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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

Way, way back in the late 1970's and early 1980's my dad and i used to have a layout in the loft, and for a bit of fun when it was too cold to go up there I has a small loop of N Gauge in my bedroom. Showing how the memory fails, i would up until about a week ago said the layout in the loft was HO/OO - but reading these forums and other web sites it would appear that there is a bit of a difference between the two....

Anyway - time goes on and i can honestly say that after 1984 i have not touched a train or a single peice of track since. (usual problems: not wanting to appear an anorak at college, job, recession of the 1990's, Marriage, Kids etc. etc.).

I admit that even back in the 'good old days' i was as more into the model making part of the hobby than the running of trains to a time table, or collecting engine numbers and arguing at the local model railway exhibition regarding the dates a particular class diesel engine ran on the local line...

So - why am i here you ask?

The short answer - is the need for a new hobby (or you could say the resurrection of an old one)

I spend the majority of my time stuck in an office in front of a computer precessing data, producing reports on spreadsheets etc.. I was mad on PC's when they first came out and have for many years as a retreat from family stuff used them for all manner of 'projects', but i am growing bored with them (Regardless of how much you teach yourself how to use the advanced features of excel - there is only so many that have practical application in your day to day life!!!
)

Now to show my ignorance where do i start?

I have lots of questions and will no doubt bug the life out of some of you hear, but will refrain from asking them here - so this is in fact a warning instead of a welcome!!!

This looks a very friendly and informative site, and i look forward to conversing with you all


GreenBoy
 

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Hello and welcome
 

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Welcome along Green Boy.

First decision would seem to be what gauge are you going for this time around? As an N gauger, I have to say that f I had the space for something bigger - I'd be doing that.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum. You seem to be of the same generation to me and we both do far too much with computers.

It was computing and the advent of Digital control (DCC) that got me interested again in the hobby a few years back. After looking at how I could get computers linked up to the track, I found that it was much more fun without computers and the pleasure of controlling trains with a knob or slider is much better than programming them with a PC and sitting back to watch.

Where to start? Well, go out there and get some locos. Perhaps a set to get you started, but be weary of cheap and dirty set controllers. Its better to get a decent DCC or analogue controller and then some train packs that don't come with controllers.

Anyway, let us know how things progress and ask any question you like here. There are experts in every field of modelling that are willing to help and give out advice.
 

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Hi & welcome to MRF.

& yes, you are in the right place.

Ask away with any questions - plenty of advice hear & don't forget that there is no such thing as a silly question.

As for starting first questions would be "how much room do you have have" & "what do you prefer in terms of steam/diesel/electic, era & then country".

Once you have decided that a start set would probably be a good idea - have a good trawl through the forum & you should then get some idea's.
 

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Hi there and welcome to the Forum.

QUOTE model making part of the hobby
If this aspect of the hobby still appeals to you, then it might provide some hints as to how you could pick up the threads. I'm thinking that depending how much detail and precision you like your models to have, you could well find that this defines the scale that would best fit your needs. The choices generally available are 2mm to ft (n gauge), 4mm to ft (OO gauge or EM/P4 if the scale 4ft 1in of OO gauge repels you), 7mm to ft (O gauge).

David
 

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Hi Welcome to the forum


Ask away questions doing railways is a learning curve for us all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow
- wasn't expecting so many responses - so soon!

Thanks to every one for being so kind.

To answer some questions - and ask some of my own:

I am in the process of re-insulating my loft - which is including a big sort out (read dump) of the accumulated crap up there - and this i think is what has got me thinking about model trains again. So - the layout could be reasonable size - the space is in total approx 6'6" wide by approx 24' long - but i need to keep a reasonable amount of this as 'storage' for all the stuff people keep in a loft - but this does give options especialy as there is a tie beam half way along so layout could be in one end or allong entire length with an L at the end(s) etc etc - not decided yet.

Scale - Ahhh - this is the big one - i suppose the question is what is easy to get going in - i am tending towards the HO/OO (am i right in thinking that OO is the default for UK trains and tracks?) - and how much different is P4?

Becauee i am interested i nthe modeling side i am thinking that one way of this being a hopy to spend osme time on of making my own track - yup thats tight i am thinking of diving in at the deep end! I would love comments on this and how practical it is - and costly.

DCC - i have seen a little on this - is this the latest for what was the Zero One controler (by Airfix or Hornby?) way back in the days of the ZX Spectrum? I am interested in this especialy if i can use my laptop to control a few things such as trains, points, signals etc.

Again - thank you to everyone for such a nice welcome.

GreenBoy
 

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Seems like you will have a reasonable sized space - you could increase the area available by using the space under the layout for storage.

OO running on HO track is the most popular in the UK with ready to run available in abundance. However, if you like the idea of building your own track then P4/EM is more viable, especially if you want a more correct scale/gauge ratio.

Forget Zero 1 & everything else that was about at that time, sure, there are people around still using it but go for DCC with NMRA compliance & then you will not have a compatibility problem with different makes of equipment.

The first thing you really need to make your mind up is if you want a desk based (fixed) controller or walkabout (hand). Best thing would be to attend some exhibitions & see what is in use & if possible have a "hands on play".

