Don't laugh too hard...It's my first attempt!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Nazgul, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Steve: I've done the same thing, with both hand throws and electric machines. I usually put a bit of brass tube down under the tracks in a very little ditch and run the wire through that.
  2. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Learning and 60' cars


    Keep on going, you're doing great. Don't worry about the setbacks, just learn and move on. It's an inspiration to see the work you're doing (and a continual thrill to know you're using the plan I drew...still can't get over it...may learn to regret it if you hate it down the road!:rolleyes: )

    Anyway, I checked Walthers for the 60' cars, and guess what - they're on sale, half off! Yeah, no kidding! From $140 down to $70 for a set of 4. Not a bad deal at all!

    Here's a link to one set:

    It's a nice paint scheme, huh? Check and do an advanced search with passenger cars as the category, HO for the scale (duh) and 60' for the keyword (just like that - 60' - not "60 foot"). This will get you the other roadnames available. Not sure how long this sale will last...if I hadn't committed my hobby dollars to another project I would definately buy a set of these for myself. Small radius modeling is most likely a factor in my future for a while so these would fit right in...lettered for the Ocali Creek Railway, of course.

    Alright, thanks again for sharing and good luck with the DCC system. The trackwork looks first class!:thumb:

  3. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    David, I will definitely use the brass tube. It's nice to know I'm in good company! Galen, I checked Walthers yesterday and didn't see 60 footers (I must be blind). I followed your link and ordered the NP set...looks beautiful. I'm glad you enjoy seeing your plan come to life because I'm having a blast doing it! Posting one picture today: the roadbed was a little lower than the edge of the turn table so I had to improvise. the numbers in the cardboard indicate how many are glued together to create an incline. I don't know if it was necessary, but I wanted to play it safe.
    Layout 010.jpg

    Talk to you all soon. P.S. Galen, any pics of your work?
  4. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    I've been doing the wiring and believe me, its an adventure. Its so easy to mess up! I'll just pass along 2 useful pieces of advice for fellow rookies: 1. Keep your wire color coded. I bought black and white 14GA for the main buses ( it was on clearance) and for the feeders I found 20GA wire in red and yellow (again, dirt cheap). Well it was a pain in the begining until I got used to which wires went together, which brings me to: 2. Do yourself a huge favor and assemble the Buzzer device recommended on the invaluable "wiring for dcc" website. It immediately alerts you to any short as you wire it. Believe me, IT WORKS! I messed up about 4 or 5 times and it saved me before I moved on. On another subject, you are going to see that I didn't solder my feeds to the bus ( I used "insulation displacement connectors"), that's just a fancy way of saying that they "bite" though the insulation and into the wire. Its a real time saver although the purists will say ( and rightly so ) that soldering is more reliable. These connectors have been used with great effect industrially for years...we shall see, I just wanted to try it........Still waiting for my Zephyr...I'll be talking to you

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  5. Kurgan

    Kurgan New Member


    Looks good. I wouldn't worry too much about the "suitcase" connecters. They typically only fail when they corrode or are exposed to extreme vibration if the are installed properly to start. I would think about shooting a bit of RTV into each end as a precaution.

    I hope to get my track plan posted this weekend, I would have had it sooner but ... something happened here and I just haven't felt like it.

    I did get the Shay ordered and I also ordered a 4-6-0 which is as close as I found to what I really wanted. (4-6-2 Baldwin) That has helped me start to "snap out of it". Ill probably order the Zephyr or Super Empire Builder in the next month or so.

    Good Luck, good job, and keep us posted. :thumb:

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Galen had a diorama in the pictorial section of the Walthers Catalogue in either 2004 or 2005, I don't remember for sure. He is one oof the best modelers I've ever met.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    It's not the purists who object to the suitcase connectors; it's us Scotsmen who think soldering's cheaper!
  8. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    pictures, etc.


    As Russ so kindly mentioned I have been published once, and that was it in the 2005 Walthers catalogue. As for other photos, well, I've been delinquent on my website development (no big surprise there!) but here is the link anyway:

    And check out the progress on my 0-4-0 Mantua shifter (as well as buy things from Dan...a great guy) at:

    in the customer photos section.

