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61  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 18, 2016, 06:58:30 PM
You do anything yet with those filled in step rails?  Buy anymore freight cars like that?  Do you like rolling stock with molded in roof walks?

Yeah, sometimes I don't mind them. It might just be me, but when it comes to separate details like those, I usually seem to prefer them on locomotives rather than freight cars. Older rolling stock (from firms like AHM, Bachmann, IHC, Life-Like, TYCO, etc.) can still be run very well today, especially if the horn-hooks are replaced with knuckle couplers, and with a bit of weathering and any separate details that can be added if desired, they'd look amazing. Though at one time, those companies did offer un-prototypical colors (remember TYCO's crazy boxcars and hopper cars with logos like Baby Ruth, Kellogg's, Old Dutch Cleanser, Pepsi, Jell-O, etc?) I do have a few, but mostly for collecting purposes; for running on my layout, I prefer rolling stock of prototypical railroads and such. For a while, I had a train on my layout that, aside from the locomotive (usually a modern Bachmann or Walthers one) and caboose (again, Bachmann or Walthers), all the rolling stock was TYCO!

BTW, I just ordered one of those Bluetooth "E-Z App" locomotives; not surprisingly, I went for the BNSF GP35. If that all goes well, maybe I'll get the Santa Fe FT or RS-3 as well. I seem to also recall hearing somewhere Bachmann will be making plug-in E-Z App Bluetooth decoders for use in DCC-ready locomotives. If that's the case, I can then probably have myself a nice Bluetooth-equipped Amtrak locomotive! (either an F40PH or a "Genesis" P42.)
62  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: January 18, 2016, 02:39:06 PM
First updates of 2016!

A Walthers Trainline Santa Fe boxcar I got for Christmas.

I also got this Life-Like container flatcar recently. Surprised I never had one of these yet!

Winter break is over, and the school is back in session...

I had put some more new figures on the farm.

I've been installing a bit more fencing for one of the houses and the library. It's a Bachmann picket fence kit. Bachmann has been making it since the '80s.

A couple action shots of one of the freight trains on my layout.

The current consist for this freight train, pulled by a Bachmann blue/yellow Santa Fe GP40.
I may soon be getting one of those E-Z App Bluetooth-controlled locomotives; probably the BNSF GP35.
63  Discussion Boards / E-Z App / Re: E-Z App First Impressions on: January 05, 2016, 10:36:29 PM
I'm planning on getting one of those E-Z App locomotives for my layout; probably the BNSF GP35.
64  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 25, 2015, 05:09:07 PM

Yes, I know they were.  Do you like them looking like that?  Did you know you can change the look?

I'm planning to weather many of them soon.

Anyways, here's some Christmas updates!
Here are some Christmas Day updates!

Last night, Santa Claus was sighted preparing to climb down this chimney, except there was no sleigh anywhere. So what's going on? Some say it really was Santa, but he didn't use his sleigh this year due to very little places getting snow this Christmas. And other say it's the father of the family living in that house, dressed up as Santa to go down the chimney and put the presents under the tree!

One of the things I got for Christmas this year were a few of these wind turbines for the train layout. I got three, but so far I might just stick one or two on the layout.

I also got some sidewalks that I have laid in the downtown area!

Another angle of the wind turbines. Unfortunately, they won't stay up on their own, even if I tried gluing them onto the platform. They fell over after I took this pic; I will find another way to keep them standing.

The stock pen with a couple of the new Walthers Scenemaster farm people figures I got.

The Christmas train passing through town, of course...
65  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 24, 2015, 01:14:14 AM
I had asked if your Mehano car had filled in step rails.

Yeah it does; sorry I didn't initially respond. Those freight cars were meant to be kind of lower-end, as they were also included in the later TYCO train sets when they began using Mehano-made equipment. (Early 90s TYCO sets could come with Mehano's EMD F9, Alco FA, C430 or even C628, while their Chattanooga set used a modified Mikado 2-8-2 with the front and back trailing wheels removed to make an 0-8-0.)
66  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: December 23, 2015, 07:13:59 PM
Some more updates, in time for the holidays!

