Track Talk Live: July 2016

July’s Track Talk Live featured MRA’s Steve Doyle and Doug Hodgdon in a lively hour of questions and answers on many facets of model railroading, including layout building, roadbed and track-laying, intermodal operations, DCC installation and weathering. Viewers from as far away as Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland engaged in multi-scale discussions with the MRA experts.

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46 Responses to “Track Talk Live: July 2016”
  1. Ronald Munro

    Don’t have a train system .. but always wanted to so listening just in case I do – with wife’s permission of course!

    Reply
  2. Brian O'Donnell

    Hand laying a DCC turnout, what do I need to do different than a DC turn out?

    Reply
    • H.Nick

      ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. tHE BIGGEST “SALES HYPE” make a novice think there is a difference. Electricity is electricity. If it works with DC, it will work with DCC. Apologies, Caps got stuck

      Reply
  3. H.Nick

    Is there something special needed to join. All I have is a blank screen

    Reply
    • Sam Kirchoff

      It’s been fixed now, Nick. We had to update the embedded video but if you refresh the page you should be good to go. Thank you for your patience!

      Reply
  4. tim

    my question is on flex track can I set up a jig to help bend I am going to be using 18 inch curves on a new layout I am start all track will be flex track except switches will be atlas num 4 s r and l

    Reply
  5. David

    I am a beginner MRR and my question is what is the best way to layout flex track that will keep the circumference until such time I am ready to lay down permanently . I am using Atlas HO 083 and I have tried tacks, but track seems to keep pulling out by flexing back. I am using screws at this point in the middle of track but that is causing issues trying to get the curves accurate.

    Reply
  6. Dave

    Please explain DCC ready turnouts. Are they only necessary on passing sidings? Are DCC ready turnouts really necessary in stub end sidings?

    Reply
  7. Lloyd

    I’ve got about 100 turnouts on my layout, I intend to use tortoises, would you install them everywhere?

    Reply
  8. Bob Perry

    Is it possible to turn off the sound from an MRC Sheer Brilliance sound decoder when the engine is not being run without having to change the CV values on the fly?

    Reply
  9. David

    DCC turn table question.? I have a Walters DCC turn table bought New Years ago . Difference between new Walters DCC turntable ? Should I up grade ? Is this new system an upgrade wort the cost? Thank you

    Reply
  10. John

    How to make a highway road crossing over track, I tried using plaster, but not happy with result. This is the first layout I have tried to make and thus very inexperienced). The crossing is at an angle, (maybe 15 degrees?), on an ‘N” gauge. I normally like “HO”, but I am trying to model the St. Louis Iron Mountain Railway in Jackson, Mo. where I volunteer.

    Reply
    • Richard W

      Most hobby stores sell mat board in various colors used for framing pictures that is also of various thickness. Get a thickness that is no greater than the space from the ties to the rail top. Use a sheet of paper and rub a pencil on the paper over your track to get an accurate template which then can be cut out and used as your master template on the mat board. Once you have the correct thickness and an accurate template you can carefully cut the mat board with a razor blade or box cutter to match your curve/paper template. Remember to leave enough space between rail and mat board for flange width between the rails. You can also find very thin balsa wood sheets and scribe those to look like boards. Your balsa can be stained to a weathered wood or your mat board, if not the correct color, painted to the color you desire. The neat bit about using mat board is that when butted to the outside of the rail it makes a natural incline from your road surface base to the tie tops holding your rails. Rich W.

      Reply
  11. Dale

    I wasn’t able to get my sound when the session started. Can I view the full content later?

    Reply
    • Sam Kirchoff

      Yes, this video will be posted on the MRA Youtube page this evening after the live event is over.

      Reply
  12. H.Nick

    Could you compare overall costs for Using DCC controlled Tortoises vs Tam Valley Depot servos and controllers. 4 Servos and one controller equal about the cost of 2 tortoises.

