Newbie Needs A Bit Of Help

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by corvettte, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. corvettte

    corvettte New Member

    Nov 19, 2011
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    Please forgive this long post, but I need a bit of help.

    First off, I purchased a bunch of Lionel stuff new back in 1990 but never got the chance to use them until now, 21 years later.
    I've never built a layout in my life, but for the last 6 months I have bought many books and read them all on O gauge trains.
    I have formulated some ideas as to what I want to do. The diagrams I included show what I want to do.
    Note: When I reduced the pictures to the size this forum requires, the pictures got all stretched out, so forgive what they look like.
    I have an insulated garage and I'm going to take part of it for my layout.
    Any comments or criticism will be taken in the proper way a newbie should take them, so please, don't pull your punches.

    I have four questions - -

    1. Should I following Lionel's instructions, clean, oil, and grease the wheels and motor parts, or can I just try running them even after 21 years of sitting in their boxes ?

    2. I haven't decided on the actual layout on the main table, but in lieu of a double track helix which would take up a great part of both levels (072 curves-two tracks), I decided to try to run two tracks side by side around the perimeter of the main table going up to the second level 2.4% grade). I plan on securing the track on either plywood or clear plexiglass supported by "L" brackets on 3 sides and rods on the front part of the layout. The second level will be a halfway prototypical freight yard only.
    My question is concerning the way I going to try to get to the second level. Am I way off base with this idea ?

    3. Wiring. Because I've done a bit of house wiring, I have a tendency to go overboard on size of wire to be on the safe side.
    I've purchased a bunch of 12 & 16 gauge wire and plan on using the 12 gauge for main hot and common, and the 16 for everything else.
    My question is: Am I wrong or right when I think that with the exception of blocks of track I plan to setup, everything else will have to have a hot wire running from the accessory back to whichever transformer I have set to run those items ? Another words, all home runs.
    All my trains will be run off of transformers, no command control systems.
    I'm thinking, in order to control lighting, turning on and off accessories, controlling turnouts and everything else has to be wired with home runs on the hot side. I assume commons can be combined when going back to the individual transformers.
    Is this the correct thinking ?

    4. By the way, the control panel idea was to be able to move the whole thing from side to side while I was running trains on the layout. I figure the wires coming out of the back, I will rap in that plastic flexible tubing found in engine compartments of cars, so I'll have I - 8' long cord coming out of the back. I know this idea sounds crazy, but I want to be able to scoot back and forth with the control center. The picture is a bunch of pictures I took off the Internet and pasted them on my diagram, but I thinking my control panel will look something like the picture.
    Boy, I can just imagine the comments on this one, but let them come. I'm sure there may be better ideas on this one.

    Thanks for your patience, Corvettte
  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2008
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    MY dad collected pre war tinplate, and he would grab things out of storage and put them directly on the track, only doing maintenance where he perceived a problem.

    Your idea for a movable control panel makes a lot of sense. I have been doing walkaround control in Ho for the last 40 years, I like being able to get close to the trains anywhere on the layout, and still have control, it is invaluable when diagnosing problems. I have never seen it done with lionel, and you may have some technical issues with all those wires, but it will be worth it if you can pull it off.

    I have also had multiple level layouts for almost that long, it gets you a lot more space. It looks like you have a good handle on your helix, with double level layouts planning is critical.

    Bill Nelson