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Old 11-23-2010, 09:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

Hi to MLS,

It's been a while since I discussed my own collection and layout so
I figured I would write another story and then a update. As I last left off, I
have now 7 different trains made up that i can run, but I actually retired one
of those and will only run it on special occassions.

Train #1 Was actually formed in 1999 pulled by a Aristocraft FA-FB-FA locomotive
lash up with a huge mix of Aristoctaft, LGB and USA Trains rolling stock. As my
interests peaked more towards USA Trains and sticking to one scale ratio I sold
off much of my Aristocraft and LGB Trains in 2000. At this time, all of the USA
Trains rolling stock for this train was the American Series simulated steel box
cars, woodside box cars and woodside reefer cars. Then USA Trains introduced the
Ultimate Series 1:29 scale ratio trains and all was to change fast. I bought 2
USA Trains F3 AB sets to make a ABBA lash up and sold off the Aristocraft FA-FB
units. I also bought USA Trains Ultimate series 40ft box cars, 40ft ice reefers
and 10,000 gallon tank cars. I then sold off all of my USA Trains American
series simulated steel box cars in 2001, but kept the woodside reefer and
woodside box cars for a future steam engine train. This would be a mistake, I
should have kept the simulated steel box cars as I had every Rio Grande
simulated steel box car USA Trains made, now you just don't see them, even on
ebay. Today the train remains as it did back from 2001.

F3 ABBA locomotive lash up
3 USA Trains 40ft Box cars
3 USA Trains 40ft Ice Reefers
9 USA Trains 10,000 Gallon Tank Cars
1 Aritocraft Stock Car

Train #2 was formed in 2001 as a Coal Train with 2 USA Trains GP-9 locomotives
and originally a mix of Aristocraft 100 ton hopper cars, USA Trains 70 ton
hopper cars, MDC hopper cars, LGB hopper car and Aristocraft 2 bay covered
hopper car. The same as with train #1 I decided to stick with one specific scale
ratio and try to stick with one manufacturer. Plus the Aristocraft 100 ton
hoppers didn't look right next to the USA Trains 70 ton hopper cars. I sold off
everything on this one that was not a USA Trains product and then went out with
the money and bought more different USA Trains 70 ton hopper cars. I kept adding
to the coal train roster and recently last year added the last 3 70 ton hoppers
that I want to run as a train.

2 USA Trains GP-9 locomotives
15 USA Trains 70 Ton Hopper cars

Train #3 was formed in 2002 with 50ft rolling stock equipment or close to the
same size origianlly with 2 Aristocraft SD-45 locomotives and a mix of USA
Trains 50ft mechanical reefers, LGB box cars, Aristocraft 53ft box cars and USA
Trains 50ft box cars. I had alot of running problems with the Aristocraft SD-45
locomotives due to they were the first generation with the plastic worm drive
gear, the newer ones came out with brass ones. Very aggravated I sold those off
for the USA Trains SD40-2 locomotives even though I heard they had their
problems also. Being the point I had a indoor layout, I knew uneven track work
would not be a problem. I also sold off all the Aristocraft box cars and LGB box
cars exept for my LGBoA RailBox which is basically the same length as my USA
Trains 50ft box cars, plus it is a favorite of mine. I recently last year had a
itch for double door box cars, so I added a couple of those also. I did however
have to convert every piece of rolling stock on this particular train to "Roll E
Z" ball bearing wheels to help ease the rolling weight which was tearing the
traction tires off of my USA Trains SD40-2 locomotives. After the conversion the
traction tire failures dropped drastically, but was a expensive venture and was
well worth it to me.

3 USA Trains SD40-2 locomotives
9 USA Trains 50ft Mechanical Reefers
6 USA Trains 50ft Box Cars
1 LGBoA Modern USA Box Car

Train #4 was formed in 2004 inspired by a article in Garden Railways Magazine
called "Ruuning a Flat Service Train". It was about how flat bed cars are often
over looked on a layout and how much fun it is to run a dedicated flat servicee
tain. I took the idea and ran with it using what I thought was a perfect
locomotive for the application, 2 USA Trains GP-30 locomotives and then I just
added USA Trains flat type freight cars to go with it. Today it remains the same
as it was and has been fun over the years to run it. All of the flat type cars
are American Series USA Trains with the excption of the depressed center flat
cars so nothing looks out of place on the train by mixing 1:24 with 1:29 flat
cars such as the intermodals.

