Need advice on new set...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by YellowHawk, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. YellowHawk

    YellowHawk New Member

    Hello everyone. My wife bought me a train set for Christmas. It's an Athearn John Deere Model 'B' Express. I don't know anything about model trains, but would like to set this set up permanantly on a sheet of plywood with some other buildings, etc. Here's what was included in the set:

    - F7A Locomotive w/ dual flywheels, operating headlights, 5 pole skewed armature motor
    - 40' Grain Box car
    - Single Dome Tank car
    - 40' Flat car with load
    - Bay Window Caboose
    - Two Die cast John Deere "Model B" Tractors
    - Athearn TrainPak 16 volt UL listed power pack
    - One Oval of HO (1/87th) scale track with integral roadbed track

    First of all, is this good equipment to get started in model railroading? If so, does anyone have any simple plans for a model RR setup I could get started building? I may need to obtain some more track because it's not a real large oval track that came with the set. Thanks for any replies and help!
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge :wave: You have one of the best starter sets out there, kudos to the Santa that got it for you. There is an old book, "101 track plans for sectional track" put out some years back that's perfect for what you're looking for. Every year around this time Model Railroader magazine usually puts out a simple 4'x8' track plan in their Dec. or Jan. issue.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Hawk,

    Welcome to The Gauge!

    Athearn is good quality stuff. In addition to the sugestions above, take a look at the Track Planning section of The Gauge. I am not sure what type of roadbed track comes with the Athearn set, but Atlas makes starter packs of the stuff that includes enough to make an "oval and a half", which means it has two "snap switches" (turnouts) that could be useful. For the most flexibility (so to speak ;) ) you can use flex track with your roadbed track, and therefore create any plan you want.

    Let us know how it goes!

  4. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Hawk -

    If you go to Atlas' web site ( I believe), they have a free layout-design tool for download. Not as detailed/flexible as the multi-hundred dollar commercial programs, but I found it met my needs fine. It does force you to "design" in snap-section track or fiddle with the "flextrack" tool, but that's not such a big deal. I designed my layout with it, using "sectional" track, then just followed the plans using flextrack throughout...

  5. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

  6. YellowHawk

    YellowHawk New Member

    I've been looking at some of those track layouts, but I haven't quite decided yet. Not sure if I should think of a plan for the surrounding and design the track around that, or pick a track and design the surroundings. I will check out that track designer on the atlas website tonight. Thanks for the help!

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