The train station has its' Christmas roof added...

I've placed the town tree near the church...

And my Christmas train is all set up!

Here's a neat sight; my steam-powered Christmas train passes a modern Amtrak train; something you probably wouldn't see in real life!

The Amtrak train stopping at the Christmas-decorated train station.

Just another shot of the residential area...

A shot of one of the BNSF freight trains waiting for the Christmas train to pass.

People waiting at the crossings are definitely surprised to see live reindeer in the stock car!
67  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: new to hear old school on: December 23, 2015, 06:14:17 PM
Oh yes, Bachmann's base-line locomotives today are MUCH better than they were 30 years ago. And many of the older ones, like the GP40, FT, E60CP, SD40-2, DD40AX, and several of their steam engines have been available for a long time, but are now in new and improved models. My BNSF DCC GP40-2 locomotive even has dual flywheels, and the included diagram doesn't show any!
I recall Bachmann first began making high-quality locomotives with the Spectrum line in 1988, and then the Bachmann Plus line in 1992 (some of those Plus locomotives, like the F7, GP35, and the GS 4-8-4 steamers, are still being made but now basically as part of the main Bachmann line.) I also remember by the mid-90s, their older low-quality diesel locomotives with the pancake motors, traction tires, etc. were only being sold in train sets, and then in the late 90s they began to improve on them (such as using can motors and all-wheel drive).

A lot of Bachmann's rolling stock of the past is still being made today, but with body-mount knuckle couplers, and metal wheels when sold separately in the Silver Series. And of course, many of their classic Plasticville building kits and accessories have been around for decades, and their "operating accessories" date back to the 70s. In fact, Bachmann is bringing back their classic "blinking bridge," but designed for use with E-Z Track!
68  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Overproduced models on: December 07, 2015, 12:44:29 AM
It's worth mentioning some of the locomotives Bachmann currently makes in HO scale have been around for decades...

The DeWitt Clinton set has also been around for decades; first appearing in the 1982 Bachmann catalog. Even the packaging looks very similar as it did back then!
The "American" 4-4-0 steam locomotives have been made as early as 1976, but over time, they were improved, and the ones made today are much better than the ones made almost 40 years ago.
The Northern and GS4 4-8-4 steam locomotives have been made since the mid-to-late '70s, and also came with simple pancake motors and traction tires initially. In 1992, they became "Bachmann Plus" models and were improved greatly, similar to how they are currently produced.
The Prairie 2-6-2s have been made since the '80s, and the USRA 0-6-0s have also been made since the '70s.  One curious example is the "Smoky Mountain Express" locomotive; that was originally made for a train set Bachmann first began making in the early '90s. Although the set isn't made anymore, they still continue to make the locomotive...
The E60CP locomotives have been made since the late '70s. Even long after Amtrak retired the real ones, Bachmann continued making them. Of course, today's models come with higher-quality motors and DCC, compared the ones from the past.
The DD40AX first appeared in Bachmann's catalog in 1980. It came with a blinking warning light, and some models had an operating diesel horn (IDK how good it sounded, though), due to its' long size. But it still had a cheap pancake motor for its' power. It was discontinued in the mid-90s, when Bachmann began to phase out those low-quality locomotives being sold outside of train sets. A Spectrum version soon appeared in the late '90s, and was a big improvement. It even came with dual motors, just like the real thing. Recently, Bachmann brought the DD40AX back into the standard line, but still similar to the Spectrum version in terms of quality. And when Bachmann began making sound-equipped DCC locomotives, what was the first diesel to come with a sound module? Again, this was clearly due to the long length of the DD40AX. In all this, I am surprised they have not modeled 6936 yet (the only one the UP currently operates, mainly for special trains; all the others were retired as they were getting to expensive to maintain, and they used a lot of fuel.)
The GP50 first came out in the '80s, but other than upgrading them with knuckle couplers, all-wheel drive and can motors, they haven't changed that much, and are only in Norfolk Southern-related railroad names (probably because in real life, they were the only roads to run GP50s.)
The GP40 has been in Bachmann's product line since they began making HO-scale locomotives in 1970! Over time, they've been upgraded with improved motors, all-wheel drive, knuckle-couplers, etc. Today they have more nicely-detailed shells, and even dual-flywheel can motors, and you can even get DCC sound-equipped models as well.
The SD40-2 first appeared in Bachmann's catalog in 1983. The early versions came with a reversing headlight, which was rare on consumer HO locomotives at the time, and a blinking warning light. Today's SD40-2s have seen the same improvements as the GP40s have, and are much better than the ones made 30 years ago.
The GP35 is a former Bachmann Plus model, introduced in 1993. For a while, it was sold as a Spectrum locomotive as well, before being placed in the standard line (though still Plus-quality.) Another former Bachmann Plus model currently being made today is the F7 A and B diesels, which even come in sound-equipped versions.
The GP30 was first introduced in 1980; again, it has been upgraded as an improved model.
69  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 22, 2015, 09:44:52 PM
Some more updates, especially since I've been to the November Greenberg's Train and Toy Show...

