So new I havent got a clue??

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by kpowell, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. kpowell

    kpowell New Member

    I was given the Empire Builder. I have read the Atles book N guage for beginners and an online tutorial the expanded 3x5. First, should I stay with the Bachman EZ track of start with the Atles and if I go to the A brand what type is best. Second the expanded 3x5 has what I think is a great layout but they dont break it up into blocks and I dont have a clu as how to do that. Third: Do I need a "cab" for each engine if i wanted to run a fraight and two switchers?
    Thanks Everyone. As I titled this I dont have a clue but trying to learn before I lay down track.
    Ken Powell
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Which track is better depends on what your long term iinterests are. For setting up and taking down, using on the dining room table, or similar non-permanent situations the Bachman EZ track is probably better. The Bachman EZ track, LifeLikePowerLoc, and the Kato track with the built-in roadbed are all incompatible with each other and any other make of track, which restricts you to only sizes and pieces they make.

    For a permanent layout, the Atlas track offers more flexibility in track configuration. In addition to their published layout plans, Atlas offers free track planning software called RTS. Another advantage is that all the non-roadbed track makes are pretty much compatible with each other. But the non-roadbed tracks will not hold up as well to being repeatedly set up and taken down. The Atlas Code 80 N track is recommended for beginners. The Code 55, although looking more realistic, will not handle all N trains right off the bat.

    As far as wiring goes - yes you need a separate controller called a "power pack" for each train that will be run at the same time. It's highly unlikely on a 3x5 layout that you will be running more than 2 trains at the same time. You may have more locomotives on the layout, but getting more than 2 people around the layout to run their trains will be difficult even if you had the track to support it. So a relatively simple "cab control" wiring system was developed - for which Atlas sells components - that allows 2 power packs to stay connected to the train they are operating, no matter where they go on the layout. The track is divided into electrically separate "blocks", each roughly a train length or longer long. A slide switch on the Atlas Selector is wired to each block. The switch is moved to connect the block to Power Pack A or B or turned off (slide switch in center position). The blocks in use by train A are connected to Power Pack A and so on. Blocks where an engine is sitting but not being used are turned off.

    On an oval of track, you generally want at least 4 blocks for good operation. Sidings that could hold a train or might be used to store locomotives should also be separate blocks.

    Hope this helps.
  3. kpowell

    kpowell New Member

    Thanks Fred, I think I will be going for a perminate layout. I belive it to be larger than 3x5 probley closer to 3.5 to 4 by 7.5. I think I will go with the Atlas. Thanks
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  5. kpowell

    kpowell New Member

    brakie: I was considering the layout at this site, its the last one with the round house. Only problem is I am not sure of the connections etc. I will be using atlas track vice the EZ track that comes with the set.
  6. That is a good layout.

    In many ways I actualy prefer its 2x4 version to the 3x5, because its not a simple oval and its a bit offset, making a more interesting loop.
  7. kpowell

    kpowell New Member

    Screwsquirrel: Did I miss something? Where is the 2x4 version and can I find it in RTS?
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  9. kpowell

    kpowell New Member

    Yes, if you go a little further there is also a slightly modified version.
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    To my liking, there is way too much trackage and no room for scenery.
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Will,Actually that is a great layout for operations but,needs some refinements.
    Here is my list:
    1.Since I use diesels I would omit the space eating roundhouse and turntable and use a three track engine service yard.This would be located off the yard on the LEFT side.
    2.I would swing the yard toward the main line to gain room,
    3.I would eliminate the mini Time Saver located in the "industrial" area and add 3 separate industrial tracks allowing 2 industries per track.This can be done by eliminating the river/creek since it takes up valuable space and has no rhyme or reason to be there since there is a l harbor nearby.
    4.I would have the view block slicing the layout in a straight line again gaining room.
    5.Now in the room I gained I would add a town or small city to complete the layout.

    As I have mention countless times before, with small layouts one must use his/her space wisely to gain the best track/scenery design and that calls for out of the box thinking to include the elimination of unrealistic grades and space eating mountains.

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