2 USA Trains GP-30 locomotives
3 USA Trains Centerbeam Flat Cars with lumber loads
3 USA Trains Pipe Load Flat Cars
3 USA Trains Piggy Back Flat Cars
3 USA Trains Depressed Center Flat Cars 2 of which are with my loads
1 USA Trains Generator Car
1 Ro Trains Flat Stake Car with wood load
1 Charles Ro Custom Made pipe load flat car 1 of 3 made authenticated
1 Ro Trains Wood Pulp Flat car
1 Ro Trains Auto Flat Car

Train #5 was formed originally in 2006 and ended up being a disaster, at least
to me. Originally it started out as a Aristocraft Mikado Steam locomotive which
was going to pull my collection of USA Trains woodside box cars and woodside
reefer cars which I haven't seen run at this point in a couple of years. To my
disappoinment again I recieved the first run Mikado and it was loaded with
problems, I wrote many complaints to the Aristo forum with no real solid
answers. I was also told after the fact that the Mikado was only capable of
pulling roughly around 8 to 10 cars and that was another disappoinment, I wished
they had stated that in thier ads.I sold off the locomotive to a diehard Aristo
fan in which I did tell him about the problems I had and he tore it down and
wrote me back and said this is one the Aristo should have taken back. I then
re-grouped and put all of my USA Trains woodside box cars and woodside reefers
back on the sheleves again. Train #5 then eventually became a USA Trains 55ft
rolling stock train pulled by 2 USA Trains SD-70MAC locomotives. In 2007 I sold
off one of my SD-70MAC Rio Grande units for a SD-70MAC Rio Grande Heritage
series locomotive. Today train #5 still remains the same.

1 USA Trains SD70-MAC
1 USA Trains SD70-MAC Heritage Series
9 USA Trains 55ft Center Flow Hopper Cars
9 USA Trains 55ft Modern Tank Cars.

Train #6 was formed in 2008 and I once again gave Aristocraft another chance at
a steam engine since I could not really afford a USA Trains Hudson in the Rio
Grande name. I bought the Aristocraft Mallet to pull my collection of woodside
box cars and woodside reefer cars. So far it has performed well which it
operated for 1 year straight solid every weekend. The only complaint I have is
the slight jitter or hesitation when it first starts after sitting for a while.
Once it's going however, it does operate smoothly although I did see other train
sites that had problems with this one also, but now I know how to fix it with
this knowledge in case it happens to me. In 2009 a huge collection of "NOS" or
"New Old Stock" from a collector went thru ebay so my USA Trains and Ro Trains
woodside reefer and woodside box car collection grew rapidly.

1 Aristocraft Mallet
2 USA Trains woodside box cars
5 Ro Trains woodside box cars
3 Ro Trains woodside reefer cars
13 USA Trains woodside reefer cars

My MOW train which is my 7th train I made up actually started out in 1999 as a
NW-2 cow being used as a switcher. As the train collection grew and the trains
got heavier I had to add a NW-2 calf in 2001 for more pulling power. Finally the
train collection just got too big and I had convetered all of my track over to
8ft diameter curves which eliminated alot of of sidings that I could have due to
the amount of space those curves took up. So in 2002 I decided to go out and buy
USA Trains MOW cars, but by this time many were discontinued, so it took a while
to find everything I wanted looking at train shows, ebay, etc. I temporirly
added a Aristocraft Flat car and put a rail tie load on it and a Aristocraft
gondolla with a scrap load in it. When I found the rest of the Rio Grande MOW
pieces I needed, I sold off the Aristocraft flat car and gondolla. I only have
so much room you know what I mean?? Today I retired the train and on run it on
special occasions. I did have to replace one motor block in the NW-2 calf unit,
but that is not bad considering what I used it for originaly or should I say
abused it with over size freight cars.

