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July 2019

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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A buyer's guide to DCC systems

Welcome to the 2019 Digital Command Control (DCC) system roundup. It's hard to believe that it's been more than a decade since the last one. Many of the systems listed back then still hold their own today. We've also seen the development of all-new systems.

The technology has come a long way since Model Railroader published "New standards proposed for command control" by Stan Ames and Rutger Friberg in the October 1993 issue. The main advantages of DCC – independent locomotive control and easy walkaround operation – still hold true. However, over the last quarter-century, DCC has opened up a host of exciting new possibilities for model railroaders, including realistic locomotive sound and performance, layout accessory control, plug-and-play computer interfaces, and Wi-Fi operation.

Autumn in New York

George Marshall's admiration for railroading began in this father's grocery store in Congers, N.Y., when he was a boy. George fondly recalls watching freight trains roll past the store on the New York Central's West Shore right-of-way. He fed his fascination by reading every book about railroading he could lay his hands on.

George's interest in the full-size railroads broadened to include model trains in the late 1960s, when his parents went to the local Sears and gave him his first train set for Christmas. It would be many years before George would build his own model railroad, though. In the meantime, he helped his good friend Bob Robbins build three layouts and continued to read voraciously.

The modeler's guide to covered grain hoppers

The way railroads hauled grain went through a radical change in the 1960s. Virtually all grain was shipped in boxcars in the early 1960s. by 1972, large covered hopper cars accounted for more than half of total grain carloadings (and almost two-thirds of total bushels carried), and by the early 1980s covered hoppers carried almost all grain.

If you model this period, it's helpful to understand how and why this shift occurred. Knowing which specific covered hoppers took over the traffic will make your trains, operations, and scenes more realistic.

A portable, lightweight layout

It's hard to believe more than 30 years have passed since my first N scale Georgette & Springfield layout appeared in the December 1988 issue of Model Railroader. A lot has transpired in those three decades. I sold the layout for a pool table (but kept the equipment), raised two children, built two small HO scale layouts, got into military modeling and historic diorama building, and retired as a senior vice president at General Electric. Then came version 2.0 of the N scale Georgette & Springfield (G&S).

My goals for the new layout were portability, ease of storage, and operational simplicity. The island-style model railroad measures 241⁄2" x 49" and weighs less than 35 pounds. The layout normally sits on a 44" tall computer printer table with 4" diameter garment rack wheels. This allows me to wheel the layout next to my workbench to work on projects or into another basement room with walls that are painted light blue for photography. If I need the table for something else, I can easily store the layout in a closet.


On the Web

The latest features on our website

From the Editor

Keeping the hobby moving foward

Ask MR

How do I renumber a Roundhouse ore car?

Step by Step

Replacing cracked gears on a locomotive

DCC Corner

Handy tools for DCC wiring projects

On Operation

Stop the presses!

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Index of Advertisers
Trains of Thought

Up on the high iron



Five compact track plans.

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