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Im not even a beginner in that I havent bought anything yet. At present Im researching ( & finding it more complicated than I first thought) to find as much about my proposed Model Railway as possible.

Ive designated an area for my Baseboard of 8ft x8ft with a diagonal cutoff.To make sure I can fit what I want to the board and ensure the board is just right ( a reiterative process) Im going to use some software,either HVR2 or Anyrail and keep to Hornby for the moment. Can anyone suggest another program?

In researching the costs it would seem that buying a train set pack ( R1077) would be a cost effective approach BUT I want an Elite controller so that I can expand to my final stage of 6+ trains,points, signals etc all being controlled,and if Im right about the USB port it would seem that PC control is on the cards....any comments on that?Initial costings seems that a pack makes great savings over individual items and the controller almost comes free.

Has anyone any ideas how I should proceed other than the above; cost effectiveness is always of importance and as I expect to spend about £500-£1000 at the end of the day I want to be sure Ive started off properly and not wasted time and money

In addition I want my Grandchildren (yes Im that old!) to have some fun and a "Thomas the Tank Engine" is on the cards asa another Loco except that its not DCC!! surely thats not clever! Can I add DCC to the existing model? If not do I have to isolate the rails ( thereby ditching one of the DCC benefits)

Any help gratefully received

Im going to the Kidlington Exhibition tomorrow and Im joining my local Model club in Banbury so thats two things sorted

Thanks in advance
 

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Welcome to the madhouse! Joining a club and going to an exhibition are a great way to pick up the information you need.

Unless you are really averse to the idea consider not using 'set track' with its' very tight radii, but instead using a track system like Peco Streamline. It is a little more work and slightly more expense up front; but the larger radius, live crossing pointwork will make a world of difference to running reliability, and the potential appearance is much superior. It does mean using flexible track to make curves, but a club will have members who can give you the 'hands on' demonstration.

You can add DCC decoders to any 12vDC model, Hornby's Thomas range included, worth acquiring the simple technique for doing this as it is usually better to buy locos DC, and fit your choice of decoder.
 

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Welcome to the hobby and the forum

Joining the local model club is a great idea and you will no doubt get plenty of good advice there.
As suggested by 34C stay away from the set track and if you must go down that route don't use the first radius curves ( they come in the starter set ) as apart from the smaller locos a growing number of the new locos are designed to run only on second radius and larger.

In the meantime if you are looking to put decoders into non DCC ready locos, such as Thomas, you may want to brush up on your soldering skills.

 

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Hi carnut and welcome to the MRF.

Glad to see you are doing the planning first and not rushing out to buy the first 'goodies' that come to hand. I will second those before me who have recommended using the Peco streamline track system rather than Hornby set-track. You might also want to decide whether you want to use Code 100 track or Code 75. The latter is much finer profile and will add to the realism. Older locos and rolling stock do sometimes have problems with Code 75 track due to their deeper wheel flanges but as you are starting from scratch that should not be a problem.

Re. DCC Controllers, have a look here http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...;page=DCC-Chart at the reviews of the various DCC Controllers available before you take the final plunge. You might find something else which is both to your liking and within budget.

If you do need help or advice at any time just ask away. There are plenty of skilled and experienced modellers here who are always willing to share their knowledge.
 

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I've only just started building my layout. I started in mid August planning and the build in September.

Because my layout was my own design (Using XtrkCad - can be tricky to get going but very good) I decided not to buy a set. I chose code 100 Peco track because I have relatively tight curves and wanted to use R2/R3 curve set track rather than flexi. All my straight and slight curves are all using flexi.

As for control I went for the NCE Powercab. I can't comment on any other DCC control but I've had no problems with the Powercab.
 

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You may find "The Hornby Book of Model Railways" (ISBN 1 9803872 15 4) published in 2005 is still on model shop bookshelves. It is a compact but practical book which as a newcomer you should find of use.
Peco (the publishers of 'Railway Modeller') do a number of small and cheap booklets on various basics of railway modelling which again you may find of use; they can be found in local model shops as well.
If you are visiting model railway exhibitions, there are often stands selling books, both new and second-hand, which can be worth browsing through to get ideas.

Best wishes for your efforts,
John Webb
 

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Hi Edd,

Just had a look at your blog and it seems you're making excellent progress.

One thing which did concern me, however, was your proposed gradient between the upper and lower levels. The normal maximum gradient is 1:35 though 1:50 or even shallower is preferable. You mentioned that you intend to rise 10 or 15 cm over just a couple of metres which would be far too steep. To rise 15cm at 1:35 you need to allow 5.25 metres of track length and at 1:50 you will need 7.50 metres. Hope this is not too late to catch the problem before it becomes a real issue.
 

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I had to extend the layout a little because my passing loops were too short for a 66 plus 3 pairs of intermodal flats - my trains aren't close to prototype which is probably for the best
The height difference is 10cm over about 3.5m. Its still steep but the locos seem to be able to pull the loads. I've also designed the layout so a stopped train is always facing downhill. My return loop is a bit steep (not sure on gradient etc as its not yet built) but the train will be going downhill.

My blog is in need of a big update.
 
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