Im afraid of water

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by mike_p, Aug 18, 2001.

  1. mike_p

    mike_p New Member

    Hi everyone, my 5 year old son is a train fanatic and has forced me (Not really) into getting his first train set about 4 years ago and it has grown ever since. I decided to go with my own design of a layout not mirroring any of the real RR out there. I have to admit I have not done my homework when it comes to the track (the most important I know) . I have a 4x21 double track layout now and it is riddled with problems but the scenery looks so good I don’t want to trash it.
    I have a few questions that may be mind blowing to you guys but trust me it’s out of not knowing.
    I hear talk of multiple power sections, I have a command 2000 setup and how do you do this? Just take the main power and section it to different areas?
    Also I have a river coming across it and I bought 2, 2’ span bridges about 2 months ago. I’m a scenery guy and with the discussion of large body’s of water looking good and staying that way is a huge discussion in it’s self, so here I am looking at a 2'x4' piece of ply wood all boxed in pretty like and I am scared to death to try anything in it? I need help!
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Welcome Mike (I see you got my email!). A lot of the guys frequenting the Gauge are more quaified than I am to answer, but I'll start the ball rolling.
    Multiple power sections - This is when you electrically isolate sections of your track, usually by using insulating rail joiners. If you have only one controller, you can then, through switches (electric, not turnouts), control which section the controller is connected to. This allows you to have one engine standing still, like on a siding, while you are running aother. This is only one possibility, if you have more than one controller you can run more than one engine at once, etc. I'm just scratching the surface here - but there are good books out there that can answer most of your questions.

    Water - First of all, you'll probably be swamped with opinions on this one. My advice is don't be afraid to try stuff. If you don't want to try it for real on your layout, experiment at youyr work bench. I personally have used colored paster to make the river bed, added rocks and debris, then used polyurethane for the water, and didn't think it was too bad. But then again it was a little creek, not a wide river.
  3. mike_p

    mike_p New Member

    Thanks for getting back to me, I can run up to 12 loco's where ever I want on my layout and control them as well (Not that this will ever happen). I only have one power pack going to all that track and I was wondering if it would be a problem as I expanded?

    Water- I have yet to do anything over a stream. I figured if this is the plan then I will build it and aggrevate me that it looks like a hunk of ply wood there then I would do something about it.
    That sound like a plan?:confused:
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

    Mike - You must be running DDC - I didn't pick up on that. I don't know much about DDC but I beleive that you need to make sure all areas of track get an ample power supply, also that it is still not a bad idea to isolate the track into blocks for debug purposes.
    As for your river, I'd consider at least scenicing it as a canyon or something now, and plan on adding water later?
  5. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Mike, and welcome to the gauge.
    As far as your power blocks are concerned, This depends entirely on what track plan you have, if you are using DCC then I will say no more, as I haven’t used it and wouldn’t like to comment on something I know very little about. On the other hand if you are not using DCC then I can help you all the way through on wiring your layout for perfect running.

    In the Academy is an article I wrote on WIRING, it can be printed out along with all the photos. Any problems just ask, I will help.
    On to the water. For all my waterways on Badger Creek, I use undercoat plaster for the main bed suitably painted then add High Gloss Yacht Varnish to finish it off. Many coats are needed to produce the desired effect, but I think, worth it in the end.
    Good luck

    NARA Member #24
  6. mike_p

    mike_p New Member

    Yes I am fully involved with the DCC, I run a command 2000 from MRC. Very nice system, I can even set engines off on a 27 stage start up. Meaning it takes like 20 seconds to come to full speed. I like it a lot. Also it is supported by a local hobby shop. Also I bought A Baldwin 2-8-0 consolidation & Tender steamer from Spectrum and I am impressed with the pulling power this little engine had. Not a super eye grabber withe the painting but nice mechanics.

    As far as water, I think Im going with the built up varnish. It seems to be the choice with Rivers. Streams it seems to lop side to fiber glass for it's dirtyness.

    Thanks for all the help, this is the first time I went to a forum for help and beleive me it wont be my last. None of my friends are into it so Im kinda on my own.
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Mike, Concerning multiple power sections, there are basically two reasons to provide some, one being that if you want to run more locos or lighted equipment than your booster can supply current for, you can add another booster to supply power to a section of your layout. I am not familiar with the Command 2000, I use Digitrax. Digitrax provides 5 amps, so far enough for my requirements. If you want to add another booster, you will need to gap both rails to electrically isolate part of your layout (also cut the bus wire providing power to this section). You then run that severed bus wire connected to the newly isolated section to the new booster, which is connected to the command station (via 6 conductor phone line on the Digitrax system).

    Another reason to isolate sections of a layout is to prevent the entire railroad from shutting down during a short. During a short, the breaker in your booster shuts down, so if you have multiple sections, only the section with the short shuts down, the balance of the railroad remains on. You do not have to buy boosters for each section, there are breakers available which connect between a booster and individual sections. There are probably several sources for these breakers, I am only aware of the ones by Tony's Trains

    Oh, one other reason just occured to me, troubleshooting. If you have a short and do not know where it is located, the ability to shut down sections to isolate the problem helps tremendously. This is one of the advantages of DC standard block control. The breakers go for about $30.

