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25 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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Model Railroad Web Site

By: Timothy R. Mannino





Topic
:

Model railroading appeared on the market in 1900 with the first Lionel set.
Since then many new comers have popped up, like Mike’s Train House
(MTH), Atlas, K
-
line and Weaver. We have come

a long way since 1900
and the new train manufacturers have taken it a step further than Lionel
with real scale engines, rolling stock, buildings and landscaping. I plan to
research the difference between the original Lionel setups and the modern
realisti
c setups with a focus on how realism is achieved and report my
findings.


























2

Table of Contents:


Model railroad history
-

Lionel


3

Custom accessories from 3
rd

parties


4

Realistic Railroad track and accessories

5

Modern Train Controls



7

Development of a Layout/Benchwork

9

Conclusion





13

Bibliography





14

















3

Lionel trains (URL:
http://www.lionel.com/shocked.html
) was the first model railroad
manufacturer. Joshua Lion
el Cowen founded Lionel

in 1900
.





Joshua Lionel Cowen was a successful inventor before he created his first model train,

The Electric Express”. Mr. Cowen spent a lifetime stoking America's imagination with
the romance of the rails. He told boys th
at Lionel would prepare them for adulthood.
Soon Dads too were encouraged to join youngsters in model train enthusiasm, to future
father
-
son bonding. With growing prosperity, Lionel’s layouts cropped up in more living
rooms, especially at Christmas. Befor
e mid
-
century, railroads were our economic
lifeblood.

The end of the train fantasy was quickly approaching. In the 1960s, freight lines were
being scrapped, and fathers and sons were on opposite sides of the "generation gap." That
decade saw the tragic
demise of Mr. Cowen. By the 1970s, what remained of the original
Lionel Corporation was a holding company specializing in toy stores. By 1973 Lionel
was folded into General Mills subsidiary Fundimensions, which carried on the Lionel
tradition with many t
rains that equaled or bettered the originals. With the Fundimensions
slogan, "Not Just a Toy, A Tradition," Lionel appeared to be getting back on track.

In 1986, Detroit
-
based real estate developer
--

and railroad enthusiast
--

Richard Kughn
bought the
brand and established Lionel Trains.
Lionel produced the first Steam Engine
with a Steam Whistle in 1935, which progressed to the first Steam Engine that actually
blow real smoke in 1946.
In 1989, Lionel rolled out the first train engine sound system
cal
led RailSounds, heralding an era of high
-
tech audio realism, and trumpeting better
things yet to come. Liontech's RailSounds II debuted in 1994 on the Santa Fe Mikado.
This all
-
new digital system captured a real
-
life Mikado's actual sounds, and propelled

Lionel to the forefront of model train technology. Richard Kughn sold Lionel to
Wellspring Associates in 1995, with Neil Young as a minority investor.

Train enthusiast created their railroads using the engines, rolling stock and track that
Lionel was cre
ating, which at the time did not lend to realism. Lionel started with a 2
-
rail
version and discovered that the average person was having problems wiring it up so they
then created a 3
-
rail version in 1906. This version was much easier to configure right
out
-
of
-
the
-
box. This increased the demand and interest for model railroading.



4

At this point Lionel has not increased the realism of their railroad system. They are still
producing and selling the standard tubular
steel design track and mostly Steam En
gines.





Although the train enthusiast were very creative using anything from wood to metal to
Erector Sets to create more automated and realistic track layouts and designs, it still was
not enough. Additional companies started appearing with help.


You can have a special bridge built to fit your layout or match an actual bridge from
history.















Bridgewerks (URL:
http://www.bridgewerks.com
)


You can even get custom backdrops to continue the
3d look of your layout when you run
out of space or into a wall.

Backdrop Warehouse (URL:
http://www.backdropwarehouse.com/41B
)


5

As demand grew, Lionel started producing more detailed engines and rolling

stock, but
still did not add more realistic track or buildings to their offerings. This is when we
began to see upstart companies, not trying to replace Lionel at first, but instead trying to
add to the realism by offering more realistic tracks and buil
dings. This is how Mike’s
Train House (MTH) (URL:
http://mthservc.vwh.net/index.htm
) was born.
M
ike Wolf,
the owner and founder of MTH, got involved in model railroading when he was only 12
years old. Mik
e began working as a model train assembler for a neighbor who
manufactured toy trains in his basement. Over time, Mike began a business relationship
with Lionel, and then ultimately went out on his own. When Mike Wolf established
Mike’s Train House in 1980
, he had gained extensive and valuable firsthand experience
in all aspects of the industry.

