Newbie needing information

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by petersd, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. petersd

    petersd New Member

    My son loves trains and we finally pulled out the HO trains that I had when I was a kid to let him play with. After doing some research on the internet, I found out that this would be a fun hobby to do. The problem that I have is I would like to create a layout sometime soon but my knowledge is lacking at best. I will start with a layout on a 4' X 8' and use the first layout as a learning experience. This will help me keep sanity since my son is only 4 and I still want him to be able to play with it and he can mess up the experimental layout while he is learning as well.

    What I need help with is what books and/or videos would everyone recommend. My old train is Tyco and Buchannan and we just bought a Life Like set for my son. I know that the Locos and rolling stock are cheap and will upgrade in the future so I so not have any questions as of yet on these. What I would like is information (books/video) on anything and everything relating to layouts, landscaping, track laying, wiring, controls, etc..

    Everybodies help would be much appreciated.

  2. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Welcome aboard!

    You've come to the right place!

    Your local hobby shop should have a good supply of model railroading books and magazines. Also check at your local public library.

    Or click on the link at the bottom of this page. It will take you to

    Look for books from Carsten's and/or Kalmbach's. Titles like getting started in model railroading are a good place to start.

    Atlas also publishes books on model railroad layouts that you might want to check out. They include specific material lists. Almost all of the atlas layouts that I have seen are designed for 4' x 8' tabletops. Go to

    Buchannan??? Bachmann perhaps.... Check out their website at:

    This is just the tip of the iceburg...

    Good luck!
  3. Hi, Dave. Welcome to The Gauge

    TinGoat's suggestions are all good ones. I'll echo his suggestion to check your local library. They might surprise you with all sorts of things. I know in the case of my own local library system, they have nearly 300 model rr references, including the entire "Great Model Railroads" video series.

    Here's a link you might want to follow. It will take you to Model Railroader's site. On the left side of the page you'll find links to Kalmbach's reference books.
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    "HO Railroad from Start to Finish" - Jim Kelly (from Model Railroader)

    Definitely a novice reference, but includes information regarding just about every aspect of the hobby imaginable.
  6. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Dave,
    Welcome to The Gauge and the hobby. You have come to the right place my freind. Check out . This website is setup just for people like you, they also have books and videos on getting started (the site is run by Kalmbach Publishing). Don't hesitate to post a question here though, there is a wealth of knowledge here to answer any questions you may have.
  7. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge Dave! I have nothing to add, everybody here has given you excellent advice. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
  9. Here are some additional links, Dave. They are for books aimed at the beginning modeler.

    Rick Selby's HO Railroad from Set to Scenery would be ideal for what you have in mind at this point in time. It's written for the beginner who is starting out with a train set. It's listed on the last link above.
  10. petersd

    petersd New Member

    Thanks for the info

    I really appreciate all the responses that I received. I always thought that there wasn't much to model trains but when I started looking into it, I was amazed. All of the information that you guys have provided me will surely help me get off on the right foot. I located a hobby shop a few miles from work and will check it out during lunch to see what they have for books and videos. Otherwise, the links provided include more than enough information to get me started.

    I will keep you posted on my progress and now its time to start learning and hopefully within the next couple of weeks we can start a project.

    Thanks again,

  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    You are right about there being a lot more to it that what you had, or thought there is, but the beauty is you can keep it as simple as you like. I am doing the same thing. a "practice" layout first. It's turned into quit a complex "practice" too!! :D

    I have a 4' * 8' HO layout, and pics ofit and some of building it are here.

    Keep us all up to date on how you go! :)
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    First, welcome! Second, lots of good advice already! So... While you're here, there have been lots of questions, and lots of answers, and besides, by the time you've read everything here on the gauge, you will have been able to save enough to buy all the books you need!:D :D :D :D
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    To Dave from David:
    Check the copyright dates on any books you use. Some of them were first written in the 50's or earlier and are mostly interesting for nostalgia.
    From this era, one of the most popular was HO Railroad that Grows, which was a year's worth of articles from a magazine. Main problem is that the grades are impossible. Lots of the techniques have since been improved out of all recognition, and the commercial products have changed. Worth looking at from the developmental concept.
    (Missed this string when it started -- took a little trip.)

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