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A Railroad You Can Build

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Learn how to build a layout step by step and follow along in the construction of the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge layout.

Model Railroad Trains Spotlight10

Converting Prototype Curve Measurements to Models

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Curves are a part of any railroad, real or model. But we look at and measure our curves very differently than the prototype.

If you're planning your layout based on a prototype, you may come across curve measurements on track charts. These are normally measured in degrees, not as a radius like we typically use in modeling. Fortunately, converting from degrees to a radius for your scale is not all that difficult once you understand how the two are related.

What may be more challenging is finding room to fit that prototype curve on your platform. Our model train curves are much tighter in general than what the prototype can handle. How much tighter? The answer may surprise you. Read on to see how your curves measure up.

Mixing Model Train Brands

Monday April 14, 2014

With so many train manufacturers represented on the hobby shop shelves, things can be a bit bewildering for a newcomer to the hobby. What works together and what doesn't is all too often discovered through trial and error. While most items in a common scale or gauge will work together, there are some exceptions.

The good news is that even when products don't work together, there is almost always away to fix the issues. These basic guidelines will help you avoid incompatibility while not missing out on all the best products the hobby has to offer.

Wire Gauge Standards for Model Railroads

Friday April 11, 2014

"What size wire do I need?" We've all asked this question at least once. It's one of the most common whenever the topic of wiring a train layout comes up.

wires
From track power to control panels, a model railroad can use many different types of wire.
2014 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

While the right answer can vary depending on your situation, there are some general recommended practices when it comes to wiring our railroads. In some cases, manufacturers will make specific recommendations for their products. When those aren't around, these general tips should steer you well.

Remember when wiring your layout, the colors and organization of your wiring are just as important as the size. Careful planning below the platform is just as important as what you do above.

Electronics Glossary for Model Trains

Thursday April 10, 2014

Building on the electrical basics outlined earlier this week, if you start working on electronic circuits for model trains, you're bound to run into some common components. Diodes, resistors, capacitors... each has a specific function and when combined they can make almost anything possible.

While not an all-inclusive list, this glossary will help familiarize you with the most common components you'll find in model railroad electronics. What will you build?

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