Tom’s layout update

“Just a little surprise on the layout.

The other day I heard a grinding noise coming from the train room so I went in to see what was going on. Well I found a blue box all lit up. The strange part is I never put it there. I am still trying to figure it out. Pictures attached.

In the meantime I have some crews running water lines to the community.

Will be sending more soon

Steve from Toms River.”

Strange blue light? I had to look at Steve’s pics twice before I twigged. Did make me smile though.

“Hey Al,

Loving your website. It has been very inspiring! A lot of great folks with great ideas. Thanks to everyone.

I have attached a photo someone might find amusing. First I must apologize for some flaws in the photograph (ie: no balast yet, etc.).

When I was changing my bass guitar strings I was thinking what a waste to throw these away. So for now I chopped them up as a junk load. One could do many, many different things with this so called garbage. And in my case they are about 3 feet long. And guitar players have much thinner strings so there is even more options there. That’s all for now.

Cheers and thanks again,

Rob!”

“For N-Scale lighting I use the chip LEDs. With a handriveting tool and a rivet, I can punch exterior light shades out of a brass strip. Predrill the center of the light shade before punching it out, then solder the shade to a piece of 1/16 X .014 round copper tube. The wire from the anode of the LED goes down the center of the tube.

The cathode gets soldered to the underside of the lamp shade. So the ground wire from the power supply gets soldered to the tube, and the hot side goes to the wire. The chip leds are great for interior or exterior lighting. I’ve used an Arduino computer to adjust the intensity of the LEDs for indoor and outdoor lighting to make them more realistic.

Ben”


“Hi Al,

I just finished building a grandstand for my hockey rink. For once I remembered to take pictures as it progressed. I took half a styrofoam box that a building came in, cut it to fit, painted gray for cement. Glued the people onto plastic strips then glued the strips onto smaller strips of styrofoam, painted then glued in place. Glued a picture of our Pittsburgh Penquins on the back. Here are some pictures.

Linda”

Linda’s last post is here – and it’s a cracker.

And now on to Kevin, who asks a question that I really thought worth posting:

“Hi Mr. Lee:

Kevin here, from Savannah, GA, home of the Kamikaze mosquito.

I’m not an experienced modeler, nor am I officially a train layout guy… yet.

Briefly, my wife and I lease our home and we’re not rich. I’ve been sketching out ideas for a modest den, 10′ x 15′. Needless to say, I must design a modular system that can be moved at some point.

Being I am on a poor-guy budget and coming from scratch, I have an idea of documenting the construction and sharing what ways I am able (and not able) to save money.

I want to go with detail that would have Luke Towan nod approval while sharing where I could economize, and sources of savings I find.

For instance, I found a great guy in Minnesota that is very helpful and pulled a bunch of new and used Atlas track for me at a huge savings.

(I’ll attach a picture of a pen/ink I did to demonstrate the detail I can at least put on paper).

So, I am curious of your opinion on this best bang-for-the-buck approach.

Thanks,

Kevin”

steam train drawing

All I can say, Kevin, is if your layout is as good as your drawing, I can’t wait to see it.

But who can help answer his question? Please do leave a comment below if you can. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you press the fun button and decide to join in, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.


24 Responses to Tom’s layout update

  1. Trevor GIbbs says:

    Hello from Australia Kevin,

    I would consider going modular similiar to Free Mo and building up your layout from there. If you want to go with a 4×8, I have a freebie article that I am quite happy to send to you … or anyone else … and my own layout is based on the layout described in the article.

    My own layout is in the May 2021 Rail Modeller Australia (www.railmodelleraustralia.com/downloads) with a full description. Al will no doubt send on anything you send him!

    Cheers

    Trevor

  2. Keith G Willoughby says:

    Tom,
    I wonder “WHO” could have put that police box there???
    Happy modeling.
    Keith (UK)

  3. Steve says:

    Kevin, you have great artistic talent -sell a few drawings, that should pay for all the railroad gear you could wish for!

  4. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Linda’s idea of he occupied seating is great.

  5. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Linda. Well done with your grandstand idea. The supporters look really well done. I would however suggest that the actual ice rink is far to small to be in scale. I do appreciate it would take up a large amount of area on your railroad. Also the players look to be a much bigger scale.

