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I bought a Bachmann starter train, to go under the Christmas tree. I have wanted to get into model trains, but it all seems so over whelming. I would like to build a ping pong table size layout 5x9. I would like to be able to run multiple trains at the same time across the whole layout. What is the best place to start? Websites… books… shows…? Any advise would be helpful.
 

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DT
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Hi MDShepherd, welcome to the forum.



If you are after a beginners' book, The Hornby Book of Model Railways, By Chris Ellis is probably a good place to start. You can pick it up from Amazon.

See here: http://www.hornby.com/building-a-model-railway/ for a little more info on the book from Hornby.

Forums like this one hold a wealth of info, but unfortunately there is no table of contents or 'start here' page. All the info his here, you have to search a bit and wade through some of the topics - hopefully not being put off by some of the arguments of the established members


Good luck with your project. Let us know how the Christmas train works out. I'm doing one too this year.
 

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Sounds like you've already made two good choices, the set and posting here!


Any question ask and you will get good help no matter how simple it seems, usually the terminology makes it sound far worse than it is. We can post pictures or even wiring diagrams to help you out.

Basically The things to be aware of are:-
Most makes are compatible but not all.
If you are just starting then Hornby, Bachmann, Vitrains, Dapol locos and stock are good bets.

For track Hornby and Bachmann are ok but the best overall in my opinion is Peco especially for their points as they are much more reliable in the longer term.

Radius with certain bigger locos,
You can check what radius they require in the catalogues. The overhang when your longest piece of stock, (ususally a coach), goes round a corner so that when you get two loops stock on the each track doesn't hit each other. Test this with the track laid out before pinning it down and you can easily adjust the clearances.

Points & power
I'd recommend starting with Insulfrog points as supplied by Hornby, Bachmann or Peco as it simplifies wiring, (Peco also do an electrofrog point but you need to do some extra wiring for passing loops or you can get short circuits)
If you have a crossover between two loops of track powered by different controllers you need to isolate the join between the two points. You can use just insulfrog points but to run from one loop to another one controller must be turned off completely or the two controllers will short out when the circuits are joined by changing the points.
 

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Post your questions in the OO Forum section too as the HO section here has a smaller readership as it is mostly continental rather than British stuff in this section. Technical questions on track and wiring apply equally to both sections.

I do both HO and OO!

Your start set probably contains an Analogue DC controller where there are two wires to the track, as you layout expands you may find you need to add sections to your layout switched by a control panel and add more wiring.
Consider Digital AC or DCC control as you are just starting out. DCC allows all sorts of things like constant lighting and sound to be added easily and slightly simplifies wiring.

Buy some magazines, Hornby magazine is very much geared to the people starting out, Model Rail is and excellent source of ideas and adverts, Railway Modeller also has some good stuff but is lagging behind a bit in my opinion at present.

Visit model exhibitions and find someone with a layout you like and ask them how they did it, (listings available on the forum and in the magazines).

Is there a club local to you? post your home town and see if you are local to anyone who could help you out at a club.

Good luck and have fun.
Paul
 

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Some good advice from previous respondents but I have a couple of points to add.

A 9ft by 5ft layout is a good size to start with but I would advise NOT having it as one solid board. An operating space in the middle is much better for at least three reasons.
1. You can reach any part of the layout from the middle.
2. At one glance you can't see trains going round a complete lap viewed from the middle so it looks more realistic.
3. Coaches on curves appear closer together from the inside so again look better.

Don't get downhearted if your first attempt isn't perfect. Remember the old saying about walking before running.

Good luck with the project. Cheers, Robert.
 

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Sorry about posting again immediately, but there was something I forgot to include. You might wonder how you can get into the middle of the layout. If you make it high enough then you can duck under. Alternatively you can make it in two parts which are hinged together or completely separate. They then clip together when you have walked inside. This is over-simplifying it but I hope that it gives you the idea.
 
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QUOTE (MDShepherd @ 13 Dec 2007, 23:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I bought a Bachmann starter train, to go under the Christmas tree. I have wanted to get into model trains, but it all seems so over whelming. I would like to build a ping pong table size layout 5x9. I would like to be able to run multiple trains at the same time across the whole layout. What is the best place to start? Websites&#8230; books&#8230; shows&#8230;? Any advise would be helpful.


I got a bachmann digital commander train and i have layed mine out on a ping pong table. to make a simple layout, you need turf to roll out and you neeed to make a few hills and trees to get it looking good.
Believe me, its not as hard as it looks. If you want to build it at different levels, buy some woodland scenics foam incline blocks. just check out the huge range of woodland scenics products.

Email me at [email protected]
 
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