im a newbie in trains....anyone have any good tips for me?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by LiLBanshe99, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. LiLBanshe99

    LiLBanshe99 New Member

    im so excited, i still need to get a table ready for my n scale model train. does anyone have any good tips or know where i can get some tips? i cant wait to get started!!!
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    First off welcome to the Gauge.Second this is a great place to get help with any and all of your questions. [​IMG]
    Now for a few tips from an old timer at this hobby.
    1 Keep your curves as big as possible.

    2 Be sure to avoid any kinks in your track work.

    3 When anchoring your track to the roadbed,if you use tracknails do not push them all the way down to the top of the ties,because it's to easy to push in to far and depress the center of the tie causing the track to come out of gauge.

    4 I would suggest that you test run all track before final ballasting.

    5 Never forget ,the only dumb question there is,is the one you don't ask.

    6 C'mon down to the N scale Forum. [​IMG]

    Catt! NARA#1 & A freelancer for life

    [This message has been edited by Catt! (edited 03-26-2001).]
  3. Dave Hagan

    Dave Hagan Member

    Hi LiLBanshe99 , Welcome to The Gauge, check out the Academy as well, lots of good articles there.

    Dave Hagan
    The Gauge
  4. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi Lilbanshee99
    Call me 'Virginan'; that's where I was born and that's where my 'Railroad nutiness' began..also one of the two roads I am a beginner modeler of, the other being the Norfolk and Western. N scale at home, HO at the local club I just joined..I'm havin' a ball... and this is an EXCELLENT place to get info. and technical support, I guarontee!!!

    What is your particular interest...Road, region, era etc.? There are loads of web sites just waitin' out there to be explored, when your not settin' up that table, layin' track and runnin' your locos! [​IMG]
    Welcome to the Guage [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Virginian (edited 03-26-2001).]
  5. George

    George Member

    Welcome LilBanshee99!

    For now, keep the track away from the edge! [​IMG]

    We'll help with what we can.

  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Welcome LilBanshe99
    Any help I can give, just ask.
  7. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Always complete at least one item on your "Hunny-dew" list before working on your layout.
  8. LiLBanshe99

    LiLBanshe99 New Member

    this is all really great! im still waiting on that table. my dad is going to help me move some stuff in our basement and get it all arranged. i wish he would move a little faster!! i really want to get started.

    a question: what size engine do i need to pull my train? i havent decided on how many cars i want to have on it, but lets just say 5 cars. does it matter what engine i get? or does it depend on my power pack?
  9. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Hi LilBanshee,
    Woodie from Australia here.

    Kewl. I've just started too, well about 3 months ago. We don't have basements or attics in Australia, so I've had to build mine in the middle of the living room! (well just about). I've started by building a small layout first, so I can make mistakes and it's not too bad. Most engines will be fine. Remember that the length of your trains will be limited by the size of passing loops and sidings and stuff. My longest train I can run goes all the way round and joins up to the other end of the engine. it is about 14 passenger cars, but it doesn't fit anywhere when I want to park it! It gets annoying to take carraiges on and off the tracks all the time, just like derailments, and having to put the carraiges back on the tracks. I limit mine to 4 passenger carraiges. That way I can fit them in the sidings and passing loops, then use another train without having to take it all off the tracks. I've just got ordinary old engines, and they pull trains a lot longer than I need. You can have a look at my layout on my website It has pics of how I have built it, and what my track lyout looks like. Are you going to build a webiste of your layout?

  10. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    To Lilbanshee99
    Hi buddy
    Just thought I'd make some suggestions about your engine choice:
    Decide what time period you want to model, if you want to do steam or diesel, then look at a bunch of photos (or better, look at the photos books, magazines...go to the library and look in the travel section. Second hand book stores often have old train books, too)You can usually browse at the big Bookstores , for a little while, anyway, without buying, then if you find something you really like..birthdays are always great for gettin' train books! ( I've got a whole 'library' just from this year..helps that I got started just before my birthday!)You could model the Real Railroad in your area...or you could just pick the one you like by it's 'colors'. Model railroad magazines are full of pics, of both models and 'prototypes' (real trains).
    Then, the 'big' thing: how much money do you have to spend? In HO scale, steam locos are much more expensive..In general, same thing in N scale, but not as much a price gap as HO, as far as I can tell...there is less steam available in N scale ( I did come across a nice Steam 4-8-4 AT&SF, made by Bachmann a while back , on sale for about $75 ('wrong' Railroad..I passed it up!! [​IMG] )...I paid $90 for my little N scale diesel,(Atlas)an FM Trainmaster, undecorated, to be painted in Virginian colors when I've aquired an airbrush. I have 8 freight cars beheind it now, and could probably pull 4 times that many. I have an HO steam Loco. on layaway at the train shop..I pulled 30 freight cars with it at the shop, without adjustment, right out of the box!(I joined the local Model RR club so I could buy's the only 'Virginian' engine I've found in the Entire San Francisco Bay Area!!)
    One last suggestion..unless you have experts available and willing (real time, real hands..there are some things just can't be done 'electronically'!!) to help and guide you, go with diesel to start with... there's more maintenance and adjustment required for steam models, just like there was for the prototypes. And of course, there are a lot more Diesels out there to choose from.
    One last thought: (Finally [​IMG] )go with what ya like...and have fun!!
    I hope this 'ramble' helps.
    All the best
    VGN [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Virginian (edited 04-02-2001).]
  11. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey LiLBanshe!
    Here's a few beginner tips from Charlie.
    1)Read everything you can on the subject. Books, magazines, internet, videos,etc... And check out some real layouts if you can.
    2)Start small & simple. Small layout, simple track plan. This will allow you to have the most pleasure, & the least frustration. (this is the voice of experience speaking - bad experience)
    3)Don't be afraid of making mistakes. They are the best teachers. Remember, nothing you do is carved in stone. If you're not pleased, tear it up & start over. Every time you repeat a project, it'll be better than the last time.
    4)Try to experiment with different facets of the hobby. This goes back to keeping it small & simple. A small layout will enable you, in a short period of time, to try your hand at design & planning, construction techniques, track laying, wiring, structure building, & scenery techniques. I promise, you will end up liking some of these facets better than others, & you will be able to focus future planning & modeling based on those preferences.
    5)Most important of all - HAVE FUN!!!
  12. George

    George Member


    Asky Daddy for a subscription to Railroad Model Craftsman.

  13. LiLBanshe99

    LiLBanshe99 New Member

    this is all great stuff. a buddy of mine at work is also making a model train set. this is where i get the idea to build one. i have my table now, i have my track nailed down, an enguine and a power pack along with a few cars all set up and going! its sweet! next im going to build a mountain and a train yard.
  14. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Kewl! I'm up to the mountain stage as well. What I did was to use some paper towel and draped it of some plastic soda bottles, and taped it down roughly in the shape of the mountain I want. This was to give me a rough perspective of the shape/height and tunnel portal posiitoning etc to ensure a good look and feel. Took about 10 mins. One thing I found, to give some good realism, is t have the tunnel long enought to contain the whole train. This give a good perspective of trains leaving the layout then returning somewhere else. With the front and back poking out the tunnels at the same time, did not sorta look real. SO i'm gunna leave the paper there for a while to make sure I've got the right shape/height/length etc before constructing it proper. Anyway, busy at the moment putting 17 turnout motors in place, and wiring them up!


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