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Listed below are some of the questions most commonly asked about Terrain for Trains products. If you don't get an answer here, call any one of our dealers and they will probably be able to help. You can also write to us at P.O. Box 60456, Pasadena, CA 91116-6456.

Why don't my N-scale modules line up precisely?
The instruction sheets for the Town of Rocky Ridge and the Quarry extension modules contain a drawing of the type of underlying frame recommended for these modules. The modules are NOT designed to be used on a flat table top. The wood frame, as illustrated, allows for vertical and horizontal alignment of the modules. Each module is trimmed in a fixture but is hand-held by an employee. If the module isn't held tightly enough or is improperly seated in the fixture, the resulting cut may make the layout higher or lower at the edge than our specifications call out. The wood frame allows you to move the layout up or down for perfect roadbed alignment, and to avoid derailments, perfect alignment is what you want.

I'm having difficulty glueing my HO Timber Ridge panels together.
The four panels of the Timber Ridge are designed to align with each other with some edges overlapping a rounded step which is molded along other mating edges. Due to the complexities of our molding process, the steps cannot have sharp corners. The glue attaches the panels only on a very small portion of the step. Do not be concerned if the panels don't fit snugly to one another. You will fill or hide any gap that occurs and the gap will not effect the operation of your train.

Modifications required when using N-scale Kato Unitrack
    Kato Unitrack is a great track system that incorporates the roadbed, tie strip and rail in one piece. Unfortunately, Kato does not make some of the parts required for our track plans. For example, the High Sierra requires several 5/8" and 1-1/4" straight sections. Kato does not make these. If you plan to use the Unitrack system, you will need to cut standard straight sections to the correct length.
    Also, Kato switches include a short section of straight track which has a modified roadbed, allowing it to fit into the roadbed of the switch. You will need to modify the roadbed on some curved sections in order to conform to the High Sierra track plan.
    You will encounter yet another problem with Kato Unitrack and that is the height of the tunnel portals relative to the top of the rails. The portals are designed for track that is glued directly to the surface of the layout. The Unitrack rail is 3/16" higher, leaving 3/16" less room for your locos and cars to pass through. The top of the tunnel portal will need to be carved away and this will alter the appearance. Some builders report that to hide the altered portal, they have glued urethane portal casting, such as those from Chooch Enterprises or Mr. Plaster, in front of the molded ones.

Using Bachman N-scale EZ-Track
    Bachman's EZ-Track is also a very nice system but you will not be able to use it since the switches do not match the Atlas switches at all.  To use them would require some serious cutting and manipulation. If you are an experienced craftsman type model railroader, you can probably handle this problem. For the rest of you, I would recommend passing on Bachman EZ-Track.

Do I need to install cork roadbed?
    The roadbed that is molded into the surface of Terrain for Trains layouts is designed to match the prototypes for small branch line railroads. In real life, it is not always raised very high above ground level. We have found that adding ballast between the ties, both between the rails and outside the rails, makes the track look very realistic. Painting the track also adds realism (don't forget to remove the paint from the top surface before trying to run your trains).
    If you glue cork roadbed to the surface of the layouts, you will need to alter the height of the tunnel portals, as mentioned above in the section on using Kato Unitrack. An alternative is to shave the cork down as it approaches the portal, eliminating it entirely as it enters the tunnel. This will require some delicate sanding and carving, so be prepared for some work.

What kind of glue should I use to attach the track?
    Any kind of glue (or super glue) formulated for styrene building kits (cars, airplanes, model railroad structures, etc.) can be used. One CA example is Zap-A-Gap. The gluing process can be made quicker by using a chemical accelerator such as "Zip Kicker."

