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Your Model Railroading Tips, Comments, Questions

Bridge the gap with your knowledge of model railroading, building model structures, creating railroad scenery, layout wiring, DCC projects, etc.Bridge the gap with your knowledge of model railroading, building model structures, creating railroad scenery, layout wiring, DCC projects, etc.

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This page is reserved for any model railroading articles, tips, suggestions or information that you may wish to pass along to us at BYMRR or to other model railroaders including…

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Check out the great comments, tips and questions
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Note that there are 5 forms on this page.

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4 - The 4th form is for a longer article or a full page (Hey I can't do this all myself!)

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If you would rather not use the forms below and would like to contact me directly, or if you would like to send photos or videos to include in this website, please use the following email address: [email protected] or the one at the top of this page. (Copy and paste this address into the "Send To" box of your email program)


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There are many pages and many links on this site. After time goes by, some of the links don't connect to where they are supposed to go.  I try to find and fix as many broken links as I can find.  The problem is finding them all. Your help is invaluable in helping me find these bad links so I can fix them.

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Here's your chance to let us know what you're up to? Do you have a great story about your own model railroading experience that you'd love to tell? Help others learn from your mistakes or successes. I'm sure you've done something that's a little different than anyone else; or even if you haven't, we'd like to know what your experience has been with the usual methods. What would be your dream layout? Are you planning one in the near future?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Need help on track 
I am just entering the world of N gauge and would like to start with a somewhat basic and small track setup. I have reviewed some scenes/layouts, but …

Click here to write your own.

Your Story Remembered - Do you have a travel and adventure story you can share? Or share about everyday life, be it funny, life changing, or serious. How about hobbies? Do you love to fish, golf,hunt, build models, etc. tell us about them. People love stories, so won't you tell yours!

Read the Comments/ Questions/ Tips from Other Visitors...


Site Build It!

As I mentioned that I'm just starting to build and this is the first site that has everything I need to start and finish.For me I'm a disabled Veteran and was told I needed to find something to keep my mind busy with,with PTSD/Bi Polar,wasn't really sure until now ,until I found your site i went thru many others and no one comes close to you and yours,Believe it or not I have a fear for electricity and switched from MOS to another just for that reason and now I have a chance again to follow all basics from scatch Thank GOD I have found your home page,So let me end by saying thank you and how grateful I Am at this moment to have this information.thanks again ,all the best to you and yours.

Just want to take a moment to thank you for the fantastic information on your site. I find it well laid out and easy to find the information I am looking for. I am just a beginner at the hobby and have searched the web high and low, but found your site the most informative. Thank you. Keep up the great work.
- Michael

WOW! All this great information for free!!! I've been railroading for a little over a year and wish I'd found your site earlier (found you on YouTube). Keep up the great work! - Rick

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You....I just bought my grandson a train set with the intentions of the 2 of us building our little empire. I've been buying magazines and researching on line, but this is the best site I've found to answer the one million questions going through my head. I'm retired and a golfer, but I find model railroading very interesting. Hopefully over the next couple of years we will have quality time together learning and building our railroad. I have a dedicated space in the basement 23' x 11 ' and that area can be expanded if necessary. Thanks again for an excellent and informative web site. Don from Cape Cod Ma.

GREAT SITE!!! I am just starting a large n scale layout and your site will be very helpful. I haven't read thru the entire site yet, but I am sure I will. Thx. Curtis

Wow, what a terrific site you've created! It's answered all of my questions without being overly technical or simplified. Thanks! - Ed

I know you've heard this before, but I have to say, you have an amazing website. I have a bunch of old rolling stock that I just recently dusted off and am starting to get back into the hobby. I was a kid 20+ years ago since I've looked at model railroading and I cannot believe how much the hobby has changed. I've been doing lots of research in creating a realistic and technically modern railroad and this site is certainly going to be a heavily used resource. Thank you so much for your hard work in getting this together. - Colby