    The has been some small progress here and there on my timesaver layout, but even that's been a while. The next update to the website should include a few pictures of projects I've been working on lately. (Finally set up and tested my MRC Prodigy Express with Synchro Sound module and a steamer with decoder this week, btw...renewed my focus on getting the shifter going so I can really settle down to some big-time operating on the timesaver)

    Having that first kid has really sapped my time but it's SO worth it. Bought him a two chime wooden whistle at a train show today. I'm really envious of the space you've got and the tremendous progress you're making, but moreso really glad to see you having so much fun with it.

    My question for you is, just what sort of trains (specifically) are you going to run on this layout?

  9. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Kurgan, Thank you for the encouragement and I'm glad you ordered the engines, that should get those juices flowing! David, I'm half Scot myself, but the other half won! Galen, I checked out both sites, what an undertaking with the 0-4-0! Awsome! I know what you mean about Kids and time. I can't imagine doing this even 2 years ago. But you're right, They're totally worth it! Now, what trains am I going to run? Good question. To be totally honest, I've been so busy trying to get the layout going that I haven't thought too much about It until the last week or so. You know I bought the 60' passenger cars (they arrived today) and I ordered a Proto 2000 heritage USRA 0-8-0. I figured that was as big as I would want to go on the 18" curves. A Proto 2000 0-6-0 is comming out in May so I may get that. I want a shay for the coal run. So... I want to run a passenger train, a freight train, the shay, and have a switcher for the Yard. As far as era, I want to keep it in the first half of the 20th century, But I don't plan on fretting over every detail. If I like something and it looks good but isn't prototypical, I'll use it. That's as far as I've thought about it. Anybody want to chime in, you're welcome to. I'd like to hear any ideas for ops or locos or whatever. Here's some pics of the new cars...........still waiting for the Zephyr....come on Tony.....please.....

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  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    setting ideas you've got the NP passenger cars. Now that's a great starting place for a bit of research into choosing a possible locale, which can influence planning choices on scenery, place names, tunnel portal style, rock type (granite, limestone, etc.), tree type (conifers, hardwoods, etc.). All this can work to provide a cohesive feel to the layout to give it that 'right' look. You know, perhaps not prototypically accurate, but certainly it gives you and whoever else sees it the feeling that this layout has its own character and identity.

    As for motive power - a pacific would look great with that train, but perhaps a USRA Mike would do better on those grades. Keep the turntable size in mind throughout the loco shopping experience. Didn't the NP use Geeps on their passenger trains when they dieselized?

    Keep up the great work and as always, thanks for sharing.

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another trick you can use if you want to run equipment from various eras, is to make your structures and details removable. I have a book by Robert Sleichter (spelling?) titled BUILD YOUR NEXT MODEL RAILROAD THIS WAY. In the book he shows how to build a layout around a small town or industry, and by exchanging structures, he models 1920s, 1950s, and modern (at the time of printing 1970s) on the same layout.
  12. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Galen, I hear ya, I'm starting research on the Northern Pacific. Russ, that's an interesting idea. I'll see if I can get hold of a copy. Now I have several questions: Is this lay out big enough to support both mining and logging (see picture)? Would it be too busy?

    As I look at ordering locos, I almost never see the actual length in inches. It's hard to know what will fit on my 9" turntable. Do I need to contact the manufacturer or is there a rule of thumb? Thanks guys
  13. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    9" in HO = 66 scale feet. If there are no obstructions, only the wheels have to fit on the turntable; superstructure can overhang a little. Won't look exactly prototypical doing that, but hey it works.

    yours in turning locos
  14. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    can any one help? I'll post my questions again..."Now I have several questions: Is this lay out big enough to support both mining and logging (see picture)? Would it be too busy? As I look at ordering locos, I almost never see the actual length in inches. It's hard to know what will fit on my 9" turntable. Do I need to contact the manufacturer or is there a rule of thumb? Thanks guys"
  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    mining and logging

    Oh yeah! I'd say so. But then again, it's your layout - you get to make the final call. Here's a about creating your own mining/logging railroad company. One company that serves both industries on the same line.

    E.g., My own logging line is the "Big Tujunga Lumber Company". My in-laws grew up in Tujunga and I just liked the sound of it. In my crazy fictitious world 'O trains there are many creeks and rivers. One of which is the Big Tujunga creek, an area served by a lumber company. There's also a Little Tujunga, and of course, Ocali Creek. Ocali was the name of the native American chief after which Ocala, FL was named, the town in which I grew up.

    SO play with names and think about logos, emblems, etc. I tried to put a "C" inside an "O" with Ry behind it, but regardless of how I did it it has always come out looking like the copywrite symbol.

