (No motor noise, as the bell is clockwork-operated, triggered by a pressure sensor like the kind on Bachmann and TYCO's crossing gates.)

These two trains look straight out of the 1940s or 1950s!
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