Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by vett, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. vett

    vett New Member

    I am new to this forum, I have been building r/c ships and planes for many, many years and thought I would try trains. I want to build a 1800's layout 4x8 to start. I ordered a John Bull set that I want to run on the upper level, my question is what is the tightest curve, u-turn, I can make for it, I want to keep the upper level as narrow as possible. The lower level will be about 50 years later with a steam loco similar to the General about 1860's. Also I have seen videos of steam locos with sound, it sounds like the sound is coming from the engine, is it possible to put the sound mod. in the engine? Has anyone dealt with they seem to have very good prices. I have many questions but will start with these for now.
    Thanks in advance
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome! You'll notice that Zealot also has an R/C component too...!

    To answer your questions -

    In HO, the standard answer to the tightest turn question is 18" radius. You'd therefore need about 40" to form a loop. The radius is measured to the centre of the track, so you need to add a little to each side - hence the 40" answer. However, there's nothing to say that you need to run your trains in a loop. Point to point is a popular option for a layout, and there are other ways of turning a train than using a loop. You'll have to check what the manufacturer of your John Bull set recommends.

    (John Bull was running in the 1830's, so 50 years later puts you at ~1880, not 1860.)

    It is possible to add sound to many locos, although many sound modules require DCC (not "traditional" DC) control. Some locos are impossible to refit, due to the space required for the decoder, speaker, and associated wiring. Again, depending on the specifics of the model, you may be able to use some space in the tender. Another option is to install sound in a piece of rolling stock that is pulled by the engine.

    I have no experience with modeltrainstuff, preferring to buy my supplies at my local shops. However, you should get some opinions.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    My limited interaction with M B Klein ( was positive. I ordered one item from them, and it worked out with no trouble. So there's one data point for you.

    Now -- what is this about "upper level" and "lower level" on your planned layout?
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Vett, welcome to The Gauge.
    I have ordered from Modeltrainstuff 3 times and have had very good experiences each time. I would not hesitate to order from them again:thumb:

  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Hi Vett, welcome to the Gauge :wave:

    AHHHHH Yes, MB Klein (modeltrainstuff) They are AWESOME, im a re-peat customer with them and every time ive ordered from them (not so small orders either lol) they have been right ontop of everything, pretty fast shipping after you pay for the merchandise, and if they dont have it listed on there web site, then they will order it for you and give you there discount like all the other items they have on there site, but the catch is, YOU get first pick of the items you requested before they go live on the site :thumb: :mrgreen:
  6. vett

    vett New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. As for the upper and lower levels, the upper will be for the John bull in the 1800's up in the woods and the lower will be mostly for the later 1800's at least this is my idea for now.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    When I got back into model railroading, it was the Bachmann John Bull and Dewitt Clinton that got me interested. I bought a John Bull set, and tried to run it. I came to the conclusion that it is better as a static display. Keeping the tender (powered) coupled to the locomotive has been completely impossible in my experience. Don't even think about using a John Bull set in hilly terrain. If you will have any hope of keeping it coupled, your track work has to be perfect and flat. Also it does not have enough power to climb any sort of grade. The electrical pickup is limited to the 2 axle truck of the tender, so any switches you wish to run through must have live frogs.
  8. vett

    vett New Member

    Yes Russ, It came today and I just came up from running it, I don't like the way it is coupled to the tender but after tweeking the track a bit I got it to stay on track. It won't be going up any grades just a flat oval on the upper deck the lower deck will have more grades and switch's for bigger engines.

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