Noob to trains and the Gauge

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Victorsmalls, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Victorsmalls

    Victorsmalls New Member

    Just wanted to say hello and give a little info on my Project. My name is Dave and I'm just north of Pittsburgh. Just got started into trains after a long facination with the hobby. I have limited experiance and knowledge with trains but I have been reading up.

    The plan is a 4' x 4' N scale layout with a mountain theme and some small residential area. I am going to be using a 3/4 MDF base on top of a 2"x4" build up. The topography will be created with 2" Foam stacked in areas along with 2" as a base for a natural look after some shaping.

    So far I have been shopping on Ebay and a local shop, but I am in need of information more than anything. Just a couple questions.

    What is the differance between Code 55 and Code 80? Size differance?

    Any lead on write ups of LED lighting for train use and the wiring associated with it?

    Thanks in advance for the help you site has been giving me and the help i'll be gaining in the future.

    Dave Albeck
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Hi Dave,welcome to the Gauge.Glad you could join us,there are lots of great folks here more than willing to give any help they can.

    Track height is measured in thousanths(SP) so code 55 would read .55 tall and code 80 is .80 tall.the difference is .25thou.

    Since you are a Noobe I would reccomend that you use code 80 for your first layout.It is quite forgiving of mistakes and the ATLAS brand is available just about everywhere.Once painted and ballasted it looks great.

    As for your second question I really don't at this point have a clue.
  3. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi Dave, welcome to the Gauge. :wave:
    If you click in the "Model Railroading Links" in my signature there are some links to articles on LED lighting on the "How To" and the "Detailing" pages. Those should get you started, and when you get more specific questions there are a ton of people here with years of experiance who would be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. :thumb: :thumb: Hope this helps, and remember, there is no such thing as a "dumb" question on the Gauge. :D :D
  4. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Hi Dave and welcome. As a recent newbie myself may I humbly suggest:

    Check your track plan again and again to make sure it's what you want. Perhaps even post it on the Layout planning forum in here, and get suggestions. It's very hard as a new modeller to see what operational limitations and problems any layout might give you... TrainClown tends to dive in and completely redesign layouts, and tends to do a great job too... You don't need a continuous circuit unless you're *sure* you do. If I'd thought about it more before I started I probably would have gone with a shelf instead.

    Your 4x2 frame is going to be good and strong. You may not need the MDF at all, or certainly not 3/4"... many just use 1x2 or 1x3 framing with 2" foam over the top. I suppose it depends whether or not you want to move it much... The problem you might encounter with an overly thick and heavy base is that if you want to mount under-table switch machines or route cables from the track down under the layout it'll be harder with a big heavy base. I use just 1/2" ultra-light board and I can poke a hole through it with a screwdriver, which makes some things easier...

    As has been noted, 55 and 80 are the sizes of track. "Real" rail scaled down would be between code 40 and 50 depending upon whether it was branchline or trans-continental mainline. So the code 55 will look more like real track and less toy-like. Unless you choose Peco track, code 55 might be a little more difficult to lay. I would qualify the suggestions to use code 80 just because it's your first layout -- it depends upon your skill level. If you are generally good at things you attempt, and/or have had reasonable experience with quality modelling as a kid (or adult!), there's nothing to stop you going straight for code 55. I did and have certainly not regretted it. I would probably stop short of hand-laying code 40 for a first layout, but that's just a question of me being honest with myself about what I think I can do, to a standard I'm happy with...
  5. Victorsmalls

    Victorsmalls New Member

    Thanks for the information and the welcome. I will scane my rough sketch tonight after work for suggestions.
  6. Putt

    Putt New Member

    Noob Too

    Being a n scale beginner, I thought i would go with Kato unitrack for my coffee table layout using the Amherst 2005 Kato track plan. Any reason besides scale looks most of you all use code 55? What do you think of the Kato track? I have learned an awful lot here and am very happy to find the Gauge. The Lionel 027 trains I had as a kid didn't have all these track choices![​IMG]
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Tom: Code 55 is for better appearance. However, if you paint the sides of the rails, the silver colour disappears and the rail isn't so noticeable.
    Code 80 is sturdier if you need to take it apart and redesign things.
    I hear good things about the Kato track. However, it's sectional and you do have a limited number of pieces. (Am I right? No flex in Kato?) But you can start with it and add other types on later.
  8. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Same reasons here Tom. Unitrak doesn't have flextrack (and has a limited selection of turnouts). I chose code 55 for looks, and I chose Peco because it had the largest range of electrofrog turnouts, and because of the good things you head about it... Electrofrogs are slightly more complex to wire up, but are much better operationally, particularly if you want smaller engines, slow-speed shunting, and bullet-proof reliability.

    If you look through threads here and there where Unitrak has been moulded into the layout and ballasted, it looks excellent. But it still has fixed curves, and if you are going to ballast it the whole removable/redesignable thing goes out of the window.

  9. Putt

    Putt New Member

    Thanks guys,
    I thoght that would be the deal. I see you could do a lot more with flex as far as designs go. I am not sure yet wether I'm ready to do all myself(design thru construction). Thats why the Kato looked good to me. i think I'll try a small test track and see if I think I'll go to making my roadbeds and all with 55.

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