Track Talk Live: June 2016

Thank you for joining us for our inaugural Model Railroad Academy Live Event! If you missed the show, you can watch the recap here. The show featured a lively exchange of tips, information and insight from special guest Allen Keller, the pioneer of model railroad video production. Managing Editor/Moderator Steve Doyle and Associate Editor Doug Hodgdon showcased their layouts as well as railroading motivations and passions. The team responded to a broad mix of model layout questions submitted live by viewers during the one-hour live stream.

Stay tuned for next month’s event! See you then!

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Discussion
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68 Responses to “Track Talk Live: June 2016”
  1. David Bogard

    long time experienced, award winning model railroader always looking for new ideas

    Reply
  2. Richard Gardner

    On my track I can run diesel with o.k but when I put my steam on the front wheel come off the track.I do not why.

    Reply
  3. Thomas

    I have all analog HO engines. Would you recomend converting them to DCC or just replace with new engines?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Thomas. I would say that if you have favorite locomotives, they would be great candidates for conversion if they run well. I went through the same issue years ago with my HO Southern Pacific equipment. My stuff had been custom painted and detailed. I did convert most everything little by little. The new DCC equipped power is great. Put it on the track and go! Then you have more time for other phases of the hobby.

      Reply
  4. Pablo

    Greetings form Costa Rica!! It is a great honor to meet with you guys!!

    Reply
  5. Steve Howard

    Enjoying the live streaming and your dialogue. I have received numerous E-mails from MRA regarding membership but have not yet joined as I am currently more involved in American Flyer (mostly Hi-Rail) and most of your information seems to address scale – will there be any input/attention given to Hi-Rail (S or O)? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Steve. We would certainly like to address all forms of railway modeling. What would you like to see?

      Reply
  6. Keith Fulton

    Hi, I have an O gauge RR that runs near the ceiling in my office. The track gets dirty and I have to clean it on a ladder. Is there a cleaning car that I could run regularly to clean the track?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Keith. My advice would be to make your own using a foam sanding block. I showed my S scale car on the first “Track Talk Live.”

      Reply
  7. Milt

    Most all layouts are damp. I find that small spare metal parts often rust. I started saving silica gel packs from supplement and medicine bottles to place in my tool box and spare parts storage to absorb the moisture. I am diabetic and save all the test strip vials, they have a desicant made in them that keep the test strips dry and accurate

    Reply
  8. TERRY W

    I see construction..girders,towers,etc. NOT all of them are kits.. Where do you get the materials to build these?

    Reply
  9. Kevin

    I am building a small layout with some 22″ curves. I have read about easements for the curves. Is there an easy way to determine the measurements in offsets & lengths to draw the easement?

    Reply
    • Jeffrey Youst

      Hi Kevin. Are you using flex track, with the plan to utilize 22″ radius, or the Atlas Snap-Track 22″R sectional pieces

      Reply
    • Don

      Huge, do you build TT layouts with “lid at top” or 3/4″ single piece support base?

      Reply
  10. Larry

    What are your thoughts on the Bluetooth type control system? I know the modules have not been reduced enough to fit in a HO engine but I’m guessing it will eventually happen. BTW I don’t work for the company – I just followed a link on FB a couple of months ago.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Larry. I think Bluetooth is great idea. It sure is a proven system for other applications. It’ll be fun to see where it goes in model railroading.

      Reply
  11. Mike Williamson

    I’m wanting to set up a rail road display in my office. I want a diorama on top of a cabinet behind my desk and from there raise the track to about 7′ high to circle around the office. My question is how much incline angle can I have to rise to the upper track level ?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Mike. Well, there are some variables involved, but if you figure a maximum grade of 3%, that would be a 1″ rise in 3′ of run, that should give you an idea. By the way, you can buy digital levels now that will display the gradient directly. How about that for easy?

      Reply
  12. Keith Fulton

    Thanks for the cleaning info and the home made cleaner. Is the oil called wall oil? How do you apply it and how often. This is my home office.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Keith. The answer is Wahl Clipper Oil sold as a barber supply. I’d use it very sparingly.

      Reply
  13. glenn

    I have rosters for New Haven and Boston and Maine roads – but unable to find the locomotives and other rolling stock – does one have to obtain unpainted and undecorated models? Then paint and decorate them? I am newbie.