    A mining/logging short line serving the mountains and hills above town with connections to the NP could work as a theme. It tells a story and this guides your construction and makes, IMHO, running the trains even more fun.

    Technically speaking...perhaps you could put a logging pond in the green circle next to a mill. Add a siding from the back track just past the reversing loop switch to run into the green circle that will parallel the current siding next to the structure. This would be your log dump "in" track, and the one next to the structure would become your finished lumber "out" track. Check out the Walthers logging structures or watch Ebay for the FSM mill if you want a real challenge. OR BTS McCabe series if you've got the big bucks (but want an outstanding product!).

  16. p_fairchild

    p_fairchild New Member

    Hi there. I have been reading this post for the last couple weeks and have been impressed and motivated to build my own HO layout. My two boys and I have been playing around with some track and my old train set downstairs. My wife gave me the go-ahead to build a layout so I picked an easy one from the Atlas layout book and got started building a frame tonight. Guess what, I ran out of spare lumber. I'm off to Menards tomorrow to pick up the rest of the lumber.

    Steve...WOW! That's some awesome work that you have done. Is that 2" styrofoam that you used on top of the plywood? Is it any special kind? I'll have to get some of that too.

    Thanks for the motivation!
  17. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    :eek: Hi Phil, thanks for the kind words. Welcome to THE GAUGE! There's plenty of motivation to be found here. I look around here and see what others do and think to myself, "I can't do that, I'm not good enough!" But everyone here says, "YES YOU CAN!". I really don't think there's a better place to learn or a better group of people to "hang out with". Any way, you have the hard part done (getting the go ahead from the BOSS)! To answer your question, I used 2" "extruded" foam. It's available from the larger home centers or building supply companies. It's either blue or pink, depending on the manufacturer. It comes in 2' or 4' x 8' sheets (at least around here). Just don't get the white styrofoam because it not stiff enough and makes a mess when cut. If you have other questions I'll be happy to try and answer them or you can start you own thread in the applicable forum. Also do a search with key words and you'll usually find the answer. Good luck and keep me posted....Galen, thank you for your thoughtful response. That should keep me busy for a while! I really never thought of making up my own railroad company, but why not. I think that would be a great way to go. I checked out the prices on some of the kits you mentioned...OWCH!!! They are neat though..................I'm still waiting on the Zephyr.............Digitrax, you there.........hello.........HELLO........................(the sound of crickets chirping)
  18. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    HOORAY!!!My Zephyr arrived todayballoon6But my reversing units didn't!:cry:NO MATTER, I set up the digitrax and ran my loco on the areas that aren't part of the reversing loop. SWEEEEEEEEETTTT!!! The proto 2k 0-8-0 runs like a top. I had a derailment problem on 1 turnout (a little filing) and so far so good:thumb: . I coupled the passenger cars and it pulled the 4 of them nicely up the 3% grades. I'll know more when I install the auto reverse units and I can check out the rest of the track. On another note I found a Campbell's Idaho Springs mine and ordered it (tough to find for obvious reasons). Looking forward to trying my hand at it. Gotta go and run some T R A I N S!!! :D :D

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  19. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    let 'em roll!!

    Awesome! train97 Sit back and let 'em roll a while, and enjoy all the hard work you've put in so far. And thanks as always for keeping us all informed. Glad to hear the heavyweights made it up the grade and around the bend.

    As for the Campbell kit - a great starting place. Have you built one of these yet? Neither have I, but I have heard a good piece of advice from several who have: Go Slow! Take your time and measure ten/cut one.

  20. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Hi everybody,
    The reversing units came and I installed the one for the reverse loop (the other is for the turntable which I will wire later). It works perfectly, no change when the train passes over the gaps. It really is an amazing product. After tweeking the track in 2 places I ran the trains for a couple of hours without mishap. I think I'll take quite a bit of time over the next several weeks to really make sure there are not going to be any problems with the track. On another note my Campbell mine kit came. The package was left near my front door. It looked like some body ran over it with a truck! I opened it up and sure enough, pieces were broken. I called the place I bought it and they said that the carrier would verify that it was damaged and take it back and I would be reinbursed. Well, that kit was hard to find and couldn't find another one so I inventoried all the pieces and found that the only damage ocurred to the long ones. I found I could replace them at the LHS (with a few close substitutes) for about $5 or $6. So that's what I did. I was lucky that only the long wood pieces were broken or I would have had to return it. It's always something...I'll get over it!!! I'll be talking to you soon.

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