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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello all.
i'm pretty much new to the whole concept of model rail road, so naturally i don't have a clue.
i'm going to try and build a large layout with a lot of old track, is there anything i need to know and any sort of newer aspects of this hobby which would enhance the whole thing etc.
cheers,
caolan
 

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Hi Caolan,

Firstly I wouldn't attempt to go to big on a starter project - you'll probably end up becoming disillusioned. Secondly be careful when using old track - you will almost certainly have running problems with some of it.

Regards
 

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Hi caolan & welcome to MRF,

As BRITHO says, don't get too ambitious for a first layout. Maybe try a small layout first, just to try your skills out. If you are on your own you will need to be fairly multiskilled.

Have a good look at past posts on this & any other forums you may be a member of, attend some exhibitions if possible & peruse a magazine or two - personally I'd recommend Hornby Magazine.

What make is the track you have, & what is it's general condition ?

Whichever way you go enjoy the hobby !
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i agree, i have built small ovals with a newer box of hornby,(the harry potter one) which i got a few years ago.
i found this track in my grannys attic, it is hornby from the late 60's-70's.
it is in decent condition, it has small amounts of rust on some parts but everything else seems to be in working condition.
i have yet to set up this track, as i dont live anywhere near my granny and there is no space in my house for it.
the space in my grannys is more or less unlimited, but the base board has to be hoisted into the ceiling of the garage.
cheers,
caolan
 

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Hi Caolan and welcome to the MRF.

Apart from echoing what others have said might I make the following suggestion.

As Britho and Brian have both said, don't try to build a massive layout at your first attempt. However, what you could do is plan the large layout but break it down into manageable stand-alone sections which can eventually be joined together to make the whole layout. First decision is the type of baseboard you want. Is it to be just a flat board or do you intend to have more than one track level ? If more than one level is involved, consider using an open grid type of board construction which will allow you to build the scenery both above and below the track levels. The key to a good layout is, in my experience, good planning.

Start with a very simple section, possibly one that will eventually be hidden. Learn the best ways to lay, ballast and detail the track. Depending on what type of control you are going for (DC or DCC) learn how to electrify your trackwork and points. This will probably involve some soldering of wire connections which, if you haven't done much soldering before, can be tricky but practice makes perfect.

Finally, even though it may eventually be hidden, have a go at some scenic work and buildings. It can be very therapeutic.

By building a small section to start with you will become proficient in all of the various skills needed to build a good layout and you won't become bored or disillusioned by the sight of all that empty board area ahead of you.

Above all remember that the MRF is here to help newcomers to the hobby so don't be afraid to ask for help or advice if you need it.

Happy modelling,

Expat
 

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Hi,

When I started out, I was in the same position - new nothing, I got a good basic how to modeling book
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
expat-thanks for that advice, it is very helpful.
i do intend to have more than one level, and your idea of creating the track in small sections makes a lot of sense.
as for electriying the track, that has already been done, i found a switch board which can be connected to all the points, its just a board of light swithches which can be incorporated into the baseboard.

i'm not entirely new to these hobbies, i have routed my own slot car track and am intending to do basic scenery on that.
i purchased a hornby track plans book to give me a bit of incentive for designing my track, i now have a few ideas but i dont have the exact amount of track with me so i'm not sure if any of my plans will work.

i'm not sure about control, i dont have a huge budget, so unless there is a cheapish DCC systemn that i can source locally(belfast) i think i will stick with dc, but i'm not entirely sure of the benefits of DCC so this may be a bad decision.

just to warn you in advance, this track will take a long time to go anywere, my grannys is an hour and a half drive away, and i only go up every 3-4 weeks.
thank you again for all the advice so far.

caolan
 

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Have you considered using a software package for your PC to help design your layout? There are a few available on the web. Alternatively, you could try making some templates of track, using the bits you have got, to plug the gaps during the design phase.
 

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There are a few about, you could visit google and have a look

The one most people use would appear to be 'xtrkcad', although I didn't get the hang of it.

'Anyrail' offers a free trial, but I haven't used it.

Hornby have their own software too, but it is not free and only uses their track and scenery.
 

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I use Winrail. It's not free but there is a free trial programme with limited functionality.

I've ben using it for years now and find it excellent as, in addition to trackwork in just about every scale you can think of, it has libraries of most of the commercially available buuildings so you know, straight away, what will or will not fit into a particular space.

