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Author Topic: New to Trains  (Read 11401 times)
Chuck N

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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2015, 07:45:58 AM »

My recommendation if you think you want aluminum rails is to do some checking on other large scale forum sites.  i use There are as many detractors and there are supporters.  Yes, it is inexpensive, but some have reported electrical conductivity problems--rail to rail and rail to engine.

It is ideal for live steam and battery, but the problems have come with track power.

Aluminum metal is an excellent conductor,  the problem comes when the metal is exposed to air.  aluminum metal loves oxygen.  Aluminum oxide forms almost instantly.  That is why soldering and welding it requires special procedures.  Aluminum oxide is an insulator.


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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2015, 01:32:06 PM »

Various track materials have their pluses and mines.  Aluminum is relatively inexpensive but as pointed out the oxide is non-conductive.  It is also softer material and stepping on it can put a kink or dent in it.  Again as pointed out, very popular for battery and live steam.

Brass in a pretty good all around compromise between conductivity and cleaning. 

If you are not into cleaning track much then stainless steel is probably the best.  Virtually no cleaning involved.  It is overall less conductive than the above materials so long runs require more feeders.  It is also very robust rail.

The Aniversary or Annies are good starters and will squeeze around something less that 8ft diameter.  I still have one stuffed away someplace in the closet.  Poor thing, but I have no doubt it would still run. 

On a different note, America and the UK primarily use what is called the Whyte system for designation of steam locomotives.

Thus a 4-6-0 would be a four wheel lead truck, six driven wheels and no trailing wheels.

In Europe this would be a 2-C-0.  They count the axles with numbers being non-driven and letters being driven axles.

Bachmann's excellent out of production mallet (named after the inventor) is a 2-6-6-2T in Whyte system.  That translates to two wheel lead, six driving wheels with their own set of cylinders, another six drive wheels with their own set of cylinders, a two wheel trailing truck and no tender.  All the water and fuel being carried in Tanks (thus the T for Tank) on the locomotive.  Some authors to indicate that the locomotive is articulated (can bend) use a + to indicate where that is located so in the above example it would be 2-6+6-2T.

Get started, have fun and in no time you will burning digits with live steam!
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2015, 04:54:03 PM »

I personally prefer brass track and I mostly mentioned the aluminum track to save him money and because he said that he's only planning on running his trains indoors. My experience with the AML (Accucraft) solid aluminum rail track has been positive. I ,too, researched the use of aluminum track on the internet and I read posts about them at, among other websites, but my conclusion was that the oxidation problems were prevalent when the track was set up outdoors and exposed to more humid environments than where I live( I don't know why I said it was good for outdoor use earlier. I guess that I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was typing! Oh,well. I fixed that!). Indoors, they've worked out just fine and haven't shown any sign of oxidization so far . They get that grease-like metal residue on them just the same as the brass tracks do but they are easy to clean with a Scotch Brite pad. The brass track on the other hand often requires light sanding to remove tarnish, as a Scotch Brite pad isn't quite rough enough to remove the tarnish from it. I don't think that the aluminum track is suitable for outside use due to oxidization problems which have a negative effect on conductivity but in my experience, they are just fine for indoor use with electric locomotives. I've even accidentally stepped on the tracks a few times without damaging them and I weigh around 200 pounds.
Of course, I live in a dry environment (Nevada) and I can see the potential for problems with rails made from this type of material if you live somewhere that's much more humid, such as the mid-west or east coast ,since the humidity out there is horrible and gets into everything. So brass or stainless steel (although stainless steel rusts and is harder to clean than brass is)would probably be the better way to go if you live somewhere with constant high humidity.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2015, 05:15:54 PM by RkyGriz » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2015, 06:04:16 PM »

I would like to say thanks once again to each of you for your advice. After much planning, I have placed an orde for what I'm hoping will be complete enough to get something happening.

