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April 2015

Model Railroader has been the leading model train magazine for the past 75 years.  Each month, we bring you step-by-step modeling projects, fascinating photo tours of model train layouts, unbiased product reviews, new product announcements, tips from the experts and much more!

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Issue Preview:
April 2015 issue preview



Last days on a copper mining railroad

The On30 Torres & Prietas RR operates through a rugged landscape of deep canyons and cactus-covered mesas. Duane Ericson built the layout to revisit the desert Southwest where he spent his formative years exploring abandoned mining camps and chasing trains on the old Southern Pacific.

Build the Red 3 x 7 Red Oak part 4: Scenery, structures, and rolling rock

The track is laid, wired, and running. The terrain is roughed in. We’ve added roads and bridges. Now comes the part that makes or breaks a model railroad, the final touches that can transform a layout into a work of art: the scenery, structures, and rolling stock.

Middle Division memories

Ed Swain grew up in New Jersey near the New York & Long Branch RR back when the line was jointly owned by the Central RR of New Jersey and the Pennsylvania RR. It’s no wonder Ed is a lifelong fan of multi-track main lines, electric locomotives, and the Pennsy. His current HO scale Middle Division layout is inspired by the PRR at the western end of its electrified territory.

Guide to freight car trucks

Hundreds of different truck designs have been used on prototype freight cars over the years. Each truck carries half the weight of the carbody and its load thanks to a pair of heavy bolsters built into the freight car underframe near each end. Cast-steel truck bolsters hold the sideframes in place so a centered kingpin can keep each truck aligned under the carbody and still allow the truck to swivel.

How to make older turnouts DCC-friendly

In the September and October 2014 issues of Model Railroader, Larry Puckett wrote about how he modeled the Rockfish River crossing on his HO scale Piedmont Southern layout and built a gantlet track over the bridge. Since he used Digital Command Control (DCC) on the layout, he wanted all the track and wiring to be “DCC friendly.” This month, he explains how he made the installation of the gantlet track as DCC friendly as possible.

7 tips for handlaid turnouts

Ken Belovarac used Fast Tracks assembly fixtures and other tools to handlay his own turnouts. Follow along as he provides seven tips that make scratchbuilding Fast Tracks turnouts even easier and faster.

Use vacuum tubes to boost your DCC signal

An analog vacuum-tube Digital Command Control booster puts plenty of power behind your DCC signal. The author explains how he built one out of a 1940s radio chassis.


On the Web
From the Editor
Information Desk

Ballast enhances the realism of your track

Railroad engineering books and manuals

Filling in the trackside details adds operating interest to a model railroad

Step by Step

How to kitbash a factory-assembled plastic structure

DCC Corner

Back to Basics: DCC wiring considerations

Trackside Photos

Featured layout photos from your fellow model railroaders

Trains of Thought

In the footsteps of the masters

Index of Advertisers
The Operators

Passenger train consists



Two great beginner layouts.

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