Tracks-012, Issue #12 -- Model Railroading Newsletter
Articles in This Issue:
WELCOME to the September, 2020 issue of Tracks - a monthly newsletter published by Building Your Model Railroad, devoted to providing breaking news and tips to model railroaders of all ages and all scales in a quick and easy-to-read format. Resources are always credited where appropriate.
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Here's the latest update on the Topeka layout that we've been following:
1. The team has finally completed their purchase of a total of 450 ft. (150 count - 36" flextrack for their two main tracks, each covering about 200' of main track run (plus some extra for the yard(s).
2. After purchasing and gluing down the rigid foam board to the bench work, they will start adding turnouts and Tortoises compatible with their new NCE PRO system.
3. They have set up and organized a train cabinet containing Santa Fe and Union Pacific" Locos and assorted rolling stock of about 100 pieces so far...
4. They have lowered their main 40" table (bench) to 37" for the grandchildren's sake.
5. They can now provide a REAL TIME testimony to the old adage of "Measure twice, cut once." After cutting the legs down from 40" to 37", they suddenly noticed that half of their benchwork had different sized legs, which gave a very amusing "hilly layout" even before they laid the first track! Lesson learned: ONE PERSON CUTS ALL THE LEGS!
6. After purchasing their new NCE PRO system, they are currently learning about its capabilities. At the same time they are learning about integrating it with their computer using JMRI.
7. They have completed their manual for layout planning and operations.
8. Considering swing gate options - surfing YouTube to help decide.
(Updates and Photos on the progress of the Michael L. Ballard Memorial RR: Courtesy of Topeka Phil and Eagle Andrew)
To be Continued...
This is an age-old question that has no correct answer except that it just depends on what your preferences are. People used to say that the base of your layout surface should be about 40-45 inches from the floor – the idea being that this would bring the scenery closer to eye level, which tends to make the scenes more realistic. If the eye level view is the most important thing to you then you should make your layout the height that would bring most of the scenery up to your eye level. If you do, however, keep in mind that your younger children or grandchildren won’t be able to see anything unless you lift them up or have a stool they can stand on. Also keep in mind the amount of time that you will have to have your arms up in the air or how far you will have to stretch to work on parts of the layout. Also, it’s harder to see where all your trains are at that level if they are hidden behind scenery. The good news is you won’t have to use duck-unders, you won’t have to have tops for your buildings, you won’t have to have an elaborate backdrop and it will be easy to access the wiring under the layout – the reverse of which are all disadvantages if you build your layout at 33-37”. At the lower levels, you will have nice vista views of your trains winding around and through your scenery, which you won’t have at the higher levels. Ahh, decisions, decisions!!
(Reprinted with permission from BYMRR-Zine, Jun 2011)
Dieter Steinhoff is a great friend as well as a model railroader. He has always been fascinated by model trains, especially in G scale. Having retired recently from his very successful Acoustic Sheet Metal business, he has acquired a fully finished large warehouse nearby, which is totally devoted to the display of his G scale train layout. The railroad is in its infancy, but is rapidly growing since he now has the ability to spend most of his time there. Most of his tracks, buildings and trains are LGB products - probably the largest collection of G scale locos and rolling stock that I have ever seen. He has assembled over 70 buildings for this layout himself. His young age of 83 doesn't seem to slow him down a bit. He has tremendous energy, a wonderful, friendly personality and always a twinkle in his eye, especially when he is talking about trains.
Here are some pictures of his new layout, called Dieter's Railway, currently a work in progress. I will show more pictures and videos as it develops...
One of the things that I really like about model train shows and conventions is going on tours of layouts created by other model railroaders within the area of the convention. I really missed that this year since almost all the conventions and shows were cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, even though we are cooped up in our homes for the foreseeable future, we can still enjoy a good layout tour, now and again, thanks to the hard work of Jenny and Ross Waters who have taken to the road all over the USA to interview expert model railroaders and to take high quality photos and videos of their layouts.
It's actually mind boggling how many really good layouts there are out there. Below is a link to many of these layouts and interviews that have been professionally recorded by the Jenny & Ross team as part of their business called, Trackside Model Railroading (TMR). I love to watch the videos and learn about what other model railroaders are doing. The operation and scenery of these layouts are very inspiring, not to mention the educational benefits. I have taken away many ideas from these videos that I found to be useful for my own layout.
One of the nicest things about watching these videos is that they are AD-FREE!
Here again is a link to many of these TMR DVD/BluRay discs and other DVDs that are available in our store at bargain basement prices...
[Okay, I admit it. I have to apologize for another shameless ad to sell DVD/BluRay discs! But these are really good and the above testimonial is all true, not to mention that the prices here are the best you can find anywhere. Plus they make great gifts for your favorite model railroader!]
I've written about this before, but it's worth mentioning again, especially if you have an older layout and, all of a sudden, you're starting to see a lot of derailments, which almost always occur when you are showing your layout to family or friends. There are lots of reasons why this can happen. If your railroad is being victimized by the rail gremlins, you may want to revisit the page on Troubleshooting Derailments.
What's your next project going to be?
For Gluing Windows to Your Buildings
How many of you have been frustrated by the plastic glue residue left on "glass" windows when attaching them to the inside of your buildings? You build this perfect model structure and when you attach the windows, they have this glue goop on them that you can't get rid of.
According to an article by Jared Harper in the August, 2011 issue of Model Railroader, this won't happen if you use √Pledge Floor Gloss Liquid, instead of plastic cement to attach your windows.
Aluminum Flashing for Cliffs, Terrain, Structures
Inexpensive aluminum flashing from your local hardware store has lots of potential uses for your model railroad - cliffs, mountains, tunnel liners, buildings, bridges and others. It is bendable, moldable, paintable and can be cut into various shapes and sizes. Check out this article by Geoff Green along with the many comments that follow.
Our recent survey during the month of August 2020, answering the question of whether the BYMRR site should switch to a paid membership without ads, showed the following results:
So, there you have it! Democracy in action. We will continue as a free information site. However, please continue to give us feedback on our general survey about what you like or don't like about the site and what topics you would like to see in the future.
Based on your previous responses, we have upcoming articles on Landscaping, History of the Union Pacific and Restoring Older HO Trains.
And you thought we weren't paying attention!
Hope you enjoyed this issue of Tracks. Feel free to pass it on to your friends, family and other model railroaders. If you have a great tip or article that you would like to publish on the website, please let me know - The more, the better. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome. You can either go to the Comments/Contact Page and enter your suggestions there or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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