I just read Ben Brown's article on making working airlines for O Scale airlines. Seeing that was written 10 years ago,are the materials still available? The angle cocks and glad hands from Precision Scale should be available or did I read somewhere they are out of business now?

Secondly,will the magnets couple regardless of the positioning of the car? By this I mean,does the polarity of the magnets have to be negative on 1 gladhand,while the opposing magnet has to be positive? The MAGNELOCK airlines offered in HO Scale,couple regardless of polarity,how this is accomplished I don't know. These were supposed to be offered in O Scale but I guess never made it to market.

Mr. Brown's article looks VERY INTERESTING to me!

Thank you in advance, to all who can help me with information on this subject.

As Always,

Al Hummel

Original Post

Ben Brown did a fantastic job with that OST article, may he RIP. 

I have put these on many cars and locomotives using his instructions and materials.

I haven't bought any of the supplies in many years, so I can't comment on availability of materials. Google is your friend for this, as you would have in less than 10 seconds found out that PSC is NOT out of business.

I never worried about the polarity and they have always coupled together fine.

Ben Brown was a great man and a good friend a very skilled person I still miss him he even sent me a "golden spike" to try and encourage me to finish the layout I still haven't placed it on the layout one day I will maybe when I finish the new yard..

Sorry Al, I went off the track a bit I had some of those parts where they are now I just don't know if I knew and could find them quick you could have them.  Roo. 


Thank you very much for your replies!! 

ROO your offer of materials is very kind but I will find the materials in time. I am beginning to think I will NEVER get past running a few trains out of the yard down the track a few feet into the next unnamed as of yet town,let alone get time to custom detail. Did you ever encounter that stage in your life? But I remain hopeful. I actually found some angle cocks and gladhands from Precision Scale as well as some flexible armored airhose material that I probably bought in the 1970s.

Dave,thank you also,for your help and insight.

Have a great day gentlemen!!

As Always,

Al Hummel

Alan Hummel posted:

I am beginning to think I will NEVER get past running a few trains out of the yard down the track a few feet into the next unnamed as of yet town,let alone get time to custom detail. Did you ever encounter that stage in your life?

Al Hummel


This is meant to be helpful, so DON'T take it as criticism.

You always seem to obsess out on detail stuff....shelf couplers, air hoses and the like.

Maybe you should flip your priorities to: Power, track, engines, cars (freight or passenger), scenery, and  lastly, details.

When you get all the big stuff sorted out you can worry about DETAILS like air hoses and shelf couplers, and you can be enjoying all your stuff the whole time. Finish your track plan and get past that next town! The trivia can come later!



Thank you,no criticism taken.

Actually,I have 5 diesels,a new MTH control that powers them nicely,22 5161 cvd grain hoppers, 9 23,500 gallon tankers,7 cornsyrup tankers,6 4750 cvd hoppers, 4 Berwick boxcars,8 50'6" boxcars,8 MTH sliding plug door paper boxcars and some other freight cars.

I'm obsessing on the track plan which is a challenge as I had a 25ftx44ft clean basement a few years back,then we sold my wife's home and the basement became full. I'm building by inches on  a shelf that goes around the basement on 2 sides,north&east . Then water equipment comes into play on the south end. The shelves pick up again further down on the south end of the basement and make a short continuation on the west end of the basement. The shelf height I'm using is 36&1/2" above floor level with 2'x4' vertical bracing about every 3',so sidings become a problem,well,LOL,everything's a problem! The couplers are needed, and available, especially on the 3 rail MTH cars,but coupling on the Atlas cars,notably the older cars,is next to impossible. The couplers are available,it's just waiting on the funds now as most of the high dollar HO stuff was sold 2 years ago. So I tend to move from trackwork to couplers,then airlines,swithstands,whatever the mind is comfortable with at the time. Too much trackwork gets depressing until my mind can wrap itself around it again with fresh ideas,so I move onto fresh aspects of the hobby. Bottom line is I wonder if I will ever get things partially situated so I can move ahead with a track plan. I keep looking for track ideas on the internet,but haven't found anything that really fits my mental grasp,or "throws my switch," as I like to say. I really like ROO's plan and have found other plans in the O SCALE RESOURCE that have some nice ideas,now I have to combine all the ideas together which is a fun part of the hobby,you just have to put it aside at times.