I ended up ordering the 4-6-0 only because the range of selection wasnt there for me in the 4-4-0 version. The 4-4-0s I could afford didn't come in color schemes that I really cared for.
I ordered a 5' radius LGB track which I hope I won't end up regretting. If it becomes a problem I'll have to revisit but I was hoping to avoid moving furniture.
I ordered a lubrication kit, the wire hook up kit, brass joiners, the plastic clips to keep the tracks tight and a power supply.[/li][/list]

Now, the matter of the power supply was difficult for me. I know a lot of people were recommendeing the 10 Amp unit but that was simply too large for my needs and frankly a bit expensive for my initial jump into the hobby. Frank at Trainworld also talked me out of the 1 Amp units but steered me to what I believe to be a 3 Amp unit which is Made by MRC. It's the 9900 model. He seemed to think that with my train, the number of cars I planned to have and the size of the track that this supply would work well. I should say that he was very friendly and very helpful. He said that they had everything in stock and would be boxing it up tomorrow morning. The train will ship seperately he says because it's a big and long box.

I hope I ordered everything I need to get started. Wish me luck!  Grin

As I said previously, thanks to you all for your help and patience with an old newbie.

I can type my handle with one hand.
G gauge since 1972

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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2015, 06:18:08 PM »

I have been buying from Trainworld for 20 years and have never had a problem with them.
The 3 amp transformer you ordered should be just right for your layout.
Have fun.

Mesquite Short Line

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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2015, 07:17:18 PM »

Well everyone, my train as arrived. I couldn't be more pleased. This is about as much fun someone could have without drawing unwanted attention  Grin

Not much for instructions...all that came with it was a parts breakdown. No operation or care instructions but I did get it going. Took me forever to realize that the sound part needed a battery. I had no idea just how big this thing was going to be! Runs great, nice and quiet, very smooth and looks very very nice. I wish I could figure out how to share a photo.

I can already sense that shopping for more tracks is in my not too distant future. The 5' circle works really well. The train doesn't seem to mind but surely wouldn't want anything smaller.

The coal man stands on the coal car really nicely but I can't figure out where the driver is supposed to sit. The cab has the engine in side making it a very tight fit. Surely this wasn't how it was done in the old days...that seems like it would have been very warm.

Well, I'm off to drive the train. Thanks to you all for the advice. I'm really pleased and I didn't have to wait because I missed something in the order. The list was complete and it all seems like really good stuff  Grin
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 07:23:48 PM by punkin » Logged

I can type my handle with one hand.
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2015, 09:09:50 PM »
Hey, Punkin: Check this out! It's a brand new video of 2 of my Bachmann's double heading. This was done with my 5 foot circle in our garage yesterday. !t's approximately 8ft.X10ft. Get yourself some straight tracks to match the track that you bought and have a blast with it!

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« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2015, 10:13:56 PM »

Hello RkyGriz,

That is fantastic. I really like the passenger cars. I must get one or two to round out my set. I also like the wood burning train you have there. That box of wood behind the engine looks neat.

I don't have a lot of room for straight tracks as you do there but now that I get an idea of the size of the tracks I do see where I have some possibilities to possibly travel along the walls. I can't get over how expensive the tracks are but I do think more track is in order before getting more cars. If the train were much longer on this little circle it will just look odd.

I really wish I had done this a long time ago. I still can't get over how big these things are. The sun has gone down and now with the light more visible on the train very neat indeed.

Again thanks for the inspiring video.

I can type my handle with one hand.
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2015, 01:04:17 AM »

When it comes to getting yourself some passenger cars, just get yourself one or two. Three if you decide you have enough room. You don't need a lot to enjoy yourself.
I'm glad you liked the video.   The wood load in the tender of the lead engine is real. I built it out of nearly 300 1 1/8 inch wood sticks  over a styrofoam base. It is all held together with hot glue. It only took me a couple of hours to get it that way. It was a fun project and I have another wood burner that i'm going to be doing that to some day in the near future. They will look pretty cool together. I may even add some Denver & Rio Grande Western passenger cars to the number 12, eventually. I'm looking for the green ones with yellow lettering. I found one on Ebay, but it's $116.00 with shipping and I'm going to wait until I find cheaper ones or maybe do what Chuck did and custom build them out of Bachmann cars with decals bought from the guy in Arizona. We'll see.
Anyway, keep us posted on your progress!
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