More model railway tips and tricks

“Hi Alastair,

Latest part of my 00 guage model town with the water park and the town pub. I am really enjoying doing this, I made the pond from model water. The pub has turned out better than I had hoped. more to come at a later date. The stone wall I made from a length of cardboard and covered in PVA glue I then sprinkled fine pebbledash which I sived through a cheese grater; came out great. Keep up the good work sending all these tips and great ideas from everyone.


Stuart P”

(See more of Stuart’s layout from an earlier post here).

“Instead of using ballast and track underlay I went ton a vinal shop and bought an offcut of brown spotted or flecky underlay that is used for laying vynal and cut it into strips for track underlay.It looks the real part. Track underlay out here in NZ is so dear.

Thanks Murray”

“Another tip for people doing benchworking is to have your plywood cut at the lumberyard before you bring it home. Most plywood comes in 4’by8′ sheets. This can be bulky to haul up to the attic or down to the basement. With a little forethought, you can have the lumberyard cut it into 2’by4′ pieces; or 4’by4′ pieces; or whatever specific measurements you need.


“Hi Al.

Not sure i sent you this yet.It’s my end train flashing warning light.Think they call it a fred.If ya dont want it on.Grasp it and unplug.or plug back in.

The two holes i made in the car are the same size as the leads going in.almost invisible from the outside.There is an old computer connector inside the the car that the unit plug’s into.Then that run’s to a temporary battery pack.

I plan on running power from the track later to run it.No wires should show.Really easy to make.Im going to shrink it smaller alittle and better material.Only a test.tell me what ya think”

Been playing with these idea’s.Im useing phone boxes to distribute 12 volt and 6 volt power.You jack into the box like a phone.My street light’s are plugged into the phone box and if need replacement or repair just unplug from phone box.My signal’s are also plugged into the phone box.Any thing can be plugged into the boxes as long as you leave the connector on.Said this before when i sent you the how to wire signal’s.

Other is a test.My warning tail light at the end of the train.It flashes every second.And if you dont need it on there.You can pop it off.I made two so tiny holes in the back of it same size as the Led posts.And those post have a plug on the other side with a a battery pack inside the box car.It’s a test so far work’s great.I will steal power from the track later to run the 2mm flashing Led

There’s a lot of talent out there, isn’t there? Thanks for sharing everyone. Please keep them rolling in.

Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet here‘. Bag a bargain!



14 Responses to More model railway tips and tricks

  1. wow thats a nice the sky.That’s a great idea makeing the wall’s thanks for the pic’s and Al for showing them.thanks

  2. Al your signal light at the rear of your train looks good. Just in case u are not familiar with them. They are about 24″ long, an wide enough for batteries when it is left on a train sitting on a siding. Also their is a hose with a coupler to attach to the air brake line to power an air generator to power the light when the train is moving. If u want to age them to look used also some reflective stiping on them also. One other thing if u have a shack on the yard where crews get their replacements make some extra ones have a pipe rack holder for them outside the shack.
    Keep up the good work on your layout. Your idea for the stone was real good an got a “DUH” from me about how simple to make in any scale just be changing the size of the stones accordingly.

  3. Thank’s Glenn.Didnt know that.When i change the size i will reajust.Also attach a hose and run it under the car.In canada we have the same thing.But our’s hang in the middle above the coupler.They have a few sizes and design’s from what i saw.Glenn do they sit on the rack in the weather or are they protected inside on a rack.It does have a reflective strip on the front of it in photo.well okay red anyways.will adjust as well.All in all.dont see or have seen anyone else come out with the idea.Glad you injoy you an idea.If you make one be nice to see it.thanks Glenn and Al.Back to my new project hope everyone likes it.


  5. Layout is looking great i love the smoke keep the ideas coming. really look forward to the pictures so many ideas.

  6. Hi Stuart, thanks for the stone wall idea. I just tried it with some coarse beach sand and then with some fine sieved river gravel ( from a tropical fish tank). worked well both times for different scales. Nice pub ! D/

  7. Nice work Kim.

  8. super super super

    gros merci

  9. What i would like to know is how do you keep it so clear of dust.

    A duster used to break things or send things spinning.

    I started to use a hair dryer to blow the dust away it sort of worked but not controllable, Now I have upgraded to an air line to blow the dust away. Great for detailed cleaning,

    Your layout looks so clean, Must be kept in a clean sealed room with air locks (Grin).

    Well done very impressive in deed.

  10. That water looks great. Love the shallow areas. This group has given me some excellent ideas.

  11. Lots of great ideas to use especially the rock wall fence idea

  12. I need help. I recently received a few early style ” S ” Gauge plastic rail cars. My question is the cars have a white fungas or stain on them . How do I clean it off ? Is this a common problem or it caused by how thy where stored ?

    Bob S

  13. thanks for all the great ideas. keep them coming. having a problem with some couplers, there not strong enough to pull other cars. can you help. where do I get parts to fix these. they are 80’s and 90’s cars and engines, and lionel. I hope someone can help. thanks, ken

  14. Kim, Yes they are called FREDs ( F…ing rear end device) by the employees because they replaced the caboose. Some of them are equipped with a radio controlled valve that will open the air line on a signal from the engineer in the case of an emergency. They have a stubby antenna on top. Keep up the good work. Tim – retired Union Pacific conductor

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