So I'm set on freight cars,for the most part.  Trackwork is the top priority with couplers mixed in. I haven't been able to find Atlas turnouts for so long,now the new shipment is in and I don't know if Atlas is trying to get out of O Scale or what,but I can only afford a few at a time as their price increase has,in my opinion,"topped out." High $90's to over a $100 for a #5 t/o? That's going to be years,if ever,before I can afford the t/os I'm planning. So that's my ordeal. But it will work out,how I'm not sure.

Thanks for your heartfelt help.

As always,

Al Hummel

If funds are tight and you aren't in a rush try hand laying several turnouts.  I started doing that 45 years ago when family funds were tight.  Hand laying turnouts is even easier today with the availability of fine quality  frog, point, and guard rail castings from Right-O-Way.  Turnouts made using these components cost less than half the AtlasO ones - and will look more prototypical as well. 

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

I fitted my freight cars w/ the magnetic working air hoses.  The hose material is black Larva Lace hollow tubing (fly fisherman use this, so many outfitters have it; $2-3 will get you more than enough).  As to the glad hands, there are a variety out there, but I prefer the brass ones from Protocraft (PC-1203a) - about $5/pair.  I ordered the Neodymium magnet discs from K&J Magnetics - 1/32” thick x 1/16” diameter.  I attach them with a drop of CA and they've always held.  I do not worry about polarity.  Depending on how they are fitted to the car, you may need to nudge them a bit with your fingers to connect - which is fine with me as it slows you down during operating sessions.

I forgot - the Protocraft glad hands come with hose material with a matte finish - perfect cosmetically, but they may be a tad too short.



I'm not trying to torpedo Keystoned Ed, but you might want to take a look at Andy Romano's Ironbound Railroad. Andy has been running RC Battery powerfor several years. No track wiring, no shorts, no dirty track problems. Andy has posted here on the forum several times and should be easily found searching for Ironbound. Another proponent is Bob Delbridge who posts here as Seabord Airline Fan. He has also been running RC Battery for several years. I think it is the wave of the future, and it is where I'm headed.


Here is one link:


Alan - do a youtube search on hand laying O scale track and you'll find a video series an other how-to documents.  The Fast Track company https://www.handlaidtrack.com/  has a document library with how info.    There are many different approaches to hand laying track.  Several friends build their  turnouts using jigs and fixtures sold by Fast Tracks.  I use flex track (several brands) and hand lay turnouts with castings from Right-O-Way (http://www.right-o-way.us)  For special locations  (like curved turnouts)  I file and solder rail to build a frog to fit.  How far one details turnouts is a personal choice.  Generally I spike the rail every 4th tie (except at the points) and omit tie plates.  If desired you can fill in spikes later on.  Making guard rails from rail scrap can further save cost.   

Things I use:

  • free turnout templates downloaded from the NMRA or Fast Tracks : https://www.handlaidtrack.com/...templates-o-turnouts
  • ****NMRA track gauge ****
  • spikes
  • rail joiners
  • wood ties (I use Kappler) 
  • rail (R-O-W)
  • R-O-W castings (Frog, points, guard rails + other components as desired for desired level of detail)
  • needle nose pliers (I like MicroMark's Xuron spiking pliers), Dremel with cutoff wheel, soldering gun/iron, flux 

Bottom line recommendation - pick an approach and adapt as you learn by doing.  By the third turnout you'll be pretty good at it.  As for wiring - it is just like using commercial turnouts.  Cut 4  gaps around the frog like on the AtlasO turnout ( I fill the gaps with thin plastic strips epoxyed in place and filed to contour) .

If you want to further discuss building turnouts recommend you start a new thread. 


Below is a photo of one of my turnouts made with R-O-W frog, point, and guard rail castings  - I did not go for the highest level of prototype detail but modest cost and easy to build.

 turnout made with R-O-W castings



Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421


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Many years ago my mate Bruce and fellow operator on the Yulan Valley RR, built a number of locomotives for his garden Railroad we thought about it with O scale but at the time there was no small batteries suitable so we scrapped the idea. Now 20 years later I believe there are batteries suitable.

Sorry Al for hijacking the original subject, great thread though discussing a number of Modelling subjects. Roo.

0428Loco 1Loco 3


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