Start from nothing

"Mike" <1> wrote in message


I think you should focus on the period 1950 to 1960 to capture the last of US steam and the takeover by Diesel locomotives. The US has never had the extent of electrification seen in Europe. Our electrics fell into perhaps 5 categories: Main Line electrics (primarily the Pennsylvania RR and the New Haven in the urban northeast, and the Milwaukee Road in the Pacific northwest), commuter railroads (primarily New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Chicago), rapid transit elevated and/or subway lines (many major cities), street car lines (almost every US city, but most converted to bus by the 1950's), and interurban railways (service between cities that entered the cities on the street railway tracks, mostly gone by the 1950's)

I recommend you spend some time looking at some of the sites listed at the National Model Railroad Association ( home page www.nmra.org ) list of RR and Model RR links at http://cwrr.com/nmra/ These will show you many model RRs, and give you connection to most of the railroad historical society sites to tell you about the different prototype RRs.

my
The NMRA is our standards organization, and the standards can be found at their web site www.nmra.org .

is
more
I am not aware of a site about the Faller system.

yet
You can self build, but there are many fine kit and ready-to-run models available. I believe most of the major US suppliers will ship to Europe. I mentioned the Walthers Company in my earlier post. Their site www.walthers.com indicates that they will ship overseas. They have a very well illustrated on-line catalog showing much of what is available in the US. Gary Q
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Thx for all the answers u gave. I know they will ship to europe. Maybe on later times i would make use of this kind of shipping. But know at the start i don't want to make thinkg more expensive. Therefore i don't want to use those kind of shipping yet. That's the reason i'm looking for fine alternatives.

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Since you are hooked to "systems", consider that the Amerian design is a "system" for all practible purposes. The stuff that is sold for us is all compatible with each other from track voltage to coupler height. While there have been a number of different couplers that have been available from the Mantua hook and loop system to the X2F hornhook couplers, most of us use the Kadee couplers or their "clones" for connecting cars and locos together, probably about the only non-NMRA part of American modelling. Stiff like track is so easy to do (no studs in the middle of the track like Marklin has) that many of us handlay track with the appropieat track gauges. The NMRA makes a "Standards Gauge", a flat piece of sheetmetal that checks all of the parts of the track and wheels for complance with the NMRA standards. To varying degrees, all of the track makers conform to that standard here in the US so any of the track compontents will work well enough for you. As to a timeframe, I'd probably choose a postWW2 timeframe up to the mid-50's timeframe as most railroads were in the process of converting from steam to diesel with locos like the F units and the early GP and SD units in operation. This also allows for some of the other makers like Alco and Fairbanks-Morse diesels to be used.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
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Thx for your answer as wel as the other answers. I guess that the time i'm looking for is indeed post war till the 50's I'm try not to think in systems, my question of AC or DC is simple.If i need a loop in my track. I want to make it without dificult wire scemes or expensive boxes. I want every spent Euro, a well spent one. One thing i must say about why i was thinking marklin so long is when u see there digital decoders. It looks smooth and easy to handel. The others looks more like things from the 80's. But i want the computer take control of a lot of things.So i can control 1 or 2 trains while the rest of the model is still bussy. So i can take a part of a bigger thing. That is for me the meaning of this hobby. U all helped me a lot,and i'm sure i will have a lot more questions in the future. Now i going to look for a store who won't push me for marklin.
One more question,someone here on this forum was prising digitrax control system. What are your remarks on this? And most important,is this system compatible with those DCC things u all say?
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Many people claim all kinds of things for DCC but here is about the truth as anybody should see it. DCC allows for the control of a loco anywhere on the layout without regard to blocks. It doesn't control any reversing blocking or other such stuff and it won't tell anybody where it is on the layout. Yes, you can control a train with computer with DCC but you can also do that with DC power if you build the necessary D/A converter and electronic throttle. Diagrams and partlists (usually american part #s) are available on the web for all of this stuff in some form or another. Reverse sections are always a sticking point with two rail power systems as the power is sent on one rail and returned on the other rail and you can't tie the two together at any point at any time. If you desire automatic operation of a train over a reversing section, you will need to be able to detect when the train is in that section and that the section be long enough to hold the longest train you could ever run. With this kind of restriction, it is not all that common to find reversting loops anywhere but in fully managed trackage like storage yards and so forth where the operator has full control of the train in question. As to actual DCC compatibility, yes it is quite compatible. DCC isn't a design that was made by any company but rather a private development that several manufacturers have agrreed to making for the market. You can find the group on the web with the standards and designs of the system. At one time, I put together a railroad that used block control to control train speed. There was an article in an issue of Model Railroader in the early '60s that dealt with this using relays to do the power switching of the power levels. Two trains could be kept on a 6 block mainline (that is all the blocks I could afford back then and had calculated that it would work so I did it) with the faster train occasionally hitting the slow block behind the slow train and slowing down a bit for a while til the slow train cleared the block that it was on. Today, I'd probably do a computer system with many more blocks and throttle control that went with the train and thus be able to more control the speed of the two trains so that the otherwise inevitable collision won't happen. The Twin-T (rather it's succesor, the diode version) for block sensing is a very good way to detect trains and thus be able to detect where the trains are. Making up the electronics yourself will insure that the cost will be the lowest possible. Good luck and have fun with this layout.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
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I was thinking to use reversing loops in the beginning. so that in the future i can put a turn table on it. Space is not a problem,i have an adic at my disposal of 10 x 25 meters (don't know how mutch square foot it is). Now i'm beginning to plan a have a new question. I'm thinking to build the track in sections.Does every section need a trafo? I also thinking that at eatch end of eatch section i bether temporaly can build a reversing loop.Think this is bether then a fiddle yard. I also have another question about a turn table. If u turn it 360 and switch the tracks + an -. How can this train "know" how it drive in the correct direction? I mean this for in the future to set it op in a computer. Think i connect the pc at it in an early stage,have one that i don't use anymore. I read somewhere That u don't have to buy a trafo if u want to use a PC. But the solution i saw there i don't like.They say u need a PC with dos to comand the tracks, trains and signals directly.And u need a second one with an ordenary program so u can let your train drive like sceduled.Don't know an english site,but the site i refer to is www.mrdirect.nl Are there other systems like this? Looks for me the best way to start,if it can run on 1 PC.
Sorry how more answers i get,how more new questions there keep comming. Hope this soon change, otherwise this hobby is maybe to mutch for me.