I
nitially, his basic mission was to sell model trains to a wide range of railroad enthusiasts.
As Mike’s Train House began to grow, Mike’s goal was to provide m
odel railroaders
with quality, value, variety and innovation. Before long, Mike’s Train House became
M.T.H. Electric Trains.

The Railroad tracks offered by MTH were becoming more realistic with the middle rail
painted black and the railroad ties made to l
ook like wood. The first release of MTH’s
“Realtrax” looked more realistic but still lacked something.












MTH


Realtrax


The second offering to the realistic look from MTH was the “
Scaletrax”, which is one of
the most realistic looking tracks available.








MTH


Scaletrax


6

MTH still have a few items of realism with their track that have not been overcome as of
yet.

Companies like Atlas and Weaver have picked up the slack. Both Atlas and Weaver
offer switches that have under table mounting for the switch mechanics.












Atlas


Custom Sup
reme Switch


MTH is also now producing very detailed and realistic looking building and accessories
that actually operate in some fashion, to include sounds, moving cars and moving people.

MTH 30
-
9114
-

Operating McDonalds


This solved most of the track

and building realism, however, what about the sound of the
train as it went down the track? The trains did not sound realistic when the track was
mounted directly on a wooden table, so some clever individuals came up with the idea to
mount the track on a

roadbed, then on the table. The first roadbeds where constructed on
cork and helped deaden the metal sound of the passing train. After a short time, the
roadbeds became more technical with the creation of Homa
-
bed (Homasote). The Homa
-
bed not only dead
ened the sound, but also gave a great surface to apply textures for
streets, grass areas and the ballast under and
between the tracks.



Ballast

is the gravel, dirt or roadway that is
placed in between the rails of the track.


7

Today, you can get cork, r
ubber, vinyl and instant roadbed at most hobby stores.

Most train enthusiast currently use either Homabed or cork, in order to control the cost.


Controlling the trains has always been done with a transformer that
regulated the voltage
to the track for speed control. The amount of voltage to the track also controls the
accessories on the track, like switches and train accessories on the train, such as lights
and sounds. There have always been problems with this me
thod. Lionel has upgraded
their conventional designs to be command controlled. This new design does not use the
standard transformer, but Lionel’s command system called Train Master Command
Control (TCC). This new system provides a constant voltage to t
he track, providing
much smoother operations. The TCC can control all the new Command
-
equipped
engines, railroad’s switches and animated accessories, even your classic Lionel and
Lionel
-
compatible locomotives, all from the palm of your hand. The TCC cont
rol offers
the following benefits and options:




More sounds

The Lionel RailSounds system offers a
wider array of sounds when used in
conjunction with TrainMaster Command
Control (TCC).



More features and functions

Locomotives can be operated independently
--

even on the same track
--

or in unison, as
a single lashup. A lashup is multiple engine
working together as one.



More realism

You can even adjust signal reaction time in order to simulate the momentum of
real train operation.



Improved lighting and per
formance

Lionel TCC uses constant track power, so lighting remains constant and Lionel
locomotives run more smoothly at slower speeds.



Ease of use

The commands are simple and can be executed quickly. There is no complicated
"clicking and clanking" as in
some systems.



Ease of installation

One TCC
Command Base

will service an entire layout, no matter how many
power blocks you have.



Low cost

Lionel TCC provides digital control at a fracti
on of the cost of alternative
systems.



Reliability

Lionel TCC broadcasts the digital signal to an electronic receiver in your
locomotive. Alternative digital systems pass the signal through the roller
-
pickup,
whose reliability may be affected by dirt or p
oor contact.




8



Freedom of movement

Lionel TCC is the only O
-
gauge control system to offer a walk
-
around remote
that transmits signals to a single Command Base. See your layouts from new
angles. Take your controls wherever you need to go. Use several
Trai
nMaster
Command Remote Controls

(URL:
http://www.lionel.com/store/trainmaster.html
)

at a time and let your family and friends join in the fun!



Compatibility

The Lionel TCC system is compatible

with every Lionel O
-
gauge locomotive
ever built, via the
PowerMaster adapter
. Lionel TCC also works with locomotives
offered by other O
-
gauge companies.


To get a good feel of how
this system works visit The Interactive TrainMaster Command
Tutorials (URL:
http://www.coilcouplers.com/tmc/tmc.html
).


MTH also has a similar control system called the DCS Remote Control System. T
he
DCS allows you to leave track voltage constant and control multiple Proto
-
Sound 2.0
equipped engines individually. Thirty
-
two buttons and an LCD display provide total
control over Proto
-
Sound 2.0 features such as setting scale mph, passenger station
ann
ouncements, and setting multi
-
unit lash
-
ups, etc.