I came online today to look for wiring for a model railroad. I am planning an N scale coffee table railroad, and before I got too deep into it I wanted to learn about turns and wiring. Your site was the first I got to, and it will be the last. Your information is wonderful, the pictures are easy to read and understand. I have learned so much in the last half hour on your site. Thank you so much for your wonderful work. (This is not my first railway, I had an HO rail about 20 years ago that I was working on, then kids came and took up the space.) - Marion

What a great resource! I'm in the beginning stages of designing my first layout (N scale) and the information on this website is invaluable. Thanks! - Sean

Thank you, thank you! What a great site. You have managed to make sense of so much material and distill it to a clear comprehensive, meaningful presentation. I am starting on my second layout, I have learned lots in doing the first, but your site has given me more confidence to be a little more adventurous. Best wishes! - Tony (

Hello! I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate this website. EXCELLENT and VERY thoughtful of you to provide this for people like me. My wife JUST bought me my first model train (a 2-10-0 Russian decapod from the Bachmann Spectrum series). I've got the bug. Your site has already answered MANY of my questions, and I look forward to learning much more. VERY in depth. Thanks again for putting this together - finally a good USE for the internet. (We plan to put together a model railroad of the Atlantic Coast Line so we can vacation on the Carolina/Georgia/Florida coast and do some fun "research".) - Mike


From Sid Hecker:

I find that clump foliage falls off when I try to glue it to a tree trunk.

So far, tacky glue followed by spray adhesive works OK.

From Bill White: I used the laser I hang pictures with to align long runs of track. Works great.

From Sushil Dixit: The bristles of shoe brushes are good for making long or short grasses after you color and glue it on.

From Vinayak at "Styrofoam with Sculptamold is very effective for modeling rock faces and mountainsides." It's true! The styrofoam can be purchased in sheets which are easy to cut, shape and stack. Then apply Sculptamold to the edges of the stacked styrofoam to make the rock wall or mountainside. Scuptamold is easy to work with and the results are very realistic. Thanks for your tip, Vineyak!

From David Liverett: "I bought an Athearn DCC-ready Dash 9. Road Number 1101. That was my favorite engine. I had a hat that I bought from Sears, it was one of those that had a built-in LED light for a headlight. Well I used a regular, ball point pen, took it apart, and used the tube part of it to mount a LED in one end, and 4 strands of fiber-optics in the other. I ran 2 fiber-optic strands to the nose light, and 2 individual strands to a ditch light on both strands of the engine. The hat came wired in series with 2 lights, and 2 CR2032 batteries (the batteries that look like quarters). I only used one light, mounted it above the motor in the pen tube, mounted the battery on the ceiling of the cab, and the switch was a push button switch. I mounted that on the 2 support structures under the cooling system on the back of the engine. All I had to do was pop the top off of the cooling system(I had to make a handle for the cover), hit the switch, and I had 3 nose lights that would light up the entire track. It worked amazingly for someone who loves tinkering and didn't have the money for DCC. If you want tips or how-to's, email me." [email protected] [Thanks, David!]

Ralph sent in this question:

Q - I hope you can help me. I am looking for a suitable reed switch to use on my O27 layout to trigger signals and sounds, but the ones I bought to use are not sensitive enough. Can you recommend a make and model that has worked successfully for you?

A - I usually work with smaller scales than O27, so I don't have direct experience with your problem. However, several things come to mind as a way of troubleshooting. One is that the reed switch has to come very close to the magnet in order to work properly. With O27 gauge, the higher rails and larger wheels on the locomotives and cars may result in too much space between the magnet on your train and the reed switch lying between the rails.

Try raising the reed switch up higher by placing a wood chip or piece of foam underneath it, or lowering the magnet on the passing train, so that when the train passes the magnet comes closer to the reed without touching.

The other possibility is that you may need a stronger or longer magnet on the bottom of the train so it has more of a chance of activating the switch if it's passing by quickly.