Everyone here has their own favourites, but I would recommend you spend a little time deciding before you buy - I would avoid entry level systems as I suspect that you would soon grow out of one. Having said that you can always sell on an entry level system. As you are looking at using your laptop then make sure that whatever you buy has a suitable interface.

Hope this helps.
 

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QUOTE (am i right in thinking that OO is the default for UK trains and tracks?) - and how much different is P4?
You are correct. The gauge for OO is 16.5 mm. This results in the track being 8 inches too narrow which gives head on shots of locomotives and rolling stock a slight narrow gauge appearance. The advantage of the wheels being an extra 1 mm away from the body work is that locomotives, particularly the larger steam models, can negotiate much tighter radius curves than would be possible with the accurate 18.83mm (I hope I've got that right) of P4. The fact that the gauge for P4 is quoted to two decimal points of a mm gives a strong indication that other aspects of the relationship of wheel to rail are also governed by very tight tolerances. I think I am correct in saying that P4 models all have suspension which helps the stock stay on the track. If the thought of working to such tight tolerances scares you, there is always EM gauge which is 18.something mm and not quite so demanding.

I believe that making your own track can be as expensive or as cheap as you wish to make it. If you aren't going to make your own "crossings" (frogs to most of us) it can be quite expensive. If you spend the time to make your own, then it is probably cheaper and you get exactly what you want. For an idea of what's involved check out this website for details on the Templot program and all you ever wanted to know about trackwork.

QUOTE DCC - i have seen a little on this - is this the latest for what was the Zero One controler (by Airfix or Hornby?)
It's a good analogy but the systems are not compatible. Most medium to high end systems can be hooked up to a PC but I'm not sure that having given themselves the chance to do it, many people actually follow through with the idea and implement it.

David
 

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tillig DIY points are quite a cheapo option??

Greenboy...the world's your lobster!

All this 'model railway' stuff is quite fascinating......but what has tickled your fancy?

The urge to be creative?

or do you have an underlying interest in railways...in general /particular?

Others have rather simplified the situation regarding what is generally available in every other shop..........and what is actually available providing one takes the time to look.

Compared with what you remember of the 'hobby' from years back......the stuff that is available today has no comparison....either in quality, detail.....or even, PROTOTYPE!

Available from more specialised suppliers......[internet useful here]........are ready-to-run ranges, from today's famous makers, that don't just cover OO or HO......but variations on the narrow gauge theme as well.

BAchmann, for example.....although selling quality OO products, also sell a narrow gauge range...ie larger scale..[for example, 7mm to the foot, same as O gauge].....but running on the same track as OO/HO.....the prototypes chosen being based on US prototypes, like the Denver and Rio Grande Western, plus others, and logging railroads.......nicely bulky so that one doesn't need bottle-bottom glasses to see or feel them....yet not requiring anything like as much space as 7mm scale, standard gauge models.

Continental makers do the same thing [continental prototypes], not just using 7mm scale, but also 3.5mm [like hO] scale......with Bemo making some real jewells.

Also, there are RTR ranges right up to 10mm/foot scale [the old gauge one]....all ready to roll, out of the box... ...standard and narrow gauges [Aristocraft, LGB......]

if you visit a model train shop, just take a look up at the very top shelves.....for example, check out the new Piko gauge one trainsets.....plastic, ok, but excellent value for money.....nicely bulky too.

the whole off-the-shelf scene is just so very different from the days of yore.

You mention the use of the loft?

In reality, the loft can be a very hostile environment both for model railways, and those who build and operate them.

A loft space really needs work to make it user-friendly.....joist strengthening for one, insulation, light and heat......and consider this.....if you get seriously into modelling [trains]...you'll be spending a large part of your life up in the roof....which brings its own problems regarding isolation from the family, etc.

perhaps a more ''including'' location may be found?

Even to the extent of limitations of space?

plenty of research first?

or....go out and buy yourself a trainset that takes your fancy??

and go from there......via this forum? Welcome to the nerdy world of railway modellers.......almost as nerdy as wargamers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alastairq

Couple of things

QUOTE but what has tickled your fancy?

The urge to be creative? Yes, i think this is it, and i like trains - the problem being i like both steam and modern diesel / electric trains... This is one of the reasons why i am thinking of building the track myself - as well as building etc as this can be done on the dining room table, and therefore still be a little sociable....

QUOTE PROTOTYPE I have seen this used around quite a lot and am not sure exactly what this means in this context?

Narrow gauge - Hmmm - I remember having a coal mine / quarry set that was HO/OO scale and ran on N gauge track - the sort of thing you see in pictures of old Welsh quarries.. this may be of interest - but not sure

QUOTE if you visit a model train shop, just take a look up at the very top shelves glad you qualified this as being a model train shop - i have some bad memories from my youth of the top shelf, based on my being short and not able to reach..


I hear about what you are saying on the loft - yes i have considered all the costs / aspects of putting a layout up there - only real option i have for space unless i shell out for a garden shed - and they have their own issues... fortunately i originally trained as a quantity surveyor so have a little knowledge (enough to be dangerous - and i have moved on from construction many years ago) to convert the loft to a usable space...

QUOTE Welcome to the nerdy world of railway modellers.......almost as nerdy as wargamers! HOW did you know that for a while I was a war gamer???

Thanks for your comments

GreenBoy

PS - i would be very gratefull if you didnt go round telling people about me being a QS - its a shame thing...
 
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