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All,

  I am new to this hobby and have a few questions that I am sure a million other newbies have asked and gotten answers for, but here I go anyway!
1) What code track is USA train and Aristo? Is it 250?
2) I have just got an USA train GP 38-2 and my first car is a MTH.....the MTH coupler seems to be about 1/4 inch higher....anyway to fix that? I mean they still kinda hook, but it seems odd...
3) anyone have any ideas about how to go about a semi raised off the ground RR? Sort of like an elevated one... but only 6 inches off the ground or so..


Thanks,


Barkyardbomber
 

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1 code 332, just like LGB I think.

2 shim one coupler up or the other down, depending upon which one matches most of your stuff (or a height gage).
3 They sell ladder roadbed that can be set at whatever height you want, then you can always backfill later should you desire.
 

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Bark...

Welcome to MLS!  You'll find friendly folks here and get lots of answers...and they probably won't all agree.  That's the way this hobby is...:D


Dawg :cool:
 

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BackYardBomber,
Here are four pictures from my layout, which is elevated 6" to 2 1/2 ft above the yard.
East end:

Middle:

West end:



Aristo and USA track is code 332.
Welcome to MLS.
JimC.
 

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I'm a newbie, I've been blundering my way along with the help of people here. I really like the "ladder" trackbed approach.  www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/roadbed/ladder1.htm
The link describes it pretty well. It takes little or no carpentry skill and it can be used to make raised track. It's easy to level and true. The article describes using HDPE lumber. I could not find any near me and getting it delivered was very expensive. I tried using TREX 2x4s and that worked well although it's hard to bend to a tight curve and it's a bear to rip on a cheap table saw. I also have used what's called "tuf-board," which my local home depot sells 2x1 size. I use the tuffboard and PVC pipe for uprights.

Downsides: it's not "prototypical" looking. Someday I may figure out a way to make a stone viaduct that will conceal the trex

Here's a link that has some pictures I took shortly after I got it set up:
chnm.gmu.edu/courses/magic/westover/index2.html
 

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The best thing you ca do is to just start surfin' thru mylargescale.com. The more you learn the more questions you will have. If there is a large scale train club in your area to join, join it, otherwise come to the Garden Railways Convention in Arizona at the end of the month!
 

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Lownote,
The trestle shown in my bottom two photos above, is a faux trestle decorating a ladder roadbed.  The trestle is chopped up Aristo trestle kit pieces.

HD has a product called "Never-Rot" trim, which I will use in the future for ladder.  It comes in white, but can be painted. It is pure plastic.
My ladder was constructed with "Everlast" which is an all vinyl product.  My RR has concrete, ladder, board-layover [plastic], and ballast fill roadbed.  The areas featured in the pictures above are using concrete and ladder roadbed.

JimC.
 

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1. I believe Mik is correct. I know for sure that Aristocraft is 332, I've never used USA, but I'm pretty sure that it is 332 as well.
2. Sorry, I've never had to do this, but I'd look through MLS. Chances are someone's done it before.
3. I built my railroad basically like a raised flowerbed. I used landscaping blocks and flagstone to build a retaining wall around the perimeter varying in height from 1 to 3 feet, then back filled it with dirt. I dug a trench where the mainline was to go and filled it with crusher fines, then "floated" my track on top of that using additional crusher fines to hold it in place. After 8 years of cold Chicago winters and hot summers, I've only had to do major track work once when I soldered large sections of track together to help control expansion joints and improve track conductivity. The only major downside to this method is that it requires a bit more maintenance than the ladder method, but for me, I have less than 50 feet of track to maintain so I don't mind an afternoon's worth of work, to me it's part of the fun. Hope this helps.
 

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Ooooh... 50' of track is starting to sound better by the minute...

Aristo/LGB and USAT track are all 332...

Lotso different things can cause a disparity in coupler heights. Brand, "scale", truck profies, etc. MTH has been generally portrayed as 1/32, while the USAT loco is probably 1/29. Try swapping the couplers arpound a bit (same brand end to end) and see if that does anything for you. That will give you a rough baseline of what you're up against. Otherwise, think shims...

If you've got the time, and the inclination, browse the archived threads in the rolling stock forum, and see if there's anything there that helps you with your coupling problem. Look for a sticky at the top of the topics under that heading.

Depending on where you live, materials available, and what you want your RR to look like, there are a myriad of suggestions to jacking your roadbed up 6". I went with piled/tamped/graded/sculpted dirt for my elevation changes. You may wish to do something entirely different...

The 50' of track thing is still sounding good, right about now...
 

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Arsito, LGB, USA and Piko track are code 332.  Playmobil plastic is code 332 as is Lionel and Bachman steel track.