    Reply
  13. Dave

    Doug, is your layout a switching layout or does it have continuous running? Have either of your layouts been featured in the hobby magazines? If so when and which magazine? We would like to see more of them! .

    Reply
  14. Bob Perry

    Is it possible to restore the appearance of a lake made with Woodland Scenics E-Z Water that has hazed over time without tearing it out and starting again?

    Reply
  15. H.Nick

    To get rid of the haze could be done by slight abrasive to remove the haze layer . Size matters. Large area = lots of elbow grease. It is like refinishing furniture. Go from 200 grit to as small as you can get. I use up to 3200 git polishing squares from wood-working supply houses.

    Reply
  16. Don Jennings

    Do you use switch lists for your layout or car cards and why for each.

    Reply
  17. Bob Perry

    Any suggestions for removing dust from the layout without affecting scenic materials, delicate branches, figures,etc?

    Reply
    • Michael Collins

      I use an old, small, battery operated Mini-Vac, which has small fine brushes that plug in to the intake tube.
      Maybe micromark.com carries it or something like it.

      Reply
    • Michael Collins

      Micro Mark search shows a picture and info of the miniature vac. item 81064, list 12.50, sale 9.95

      Reply
  18. H.Nick

    Bowser no longer makes turntables or sell their motors. The choices are PTC controller or a great method is to use any DC motor, Check out the MR article on scratch-building a turntable. (If you are from Lebanon, Pa. I live 18 miles NW of Harrisburg.

    Reply
  19. Jan Burdzinski

    Could Doug please stand net to his switching layout, so that we could the height of the layout relative to his body height?

    Reply
  20. John

    It is well worth joining the MRA. I took advantage of a special sign up rate, and have been very happy with the full length videos included. I’ve bought several downloads as well. Good site!

    Reply
  21. Rob

    Rail turning green after ballasting and white glue. This was a question your presenters struggled with. I suggest there is Iron Pyrites in the ballast, as applying a PVA white glue creates an acid, that attacks the copper within the nickel silver rail, leaving green compound (copper acetate?). The solution to prevent this may be as simple as changing to another brand of ballast

    Reply
  22. Alan Roberts

    Building a DC operated turntable, one entry road, three radiating other side. Any tips on wiring please. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Alan. For a DC turntable there are a couple of ways to handle the reversing. You could use a DPDT toggle switch or use what’s called a split ring power pickup for the turntable bridge that will automatically reverse the polarity. Let me know if you need more info.

      Reply
  23. Peter

    Hi I’m Peter from Wexford Ireland oo user
    I’m a beginner an wondering I have an engine that stop starts all the time what could be wrong, as all other trains work ok

    Reply
  24. Teady

    This is fantastic I have 36 points on my HO DCC intermodal layout I have control panel to change all my points I use Z21 to operate all my Locos there’s is nobody ever talks or display intermodal layout
    Kind Regards Teady

    Reply
  25. Randy

    I have an n gauge layout but I don’t know how to wire/ hook up crossing signals. Some people tell me I can buy the track which I’ve seen on Kato but I have ez track. I hear I need resistors, etc. I cannot hook up like “just plug in lighting”?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Randy. Well, there are many answers to that problem, and you will have to choose what works best for you. There are magnetic contacts, photo sensors, infra-red sensors, and current detectors. Then of course, you will need the flasher unit itself. An on-line search should help you. Let me know if I can be of more help.

      Reply
    • Trinity

      EEllis It was a set up. There was a activist who is aiding people to get their free id’s. Somehow even tho she has done this many times (the activist) and knows all the remtqreienus she never checked to make sure they had all the required documents but had a photographer and others at the busy DMV office to catch this event. Surprise!!!

      Reply
  26. Steve

    I’m trying to log onto the Live Talk August 3, 2016.
    It said 7:00 p.m. CST. Not sure that CST is right or CDT??? Can’t seem to find where to log on…..

    Reply