Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Otto, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Otto

    Otto New Member

    Hello all,

    My name is Otto, and I'm totally new to model railroading, although I've had an armchair interest for many years. I've recently been bitten by the bug to take the next step toward actually getting involved. My space, and time, is limited so I'm considering the Ntrak approach. Besides, if I start small, I might actually complete it, or at least be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. :)

    Right now, I'm trying to read all I can, and do the necessary investigation, to determine which type of layout I'm most interested in, and what time frame is of most interest. I'm leaning toward various industries on a small shortline with an edge toward a depressed, deferred maintenance setting.

    I haven't bought any equipment yet since I still am not sure what I will need, or how much of it. Knowing me, it will probably be a lot. :) I really do want to start out slowly while I'm learning though to try to minimize mistakes in purchasing. I'm kind of leaning toward freestyle as opposed to actual prototype, at least in this early stage of the hobby. I'm also not sure if I should pursue DCC from the beginning instead of DC. But, being as green as I am to all of this, I really have no idea which way to go.

    I'm sure I'll have many questions as time goes on, and appreciate any, and all, suggestions. I've read many of the posts on these forums as I've lurked here for awhile, and find this to be a very friendly, and helpful group. I hope to get started soon, and to be able to share my progress as I gain momentum.

  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Welcome to the Gauge!
    You have questions.....We have.....Uh...Uh...a diverse group of people who can probably answer them.
    So...Ask away!
  3. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    Welcome aboard Otto, certainly feel free to ask any questions you may have. I have found numerous experts on The Gauge, again welcome :thumb:
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Welcome aboard Otto. You're a smart man, researching first, then buying later. Some folks do it the other way around and end up with equipment that doesn't fit their layout.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Otto:wave:
  6. Otto

    Otto New Member

    Jim Kruase

    Thanks for the welcome. I appreciate it.

    Here's question #1.
    What is the preferred track planning software?

    Next question.
    Thinking about smooth operation with minimal grief, what track is recommended?

    One more for now.
    What would be the most popular modular system, and what links might any of you have so I can learn more about them?

    If I should be asking these on a different forum, please direct me there.

    There will be lot's more, but that should do for a starter.

    Thanks again,
  7. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    :wave: Hi Otto and welcome to the Gauge. This is the right place to come for help!! There are so many knowledgeable people on this forum and feel free to ask any questions you might have. That is what this forum is here for, getting help. :D :)

    From what I hear, the Atlas Freeware is pretty good. Ive only used it once or twice. Here is the link to it: This is a free download. There are many other programs that are available, but there cost money and are not that cheap:cry: :cry:

    The best track I think is the Atlas stuff (CODE 83 - Brown Ties, or CODE 100 - Black Ties) here is a link to the track pages:

    CODE 83:
    CODE 100:

    There is also Bachmann Ez-track, Kato Uni-track, and Peco Track. I prefer the Atlas stuff but that is just my opinion.

    Do you mean like a bench work for your layout??
  8. Otto

    Otto New Member

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks for the info, and links. Yes, I was referring to the different modular bench solutions. I've heard of Ntrak, oNeTrak (sp), and a couple of others. I was wondering which is the preferred "standard", and what most people are building when using the modular approach.

    Heading out the door to run over to either N Scale Supply, or Caboose Hobbies, to do some more "researching".

    Thanks again,
  9. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    You will get a lot of advice so I will keep mine very short. The Atlas sponsored software s very good. I have used it alot and it is freeware. I have been using a payware product called RR-Track v4 which is exceptional tho pricey. I like it.

    You mention Ntrak thus your decision to persue N Scale, very good. As far as track goes I hav not experienced module modeling. I use N Code 80 for my mainlines and large sidings and N Code 55 for small sidings and infrequent used areas. I find using both is a perfect blend. I like bridges and industry and it works.

    Keep an open mind and your goals before you :thumb:
  10. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Welcome Otto...I'd say you're well on your way - asking questions is a great way to start. There are really some experts on this forum that handle just about any question.
  11. NSnosteam

    NSnosteam New Member

    Welcome to The- Gauge Otto! Nice to have you aboard!

  12. Chanda

    Chanda New Member

    Welcome to The-Gauge Otto. This is the greatest hobby in the world and I know all about "arm Chair railroading" having spent 20 years in the military and moving every couple of years.

  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Glad you could join us Otto!
  14. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, Otto. Regarding your question on modular benchwork, it only matters if you are going to build protable modules to take to shows. The various modular groups have module standards that will insure that modules built by various people in different locations can be brought together, hooked up, and run trains without problems. For that reason, most module standards have to do with minimum mainline radius to handle the longest equipment reliably, track spacing in relation to benchwork front edge and table height from the floor to allow tracks to line up correctly when the modules are hooked up to each other. If you are building a permanent layout at home, module standards are not important. What is important is to build at the height you are most comfortable with that fits your modeling space. As far as minimum radius is concerned, decide what equipment you want to run and how much space you have for a layout, and build accordingly.
  16. Otto

    Otto New Member

    Thanks for all the tips and info guys. Shaygetz, I looked at the T-Trak, Bend Track, oNe Trak, etc., and am even more confused with which method/standard to choose. There is an NTrak group in my area I'm going to try to check out.

    I did upload the Atlas Right Track software. Yesterday, I picked up the NTrakmodule how-to book at Caboose Hobbies. Those two should keep me a little busy as I try to determine where I'm going with this.

    I really don't have much knowledge about various motive power, when it was built, where it was used, etc. The same goes for the various types of rolling stock. It seems the more I learn, the harder it is to go forward. I'm guessing I'm not the only one that might have fallen into this trap.

    The more I learn, the more it seems to make sense to go with my original plan of starting out small. I'm now thinking that maybe even smaller might make sense. Perhaps start out with only half of a NTrak/oNe Trak/Bend Track module, or even go with the T-Trak module to get my feet wet. I guess I don't see how a T-Trak module could really be operational by itself. I need to read more about it, and the others. Whew! I didn't realize how hard this was going to be. I think I would like to not only have a module, or two, to run at home, but it might be fun to be able to "hook-up" with others at a club setting, or event.

    Thanks again, and please keep up the input. It all helps.
  17. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Welcome To The-Gauge Otto. You will find a great bunch of people here willing to help out and share their ideas. We are a bunch of great people.:D
  18. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Welcome to The Gauge Otto.
    As for DCC over DC. Well I went the way of DC when I first started, and now I wish I would have gone with DCC. Good luck in choosing.
  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would contact your local n-trak club first before starting anything. There are various modular standards and if you find a local club or group to join, then you would want to build your module to their standards. I've never heard of T-Trak, I'm guessing it is tt scale which is bigger than n but smaller than ho.

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