Installing knuckle couplers on some new rolling stock I bought...

Today I bought a Bachmann Deleware & Hudson hopper, an IHC/Mehano Railbox 50-ft boxcar (like TYCO sold in some of their later train sets), and a Walthers Trainline Santa Fe hopper and BNSF wide-vision caboose!

I also installed a second Walthers traffic light at my main intersection, and also hooked up a Walthers traffic signal controller. It took hours or trial and error to get it working properly, but so far it looks great. Here's a video of it in action...

Just a couple shots showing my new Bachmann "Train Crew" figures. Bachmann has been making these since 1979.

The Walthers Santa Fe hopper. I know AHM and Life-Like also made similar ones in the past. It may not be that prototypical, but I will say it does look cool. Maybe with a bit of weathering it would look even better.
70  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 12, 2015, 07:59:27 PM
More updates!

I got a new locomotive this week! An Athearn ready-to-roll Amtrak P42 "Genesis" diesel in Phase III! Today I installed a decoder in it, and it was quite a pain at first; the "dummy" plug was stuck into the DCC harness pretty tight, and then a wire got pulled out by accident and needed to be re-attached, and then a couple of the motor wires got tangled in one of the shafts! But after fixing all that, it runs pretty well now.

Here's the Woodland Scenics painter and van I got for my birthday set up on my layout...

Parked on my isolated siding is my Mantua Classics BN GP20 locomotive with the TYCO crane car and boom tender.

Even in my town, the school buses must stop at railroad crossings before going over the tracks! (After all, that's what the Schoolhouse Rock bill was for!)

A freight train stopping at the TYCO freight station...

The full Amtrak train, powered by my Amtrak Genesis locomotive. I will say even though the TYCO and Life-Like cars don't look that prototypical, at least having a prototypical locomotive like the Genesis pull the cars looks better than having TYCO's Amtrak F9 or GG1 pulling them!

I already have two of the Walthers Cornerstone electrical towers built. I may even string some thread on them to simulate the power lines.

A couple of overviews of my trains...
71  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout! on: November 03, 2015, 10:54:38 PM
Here's some more updates, including new stuff I bought at a train show in Randolph this past Sunday (they moved from Brockton)...

An AHM Rio Grande gondola car. I already swapped out the horn-hooks with Life-Like knuckle couplers, though I did have to fix one of the coupler pocket covers...

I also got a TYCO Durango-style stock car. On this one, I used E-Z Mate Mark II couplers.

Another TYCO Santa Fe boxcar, this time the red El Capitan 50-foot car.

Another long-distance Amtrak passenger train of sorts; this one I kind of based off the 1954 Encyclopedia Britannica documentary film "The Passenger Train."

A Model Power railroad signal.

I've even let K-O, the Brockton Rox kangaroo, play with my model train layout! Wink
72  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.
73  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.
74  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.)
75  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...
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