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4351  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Support Your LOCAL hobby shop? on: March 30, 2009, 04:59:29 PM
i have a somewhat different take on the local hobby shop. i have friends who have tried to keep afloat running a local shop......

first of all, regarding prices. the big boys, trainworld, mb kleins and their ilk, are selling their stuff for less than the wholesale price my friend can get that item for. how do you compete with that?

another thing to consider. most people will buy their major purchases online, yet when they need locomotive parts or screws or some other thing the big boys refuse to stock they turn to the local dealer they snubbed for the big stuff. you can't make a living selling spare parts. also, if you ever want to install signals on your layout, just try mail ordering them. any dealer who sells them online is probebly not going to discount them enough to cover shipping.....

i try to support those dealers who will have what i need, or order it for me.....
4352  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 'Ballasting' track on: March 30, 2009, 04:34:44 PM
oh, one thing nobody has mentioned but is ALWAYS a good idea. make sure your track power is turned off, especially with dcc, which has power on the rails at all times. water & electricity don't play well together.....
4353  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Mixing raidiai on: March 30, 2009, 10:07:56 AM
the tight radius issue with flex track can be easily resolved with track guages from ribbonrail. these are metal and designed to fit between the rails of your track. they come in a variety of radii, you don't need a whole set just the radii you intend to use. by using these you can be sure that your 18" radius curves are in fact 18" with no kinks.
4354  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 'Ballasting' track on: March 30, 2009, 09:58:42 AM
i have never been able to have any luck with the dish detergent method either. i use the same 50-50 white glue-water mix as most people, but i presoak the ballast with rubbing alcohol  applied with an eyedropper. the glue is then applied from a glue bottle. the alcohol causes the glue to spread the way it should, and i flood the ballast until i can actually see the glue between the grains of ballast.

an alternate method, which works well for handlaid track, and will work for other track if you work quickly, is to paint the white glue and water mix directly onto the roadbed BEFORE you lay the track. once the track is down, you ballast before the glue dries. any touch up work can be done later by the first method i mentioned.
4355  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: What Brand Turnouts for track on roadbed - NOT EZ Track on: March 28, 2009, 12:45:17 PM
Have you ever seen the yard he made? Bronx terminal. If you go down the page, you'll see a next section marker. All pictures can be enlarged. Great site, details and ideas. For instance, Using easy off oven cleaner to remove paint from models, safe for plastic.

that is incredible. i wouldn't have the patience to custom build something that intricate. would like to see how he intends to gap all those rails, and where he is going to put his power feeders.
4356  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO Round Table or Transfer Table Which Way to Go? on: March 25, 2009, 08:12:57 PM
transfer tables are usually in heavy repair shop facilities where space is at a premium.
turntable were used in many servicing facilities, and still are in many of the larger facilities.

4357  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Tree Sizes on: March 25, 2009, 06:56:24 PM
since you know what size of tree you want, just buy that size. trees vary in size in different areas, and they vary in shape as well. i know for a fact woodland scenics makes tree kits in a variety of sizes.......
4358  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: great places to visit on: March 25, 2009, 09:37:56 AM
if you are in the area of the east broad top, there are 3 places relatively close you should check out.

1. altoona. railroaders museum AND horseshoe curve. nuff said.

2 cumberland, md. home of the western maryland scenic railroad. uses a 2-8-0 steamer and 2 western maryland gp30s.

3. romney, wv the potomac eagle runs excursions through a spectacular mountain gorge using a c&o fp7.

altoona and cumberland are also home to large locomotive shops and cumberland also has a hump yard.
4359  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: What Brand Turnouts for track on roadbed - NOT EZ Track on: March 24, 2009, 11:21:52 PM
ya got me.
4360  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: do you know on: March 24, 2009, 11:19:14 PM
roscoe snyder & pacific
pacific great eastern
atlantic & pacific (an erie predecessor)
ohio southern (not jim hediger's layout, this os is a part of ohio central.)
west virginia southern
grand trunk pacific (a CN predecessor)
missouri pacific
texas & pacific
border pacific
4361  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: First Turnouts, Now Switches - Who do you prefer? on: March 24, 2009, 11:06:58 PM
because i make my own track, my switchpoints tend to need alot of effort to move. i have used older twin coil type switch motors like kemtron or nj, but those are no longer made. the tortoise, made by circuitron, has the power i need and is ultra reliable as well.

as important as the brand name is the type of switch motor. i prefer those that mount under the table. they are a bit more work to install, but look much better
4362  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Decoder Problems on: March 24, 2009, 09:40:32 AM
part of the problem is that for some reason, digitrax command stations do not like lenz based decoders like the ones in the bachmann locomotives. i have a digitrax zephyr which can read back cvs while on the programming track. it is hit or miss with programming lenz type decoders. i have tried the workaround solution of a 1k ohm resistor across the rails of the programming track but it is still hit or miss. other dcc systems don't seem to have this problem, and i now let a friend programmy bachmann locomotives for me.

the irony is that the nmra standards for dcc are based on the lenz system. why digitrax chose not to go that route is beyond me.

if i am not mistaken, 3 is the factory default address on a decoder.
4363  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Start of a fresh layout on: March 24, 2009, 09:29:19 AM
quick question: is that an atlas turntable? if so you may still need an autoreverse unit as the turntable rails automaticly change polarity about halfway through the rotation. you can use an ohm meter or continuity tester to check exactly where this occurs.
4364  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Athearn GE U30-C not running on: March 24, 2009, 09:26:10 AM
athearn locomotives were about the most reliable in their heyday, the 1970s and early 1980s. all locomotives back then had their issues, but only atlas came close to the overall performance of an athearn. they are simple to work on, durable, and seem to have 9 lives....ernst made a regear kit for them which slowed them down to about 40 scale mph. like i mentioned before, they were the backbone of my fleet at one time, most of the other makes i owned were parked i liked the athearns that much......

i think it says alot that:
1. athearn locomotives are still running after 30 or more years of service.
2. the quality of locomotives to-day is such that older athearns are no longer considered to be among the best.
3. to this day, if you write to athearn they will send you parts diagrams for locomotives that they stopped producing years ago.
4. they still have enough value that other companies still make after market parts for them.
5. the overall design was sound enough that walthers, stewart, lifelike and possibly others produced locomotives on athearn clone drives. the parts from these were interchangeable with athearn....

my dad and i ran the wheels off our respective fleets, and they sure earned their keep. i also worked for a time for a model railroad display and the athearns we had ran for about 10 hours a day 7 days a week when we were set up. we were constantly repairing other makes, while the athearns ruled the road.....
4365  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: What Brand Turnouts for track on roadbed - NOT EZ Track on: March 24, 2009, 09:02:14 AM
i agree that the handlaid ones are the cheapest. it isn't hard to make your own. in fact, my cost of materials is well under $5 apiece. if you intend on building a sizeable number of them, you might want to invest in a jig from fast tracks.

even if you don't want to buy a jig from them, they have templates you can print out on their site wich take the guesswork out of building track.....

for ties, you can buy them precut, but i make mine from matchstick, which cost next to nothing
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