These companies also have deep flanged wheels which will not work well on track less than code 250.
 

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Since you had a load of good advice about the track and track-laying - I'm going to chip in with the concern you have over the USA Trains GH38 and the MTH car.

Firstly - they are modelled to a different scale;  MTH is 1/32nd scale [true Gauge 1] and the USA Trains loco is modelled to 1/29th scale.  However, if you feel they look good together, it's YOUR railroad.

Secondly - USA Trains have what is probably the largest range of freight cars in 1/29th scale on the planet, so my advice is to stick to their products, which DO match. 

Thirdly - MTH have a pretty small range of cars by comparison, and talking about comparison, they look EXTREMELY small when stood beside the USA Trains or Aristo-Craft version.  There have been many posts on this site comparing the two scales.  

You have cottoned on pretty early onto the fact that there is no compatability between manufacturers and their couplings...either you have to live with it, or get re-fitting with standard couplings such as those made by Kadee in Oregon.  Most of us have at some time bitten the bullet and gotten on with it.  I only have about sevetny cars of all kinds, of which about fifty are 1/29th - the rest are narrow gauge prototypes that are either from Accucraft, Bachmann or self-built.

Best wishes from the yUK

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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An easy fix for the coupler problem is to put Aristo couplers on that GP-38.  I have put the aristo ones on my F3A and it couples perfectly with the MTH ones.  While I personally don't care for most of the MTH offerings, the couplers are good.  By comparision, I have had lots of troubles with the USA trains knuckles. They are too short in grip length, and tend to let go. 

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to everyone helping out. I like the MTH cars they seem to be better built..more sturdy. I will try Markoles idea with the Aristo couplers.
I must tell you, I never thought I would get so many people to help me. Thanks a bunch all!
 

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There ya go!  We're not such a bunch of buttwipes as some folks seem to think, now are we? ;)

Just remember that your MTH choice is VERY limited by comparison with the big two - Aristo-Craft and USA Trains, and that the size difference - when you get two 50 foot boxcars side-by-side - will amaze you.

Anybody help out with a size comparison piccie here? 

Graders, 

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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OK,

Here's a couple of photos of my lone MTH boxcar.  It is a 40 footer.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, I don't measure them.  It is behind a 1:26 (?) USRA LGB Mikado.  I pretend it is 1/29 and it is a HUGE mike.



Behind the boxcar is an Aristo 1/29 single dome tanker, a LGB 1:22.5 D&RGW stock car, 1/29 aristo gondola, and 1/29 (?) LGB 40' boxcar.  

This is a closer pic. The thing that kills the MTH as an 'accurate' model for me is the trucks! Look at the size of the non-working roller bearing caps!! Really?!  On a 40' boxcar? Okay...whatever, I only bought it for the Steelers logos, since MB loves the Steelers.  (Note: The LGB Mikado tender trucks are also non-working roller bearing trucks.  So, to be fair, they aren't exactly right, either.  However, I have pictures of SRR 4501 with rollerbearing tender trucks, so it is not completely unprototypical)


Here's another shot of a mixed bag train with that 1/32 boxcar:


In the above shot,  the 1/32 vboxcar is 5th in line, just ahead of the 40' gondola.  Can't really tell a difference in the scale, unless you are eagle eyes.  This was from about 10' away.  

My general impression of the MTH stock is:

Pro: Heavy car(good for long trains), metal wheels installed, couplers work well with my aristo and LGB knuckles

Cons: Slightly smaller than most of my rolling stock.  I find the 40' boxcar details to be on par with LGB boxcars but less than what is on NEW aristo and USA boxcars for the same model type.  Price is about 1.5 times an Aristo 40' box and slightly higher than a USA boxcar.  

Mark
 

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I posted some size comparisons a while ago--two 1:29 40 foot boxcars and then various other sizes of stuff, including two MTH 1:32 cars.  Here it is

www.mylargescale.com/Community/Foru...e/1/view/topic/postid/7032/Default.aspx#13258




It's of limited value because the cars are ot all the same prototype, but you can see some of the size diferences
Most of my stuff is in 1:29--it's readily avilable and reasonably priced. Aristocraft has great customer support, and I jus kind of drifted that way without thinking about it too much. But if I were starting from scratch I'd go with 1:32. There isn't as much available, but MTH makes (IMHO) great stuff and their engines come with sound and control built in. I've spent a huge amount of time trying to figure out what works with what, and if I'd just started with MTH it would have been easier. Accucraft makes some great very expensive 1:32 stuff as well

You can mix scales--it just depends on how particular you are. My little layout has had dozens of casual visitors, and only one person has ever remarked on scale differences
 

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If your not concerned with the different guages than mix and match and have fun.  As we say its your RR and run what you like.  Later RJD
 
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