A single DCS Remote handheld will allow you to control Proto
-
Sound 2.0 locomotives in
command mode, TCC
-
equipped engines in command mode (when you connect a Lionel
Command Base to the TIU) and all convent
ional 3
-
rail O
-
gauge engines at the same time.


The DCS Remote Control recognizes and stores data for up to 50 different locomotives as
they are powered up on your layout. Once your engine is recognized, you can set your
favorite operating settings, inc
luding volume levels, lighting, smoke output and more,
with the touch of a few buttons. The DCS remote handheld features a four
-
line LCD
screen and 32 push buttons for control over the most frequently used locomotive
functions, including:




Whistle, Horn,
and Bell Activation



Speed Control



Direction Control



Smoke Output



Coupler Operation



Common Sound Effects



Emergency Stop



Reset to Factory Defaults



Use the Built
-
in Microphone for
Prot
o
-
Dispatch

Feature




9

Now that we have a basic understanding of model railroading lets get started setting up
the layout.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER IS TO GET SPOUSAL
APPROVAL BEFORE ANY CONSTRUCTION BEGINS.


A primary goal in layout des
ign is to create a
railroad
. The more it looks and works like
a real railroad, the better for realistic operations. Here are some tips to setting up a more
realistic layout:




Small layouts typically have one main feature, a single station or industrial
co
mplex. Medium sized layouts may have two or three main features, but they
need to be closely related. Large layouts may have many, including unrelated,
main features.



A good rule of thumb is when using a tunnel, as the caboose disappears into
the portal,

the engine of that train should be emerging from the other end of the
tunnel.



Railroad height effects visibility and reaching distance. Low benchwork offers
a "birds
-
eye" overall view and a deep reaching distance. High benchwork
provides a detailed look

at the cars and rolling stock, and makes you feel more
part of the local action. However, you may also have problems determining which
way the switch on the back track is thrown.



Transform your model railroad into a real rail transportation system. Your
design concept establishes where it is located, the era, which towns are served,
connecting lines and traffic patterns. The concept needs to match the model; the
size of the layout and the access considerations will determine whether you can
model an entir
e railroad, a division, a couple of mainline towns or a minor station
along a branchline.



The geographic location (or setting), along with the era (or timeframe)
selected for the layout will affect both the scenery, and the traffic. Just as you
won’t find
many high volume commuter lines in a snow
-
covered mountain range,
it is equally unlikely to operate a gold mine in the middle of flat farmland.
Realism of the layout is enhanced when all of the items (industries, rolling stock,
structures, traffic patterns

and volume, signs, vehicles, etc.) in the scene are of the
same era.



To add realism to your layout, name everything on the layout. Even if the oil
refinery is only a can of
Pennzoil

sitting next to the siding, name the refinery and
the town where it is lo
cated. Now you are delivering coal from the
Black Lung
hills coal mine

to the
Bat
-
Leth Steel

mill
, and not just moving cars from "here" to
"there". Don’t forget to name your railroad as well. Oh, by the way, now that
you’ve named everything, put those
names on the model railroad! Towers,
junctions and towns get name signs on the fascia at their location. Each building
needs a sign with the company name. Placing a track diagram of each town on
the fascia by that town, with all of the sidings labeled a
nd regularly spaced
direction signs (indicating which way is "east" and "west") also work to add to
realism of your layout.


10

We have already covered the types of roadbeds available for use but you should always
remember if you are building or using a table
as your base/benchwork you need to
reinforce it. You never know when you will need to play
Godzilla

because a train
derailed at the other end of your layout.


Benchwork

is the support structure
that you build your model railroad on. Benchwork
usually consists of legs, some sort of framework or structure, sub roadbed that is attached
to the framework, the roadbed and track, which are laid on the sub roadbed. Benchwork
will give you a permanent s
tructure to which you can attach your sub roadbed, track and
scenery. With proper planning, it will allow you to consider future expansion right from
the beginning, which will make it much easier when the time comes. As soon as you are
far enough along i
n the design stage to know pretty much what your railroad will look
like, you can begin to build your benchwork. Be sure to take into consideration your
track plan and any scenery elements that may effect the placement of the girders or the
cross joists.



Your benchwork could be as simple as a piece of plywood on a table, or more complex
such as
open grid

work with
L
-
girder

construction or even a mix of both.


