New guy with LOTS of questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jaytee, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. jaytee

    jaytee New Member

    Hey everybody, I'm new here and have been out of the train hobby since the early to mid '70's. I'm considering getting back in and I bought my first magazine the other day and I must say that things sure seemed to have changed alot over the last 30 or so years!! I will probably be starting with all new stuff since we sold all my old stuff in garage sales over the years anyway. Just a few questions for now. Whats with all this code numbered track that I see advertised? Will it interchange or do you have to stay with one type/code? Also, what is the current hot ticket for powerpacks? Oh by the way, this will prolly start out as a hobbyist type layout but like a lot of things they have a way of becoming way more then you envision when you started. Not looking to spend a ton of money, maybe a few thousand or so. Thanks for any and all advice!!:wave:
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hiya jaytee,
    Welcome to The-Gauge!!:wave:
    The rail code is just the height of the rails in hundredths of an inch. Code 83 = 0.083"
    tracks of different codes can be connected.
    The latest and greatest in power is Digital Command Control (DCC), which allows multiple
    trains running on the same tracks under separately addressed control.:thumb:

    You're in the right place to read up both on new developments and old standbys!:)
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Only a few thousand?:D

    Welcome to The Gauge:thumb: Your rail sizes are compatible in the sense that there are manufacturers out there who makes the various joiners necessary to join one size to another. DCC is the big thing, making even us oldtimers grudgingly accept that there are new things out there worth changing over to, you simply can't beat the realistic multi-train operations.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Welcome jaytee! Any more you can tell us about future layout plans? Theme? Favorite railroad, etc?
  5. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I would suggest starting with DCC from the get go. It can be a little pricey but if you look around it can be reasonably priced considering you are starting with 0 and will be buying power supply any way. I have MRC Prodigy Advance and love it. As far as track goes I suggest atlas flex track but not their switches. I suggest Peco switches. I also would go with code 83. For what it is worth.
  6. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    I agree, go with the 83. It's a little more money but it looks alot better. Go with DCC. Even if you aren't running more than one engine at a time; it allows you to park more than one on the track st the same time. It's not that TOO expensive.
  7. jaytee

    jaytee New Member

    Ralph, I dont have any plans now for my future layout and I'm not sure what line I would want to replicate or time period for that matter. I like the 1950's but I also like steam so I'm kinda pulled between the early 1900's or the 40's and 50's. I just like the looks of the old buildings and it looks like the accessories are getting much more accurate and detailed then when I was railroading back in the early 70's. I'm assuming that HO gauge is still the most popular with users and manufactures alike and that there is more stuff available for this gauge then any other.
  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    HO scale is still I'd say the most popular,and has the most accessories and buildings loco's,etc.and you could have 1950s themed layout with steam operation.C&O was still running steam into the fifties and a few other roads.nd you can incorporate a few 1st gen diesels,since steam can get EXPENSIVE.hope i was of assistance.--josh
  9. jaytee

    jaytee New Member

    And right now I'm not sure if I'm gonna replicate an actual RR or just make up my own. Haven't decided yet.
  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    You're in the fun, everything is possible, part! :)
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Typically, railroads bought new steam into the 40s and operated it into the 50s. For medium and large roads, the date of last steam operation varied from 1949 to 1960.
  12. Krawler

    Krawler Member

    jaytee you sound like your in the same boat as I am. One thought I might offer is think about a scenic railroad which would run steam. I know my wife is getting to the point she glazes over when I start laying out yet another layout on paper. One of these days I will just pull the trigger and go with one *LOL*

  13. CRed

    CRed Member

    The DM&IR were still running their Yellowstones into the early 60's,around 63' they stopped I believe.

    I have had a hard time deciding what to do myself,first I was going to do the 50's and had a beautiful AT&SF F7 A/B set from Precision because I wanted to do a passenger line.Then I changed my mind and decided to go modern,well now I'm not sure I want to and am thinking of going back to a 50's era.There are so many choices and possibilties with track,engines and stuff that I swear if I don't decide soon my head will explode!And I don't even have a layout yet:rolleyes:.

  14. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I like modern up but I think its ok to run some older stuff on the rails. they could be some refurbished locos on a special run or some thing.
  15. stanC

    stanC Member

    Is new always good

    I am also newly returned oldtimer. I am not convinced about the need to change to DCC but I wonder if I am the only one that has that view. Just reading about the DCC I can understand that it is more realistic but in my case that is not a critical issue. On the other hand DCC does appear to be very much more expensive and much less robust and unforgiving if the contacts are not very good. I read so much about how many things there are that go wrong I wonder if there is any time just to enjoy the trains running on the track. It also seems to me that if you want to have your grandchildren join you you cannot always be worrying about the fact that they will may damage the DCC decoders which are so expensive.
    Maybe we oldtimers should not be so quick to knock the old systems. I still think the "KISS" and "if it works dont change it" principles have a lot going for them

  16. CRed

    CRed Member

    I'm not in a hurry to change to DCC yet either,I'm only going to be running a couple trains at a time for quite awhile I think.I did get a BLI/Atlas Quantum Engineer which allows me to access all the sounds and most of the other stuff you get with DCC for my Quantum equipped engines and I'll get a MRC "Black Box" for the others.The cost isn't the problem,I could sell my power pack and the engineer and easily be able to afford a MRC Prodigy Express system,I just don't see any reason to for my needs.

  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    According to the DMIR did retire its last steam in '63 - but did they actually operate that late? The UP also rostered steam into '63, but didn't actually operate them past '59.
  18. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    DCC is easy. I have been at it for about a year now and haven't burned up a decoder yet. I have about 10 DCC locomotives now and only one was purchased as DCC. I was in it for the sound mostly but now I am eating it up for operations. I decided that all of my power will have sound as it is made DCC. If you are just starting I say go for it, you won't be sorry. As far as kids go no problem. Tell them just key in the locomotive number, turn on the headlight and off they go. I have an 8 year old grandson and a 12 year old nephew and no problems at all. In fact my nephew has his own small layout with a simple circle with some sidings and he is DCC.
  19. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Stan: Here's one oldtimers view of DCC. I would say if you are starting over and don't have a big investment in DC power supplies from another time period, go with DCC. Another consideration; If you only plan to run one locomotive on a loop of track, DC is all you need. Be aware that starting out with DC and buying two or three power supplies to run two or three locomotives will put you in the price range of a good DCC system. It's kind of a myth that DCC systems have a lot of track problems. If they do, its because the wiring is either bad or poorly designed. If you like the challange of wiring your layout in "blocks and flipping switches to keep everything running in sequence then DC is good for you. I don't personally miss the DC anymore even though our club layout runs on DC most of the time. We have the capability to operate on DCC by reinstalling the DCC equipment when the museum is closed for the year and we don't need to deal with the coin operated system. Be aware that with DCC you can really have some bad accidents if you don't pay attention to where your trains are. Your choice.
  20. stanC

    stanC Member

    Reply to Jim Krause

    Hi Jim very interesting reading your letter. I can see the advantages of the DCC but the cost still seems to be high. I am really very not sure of what it all involves having never seen it in operation but it seems that you need a decoder for every activity. However most probably the main reluctance is the resistance to anything new .
    Regards Stan

Share This Page