Total nube from Central Iowa

conceptmachining Jan 23, 2010

  1. conceptmachining

    conceptmachining New Member

    Hello from Iowa! Good to be a part of this community!

    Just getting started into the hobby...a total nube. Where to start... I'm getting ready to finish my basement and figured I would dedicate a room for my hobbies. I've been thinking of a train layout for a long time....this is a good time to start it. I wanted to do a diorama of my life...significant places in my life. I wanted to start simple with one train (like a explorer of some kind with passenger cars) Have a town from my childhood, and then a rock quary I fished for many years. I'll just do a bit at a time.

    I would like to have a very nice example of a smaller size steam engine with passenger cars, something built extremely well, with nice detail. Something with smoke, bells/wistles and sounds. Something that can run the neweset tecnology (DCC I believe) I realize opinions are wide spread, but I appreciate all of the varied replies. Please let me know why you like something in paticular, and if there are any cons to something. Would like the easiest, highest quality track available. My budget is around 2500 for some track and a nice engine. Well my baby is wanting me, so gotta go.

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    Boxcab E50
  3. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    Welcome, Jimmy. You are embarking on a terrific journey, and you should have tons of fun.

    If I may, your ideas sound fine, but I wonder if an underlying set of assumptions, as you hold them today, should be dispelled. For example, it is fine to start with early life and progress through scenes to your present, but don't forget the future. Layouts quickly get frozen in time once a person commits to their construction, and if the plan does not allow for future needs some way, the layout becomes constrained, eventually used less and less, and finally it must be torn down and rebuilt as something considerably changed.

    That last bit isn't necessarily bad, but it would be great to get a few years out of the first effort before you have to tear it down...or so I would reason. If you agree, then provide space for a future 'station' on your plan.

    Also, learn in practical terms (by actually doing experiments) what each item you intend to roll on the rails can and can't tolerate in the way of track configurations and alignments. One engine may be happy with undulating track and tight curvature, while a third or fifth acquisition will not tolerate poorly laid track. Which would you rather to be able to afford that new engine?

    Also, the temptation might be a circle of life type layout, with the general track plan to match. I'm not saying that's bad, but it could be bad for you once you get it up and find that your concurrent learning has rendered the plan obsolete. Maybe the loop should be modified, or made more complex. Once you have your circle of life stations, will you be content to just run trains past them in a series of loops until you are called to dinner? Most of us soon learn that our best layout track plans closely mimick the revenue-generating footprints of the prototypes. So, you would also want to be able to fall back on some rudimentary switching, some industrial track switching of loads and empties, some engine servicing, and so on.

    You can see that this takes some learning up front, careful consideration, planning, compromising, and then executing a plan that has a high potential of gratifying its owner.

    My message: build a future into your layout. The dumpsters don't want it too soon.
  4. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    Welcome aboard, Jimmy! :D
  5. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    Welcome to TrainBoard Jimmy! I'll type this fast so we don't keep that trophy wife waiting! Does she have any interest in your train idea, as maybe she would enjoy putting house kits together, doing up gardening, or landscaping etc? Some wives get quite profescient at it, almost like those big doll houses. It is not the end of the world if she has no intereast. (It just means you must not spemd every waking minute with your train.
    Since you ask, My suggestion is to decide the size of the room for the train. It must be as far away from the washing machine as possible, and not near an outside door. You will want to plan on hVING A DOOR TO CLOSE OFF THE ROOM FROM UNINVITED HANDS ENTERING AND BREAKING YOUR TRAINS. yOU WILL NEED MORE THAN JUST A SINGLE BULB FOR LIGHT. cHECK WITH THE CITY, IF YOU (just found I had hit the Caps Lock Key.) If you didn't do this when you bought the house, check to see about flood and high water. Mount all of the electrical outlets about shoulder height off the basement floor for safety. Be sure to follow the city requirements about running the 120 volt AC light wires through conduit.
    Go to a Hobby Shop and look at "N", "HO" and "O" gauge engines to determine which feels like what you have in mind.
    Most important is, what do you want your train to do for you? Are you going to be happy just sitting at a table drinking coffee with the missus, watching the train go around in its circle, or would you enjoy operating a crane to lift a load onto a flat car, haul it to another town, unload it with a different crane, and like how many cars will you have to load and haul around?? A steam 4-8-4 will go around the "standard" 18" radius track. Buy a little at a time. You wont have a storage problem, and you are not likely to over-buy, (which the sweetie will appreciate.) You may find it useful to print out some of the posts for future reference. I did.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2010
  6. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

    Welcome aborad, this is a great site and has some great folks here willin to help answer any questions you have. Everyone here likes pics as well.
  7. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    Welcome at TrainBoard, Jimmy.

    What's your space for the layout? If you like steam what's about narrow gauge? I'm just into H0n3. :angel:
    Besides my basement layout.

  8. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    Jimmy, I have correcte the spelling on my post above. I do appologize for my jittery nerves and fuzzy eyesohjt. I stay away from Bachmann if you go into HO.

    Hey if I had $2600 dollars to build a basement layout, I would do the same thing you are! You are off to the right foot now! Get the basement room finished out and door mounted. Get the conduits hung and insulation installed and coverd. Finisg all the inside with white matte or pale sky blue up to about neck high, then gradually get darker blue, ( flat no gloss paint.)
    If Your sweetie does noy have a hobby of her own, then she may be like my wife Jan where my trains are conserned. She suggested it was time I start that new layout, when I retired at 65. Niw at 79 she still encourages me to go work on your trains, or email someone. She enjoys gardening and cooking old Poineer food, like corm bread etc.

    So what you enjoy most now while you are young and can enjoy it! Do NOT wait until you are nearly 80 years old and plysically can't!

  9. conceptmachining

    conceptmachining New Member

    Thank you for the warm welcome gentlemen, I appreciate it.
    I plan on leaving plenty of space for my layout for future expansion. The room hasn't been framed in yet, so I can make it as large as I want, though was going to make it a bedroom size room which is about 15'x30'. I would like to instal a couple "lay" stations and working machanical of some sort (grain/coop).

    We live on a hill in the country with our own septic, so slim/no chance of flooding. Will be in the basement on the concrete floor (tile when done)...washing machine is upstairs. I think the train that goes by here about 1 mile away would cause more damage than anything :) LOL

    What is the newest in DCC, and what can I find in HO for a smaller steam? What are some of the highest quality manufacturers? I would like something that stands the test of time. Something that is smooth running, has smoke, wistles and other sounds. I guess I would like it to be made of metal of somekind, as I think plastic would break easily?? OR just feels cheaper I guess. I don't mind spending around 1,000 on a nice engine, but has to be built well. I didn't know there is different size HO track, I just thought it was all the same size. How does that work exactly?

    Watash, thanks for the words of wisdom. Up until about 5 years ago I didn't go by "live each moment like its your last"....but now I do. I can't take money with me when I'm dead, so I'm spending it on the things I like to do now. A person never knows when they are gonna go....

    Thanks for all your help!


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