L
-
girder

benchwork gains its name from the backbone of the structure, a piece of 1X2
wood str
ip glued at right angles to a 1X4 wood strip, forming an L
-
shaped beam with a
web and a flange. The L shape counteracts the tendency of the wood to warp towards its
wide side. The L
-
girders are attached to, and transmit their load to conventionally
design
ed legs. The L
-
girders provide a platform to attach joists, which define the shape of
the final terrain. The girders can easily span twenty feet. Loads applied at center span are
transmitted to the legs by diagonal braces running from the middle of the L
-
g
irder to the
legs. The width of the leg set can be varied to provide stability for whatever width of
benchwork you are building.


Open grid

benchwork is a close relative, the first ancestor really, of L
-
girder benchwork.
Open grid, sometimes called butt
-
jo
int construction because of how the joists are attached
to the frame, shares a common leg design with L
-
girder. The main difference is that a
rigid perimeter frame defines the boundaries of the benchwork. Joists are attached
between frame elements to pro
vide strength and to provide a place to attach risers and to
support scenery elements. The main disadvantage is that this technique is somewhat less
flexible when it comes to creating irregular edges or to making major changes in
benchwork configuration.

The main advantage is greater strength at a potentially
vulnerable point on the layout.


To begin your benchwork, start by doing research to determine which type of benchwork
is best suited to your situation. If your layout is a temporary or seasonal l
ayout, you may
get along just fine with a piece of plywood. If you are planning a more permanent
display or are going to include scenery, you will want a more substantial structure such as
L
-

girder construction. The open grid work will allow more flexib
ility and will
contribute to a more realistic looking railroad. You could combine some of both
techniques by using what is called the cookie cutter method. This is where you use a flat

11

board over open benchwork and cut out the sub roadbed directly from
the flat board and
leave the rest of the board in place. You would then raise the sub roadbed up on risers to
what ever level you wanted. You could also cut out areas where lakes or rivers would be.
With the cookie cutter method, you are still limited by

the flat board. It will hinder both
maintenance and wiring and also limit future expansion. The L
-
girder open benchwork
method is really easy, and will allow the best overall support for your railroad. It will
also allow for the best overall finished
appearance when your railroad is completed.


Now that you have chosen and built your benchwork, it is time to decide on the table
covering and/or roadbed. I choose to make my table and am laying down a sheet of
Homa
-
bed over the entire table. This will b
ring the table base to the same level as all the
buildings that have driveways and sidewalks attached to them. Once you have chosen
and laid out your tabletop it is time to create your terrain (mountains, valleys, lakes,
rivers and bridges). There are ma
ny ways to create terrain.


Styrofoam:

http://www.thestorefinder.com/rr/rr_lib.html

-

Landscaping Tutorial

You can use layers of Styrofoam sanded to get the rolling hills effect or
chucked Styro
foam to get the jagged mountain effect. If you mount your
mountains on a plywood base, other than the table, you have a portable
mountain scene. Styrofoam would be the easiest to work with because it
is very easy to cut and shape, and it’s cheap. If you

mess up you can just
start over. You may have some problems when trying to paint or glue
Styrofoam so you will need to purchase special glue and paint so you do
not melt the Styrofoam. The above tutorial takes you from start to finish
creating an entire

layout in Styrofoam.


Paper:

You can create a semi
-
permanent layout by framing your mountains all in
a wire mesh and then covering the mesh with crumbled paper bags.
Once you layout the bags and glue them to the frame, all you need to do is
paint the h
ighlights. If you mount your mountains on a plywood base
other than the table, you have a portable mountain scene.


Hydrocl1:

http://anderson.cioe.com/~rhensley/bp/scenery.html

-

Building

a Model
Railroad.

Hard shell scenery is a method, which uses a light framework of cardboard
strips first covered with newspapers, then covered with Hydrocl1
-
soaked
paper towels to form a shell over the framework. The screen wire system
uses screen wire sh
aped to hill contours, with scraps of lumber supporting
it, then covered with plaster. Plaster soaked towels are sometimes used.
For hard shell, the framework is stapled to the benchwork where it
touches, and the strips can be stapled where they cross. If
you don't like
the scenery after the first layer of Hydrocl1
-
soaked towels is on, take a
hammer, knock it out and redo it. Use a plaster coating over the hard shell
applied with a paintbrush before coloring the ground. Before this overcoat
goes on, dampen
the shell by spraying it with water to ensure that the new


12

plaster will adhere to the old. Cured plaster will draw the water out of the
new coat and affect its setting and strength.