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Mike wrote:

It's "power pack" in English, or "controller", and the question isn't as simple as you imagine.
a) if you use plain DC, you need a power pack/controller for every engine/train you want to run at the same time. If you expect to run 5 trains, you'll need 5.
You will also have to wire the railroad so that certain sections can be connected to any one of several power packs. For example, the loco servicing area can have its own power pack, since you'll probably just run one loco at a time. But there will have to be a section of track on which a loco can stand until a main-line power pack takes over. You also need to be able to isolate sone tarck sections, so nothing will run on them, otherwise, you'll be running two different trains/locos from the same controller.
In other words, wiring is not just a matter of hooking up the power, it also requires thinking through what kind of operation you want to do. For example, ina loco servicing area, you want some engines to stand still while another engine moves around.
b) if you are using DCC, then you should have "power districts", each with its own power source, for a variety of reasons. For example, it makes trouble shooting easier, since you can isolate the problem on one district. However, each power station must have enough capacity for all the locos you want to run in that district.

That's your choice. You amy have to section the loop so that a train can be parked at one end while another train moves out from the other - depends on how you want to operate.

It's going the same direction as when it ran onto the turntable. :-) You mean 180 degrees, right?
If you are using DC, you need a reversing switch. On DC, an engine runs "east" and "west" (or "into the roundhouse" and "out of the roundhouse"), regardless of which way it points. Just put two locos on the track facing each other, and turn on the power. They will run in the same direction, ie one will be running forward and one will be running backward, but both will be running east, for example. (If they don't one is wired wrong.)
If you are using DCC, the engine will run "forward" or "backward", regardless of the turntable's orientation. Put two locos on the track facing each other, and run each engeine "forward." They'll collide. (This is one reason people like DCC - it's more realistic. :-))
[...]

If by "trafo" you mean "control unit", yes. If by "trafo" you mean "power source", no, because you still need a power source. (I've noticed that in Germany and Austria, people don't seem to understand the difference between these two parts of the control system. And "trafo =transformer", which is OK for Marklin's AC trains, but not for DC trains.)