It also has a 3D capability and will produce pdf files for such things as posting on this forum.

Happy modelling,

Expat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks, ill try some of them, the hornby one looks the easiest but i have a very limited budget and £20 for this type of software is a bit steep.
i dont know how they can justify this when they provide a free scalextric track designer which does, from what i can see, exactly the same things.
thanks,
caolan
 

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The big difference, as far as I'm aware, is that Scalextric does not involve laying flexi-track.

With model rail specific software you have the ability to design curves at any radius and, in fact, the Winrail programme will automatically design horizontal and vertical transitions. In addition the numbers of variables in point types and configuration is, I believe, considerably more in railway modelling than Scalextric.

As regards the Hornby programme, you may find it a bit restricting as it does not have track/point libraries for anything other than Hornby track.

Hope this helps,

Expat.
 

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QUOTE (Expat @ 30 Jul 2008, 14:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I use Winrail. It's not free but there is a free trial programme with limited functionality.

I've ben using it for years now and find it excellent as, in addition to trackwork in just about every scale you can think of, it has libraries of most of the commercially available buuildings so you know, straight away, what will or will not fit into a particular space.

It also has a 3D capability and will produce pdf files for such things as posting on this forum.

Happy modelling,

Expat.
What are the limitations?
I have found the trial for Anyrail to be quite good.
Can anyone point me towards a site from which I can download XtrkCad?
Regards,
Ben
 

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Hi Ben,

I've not tried Anyrail as I've been a satisfied Winrail user for so many years now (from version 3 through to version 7) it's just not worth learning another programme.

I don't know about other programmes but the limitations with the trial version of Winrail are in the number of pieces of track you can use (but I can't remember how many that is) and you are unable to save the file.

Provided the layout is not too complicated, you can design it all at one sitting and are able to print it out.

Expat.
 

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QUOTE (c.mcwilliams @ 28 Jul 2008, 17:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>i agree, i have built small ovals with a newer box of hornby,(the harry potter one) which i got a few years ago.
i found this track in my grannys attic, it is hornby from the late 60's-70's.
it is in decent condition, it has small amounts of rust on some parts but everything else seems to be in working condition.
icaolan
Hi - be very careful with steel track of this age as it might be a coarser type which doesnt join up with the later track. Check it against the Harry Potter stuff - which is nickle-silver, and a much better track than steel. Clean it very carefully using a track rubber or the very finest wet and dry as used on final coats of paint or varnish. Even the tiniest of scratch marks will attract dirt and cause poor running. Check all rail joiners and replace any loose or damaged ones. Use something like Peco Electrolube/powerlube (which conducts electricity) on the track to deter rust - it will come back again quickly if the loft is not well heated/ventilated. Points will need to be tested and cleaned very thoroughly indeed as they rely on the blades contacting the track to pass the current.
Good luck!

David Y
 

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QUOTE (Dinwiddy @ 31 Jul 2008, 00:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Use something like Peco Electrolube/powerlube (which conducts electricity) on the track to deter rust
David Y

For God's sake don't let Electrolube/Powerlube anywhere near your layout. It comes second only to WD40 as a loco killer. It will stick to wheels like glue and attract dirt and then harden into a non-conductive deposit which is very difficult to get off. Some will inevitably get into the mechanism and just gunge it up.

Once the track is clean, paint the sides of the rails (rust/track dirt) and get yourself a track cleaning truck. Either a Tomix or Clean Machine.

Frankly though, if there is any rust on the track you would be better off binning it.

Cheers,

Expat.
 

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Hi all
You could use it to practice weathering and ballasting, painting etc
or sell it on ebay
Regards Zmil

QUOTE (Expat @ 31 Jul 2008, 09:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>For God's sake don't let Electrolube/Powerlube anywhere near your layout. It comes second only to WD40 as a loco killer. It will stick to wheels like glue and attract dirt and then harden into a non-conductive deposit which is very difficult to get off. Some will inevitably get into the mechanism and just gunge it up.

Once the track is clean, paint the sides of the rails (rust/track dirt) and get yourself a track cleaning truck. Either a Tomix or Clean Machine.

Frankly though, if there is any rust on the track you would be better off binning it.

Cheers,

Expat.
 
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