Can the track be ballasted after it is installed?
    By all means, for added realism, ballast should be added to your layout. But be forewarned -- this is not a simple task. Several good brands of ballast are on the market today and are available at your local hobby dealer. Woodland Scenics makes a very good grade of ballast in various colors and in the proper size suitable for N-scale use (the wrong scale can look very strange, so be careful not to buy HO scale or larger ballast). Spread the ballast evenly between the ties of the track, both between the rails and outside the rails. Use a soft brush to move the ballast off the ties and to spread it evenly between them. Some brands of ballast have the binder (glue) already mixed in while others require a separate application of glue. In either case, use "wet" water to set the glue smoothly into the ballast without moving it. ("Wet" water is created by adding a few drops of liquid detergent to ordinary tap water.) The water, or water-and-glue mixture, should be dripped gently from an eyedropper and when dripped onto the dry ballast it should run into and around the tiny rocks rather than form in a ball on the surface. Do not disturb the ballast until the glue has completely dried. You might want to experiment on a siding until you feel comfortable ballasting the mainlines. After the glue has cured, examine your work and be certain that no ballast has piled up on the inside of the rails. Such a build-up will cause derailments.

What kind of table should I put under the N-scale layouts?
    The single module High Sierra layout does not require any kind of support or table. When completed, it is rigid enough to be moved with ease, allowing it to be set up on the kitchen table, dining table, coffee table, even the floor. Many people report storing their High Sierra layouts in closets, under their beds, or hanging them on the wall on large hooks (unusual wall decor).
    If you add other modules such as the Town of Rocky Ridge, you will need to fabricate a wood frame for both modules. The frames will keep the modules square while providing a means for bolting them together in proper alignment. The drawing below gives you an idea of the type of frame we recommend.
We do not recommend a flat table top for multiple module layouts. The Terrain for Trains layout board needs to be bonded to a square surface as illustrated in the drawing. Also, there is no means for connecting the modules if a lower wood frame is not used.

What kind of table should I put under the HO-scale layouts?
The HO Timber Ridge and "My First Layout" were designed to be used on a solid table top. This could be either a specially fabricated table, a folding table, or a ping-pong table, so long as the dimensions are at least 5 feet by 8 feet or larger. The molded contours of these layouts should be thought of as a skin, a thick skin but one that needs some underlying support. To that end, we supply a series of plastic "riser" which are located at critical points under the layout to maintain proper grade angles and to make the large plastic panels more rigid. Of course, additional support can be added if you wish, using wood or high density foam blocks. Once the four panels are glued together, it is recommended that the four corners be anchored to the table, either with glue or screws. Drilling small holes at each corner and screwing the layout to the table top allows easy removal for under-layout access.

What about power connection from the track to the power pack or throttle pack?
Access holes could also be cut in the table top for the passage of power leads from the track. To preserve your ping-pong table you will not want to be drilling holes -- simply make your track feed wires long enough to run out from under the edge of the layout that will be closest to your power pack.

What about an open grid type of table for the HO Timber Ridge layout?
If you are an experienced layout builder, familiar with the construction of open grid benchwork, you could certainly build such a support for the Timber Ridge layout. A few strategically placed risers will make the layout more than sturdy enough to run your best trains.

Why is the HO Timber Ridge shipped in four pieces?
The Timber Ridge is shipped to your home in the maximum allowable size for UPS and FedEx Ground. The panels were designed for the nesting of two panels in each carton, requiring only the shipment of two cartons rather than four. If the panels were pre-assembled and mounted on a wood base, they would then need to be packed in a wood crate and shipped by truck -- cost of shipping would range from $500 to over $1,000, depending on the distance from Terrain for Train's plant in Arcadia, California.

Fitting the Timber Ridge panels together.
The molding process used in the creation of the Timber Ridge layout (thermo forming) is not as precise as injection molding, so some "tweaking" of the panels may be necessary for close alignment. Any minor gaps between the panels are easily filled with modeling putties such as Squandron Green or Bondo. DAP makes a latex caulking compond that is easy to use and can be carved and painted after it dries.

Why is the HO-scale Timber Ridge so much more expensive than the N-scale layouts?
The N-scale layouts consist of single panels measuring 4 feet by 2-1/2 feet each. The HO-scale Timber Ridge uses four panels, each measuring 4 feet by 2-1/2 feet in order to result in a layout of 5 feet by 8 feet. Since there is four times as much plastic in the HO layout (and four times the paint and almost four times as much work), the price could have been four times that of the N-scale single layouts. We found ways however of keeping the price below that level.

Where can I buy a Terrain for Trains layout?
Simply click here to go to the authorized dealer listings.

(To be continued)
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