After spending six decades in this hobby, I’d have to say my best tip is to think small. Gargantuan layouts are fantastic, but for many of us they are impractical, if not overwhelming. I’ve achieved my best results with the good old 4 X 8. When I tire of one, I simply dismantle it and build another. Of course there are compromises due to the smallness, but it’s easier to wire, scenic, and operate the completed layout. Admittedly, no layout is ever truly finished, but it is easier to gain a sense of completion (success, if you will) with the smaller pikes. I’ll leave the huge layouts to the masters. I certainly enjoy seeing them, but I have to accept my own limitations as far as skill, energy, and finances. I also need to be aware of my wife’s interests.
Not really a technical skill, but it might encourage a few folks who are just beginning, or even simply needing to downsize.
Thanks for the opportunity to spout off.
“Alastair – When laying track ballast (relatively large stones) for “0” gauge track, wet the stones in salt water first and apply them wet. After the ballast has dried, the salt binds the stones to keep them from straying and adds to their appearance.
Here is a tip for you, I admit I got this one second hand.
If you need to remove track that has been glued down to the roadbed, and ballasted.
First pour hot water on the track, this dissolves the glue and loosens the track.
Leave it for a while, then start dismantling the track.
This works well for track renewal or replacement, also if you want to be Doctor Beeching and close a branch line.
I like to keep my train’s and car’s serviced, cleaned, and oiled about every 4 week’s. Even if I have not run them, and I have very few problem’s over the years. It also give’s me a break from, my busy life & buisness. It is very relaxing, as well as good for the equipment. I don’t have much of a layout, but love to hear the trains run on the track, and change them up quite often, and just so they don’t get a lot of wear. Busy work I guess.
Love your book’s and information. When I retire, (soon), I plan to use some of your idea’s for a big layout, to keep me busy.
Thank you for all the information you share.
“My best tip, or advice, is to pay close attention to the prototype that you are modeling. If you are free-lancing, then pay attention to the prototype of a railroad that resembles what you are trying to do. Study. Take photographs. Compare your trackwork and scenery to the real thing. If you do these things, you will be able to create a more realistic model railroad, assuming that’s your goal. It’s certainly mine.
“One way to make realistic wood piles is to use old wine corks sliced vertically into wedges
here are some of my latest developments to my oo gauge layout my layout is made up with three stations and up and over .we then added a container base to it .also stead loco depot with turntable I will forward you some pictures of it along with the diesel repair shed
hope they are of interest
Thanks for all the tips and pics – please keep ’em coming.
And don’t spend a penny before having a quick peek at the latest ‘ebay cheat sheet‘.