Nothing wrong with DOS, All this means is that a cheap old computer ahs more than enough power to do what you want. Actually, there are Windows and Mac programs that will do this, but it's easier to write interfacing and control software for DOS. (DOS is still used for much computer controlled machinery for this reason.)

Ah, I see, you mean run the trains automatically. That's a whole different story. It will take an immense amount of work planning the schedule, etc. If you go to that much trouble, it's more fun to run the trains by hand. Each operator runs his/her train, trying to keep to the time table, and a dispatcher controls signals etc to try to keep the trains out of each other's way. Loads of fun. Much more fun than watching a computer monitor IMO, but it's your layout. :-)
I hope I have raised more questions. Model railroading is a wonderfully multi-faceted hobby.
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I indeed meant the DCC solution. Thx for helping me out with some questions. And giving me some new ones. At this moment I know i want making a track in the mountens. Saw some days ago on the discovery chanel a track that goes from canada to the US. This kind of tracks u can't find it here,and altough we have in europe the most powerful train of the world driving under the channel. It doesn't have the magic like the american railroads. I admit that i have at this moment not yet know how i must begin. Building it one section at a time looks for me the best way to keep control on the budget. After a while,i want indeed let the most trains drive automathic with the pc. Maybe i gonna do this from the start on.But at the same time i want control some trains myself to.
Some people said there are here enough solutions for pc control. Where can i find those sites? Like i said,i want that the pc controls a lot of things,signals,trains etc. So i only have to set some power packs to give the tracks its power. and 1 or 2 control units for taking control of some trains.
.
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On Sat, 5 Mar 2005 11:47:03 +0100, "Mike" <1> wrote:

Try this links page <http://www.merg.org.uk/links.htm
Keith
Make friends in the hobby. Visit <http://www.grovenor.dsl.pipex.com/ Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
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The secret is to start simple with only one train control and slowly add the track to that control. After you have enough track to really do something, you can then make a decision as to what you want to do for control. DCC is quite suited to computer control although you can do the same things with regular DC controls if you want to but you will then have to do more electronics work as much of that stuff isn't developed for the PC. Don't forget to put in track detection as you go as any system will need to know where the trains are in order to be able to control them. Current detection (Twin-T, and it's variations) will detect a loco anywhere in a block area and, with the proper resistance paint on car wheels, cars can be detected also in a block. Then there are the entrance/exit detector systems that usually use some kind of photocell to detect when a train passes over them. Thes systems only detect when something goes by them so they won't tell if there is something else in the block like part of the train. You will need one of the two systems for any automated train control so figure on doing them anyway.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
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trafo?
It's not the only way to wire DC. See my web page on wiring DC which only needs one centre taped transformer, or 2 ordinary transformers which if big enough can run 5 or more trains.
http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html
HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates
DC control circuit diagrams
HO scale track standards
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Mike wrote:

No, just wire an on/off switch back to the controller - if you need to be able to isolate a train there - otherwise you can hard-wire it.

It is better while you have only a small number of trains. I buy one or two a year and after 45 years the total number has built up!

Under the bridge is a dual electrical track, each divided into two sections. These are wired to carry track current and are connected "X" fashion. At a specific point in the bridge's rotation the track current pickup wipers cross the gap and the current reverses. The location of the gaps can be important if you use near half the available track positions or multiple enty/exit lines.

That is possible, but not very practical. Most computers use use most of the power their power supplies have available.

PCs and their programs can be DOS or Windows etc.

You only need one PC. Any PC will operate DOS but you will need a near new one for Windows based programs.

