Getting Back INto Railroading

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by BASEBALLRULES, Dec 9, 2006.



    So i decided to get back into model railroading after a 2 year Haitis. I have the EZ track system and also my dads Lionel Train Tracks with various pridges from the early 1960's
    My Question is could i combine these without any power issues. THe track pieces fit together but I am afraid of an electrical issues that may occur.

    Also could someone point me in the direction of some layouts for a 4 X 8 table, which is the only size that will fit in my available space.
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:

    The only electrical issues would be similarity of metal. Older track tends to be brass, the newer, nickel silver. Good soldering will take care of that. As for 4x8 layouts, there are enough configurations to keep you busy for hours including Model Railroader magazine, they always feature a small layout this time of year. Atlas and Kalbach have excellent track planning books centered on this size as well.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi & welcome.
    Is the Lionel also HO? If you can get the tracks together, there are no majoer electrical incompatibilities. The tracks will have different heights but a bit of packing under them will take tjat up.
    The older trains will probably have motord that take more current and and need a higher starting voltage; the older power packs may be set to a higher starting voltage and the new trains will take off faster.
    What are pridges? :oops:
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Glad you could join us! Will you be changing your screen name to MODELRAILROADINGRULES? :)
    Just kidding...its my favorite sport too.


    SO i set up some tracks in a setup, and i used the ez tracks , 9 inch power track to get power from my controller box. None of my engines run and one of them sparked at the wheels after giving it a gentle push. Should i be using Ac power as opposed to DC? or should i be using the lionel track meant for getting electricity?

    I have some pictures i just took so that someone may help me identify my problem
  6. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    If your locomotives are standard HO, you need to use DC power. DO NOT REPEAT DO NOT USE AC POWER. AC power will fry the DC motors on standard HO locomotives.

    Hope this helps.
  7. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    "Pridges" are like little plastic bridges over ponds. They have a lot of 'em in Haiti. Maybe it's a new Gauge word! :D :D And Welcome to The-Gauge, BASEBALLRULES!! :wave:
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You may need to clean the tracks and wheels. Brass oxidizes to a non-conducting material; there may also be dirt. If the locos haven't been run since the 60s, they will need lubrication.
    Use whichever power track (called a terminal section) matches the track.
    Get a small 12v light bulb with some leads and test the track -- see if the bulb lights when you touch opposite rails. (you can make a cheapie by taking old series Christmas tree lights and using 1/10 of the string.)
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If the trains have been packed away for a couple of years, the wheels might be dirty. The sparks may be the electricity trying to get through the dirt.
  10. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    As it was said previous, try cleaning the track (I can see the oxidization in the pictures) You can get a track-cleaning earaser called a bright boy in a hobby shop. Just rub it over the railheads until they are shiny. work a bit at a time and test as you go using a reliable engine with clean wheels or a test light like David said
    Most track nowadays is made out of nickel/silver. it doesn't oxidize like brass does.
  11. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Hello and welcome.
    Clean track and wheels and it shouldn't spark. If it sparks still then there are pits in the rails and they should be replaced otherwise they will arc and make pits in your wheel which will arc and put pits in all the rails.
    Double check the wheels, if they are pitted and they spark on a nonpitted [check carefully] piece of rail they should be replaced before they ruin the rest of the layout.

    I hope that helps:)
  12. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member



    couple if quick questions

    If i buy more track how do i know wether I should purchase code 83 or code 100 track? what other brands of track are compatible with each code?

    and can anyone link me to any high quality step by step guides for ballasting and basic scenery?
  14. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Most likely your existing track is Code 100. It is the most common.

    Wouldn't hurt for you to measure it though. Grab a boley gauge or caliper and measure how tall the rail is. If it's Code 100, the rail should be 0.100 inches tall. If it's Code 83, it should be 0.083 inches tall. If it's Code 70, it would be 0.070 inches tall, yadda yadda. Hope you are beginning to see a pattern here. :D

    Hope this helps.
  15. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Code 83 didn't even exist in the 60s. The next size down from Code 100 was Code 70. Sectional track was pretty much all Code 100.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Look through the gauge for ballasting and scenery tips.
    Read nazgul's "don't laugh" thread and see what he did in one year. I think he asked every question except "why a duck?".
    There's at least 6 threads on ballasting and a lot more on the 200 ways to make scenery.


    SO i got one of those cleaning erasers and my test engine runs poorly and smells like somethings burning so it looks like im investing in new track.

    Should i go with flex track or sectional? what happens with flex track if you have excess? do you just clip it?
    How difficult is it to get the curve you want?
    How much should i be spending?
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would reccomend flex track. The rail joiners don't make very reliable electrical connections. At the modular club part of the club's standards require a solder drop for every piece of rail on a module except the 4 inch joiner tracks we use between modules. When laying flex track, figure the circumference (3.14 x the diameter) of a circle of track at your radius. If you have a 1/2 circle return loop, divide your circumference by 2. Now remove the last few ties from each piece of flex track to allow for the track to slide as it is bent around the curve. Solder enough pieces of flex track together at the rail joiners to make the circumference of your curve with about 6 inches or so extra at each end. I like to lay out my curves with a felt pen marker down the center of the curve, and then lay out the lfex track with the line going down the center of the ties. Once the the flex track is installed, you can remove the "spike and tie plate detail" from the ties you removed from the ends of the flex track and slide it back under the ends track to hide the joints.

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