1 USA Trains NW-2 Cow
1 USA Trains NW-2 Calf
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Kitchen Car
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Engineering Car
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Flat car with wheels
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Flat car with freight trucks
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Flat work car
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Flat rail and tie car
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW 25 ton crane
1 USA Trains MOW DRGW Crane tender

Hope you enjoyed the story

EMD Trainman
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

When I was growing up, in my family Trains around the Christmas Tree was always
tradition and the trains of choice was always Lionel 0 or 027 scale.

My Dad was given a 027 Lionel Train set from his Uncle when he was a kid and run
it under a tree for years in which my Aunts (his sisters) enjoyed for years.
Unfortunately like anything else that gets played with, it wore out.

I begged for a train set and finally on Chrsitmas in 1973 under the tree was a
027 Lionel Rock Island flyer train set under the tree. It featured a 0-4-0 Rock
Island steam switcher which had a manual foward, nuetral, reverse switch in the
cab which I loved for hands on operation. It also had a Penn Central gondolla,
Uinon Pacific flat bed and a Rock Island bobber caboose. Every year I could
either add a pack of track or a freight car. I was only allowed to have it out
from the day after Thanksgiving til December 31, then I had to pack it all up
and it was put into the attic, so as family tradition it became a Christmas
train. In 1982 I made it a permanent layout in my room which was built in the
basement of my family home, me and my Dad worked on the room until it was done
and then the train set was alloed to be permanent. In 1984 bad news happened,
the 0-4-0 switcher could no longer handle the freight cars I added to it over
the years and came to a slow smoking halt. That was the end of that locmotive.
That year my Mom and Dad gave me a Lionel F-3 locomotive which had one motor,
but pulled the train with no problem.

In 1986 I graduated high school and went on to a technical school, but also had
a part time job, so I moved on my own now collecting Lionel trains. By 1988 I
was working full time and I had bought the Lionel 0 scale F3 A-B-A Union Pacific
locomotive set with sounds in the B unit, I bought a Lionel 0 scale SD-45 in the
Chessie system and a Pennsylvania 2-4-2 Steamer with smoke out of another set at
a dealer. I found a Lionel Conrail train set with centerflow hopper cars I
wanted real bad, but could not afford it.

Near the end of 1988 I was looking for new Lionel train shops in new areas.I
stumbled across a Lionel train shop that had 2 stores, but one side was by
appointment only. So I made a appointment and fell in love with these big trains
that were much bigger than 0 scale. I asked what scale and what kind of train it
was, I was told it was LGB G scale trains. I said to my freind, one day I will
own those trains, he said yeah right, they are too big for inside.

By 1989 I lost interest in trains altogether and sold off my entire Lionel
collection which did not make my family happy, but I felt it was mine to sell.
At the time I sold everything, I had 75 freight cars, a F-3 locomotive, a F3
A-B-A locomotive set, a SD-45 locomotive and a 2-4-2 steamer and all of it was
Lionel. I bought a 1970 Dodge Challeger R/T and restored it, then went to car
shows with it and I also was involved into NHRA pro stock drag racing. 10 years
later, 1999 my Dad got sick and passed away from cancer. I hung up the keys to
my car and lost interest in car shows. Trains again entered my mind and how much
fun they were at Christmas.

In 1999 I bought my family home from the estate and Christmas was coming and the
memories of having trains around the tree. Then as fate would have it a show
called QVC was having a special on showing and selling trains. They featured a G
scale Bachmann Rio Grande set called the Silverton Flyer. I remembered those G
scale trains from 10 years earlier so I bought it. Eventually I went all out hog
wild with it. In 1999 I added freight cars and built a wall shelf system in my
old room in the basement and ran them in there. However disaster would hit, the
train derailed which caused the locomotive to come off the track and fall 6ft to
a crashing end. Seriously upset, I dismantled the entire train set in disgust.
All of the G scale Bachmann freight cars and Bachmann G scale track was sold off
on auction.

