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Patrick T

New Member
Between 1977 and 1982 I owned a combination business of a portrait studio, frame shop and hobby shop. As my photography business continued to grow the hobby business, in a town of just 8,000 people, began to decline. The advent of the internet helped with the slide down hill and that was when few people even knew about the internet.

I returned to flying, and that can be just a little more expensive than trains, (a lot, but my wife does not need to know that) which I had done in the service. Now, due to a kidney transplant with all the associated medication the FAA seems to think I'd be a risk in the air. I guess they never saw me drive as I drive how I flew. Just with no ordinance to blow up the blue haired lady in the 1979 Ford Falcon doing 15 in a 55 zone.

Anyway, since I now have grandkids and want to do something with them and my extra time, I am returning to the hobby that I loved for many years.

Here is where I need some guidance from you up-to-date hobbyist.

My local friends who have large layout but one is "O" and the other is "S".
Juuuuussst a bit too much room required for me, so I think I will have to return to my original gauge which was "HO". Having said that, there are features on those larger gauges which really are impressive with the leader being the wireless remote control for speed, switches and sound.

In touring these local layouts they have much larger equipment which easily houses the electronics needed but neither knew if these control and sounds features were available for "HO". So that is question #1 as I continue to evaluate what gauge to model. Can "HO" offer those electronic elements?

When in the hobby business back in the dark ages of model trains, I dealt with Whalters and another supplier in Chicago which is now defunct. The internet has greatly improved and expanded the access and number of vendors so question #2 is, where is the best place to order on-line from a reputable vendor with quality products?

Returning to this hobby after an extended absence is overwhelmingly to say the least. Any guidance a forum member can offer would be appreciated as I do not want to waste time and money trying to recreate the wheel so to speak.

Patrick T:)


GE lover.
Actually HO scale does have it and every other gauge. It's called DCC(digital command control) It allows you to Operate your lights, sound, and run many other locos at the same time. It's much better than the old DC(Direct current).

Here is a wonderful link so you can get started and understanding it.

Patrick T

New Member
Thanks GE Lover that link to DCC was very informative and dispelled my fears of not being able to incorporate that system to the smaller gauge. Appreciate your reply.

Patrick T


New Member
Yes, there are wireless throttles. "Wireless" as in you can carry them around, not as in "direct control to the engine". They send signals to fixed receiver(s) in the layout to control the trains. This system is scale-independent.

In any scale, track switches can be manual or powered. Incidentally, a favorite concept of mine is the less common "third way" between ground throws and powered switch machines: running rods or cables under the table from the turnout to a switch on the fascia that mechanically operates the points.

What are you planning to model? I say this because, though HO has the widest product availability on average, you may be disappointed looking for some of the steam engines available in O.

Some other things have changed in the hobby since 1982. A major one is the general use of insulation foam for scenery construction. Layout design... well, I guess it was already fairly modernized by then. Be wary of dogma and assumptions when reading about layout design, in sources from any era. Again, what are you planning on modelling this time, and what is your space?

Maybe I sound like I'm talking to a beginner. Sorry about that. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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