  6. Chuck says:

    Kevin, this hobby is expensive. Save monet where you can. Buying used track is great. I have bought used track for my layout. Make sure what you get is in good shape. I have had to replace that I thought was good , installed it, ran my loco and it didn’t work so used is a risk. When buying turnouts go with new ones, I bought used and it was nothing but a headache especially if your going the dcc route, you want dcc friendly ones. When designing your layout just be aware of polarity, polarity is critical because if not done right it will create a short .If your going to have reverse loops in your design they have to be isolated by themselves. Buy a book or two on model railroad wiring. Check out YouTube. One site in particular is the dcc guy Larry Puckett. Do some homework it will help you. It helped me. Knowledge is power. Good luck !

    Chuck

  7. Martin Gliddon says:

    Superb pen/pencil drawing. Almost looks like a B/W photograph.

  8. Albert M Ceranko says:

    Hmmm…wonder if the blue box belongs to Bill & Ted??? See Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 80s movie.

  9. RICHARD STANDING says:

    I installed a TARDIS on my father’s layout some years ago – but wired it into the signalling circuits so that it only illuminated when a train was on a particular section of track down the other end of the layout.

    Later that afternoon, he and I were watching the trains circulating when he became aware of a blue flashing light that came on periodically. He asked me “Am I supposed to have noticed something?” 🙂

  10. Robert Brady says:

    Love the idea love the scheme Linda , but the dimensions and scale are a little off
    The Critic.

  11. John Frye says:

    Kevin, I can’t wait to see the models you populate your miniature world with! The trick to a great model is not the cost, Al’s models can be printed and built for a few bucks, but then adding life to the model with people. Stuff that makes life happen like trash cans overflowing, and broken railings. stuff we should have thrown away, but is still behind the garage. As demonstrated by your drawing, you have an artist’s eye, that is the ability to see what things actually look like, and will be able to incorporate that into the models. Good luck – John From Baltimore

  12. Rob McCrain says:

    Tom, Great and fun layout. It looks as though you can run and really enjoy it. Kevin, fabulous drawing. Very nice both of you. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  13. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool ? I hope mine turns out that good

  14. Rick Hamilton says:

    Dr Who has visited your layout. The tardis won’t be there long.

  15. robert tiemann says:

    dr. who huh. nice

  16. Richard Sappelli says:

    Good to see some folks are still using 0-27 track on their layouts. Most want the wide radius Fast tracks or other brands. The old 0-gaug and 0-27 are the best for the post war Lionel trains as the magnetic traction works best. The new Atlas, Gargravs, MTH, and Fit Tracks are not good magnetiis attractors. Thy re fine for traction tires but when one wants to run post war up a slight grade – fort it.
    Good layout in 0-27. way to go. !!!

  17. Richard Sappelli says:

    Sorry for the misspellings but it is hard to see when posting. I am sorry.

    Is there a way to edit a post?

    Tiny printing and contrast is poor.

  18. Andrew Aves says:

    Nice one Steve – A Who’s Who in Model Railways
    Andrew in Oz

  19. K.R. Harwood says:

    Steve from Tom’s River, the Tardis is great! What scale are you modeling? Are you in Tom’s River, NJ? I lived in the Howell Twp area of NJ for about 55 yrs.

  20. Dave Karper says:

    Kevin, might I suggest taking a drawing or two to a local hobby shop for display and take orders for pictures. Also try to work up a deal with the owner so he will also make money from sales, or possibly have an account set up as a sum to draw from when you need model supplies.You may even find book stores agreeable.

  21. roccomaley from northern NJ. says:

    That’ looks like an old lionel set from the 1950’s> The white car with the lionel logo is an old milk car I presume. I had a car like that with my first train set in 1951. I’m older now (77) and prefer HO scale. I feel it looks more realistic.

  22. J W Snyder says:

    Brilliant! Just think of the unlimited layout space one could have if they could only get inside.

  23. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Steve great looking 027 layout nice job on that scenery!!

  24. $100Bill says:

    Great layout, especially with the Tardis! I love O/O27 gauge. My only suggestion is to modernize the cheap tube track to Lionels’ current options where the realism buster 3rd rail is minimized to be less conspicuous. It will cost a pile of cash but be well worth the outcome.

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