In 2000, the urge for G scale was even bigger than ever and I was not to be
defeated. I want G scale trains and that was my goal. I once started out for my
indoor G scale layout this time making plans for a floor layout, but the
basement at that time was a disaster, when my Dad got sick, the basement got
termites in it and the walls and everything wood had to be torn out and removed.
The cause of the termites was due to my Da improperly instally paneling on top
of cement cinder brick walls which trapped moisture. So the plan was to rebuild
the basement and the train set on the floor together at the same time.

Today, 2010 it was a rough 10 years, but the basement is just about done, the
cinder block walls were sealed and then a moisture barrier put up and then
studed walls were put up with insulation, so moisture will not be a issue,
especially since I have a dehumiditfier running down there to make sure. I
started out with all Aristocraft G scale trains in 2000, but I had problems with
the locomotives and started to switch over to USA Trains G scale trains. By 2005
everything was mainly USA Trains freight cars and locomotives. Today I only own
1 Aristocraft freight car and 1 LGB freight car which is funny since LGB G scale
was what got me hooked on G scale in the first place.

What is my total G scale roster you ask??? Well lets just say I have alot more
in G scale than I ever did in 0 or 027 Lionel.

I own 15 Locomotives, 110 freight cars, 3 cabooses and have 6 different trains
made up of which 3 I can run inside at one time indoors since I have 3 seperate
mainline tracks in the basement. Because of money, the basement is still a
project in the works, but is closer to being done than ever. Right now I need a
new train shelf to store trains on. I already made a huge one about 3 years ago,
but ran out of storage room.

My plans are to stick with G scale trains and never look back.

EMD Trainman
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

So like any other collector and a person who likes to run thier
collection I always like to make future plans of additions of trains or even the
sale of trains from my collection. At this point in time my future plans
actually include both.

First I'll start with the additions. I plan on adding 6 42ft tank cars to train
#3 (50ft freight car train). I also plan on adding 6 ACF 2 bay centerflow hopper
cars to train #2 (coal train).

I will NOT be adding any 60ft box cars as I orginally planned as they are just
too big for my layout and also they only come with body mounted couplers and I
think 8ft diameter curves will be too tight for these to coupler with my other
50ft rolling stock or 55ft rolling stock using USA Trains knuckle couplers and
I'm not converting now to any other type coupler and I'm not going to all body
mount couplers either although it's more realistic. Next I will have to sell off a few
pieces of rolling stock to make room for the new additions when the time comes.

EMD Trainman
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

This is like a continuation of my story, but focuses on the track
layout, planning, the failures and of course transformer issues.

Going with the begining I actually started a over head layout in early 1999 with
a Bachmann "Silverton Flyer" set I bought from QVC. I don't think QVC does a
train session show any more. This new G scale train was just going to be for
what was suppose to be a hobby room, but later became the main yards room. I
bought extra Bachmann track because I was nailing it down to the wood shelf
system I made so I knew it would not move or become unconnected. This later
would become a bad idea as I should have used "screws" instead but it was too
late of a fore thought. Due to the vibration of the train and one of that nails
had loosen up, but I could not see it because it was a over head system. Another
down fall is that I had NO side rail protection because I thought it would take
away from seeing the train because I seen a similiar set up at a hobby shop.
That was another major mistake. One day the nail came up far enough to derail
the train and send it to a shattering explosion across the floor and there ended
my overhead train venture in the summer and I was highly upset. I spent the rest
of the summmer tearing down the over head system and selling off everything. So
yeah the original plan was just having a small G scale train going around in my
hobby room of the basement which I had a huge diecast Ertl 1:18 scale muscle car

It was around the same time that Ertl was bought out by Racing Champions and I
knew what was going to happen then, the values on alot of diecst cars I
collected were going to crash. So I decided to sell of my entire collection in
which I had collected around 100 "Special Edition" Ertl 1:18 diecast muscle
cars. I'm glad I did because later my instinct was correct as prices started to
fall thru the bottom on Ertl diecast collectibles.

