Would you pay to have someone install your train?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by thishandle, May 30, 2001.

  1. thishandle

    thishandle New Member

    I'm thinking about have a track run through out my home, through rooms on wood shelving and what not and i would like some advice from some expert train enthusiast. what size train should i use? and Is this a something i can pay to have someone do? and would anyone else pay to have a track placed through out your home? Just want some feed back, thanx for the help
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    G'day Thishandle,

    Sounds like a good idea! If you used O guage, you could run a set of flat cars and run it past the fridge, and have it deliver appropriate refreshments at the appropriate stops! [​IMG]

    If you are going to knock holes in walls etc, and run it round the house, you will need to be above door height of course. Perhaps a qualified carpenter to lay the shelf, and construct the holes, then lay the track yourself? Remember curve radiususus, on the room corners. That will determine the guage. HO should be a minimum of 20" radius. N guage could fit through mouseholes, and run anywhere, but at ceiling height (to avoid the doors) you may not be able to see it!

    This a few things to think about?
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

  3. George

    George Member


    For what you're talking about, large scale is the way to go. As Woodie reccomends, "O" scale or Number 1 scale (LGB).

    The problem with a shelf layout is it's usually too high for people to get a really good look at, and derailments can be catastrophic as you can imagine.

    If you really want to impress people, run a clear plexiglass tunnel through a fish tank! [​IMG]

  4. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    I like the idea of the tunnel through the fish tank!

    I have been contemplating running a high level HO line, connecting with a "normal height" layout, around the wall and into another room. The purpose would be mainly just to have a place for the trains to go. The major activity would still be on the "main" layout. Do you think the potential problems of derailments, etc. would be worth the effort or not? Just fishing for ideas, at the moment.

    Dave Flinn, Northeast Regional Vice President, NRHS
    National Director, Cornell Chapter, NRHS
    Life Member NMRA, NER, NFR,
    Danbury Railway Museum
  5. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    Depending on your own level of handiness, hiring experts could be either a godsend or a total waste of money.

    If you are comfortable knocking holes in your walls (ie can avoid putting your sawzall through an eletric line) AND are reasonably confident that you can build trackwork, I'd suggest doing it yourself.

    If you built great trackwork but the idea of opening walls worries you, a good general contractor could make the experience less painful.

    Or, if you're fantistically wealthy, you can hire a company from the back of any railroad magazine to do the whole job. I have no experience with them but understand that they're quite pricy.

    Am I answering the question you're asking?

    Personally, I'd prefer to do it all myself, assuimg that I had an unbroken block of time to do the work in. If it required trying my wife's patience by leaving walls open and sawdust all about, I might well hire it out, though.

    A really obvious caveat just occured to me- I assume that you own the house and have the enthusiastic agreement of anyone else who lives there... otherwise your trains might be going through the walls but You will be in the doghouse and therefore unable to enjoy them [​IMG]
  6. thishandle

    thishandle New Member

    Thanx guys for all the advice... i think i might try to find someone who can set up my entire track and put the holes in the wall, but if the price is a little too steep i was just thinking about doing it myselfin the first place, the only reason i was going to let someone else do it is because the wife would rather get a pro, while i'd rather be the handy man! thanx again for the advice and if anyone has a number or web address for someone who does this type of work please post it!
  7. George

    George Member


    We don't hear enough from you!
    Biggerhammer is on right track.

    Don't even attempt this kind of project unless the job is going to look "Finished". That's EVERY wife's primary complaint with these things, and it should be avoided at all costs.

    You're talking about exposing what many consider an "odd-ball hobby" to everyone who enters your home. Be prepared to have your feelings trashed when you get more compliments like "Nice finish on that molding.", instead of "WOW! I love that observation car!" Reactions will be far more mixed than you ever recieved taking people into a layout room, and your wife will be quizzed by the ladies more often than she cares to be.

    Of the few I have seen, the ones I liked had a wooden valance to conceal lighting from above, while others had soft reddish lighting to simulate sunset from behind, making the train a ghostly sillhouette as it glided by.

    Unless you have seating, such as a sofa, far enough back, putting the base within 14 inches of the ceiling can be a waste.

    Another consideration is maintenance. How's your back? I know how bad mine is. High dusting needs to be done a bit more than the low stuff.

    Derailments are my main concern on a project like this. The molding from the bottom needs to come up far enough to prevent tumbling, but nicely finished wood will block your view of the train. Why not consider a shelf and enclosing it with plexiglass? It would significantly reduce the dust factor, but must be easily removed to cure a derailment in the event of one.

    If you're considering it in a room, have a seat and see if you have to crane your neck to see where you want to put it. If that's the case, abandon ship.

    If going with what Dave Flinn called a "normal height", I take that as four feet. What a nice diorama that would make going through a book case, and enclosed with plexiglass to keep LITTLE FINGERS at bay! Restaurants and pubs do this quite often.

    For merely extending a run, if John Taranto is out there, he had an extended run through his laundry room where he encountered some problems. If you're out there John, dive in, please!

    Interesting topic.

  8. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I would charge about $300.00 per room LOL
    [​IMG] -- this ones in HO

    My wife says if I buy One more Train, she'll leave me...
    Gee I'll miss HER!!!! [​IMG] -- N Gauger

    [This message has been edited by N Gauger (edited 05-30-2001).]
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  10. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    Heck, Shamus, I'd pay your fare over just to watch you work! (of course I'm too poor to do such a thing but hey, can't I dream?)

    My only worry would be that I'd deveop such an inferiority complex about my trains [​IMG]
  11. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi thishandle!
    I think George raises some interesting issues here.
    I've been operating under the opinion lately that by having a more finished, "museum" quality layout, we can shed some of that "odd-ball" stigma, & make our craft more accessable to non-modelers, & thereby more appreciated. Why not be proud of your finished molding, as well as your observation car?
    I came by this opinion after building some dioramas, & seeing the reaction they got from non-modelers. It made me realize that model railroading is simply a form of art. Three dimentional, animated art. It's completely changed how I approach layout design. No more sheets of plywood thrown across saw-horses for me!
    As far as a shelf system running through your house, I think it has great potential.(although the issue of re-sale must cross one's mind) Keep in mind that, like George said, lighting, viewing angles, backdrop, & finished overall appearance are things you really need to put some thought into. But really I'd think you'd get far, far more compliments than complaints. (from ladies, as well as gentlemen)
    As far as do-it-yourself, or not, that's a matter of personal choice. I myself (& I suspect I speak for many of us) get a lot of satisfaction out of the design, engineering, & construction process.
    Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes.

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 05-31-2001).]

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