John’s Box Car

“Dear Mr. Lee…

Thank you for sharing my cardstock boxcar…

I have now done a locomotive…

A few details need to be added…

Sincerely, John from Cali..


Chatsworth California USA”



If you missed John’s last post, it’s here.

“Hi Al, you say you enjoy updates, well not much to report here but I have been adding some LED platform lights and a first set of 12v DC streetlamps.

They had to be wired in pairs to keep the intensity and the heat under control, these have been deemed a success so I shall have to get another pack for the rest of the layout, luckily the Italians are fairly sparing with their streetlights.

However I am rather sorry now that I didn’t make provision for adding lights in some of the buildings, it would be too much of a faff now they’re done and installed I fear.

I am just now trying to fathom a mystery cross feed in my fiddle yard sidings, every now and then I get a train moving when it should be isolated by points, resulting in some “interesting” (ie alarming but not really expensive so far) sideswipes, I suspect it comes of stock with metal wheels bridging gaps somewhere, but to identify it I really need a full wiring diagram. Like an idiot I didn’t do one as I was going along, thinking I’d remember. Blowed if I do!



You can see Rod’s full layout here.

And if you can help Rod, please leave a comment below.

That’s all this time folks!

Please do keep ’em coming. And if you’re feeling inspired, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

10 Responses to John’s Box Car

  1. Steve Hudacko says:

    Like your work. The overhead wireing looks great. I haven’t been doing a wireing diagram either. When I first started to do the wireing I said how tough could it get. Well halfway through the wires are going everywhere. I still car figure it out but it is getting harder and harder. I may even pull some of it out and do over just to make it easier. At this point all I can say is don’t rush it. Take your time and plan it all out and stick to the plan. Lesson learned. Lucky I am retired and have lots of time.
    Steve goon Toms Rivet

  2. ? I have too HO street car and it needs a three rail track all the wheel are brass and no line on the too make it rum you have to touch the wheels one lead and the body with the other so does this need a special track?

  3. tom says:

    To Steve Goon!!!! You took all the words right out of my mouth. I too am retired and have the tangled wire mess, also thinking of redoing. Every time I think I`m done I have to add something else. Dealing in HO. Good luck Tom in Payson Arizona.

  4. Eric says:

    Rod. Nice looking layout.. I have the same problem with the points not fully isolating when a train runs across the Peco points I use it can link through onto the spur line and doing what you said in getting sideswiped. The only cure is to isolate one track in the spur and add a another power link through a switch so you flick the switch to open the spur power. It is annoying.
    Power I run from the controllers to a separate point on the board or under it and colour code the wires so you always know which pair of wires is for which track or for your lighting, much easier to trace that way.

    Eric (Leeds) UK

  5. Rod Mackay says:

    That HO streetcar might be set up for collection off the trolley wire and all wheels returning current, like the real thing. If that’s the case you might find that none of the wheels are insulated from the chassis in which case it would be a lot of work to alter it, however if the wheels ARE insulated on at least one side of the model, you might just be able to rearrange the motor feed wires to collect/return from separate pickups either side.
    My own overhead on the Diano Marina layout is electrically dead as it would have been too much trouble and expense to wire all the roads in the fiddle yard, offstage.

  6. paul Otway says:

    What you could is install an isolating track in your fiddle yard.

    Hornby makes one that is controlled by a green lever frame. Very simple to use.

    I like the locomotive body.


  7. Robin says:

    Read your post all the time. The people who send in their layouts give some great ideas Been out of commission for the last 18 months. Hoping to start my la-out soon. I find that your cut out buildings are all American how about some English ones. I am also retired.
    Thanks for the advice.
    South Africa

  8. Susan Cannon says:

    John – Lovely loco!!!

    Rod – I am concerned when you say that you are concerned with heat while using LEDs. The big attraction for LEDs is supposed to be that they do not give off much heat at all. I have found this to be the case using LED bulbs in my home. What is generating the heat in your system?

  9. Always nice to see lights on a layout , but as said LED `s dont get warm …Dangerous Dave

  10. Dan Hulitt says:

    Rod, has LED and 12v DC lamps, and the 12v lamps are the ones with the heat issue.

    Nice work, guys.

    Mn Dan

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