    Reply
  14. Ralph

    Hello, I am having durability issues with failure of the moving parts of Brand ‘M’ turnouts on my On30 modules. Is Brand ‘A’ or Brand ‘P’ built to be more durable? I would be willing to use HO code 83 if Brand ‘P’ is significantly less of a maintenance nightmare. Does the addition of ground throws reduce the wear and tear on throw bars and point rails since no big giant fingers are poking at them?

    Reply
  15. Graham Stokes

    What inspires and/or interests each of YOU most in the hobby today? What would you pick if you had to-today?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Graham. Well, my interest has always been the US southwest. The history and wide open spaces have fascinated me since I first traveled out west with my parents. Along with that, the connection between rail and ships is another of my interests. So, my interest in the Southern Pacific came early on and I wouldn’t change a thing.

      Reply
  16. Kenneth

    Doug, you are clearly a man of good judgement, don’t waffle Steve. S is the best.

    Reply
  17. Tom gregory

    I think his question was more like do you like operations, or structure building or detailing rolling stock etc best
    I think his question was do you like operations or structure building or detailing rolling stock or locomotives. Or weathering freight cars best.

    Reply
  18. chrisitne

    I’m putting a layout together that’s s-scale American Flyer, using the original sectional track. On the outside loop, the Franklin engine I use to see how things are working runs great until it gets to the section just before a rerailer, when it stops dead. A gentle push gets it started again, but that’s not what I want it to do. So, I put a terminal clip on the section of track before the retailer and dropped the red and black wires through the top, connecting them to their respective bus wires using suitcase connectors. When I turn on the power at the transformer, it immediately trips the red “short” signal. When I disconnect the feeder wires from the terminal clip, the “shorting” stops. When I attached the terminal clip, I turned the clip around, so the Faunstock clips are facing away from me, rather than toward me. Could this be the reason it’s shorting out?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      I wonder if you’re getting a short across one of the metal ties. Sometimes the little “cardboard” insulators go bad. You could check them over. Do you have another section of track that you could try?

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, James. We’re sorry to hear you were having trouble viewing our LIVE event. We recommend trying a different browser, such as the latest version of Firefox or Safari. Recent versions of Internet Explorer will work, as well. If you continue to experience issues with viewing our content, please contact us at 1-855-208-7399.

      Reply
  19. Ania

    Fantastic show! Thanks so much Steve, Doug and Allen! When is the next one?

    Reply
  20. ric mccormick

    what do you thlnk about ho gauge trains? I am in my 50 and this going to be my first layout and really don’t know where or how to start?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Well, HO is the most popular scale for many reasons. There are lots of products available. If there happens to be an HO club in your area, you could give them a visit and then give it some thought.

      Reply
  21. Larry Edwards

    Need more advanced notice, would like too be able to see the next one live ! I’m in N scale, with DC .

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Larry. Sorry you missed this one! Feel free to watch the replay. We would like to let you know that your feedback has been forwarded to the proper department; your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Frank. I intend to an entire article on operation in the future. My layout is a Proto64 S scale point to point switching system with a single staging track. I use a 6:1 analog fast clock basically to keep my switching at a realistic tempo. My waybill system is a derivative of the Doug Smith system published in Model Railroader way back in the 1960s. Thanks for the query.

      Reply
  22. Jim

    Good job! Will you post for later viewings? (The Mrs. Was rather chatty tonight. đŸ˜‰ )

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Jim. You may view the replay! If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us at 1-855-208-7399.

      Reply
      • Honey

        Your kitchen is beufliaut, and what a makeover! I love the crisp, clean white, but it looks so comfy and inviting too. I think the shelf paper and pantry curtain are my favorites! Thanks for linking up!

        Reply
  23. CJ Beyer

    Wanting to build a multi level layout! How to make the different elevations work? Woodland Scenes has a kit but, I feel it would be way to expensive! Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Great questions. I’m working on a series of articles for the MRA web site that will address all the issues of designing and building a layout. Watch for it! Grades are critical on a multi-level layout. Helixes are common, that depends on your minimum radius and gradient. A 2% grade should really be considered as a maximum. That’s 2″ in 100″. Nowadays you can buy a digital level and save yourself some math.

      Reply
  24. Vic Swanner

    Really enjoyed this can’t wait till the next one, I learned a lot and been in the hobby for forty plus years.

    Reply
  25. Brian

    When hand laying a turnout for DCC, what do I need to do differently than hand laying a DC turnout?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Brian. There is no difference. You would gap the frog in either case.

      Reply