  8. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Here is a standard double track oval (Hyperthetical) and how it is wired for block control and using just two controllers.
    By using Double Pole Double Throw switches you have the ability to switch out any section. If you have a short, simply switch out all except where the loco is and look for the problem, half the time it is because the loco is bridging a gap not switched in or sitting on a live frog with its wheels causing the fault.




    NARA Member #24
  9. George

    George Member

    W A T E R?

    Hello MikeP!

    Listen, you live in Buffalo? I want the recipe for wings from the Anchor Bar!!!:)

    Listen, getting back to WATER, since you live in Buffalo, here's what you do.....

    Take the family for a nice little trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country...You know where it is.

    Go east of Harrisburg on I-78 to Shartlesville, in Pennsylvania.

    Take the family EARLY in the day (because you will want to kill at least 4 hours) to ROADSIDE AMERICA.

    ROADSIDE AMERICA is an "O" scale layout in a building the size of an airplane hanger. WHY go there? Because they have an extremely large fresh water river STOCKED WITH LIVING GOLD FISH running throughout the layout. We've all had a hand at running a fishtank at some point in our lives, but these guys have perfected the environmental control of such an undertaking with a train layout.

    I'm not going to pontificate on how to do it, go and see how it's done for yourself, and get some classic shoo-fly pie for the family while inthe region.

    I guarantee, even your wife will love the trip if you hit the Amish market in York on the weekend. The kids will never forget this layout, and neither will you or your wife. Ask the folks who run it, how to maintain the Ph and clenliness of the water. For them, it's not only a labour of life, it's a genuine passion.

  10. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    water, whater everywhere...

    I'm no expert, but here's my $.02:

    I've a small layout- 4x8, the classic beginning. I have a river the length of it leading into a lare that takes up one corner. My river is Duham's Water Putty (good plaster), painted a 'rocky' color, with aquarium gravel glued to the bottom and sides to simulate a rocky brook. I'm planning to pour envirotex shortly.

    Tha lake is going to be plexiglas, painted smoky black in the middle to simulate deeper water. I think that to unify them I'm going to have to put a layer of envirotex on top of that too- we shall see.

    I repeat, though, that I am a beginner. If you hear a more experienced modeller's advice contradicting my advice, you and that other modeller should have a hearty laugh at my expense :) then do it his/her way rather than mine. Write me a message, though!
  11. mike_p

    mike_p New Member



    Nothing to the wings, alittle REAL butter and some pure hot souce and leave it for an hour or so and it it's there. as far as the wings go you have to buy from a buffalo butcher mmmmmmm

    I went there George and let me tell you that was freeken awsome!!!!!!!

    I will post some pictures as soon as I get around to dev. them.
    I went home and started on the real deal. Im going with real water. There is a guy named terry there and he advised me on how to do some stuff. Like ripples in the water, router out lines cross ways and sand smooth one side of the groove.
    Guys this this is as big as a hanger!!!!!!!!

    Thanks George!
  12. mike_p

    mike_p New Member


    Thanks Gary, sorry for the delay I was at ROADSIDE AMERICA, What a site, I would say take everyones model RR and place them where it would look like a villiage and thats ROADSIDE AMERICA.

    Thanks for the tip and I will certainly keep that in mind just for hunting down shorts if anything.
  13. George

    George Member

    Hello MikeP!

    I'm really glad you went and enjoyed ROADSIDE AMERICA.:):D:)

    Since the old guard of model railroaders has changed, it would seem that RA has fallen off the scope of most people in the industry. In years past, it was constantly used as a reference in magazines, as well as books, on how to do everything from wiring to scratchbuilding.

    I think you would have to agree now that you've seen it, that despite it's large gauge, there's really nothing "toylike" about the exhibit. The emphasis is not on the trains so much as the detailing of structures, farms and urban settings. Therfore, it's not "overtracked" like most layouts, and the observer is given the feeling of taking in a large panorama of the countryside.

    I strongly recommend that everyone within reasonable distance of Sharttlesville Pennsylvania make the effort to see this exhibit, which is open every day of the year except for Christmas Day. I have to admit to you all that over the years, I can attribute my best "ideas" on my layouts to having origins at ROADSIDE AMERICA.

    I'm very interested in hearing about what specific scenes you liked best, and what kind of information the staff gave you about anything you may have asked.

    I contributed an article in THE ACADEMY sometime back called "It's time to RE-ANIMATE!" you might enjoy now after seeing ROADSIDE AMERICA. For my money, RA is the true birthplace of contemporary animation concepts for model railroading. You will have to admit, they have mastered the use of sound beyond anything you've probably seen elsewhere. I don't know how that man had time to run a farm and build that display.

    As for the wings, where I live, they don't know that the secret to Buffalo wings is a stint in the oven AFTER the fryer. Here, they serve you wet, messy wings instead of crisp hotties!

    So, when are you going back to Sharttlesville again?:)

  14. LC

    LC Member

    Where the heck is the artical written by George in Re: "It's time to Re-animate???
    I had looked at it quite some time back but never had a chance to make a copy of it.
    Am I looking in the wrong place??

  15. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi LC, George will have to re-submit it as all Academy files from the old were lost on transfer. That goes for anyone else who submitted anything.


    NARA Member #24

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