Jack’s model railroad lake

“Hi Al,

I guess we all have setbacks with our layouts. I’ve had two in the past week.

I had set up my lake using Woodland Scenics Realistic Water. I had a dock, canoes and a car backing in to unload a boat. A reader of one of my emails said he had trouble with bubbles using Realistic Water. I started having the same problem. The bubbles ruined the scene.

I researched Realistic Water and found that off gassing from the foam insulation causes the bubbles. Woodland Scenics recommends lining the water with plaster cloth, completely sealing the foam. So, I ripped out the lake and lined it with plaster cloth. Back to square one.

The other issue was a water leak on the first floor, that dripped down on the layout in the basement. By the time I found the damage, much of the grass in my residential area was ruined. So, using a dropper and warm water I loosened the grass in small sections at a time and scraped it off.

I’ve got the grass redone and am currently setting the area back up. I’ve got some kids flying kites and others on the playground. The pool party is in progress. A family is fishing at the fishing hole (which also has bubbles, but it’s at the back of the layout so I’ll address it later).

Hopefully now I can get on to making some progress.

Jack In PA”

A huge thanks to Jack for sharing this – I’m sure it’ll save a lot of folk a lot of hours and head scratching.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide – it’s got the thumbs up from all of the Hall of Fame members.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.


Dave tests the sound on his layout

Your questions on adding sound are still coming in thick and fast, so I thought I’d find some more posts on it.

Some of you may remember this one – it’s very simple way to add sound too:


And Hall of Fame member, Dangerous Dave, has been busy testing the sound on his locos too:

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

That’s all this time folks, because as you’ve probably guessed I’m pushed for time today.

But please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide – course, I’m biased, but it’ll more than point you in the right direction.




Dirty track? Not a problem with this loco

“Hi Al. One of the most frustrating and demoralizing events in model railroading is when your short wheelbase or sound equipped loco halts be/cause of poor or dirty track.

Fortunately, manufacturers are now beginning to equip locos with “keep alive” or “stay alive” modules that make this problem a thing of the past.

Attached is a photo of a “stay alive” equipped 4 wheel Plymouth switcher that will run all day through any track configuration with absolutely no power loss.

Truly a pleasure to operate even at speed step 1 while watching the couplers mate.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

And talking about sound, I got this in from John:

“Hi Al,

I always look forward to you mails and reader hints and tips.

Some years (!) ago one of your readers suggested a method to bring sound to a layout.

He provided details including ebay link and his setup instructions.

Here is a picture of the unit, which I duly bought.

I put the setup instructions in safe place!

Now that I wish to install the unit on my layout, I am unable to find the instructions and am hoping that one of your readers may be able to help.



Well, over the years there have been many posts about adding sound – here are some of them:





Hope these links helps John out.

A huge thanks to Hall of Fame member, Mark, for the heads up on the ‘stay alive’ modules.

That’s all this time folks – but please don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your layout. You’ll be directly supporting the site and saving yourself a lot of time – and money.

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.