There's always something new to exercise the mind with model railways - don't worry though, your brain won't break!
Regards, Greg.P.
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If you're going to be building the railroad a section at a time and want a loop of track to reverse the direction of trains, build the loop as a movable section and make it big enough to handle a full train. Personally, I'd make the loop as a "fiddle yard" where trains can be stored. When doing this, you want to be able to switch the storage part from one side of the section or the other so that the direction control of the power supply for the track indicates the direction that the train will go. I'll note here that I am a proponent of common rail wiring where the south rail (most US railroads run in teh east/west directions so the rails end up being the sourth/noth rails) is wired commonly to the power control system and the north rail is powered relative to that by the individual power supplies. This means that the reversing loop is the only place where common rail wiring doesn't apply as the north and south rail connections need to be reversed to provide the direction control to the train. the only "problem" with common rail wiring is that the powr supplies can't have theie DC power connected to other power supplies so you need to have a seperate transformer for each power supply which really isn't that difficult as several smaller transformers are cheaper than one huge one for all of the power supplies. I'm used to 30-60 car trains so something like that for a section tends to be rather large. If you are planning on running more European size trains then a smaller sized loop will work fine. With your 30'x80' room size, you can easily build a mountain railroad with nice gentle 2% grades that can handle 50 car trains with no problems. I used ot operate on a club railroad that was in a room that was approximately that size and long trains were the rule as they nicely fit that size of layout. Prototype US operation is of trains about twice that size and it will really look right to run something that size for an American prototype railroad. For a nice reference, look at the Krause Maffei (spelling??) locos that came to the use when they got tested in Europe prior to shipping to the US and how we ran them on the two railroads that got them. You will be wanting to build the track in sections at a time as laying that much track would be a huge proposition that will take a long time before you can start running trains. My technique for powering the track is to provide a block for each section of track between sidings and a block for each siding and mainline track beside the siding. All industrial tracks get their own block as does each end of a yard with the tracks in the yard being provided with a block control that gets the power from one end or the other of the yard. Single ended yards just use the power routing provided by the turnouts themselves and thus don't need any power control (you do have to use power routing turnouts tho). With common rail wiring, you only need to switch one rail so SPDT switches are needed for routing power. Lastly, I'd do more of the work myself than buying already prepared stuff like powerpacks as you can build for a lot less than buying them already built. Track is better done with flextrack or even handlaying track (especially the turnouts) as this is a lot cheaper way to go and you get a better looking track. -- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
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Mike wrote:

[...]
No -- in fact I think the era system is one of the stupidest ideas ever, but I won't bore you with my reasons. :-)
N. Americans prefer to know the actual years of production and operation of the rolling stock they use, and use descriptive phrases, such as "steam-diesel transition" (which is roughly the same as Era III, ie, 1930s to 1950s).

2)What kind of system i can use the best? I'm thinking of Marklin but find it

Don't think system, think prototype (the real thing) and models. In N. America, l;retty well all HO is built to the same standrads (first established by the National Model railroad Association, or NMRA), and products of different manufacturers will operate together.
Yes, Marklin is expensive. It is also incompatible with all other manufacturers' products, since it uses three-rail alternating current instead of two-rail direct current. Its digital system is also its own., and is not compatible with DCC (Digital Command Control) standrads established by the NMRA (Lenz and similar DCC systems will work together.) Trix (the two-rail, DC line made by Marklin) is very, very good, but, as you say, very expensive. If you want just a small layout, say the size of a room, with suitably large curves (about 1m radius or larger), and run a half dozen trains or so to time-table and train-orders, a few Trix might fit your budget, though.

No idea, never heard of it, must be someone's brand of digital control. If it is compatible with international DCC standards, it should be OK.

For the era you want, you will have to buy from US and Canadian suppliers.

You mean cars that run along the roads? AFAIK, Faller's is the only system.

Just keep coming back here. :-)
Have Fun!
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

http://www.rjftrains.com/intellibox/uhlenbrock.htm
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On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 20:18:03 +0100, "Mike" <1> wrote:

Have a look at <http://www.rocky-rail.com/ They are in Belgium. Keith
Make friends in the hobby. Visit <http://www.grovenor.dsl.pipex.com/ Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
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Thx,i have misted this site i think.
I have another question. Is it a good idea to start with the cheapest digital lok And afterwarts build in the sound etc ?
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Mike used his keyboard to write :

Maybe these links are also usefull to you? http://www.aat-net.de / http://www.us-trains.com /
http://www.nmra.nl/cms / http://www.morop.org /
http://www.trix.de/produkte/epochen.php http://modelspoor.startpagina.be / http://www.beneluxrail.net/index.php
If you are going AC, you limit yourself to Mrklin c.s. And that is almost exclusively European railroading.
If you want American railroading, it is almost unavoidable to go DC.
--
Groeten van WedFr(e) te A.
http://www.stadskanaalrail.nl/eng/index.htm
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