If this doesn't help, you might try checking the website at

If they don't have one on the shelf that will work for you, they can custom-make one!

I'll also put up your question on the Comments page and see if anyone else out there has had the same problem, and we can see how they resolved it. -GJW

Question from Malcolm about signals...

Q - I have just read your treatise on signaling and found it excellent--clear and most informative. However, it didn't quite hit the topic I was questing. The G-scale Penobscot and Pee Dee Railroad, which Charlie (miniature poodle) and I are building in our back yard, will, when finished, have 25 or more radio-controlled turnouts. I want to set up a 2-light signal at each one that gives the status of that turnout, with respect to the mainline. Thus, if the turnout is set to route traffic down the spur, the signal light would be a continuous RED; if the mainline route was clear, the signal would show a continuous GREEN. Can you sketch out how I might rig this or refer me to someplace where I can find such guidance? Thank you very much.

A - I think the best way to answer this is to show you the "Instruction Supplement" written in PDF format that you can download from the Documents>Signal Animator section of the LogicRail website (

This setup requires that you use at least one Signal Animator circuit board and one switch machine (with auxiliary contacts) for each turnout. (See Figure #1 in the attachment.) When the turnout is lined up for the mainline, the photocell is connected and, if uncovered, the signal is green. When the turnout is thrown for the diverging route, the photocell is disconnected and the signal turns red. (Note that for signals with 2-LED lights as you are using, you will need to make a modification to the circuitry as shown in Figure #4, basically using diodes to connect the Y and G terminals on the circuit board to the green LED on the signal.)

Hope this helps.
Let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Send me a picture when you can!
I'm wondering. Is Charlie the Chief Engineer or the Layout Construction Supervisor?


Time for a Sound System... -- A great, very inventive article by John Thompson on how to use sound loops from old railroad clocks to add a variety of railroad sounds to your S-scale trains for only 25 cents.

John writes... "Hi, I love your web site! I have an American Flyer, rare, uncatalogued #21004 loco and slant back tender with a rocket freight set including a rare car carrier with a blue semi and all 5 cars, also a rocket launcher car, red caboose and the gondola, which is really the key piece for me, especially for this project... (Click on the title to read more!)

Question from Roy...

A long,long time ago I used to have a book that detailed home made electronics for model railroading. Does anyone have any diagrams etc.?

Question from David about water...

I was just wondering is it possible to use real water make a waterfall and stream and pond on your model railroad layout?

A - Yes, you can model real water on a model railroad, but it probably won't look as realistic as you might think. Plus it's very difficult to maintain. However, if you're committed to it, it'll work. An easy way to do it would be to buy a waterfall kit that contains the pump and tubing, and incorporate the whole waterfall into your layout. You'll need to make sure you have access to the pump in the event that it needs to be changed. If you don't want to use a ready made kit, you will have to buy a small water pump with the plastic tubing and install it under the waterfall. You will also have to be sure that all the areas that contain water are watertight so there will be no leakage. This is critical since if you have water that gets under the scenery, you could have mold or water damage to the base plywood. Also if water splashes onto nearby scenery (if it's not waterproofed), the scenery could be damaged and have to be redone. To make the water areas watertight, I would first use plaster or Hydrocal for the base. Then paint the area - with darker colors in the center and lighter colors at the edges to simulate depth. Let that dry. Then apply a silicone sealant for waterproofing. Let that also dry thoroughly. Then test the area before putting any other scenery around it by adding water and making sure there are no leaks. Once you've made sure of that then you can install the plastic tubing from the pump to the top of the waterfall using glue or silicone sealant to be sure of no leaks. Then apply scenery as you ordinarily would to hide the pump and tubing, although, again, make sure the pump is accessible for replacement or repair later.

Model Railroad Forums

There are several great forums where you can learn an awful lot about the hobby and where you can ask questions about anything related to model railroading...

Railroad Line Forums Forums

N-Scale Community

HO-Scale Community

Steam Engine

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