In december 1999 I built another layout, this time on the basement floor with
funds from the sales. It was a small layout in comparison to what I have now and
only went around what is now the family room area and in front of my fire stove.
At the same time the basement was still in shambles from what was left over from
tearing the original walls out and there was a big ugly 6 person bar that was
once used for parties in the basement along with a old pool table and dart
board. So I knew that plans had too be made and decided to make a full fnctional
basement to relax and eat it as well as enjoy trains at the same time. So I tore
out the bar, sold off the pool table and dart board. By early 2000 I was able to
expnad my train to go thru the entire basement. The hardest part was measuring
out where to cut the walls for the tunnel and then mainline number one was
finished. I put a second track where the first one originally was, but soon that
needed to be expanded also. So later in 2000 I cut more tunnels for track
mainline number 2 and figured I would be finished. The train collection kept
growing and by 2001 I did come up with a idea on how to get one more mainline to
fit in the basement and yet again cut another tunnel.

As I was building my layout, I was using all Aristocraft Euro style track as
this was the most easiest track and least expensive track for me to purchase. I
was also using 5ft diameter curves and regular switches but soon one day I would
want a 12 wheel drive locomotive and another drastic change would happen to the
layout. After building the layout I had many sidings, enough that I could park
all of my trains off of the mainlines. Then I decided that I really wanted 12
wheel drive locomtives on my layout, but those require 8ft minimum curves. So I
bit the bullet and converted all 3 mainlines over to 8ft curevs and x-wide
switches over the course of 2003. Thats when I discovered that even used track
kept it's value and sold off my curves ans switches for a good amount of money

Transformer power was also a issue in 1999. I bought a MRC 10 back in 1999 and
then in 2000 I bought 2 USA Trains F3 AB sets to run as a ABBA which burned out
the MRC 10. I switched to a Bridgewerks Magnum 1000DL then and like the part
where it was fully remote controled and it packed plenty of power. As I added
another track, I was actually able to use the same transformer to power the
second mainline. When I made a third mainline I knew something had to be done
about track power. So I decided in 2001 that I would have a Bridgewerks Magnum
1000DL for each mainline. But I knew the house wiring could not handle all 3
units on one plug, so I updated the wiring and installed #12 gauge romax and ran
two seperate wires to the circuit breaker box and installed 2 outlets both on
each of it's own line with a 20 amp breaker. It was over kill, but I wanted to
make sure it was done right. I also updated the track wiring from #18 AWG wire
to #10 AWG battery cable wire which I used hillmans special rail clmaps to
attach it to the track with. Because of the size of the wire, only one lead per
track was needed and no feeders were used, even today.

This year 2010 USA Trains had 10ft diameter curves on sale and I actually was
able t figure out where I could install them. Although there is not enough room
to make my layout to be all 10ft diameter curves, it would be impossible, too
much would be lost. So far it has been fun building my layout and the basement
to be basically a full functional entertainment are to eat and reax in while
watching the trains run.

EMD Trainman
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

OMG My eyes are tierd from reading all this at once.......................
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

Yes I have made a "Biography" basically, but this is based on the last 10 years of collecting and running trains, much has happened.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

No offense but whenever I encounter a post longer than about 2 or 3 paragraphs, I don't bother reading them. I am sure you mean well, but shorter is better in my opinion.

And of what little I did read, I still have no idea where I would find these documents. Sorry.
Del Tapparo

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Old 11-23-2010, 11:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

Nice to read the history, and see how one person "did it".

I'd like to see a picture of the MOW train fully "assembled"

Regards, Greg
Be sure to visit my site, lots of technical tips & modifications, and a functional search.

Click here for Greg's web site

Note: Please. no private messaging, use regular email: [email protected]
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

Short and sweet..My wife asked me if she could place my then HO train under the Christmas tree..I and "no let me go online and get you a real "BIG" train onEbay".....10 years and thousands later I have run myself out of room ANYWHERE in my house...and my wuife is STILL kicking herself about asking me that now infamous question!!!

I showed no favortisim, besides LGB, I have engines and cars of ALL brands! Just like with children each one is special in their own way!!


Platte River RR
Bellevue, NE
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default RE: How I got into G scale and into USA Trains G scale

No offense taken, we all have our different opinions. I like to wite stories, that is my thing. Which documents are you referring to by the way. If you are refering to the USA Trains PDF files and Photo albums, I sent you a invitation pm on another board a while ago. This would be the only way you can view these documents.

EMD Trainman
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