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QUOTE (BRITHO)It's nice to see you are looking at European N - it will keep goedel company
Good point BRITHO!! I'll be less mad now that I can stop talking to myself!

QUOTE (hawkmoth @ 26 Nov 2007, 23:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have decided to go for N-gauge this time as there is a clean slate. I like the idea of having a much denser track layout and generally more going on...

However, I have just been reading bits about these new DCC or digital controllers. If I were to buy an analog train set, would I be able to use any of it if later on I decided that I wanted to changeover to DCC? Would some of the engines be upgradeable to digital or not? If so, how easy is it to do? Or should I start from day one with a DCC train set? The DCC sets and controllers seem prohibitively expensive to me!

Late last night I came across the Fleischmann kit. This seemed quite impressive. I like the modern-ish diesels and electric trains, and will ultimately go for that era of trains (sorry but it's my age, I don't remember steam trains!), I also like the Continental European trains (German, Swiss, etc). The Fleischmann sets below are different in that one is analog but "upgradeable" to digital, whilst the other is pure new digital stuff :

They are upgradeable in that they are fitted out with a NEM 651 socket for installation of a decoder.

As for my space for the layout, I have an attic in my garage which is 2m wide, and can be up to 5m in length (but more than likely will be much less, ~3m).
A very warm welcome hawkmoth!

How delightful that you should be thinking about N scale and European outline too....where to start, where to start! Firstly higher track density and more realistic gentle curves in a given space are strong advantages of N scale, and 2 metres by 3 metres will be enough space for large and ambitious layout. Add multiple levels or use L-girder construction and you will room for even more.

Regarding European outline, most models are of German and Swiss prototype although there is plenty of stuff for other countries such as Austria in particular and France, Netherlands Italy etc. if you look hard enough. The main manufacturers are Minitrix (or Trix), Fleischmann, Arnold and Roco who all produce (or produced, in the case of Arnold) excellent models in recent years. Kato and Hobbytrain are worth a mention too, and also Lima Minitrain if you can find it! Everything from the latest TGV to the earliest Bavarian steam locomotive is available so don't think stepping down a gauge will in anyway restrict your options!

Flywheels, drive on all axles, directional headlights and very high standards of detail have all been the norm in Europe for quite a while, in advance of British N technologically by years. The UK is now moving in this direction (hoorah) with models from Dapol etc. but the revolution has taken a long time to cross the Channel. The larger European market helped, as did German perfection in engineering.

Regarding DCC, I haven't upgraded to it yet because my new grand layout is still at the planning stage so in terms of DCC boxes and controllers I don't know much. However from the perspective of the locomotives, DCC is very easy and is either plug-and-play (everything in the last 10 years from Minitrix has an NEM socket for example) or a case of soldering in a decoder. And decoders are getting very small now...the newest one from CT-Elektronik is the DCX75 which is only 11 x 7.2 x 1.4 mm ... namely very very small!

Also all European mainland models are designed to comply with European NEM standards (not the NMRA ones which are American and used in the UK too) although the standards are fairly similar e.g. European trains run on Peco track perfectly.

My website Eurofima Prima! is full of European N so if you are in need of a headache I recommend a visit (link below)!

Worth visiting are: - for Minitrix N - for Roco N - you know about this one already! - or Hobbytrain N and Kato N - for re-releases of Arnold models (they had a massive range, only a very very small amount has been re-released) - 1:148 instead of 1:160, but revolutionising N gauge in the UK with their customer-focused approach. - Stuttgart International Meeting 2007 - 500 metres of N scale continuous running double track! About 900 pictures here! - the 'central' Euro N news website, forum and information source (in German, but the pictures are multi-national) - useful database for info on a model, best used in conjunction with: - another excellent database, and more up to date

And many more...

Hope some of this is useful to you!

P.S. I nearly forgot the excellent website that inspired me a huge amount - John Whitby's Swiss N layout:
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