Some handy techniques for Model Railroaders

Signal Mast Heights

From the Wikipedia entry on railroad signals: "Signals are most commonly mounted on trackside masts about 12 feet (3.7 m) to 15 feet (4.6 m) high to put them in the eyeline of the engineer. Signals can also be mounted on signal bridges or cantilever masts spanning multiple tracks. Signal bridges and masts typically provide at least 20 feet (6.1 m) of clearance over the top of the rail." Thus, a trackside signal of 15' in height would come out to about 2.8" in S scale.
The full article on Wikipedia can be found at North American Signals
NMRA Recommended Practice - Car Weights
This is a technique for painting clouds on backdrops.
Here are some clinic notes on the subject of casting parts in plastic, metal and other materials.
A Simple track Cleaner car - inspired by John Allen

Here are two tools for measuring distances on plans
or model railroads. The wooden one is useful
on actual roadbed. The pounce wheel is useful on plans.

I needed some custom curves on the O-Gauge portion of track. I used MTH RealTrax.
It comes in a variety of fixed-diameter curves. There were a few places where those stock curves
just didn't fit the needs of the plan. In some cases, I wanted transition curves to change
from tangent track without a lurch. So, I would cut two pieces of track to yield four partial
sections. Then glued an end from one to an end from the other to make a custom section that
was just right. It was also necessary to assure the electrical connections. Here is an example.
This technique allowed me to make shorter sections of curve or curve tracks with two, different

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