Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by plbab, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. plbab

    plbab Member

    Not one piece of track laid or benchwork built and already very frustrated. Due to size of room i will be using N scale. Just not sure i can do what i envision in my mind down the road. i have read about derailment problems with N also coupling problems. I want a main line for passenger trains passing through but also industry for switching. am i wanting to much from this scale?
  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    I don't think you're asking too much. Lots of people have built N-scale layouts that featured long mainline runs for passenger trains and industrial switching areas.

    But I would recommend that you look into "live frog" turnouts if you're going to be doing a lot of switching. The little "insulated frog" turnouts make by Atlas are easy to get ahold of and install, but leave a lot to be desired in operation. This is especially true if you're wanting to run very small engines (like 0-6-0 steam switchers and even some smaller diesels).

    I've not heard of N-scale-specific problems with derailments and couplers. Like I explained in another post, about the only time I have a derailment is when I forget to switch the points on a turnout. And unless the couplers are improperly installed, you shouldn't have any trouble with them. Most N-scale equipment comes with Rapido couplers. And although they don't look like real-life couplers, they do hold pretty tight!

    Take your time in the planning process. I had a couple of false starts before I finally got my first "real" one built. Get ahold of model railroading magazines and books to get ideas. Study as many layout plans as you can to see how others figured things out. And if you don't like the way a layout is going after you get started, there's no law that says you can't take it down and start over! :)

    Above all, though, don't get frustrated! This is supposed to be fun!

  3. plbab

    plbab Member


    What is a "live frog" turnout?????
  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi plbab!
    Welcome to The Gauge!
    My advice to any beginer is to start small & simple.
    You say you want to run passenger trains...N scale is a great choice for you then.
    If you have enough space to get a loop of track, & a passenger train up & running, do that. That should give your enthusiasm a boost! After that, try your hand at building a station kit...Remember, don't get the idea that you have to do everything at once...This hobby can become a life-long venture.
  5. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member


    The frog is the part of the turnout where the two tracks diverge. See the picture below.


    The two diverging rails have opposite polarities, which would cause a short. So, there are two basic varieties of turnouts: (1) insulated frog, where the frog point is made of plastic, and (2) live frog where electrical power is routed into the frog based on how the point rails are aligned (whether you are going straight or turning).

    Live frog turnouts tend to be more expensive than the insulated variety. But the plastic frogs on the insulated frog turnouts are a "dead zone" where your locos won't be picking up power. Some locos will stall there. And because there are already several places where the wheels leave the rails as they pass through the turnout, having a "live frog" helps prevent stalling.

    I hope all that made sense!


    P.S. - I got the picture above from the Gateway NMRA site:

Share This Page