Plaster:

You can create a more permanent layout by framing your mountain
s in
wood and wire mesh. Once you have it all framed out, you can cover it
with a plaster papier
-
mâché mixture to cover the wire mesh. You then
apply plaster to shape and form the types of mountains you want. When
the plaster starts to harden that’s whe
n you can start making your sharp
peaks and valleys. You can also do this same construction with concrete
instead of papier
-
mâché. This will give you a much stronger mountain;
however, the framework will need to be reinforced a bit more.


Plaster scenery

can be colored with dry pigments mixed into the plaster, or thinned paint
washes. Acrylic paints are widely available now and have supplanted the dye's useage.
The usual procedure is to make a thinned wash of one or two colors, plus black, and
apply them

with squeeze handle spray bottles. A drop of dishwashing detergent will make
the water 'wetter,' just as before and make it flow better. For coloring surfaces, a hobby
acrylic paint, which in certain brands comes in a jar, and is relatively thick. Thin it

and
mix it to achieve the effect wanted, that includes mixing the color right on the surface in
most cases. This is less messy than using the diluted
-
color sprays and allows you to
control the colors better.


Now one of the most important steps to realist
ic operation is to slow down. Run your
trains at scale speeds. Place a yardstick next to a straight area and practice running at
different scale speeds. The following table relates prototype speeds to the number of
seconds it will take your train to move
from one end of the yardstick to the other.
Switching moves are usually performed around 5 mph. Movements within a yard are
typically no more than 15 mph. Most mainline running is between 25 and 60 mph,
depending upon era and type of train.

Time to travel

3 feet at scale speed

Prototype

Speed

N

HO

O

5 mph

65 sec

36 sec

19 sec

15 mph

22 sec

12 sec

6½ sec

25 mph

13 sec

7 sec

3½ sec

60 mph

5½ sec

3 sec

1½ sec

90 mph

3½ sec

2 sec

1 sec






Chart from Gateway 2001 NMRA


13

Now that you have the entire layout built you are ready to start playing. Wait! You do
not have a train. Purchasing a train is a personal pursuit. If you decide to recreate a rail
line from history, then you just need to d
ecide from which manufacturer to purchase the
train. There are four (4) notable train manufactures: Lionel, MTH, Atlas and K
-
line, but
only two (2) of them (Lionel & MTH) have remote control systems. If you choose not to
follow a rail line from history,
then you have a lot to review before purchasing your train
set or individual pieces.


To give you an idea;


I got my first set, which is a New York Central Steam engine. I following this theme by
then purchasing a New York Central Passenger set (TCC Uni
t). Both of these sets are
Lionel but I also have a K
-
line LHV diesel engine I use as my freight unit and am
currently looking for a USMC or Coca Cola SW2 Switch Engine. I did not follow a rail
line from history and have a little of two worlds on my setu
p.


Realism is achieved by the little details, like ordinary people going about normal business
in the towns and country side, all the buildings having a company name displayed, street
signs, city details, arrows and cross walks painted on the streets, con
struction areas,
animals on the mountains and in the woods and weathering on building, bridges and
roads.


Model railroading can be a lot of work and expensive but loads of fun and very
rewarding. Trying to decide what type of layout to use, the type of t
rack to use, the type
of power/control system to use, the benchwork, the scenery and of course the stages of
realism is a challenge. Once that is all done (if it ever is) then it becomes family bonding
experience and a nice way for father and son/daughter
/wife to become closer and share a
hobby. It is also a great way to relieve stress.


There is a lot more to cover but I am already running a little long so I’ll save it for
another time.













14

References:



Lionel Corporation: History, Lionel and R
ailroads in America.
http://www.lionel.com


MTH Electric trains: A toy Train Story.
http://mthservc.vwh.net/index.htm

Backdrop Warehouse: Backdrop Murals for Model R
ailroad Layouts and Homes.
http://www.backdropwarehouse.com/

K
-
line Electric Trains: Collectors guide.
http://www.k
-
linetrains.com


Bridgewerks: a division of
Mountain Products
.

http://www.bridgewerks.com/


Homesote Company.
http://www.homasote.com/


Johnson’s Roadbed.

http://www.roadbed
.net/


Mountain Modelcraft: Model Railroad Landscaping Supplies.
http://www.thestorefinder.com/rr/library/rrtutorial.html


Gateway 2001 NMRA: Gateway to model railroading fun.

http://www.gatewaynmra.org/designops.htm


H&R Trains, Inc: Building Model Railroad Benchwork.
http://www.hrtrains.com/classnotes4.html


Conklin,

Bruce A. (1996)
. Model Railroad Construction Techniques, Chapter D.

Logan, Utah

http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/BFSpages/LDSIGprimer/Construction.html