I have a few general questions.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jhoban, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    I am working on getting back into the hobby. Feel free to check out my start in the N scale forum.

    Anyways, I am unsure of a few things.

    What do the numbers mean when describing an engine. For example 2-8-0. I have no clue what that means.

    What are the good couplers. I picked up a nice atlas engine, an atlas car, and a cheap life-like engine and car set. the atlas couplers easily release when going around a bend, but the life-like ones seem to hold strong. any advice or maybe a link to show me how to change couplers would be great.

    Of course I have more, but I am experiencing a brain fart and cant remember them all. I am sure they will come to me later.
  2. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    2-8-0 is wheel classification on steam locomotives.In this case a 2-8-0 was also called a consolidation.2(leading wheels) 8 drivers(4 per side) and 0 (trailing wheels)
    Other type steam
    0-6-0 a switcher type
    4-4-0 an early american type(civil war made these famous)
    2-8-2 Mikado
    4-6-2 Pacific
    4-8-4 Northern
    2-8-8-2 Mallet (used mainly on coal hauls and ore roads like the DM&IR
    4-8-8-4 Big Boy -said to be the largest steam engine although the 2-6-6-2 yellowstones had a higher tractive effort and pulling power

    Couplers- Atlas couplers are closer to scale than the horn hook type.Atlas couplers are also compatible with Microtrains couplers which are used by most serious model railroaders.
    To use good scale couplers requires good track work and operating with the proper radius curves for your equipment.Microtrains couplers and atlas's do not like real tight radius corners.try to stay in the 11" plus range as a minimum with freight equipment and 19" plus for passenger equipment.
    I would reccomend getting a good beginners book on N scale. Robert schliecher(probobly butchered that one) has a good one.Model railroader also has a few.You can generally find good beginner books cheap on ebay.
    They run 14-20.00 new but can be had on ebay for 4-6.00. You may get lucky and get several good books combined together for around 20 bucks.
    I have an N scale collection I am beginning to sell(I changed scales) I do have quite a few books that would help you. Let me know if you are interested by PM.
  3. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

  4. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    I was figuring it had something to do with the wheels. That helps alot.

    As for the couplers, now I am scared. I already bought 9-3/4" radius and set up my layout. Anything I can do to work with what I have already. Also a website with a picture walkthrough on how to change them if necessary would be great, if such a thing exists.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Gets even more fun with deisels and electrics. A GG1 electric is a 2+C+C+2, that is, you only count the axles and only the powered ones are lettered. The GG1 has a 2 axle pilot truck followed by a 3 axle power truck, another 3 axle power truck, then a 2 axled pilot again. Unpowered axles are given a number based on how many are contained in a truck, hence the GG1s 2 in its nomenclature. Because each axle is powered in the power truck and there are 3 axles, the letter C for the 3rd letter in the alphabet is used. 4 axle and 6 axle deisels would be shown as B+B or C+C. Then there are those pesky little lokeys that have an idler axle in a three axle truck like some SD hood units. Because the idler axle is usually located in the center, they would be A-1-A+A-1-A. You will be tested on this next week ;)

    Stick with older N scale equipment as it was made with 9 3/4" radius in mind, though I'm sure some newer stuff would work out. I owned an Atlas 4-6-2 and a 2-8-0 that handled them just fine. Don't sweat the couplers, all that comes with time. :thumb:
  6. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Oh where are my manners?. WELCOME to the gauge JHOBAN,, there is a lot to learn as you get into modle RR, the best advice i can give you, it to take it one step at a time. have a good one...steve
  7. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    Thanks for the welcoming. Your bit of advice is probably going to be the hardest for me to do. I am one to start a project, and then not eat or sleep until I finish it. I drive the family nuts sometimes.

    I however have set up a plan to stretch this out as long as possible. It is just gonna kill me to not rush through this. I can do it though. Like you said, one step at a time.

    So the foam board is coming this weekend. After doing some carving and sculpting, what would be the next logical step?
  8. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    J, never fear, most everybody builds a layout or 2 or 3 or 6 before settling in for that final lifetime masterpiece.
    The first layouts are the learning layouts.You will continue to learn for many years and you will improve each time you start over and do it again.
    My advice is to have fun, not buy everything under the sun.look at prototypes and how they operate.Check out and read everything you can on everything from scratchbuilding to operations and try to get a feel for what it is you would like your model railroad to one day be.
    For example,
    Some folks love to build models.Thats thier passion and they need a place to display them so build a layout.Now they dont necessarily operate,more likr let a train work its way through thier scenery and model kits.
    This is a display Model RR and works well for some.
    Others love to model railroad equipment and thier Layout may be designed to show of this equipment with alot of space dedicated to a yard and engine servicing facilities.(Roundhouse, turntable,coaling and sand,fueling,washracks,backshops etc etc.
    Still other like to recreate a portion of a real railroad and operate it just like the real thing with schedules to meet and freight to move.These layouts tend to be of the Point to point type or Out and Back type.Many have no way to just run trains in a loop.

    Do you have a specific Railroad that interests you? a specific Era of railroading?
    What are your interests? Modeling buildings or scenery or perhaps equipment?

    As folks spend more and more time in the hobby thier initial interests may change or become at the very least more defined.

    Ive been doing this for many years starting out in HO at the ripe old age of 5 years old.I was in HO for many years and then changed to N scale. After near 10 years in N scale I am now changing to On30 narrow gauge as my eyes begin to change and N scale get harder to work in for me.(I love to scratchbuild and couldnt do it in N )
    Trying to define your interests will help you to focus your efforts and spend your hobby money and time wisely.It will also help us to help you build what we hop amounts to a satisfying layout and keeps you in the hobby for many years to come.
    Take some time and think about the above and then cmon back in here and try to put it down in words what it is that defines you and your ambitions.
    Its alot easier to talk about than it is to actually do but it will be the true first step in giving you pointers to help you in the right direction and to lend support and encouragement.:)
  9. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    Well, my interests are more gear toward the scenery aspect. I dont want to model a real RR or anything like that, at least not yet. I like to create my own little fantasy town with a train running through it. Fantasy being the key word there. I want it to be more of a nice display than an actual toy. Sure it is fun to run them, but I like having it as a focal point or discussion peice.

    I am coming along nicely, doing lots of research into whats available out there. Working midnights leaves some nights with a lot of surfing time. I picked up my first prebuilt train station, and a house that needs putting together. Thought I would get one of each to see if I still enjoy assembling those little things.

    Again I want to thank all for the help. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but things are coming together nicely now.
  10. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I used to be the same way... until I thought about it... Why rush?..... You have a lot of things you can do in one night to give yourself a sense of accomplishment....

    But, let me tell you.. when you build something, that takes a few months and you show somwone else... That's the truly cool part! :D :D :D You built THAT??!!?? Yeah Right (Where did you buy it?) :D :D

    I've built 6 layouts all different scales, designed & built 7 others. in O, HO and G (F- My present one 1:20.3) The first 2 - 3 are never enough, you get tired of the simplicity of them & you want more :) More scenery, more operations .. more trains :) :) It's a huge learning curve - but it's fun!! :D :D

    Concentate on learning for the next few years - build it and see what you can do - but be forewarned - sooner or later you'll see something, somewhere you WILL want for your layout & then you will know where it's going... and then you have it!!! - a layout you can work on & tweak and add on to forever. :) :) :)

    Best of Luck! Welcome Aboard The Gauge!!!! We're here for you - to help & to corrupt you too :D :D :D :D There's plenty of knowledgeable modelers here!

    There's no such thing as a dumb question - but wait 'till you see some of our answers!! :D :eek: :D :eek: :D

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