I am going to install lighting over my layout in the next few days and was wondering what you recommend.  Is there any reason not to use regular fluorescent lighting or should I go for track lighting with some spot lights I can aim.  I am not able to put in pot type lights since there is A/C duct work right over the layout.  


What do you have?

Original Post

I have both - flourescent for general room lighting (good when working on the layout) and track.  If I could only have one it would definitely be the tracks, hands down.  Put in tracks and put them on dimmers.  Much more versatile.  You can add, subtract, and move the cans on the track, vary the wattage, aim the cans, use colored bulbs (a couple blues and reds scattered in helps with morning/evening/dusk/night lighting), and the dimmers give great versatility - from barely there to full bright.  When you get the cans make sure they will accept not only ordinary incandescent reflector bulbs but also the newer compact flourescent, led, and halogens.

On my last layout I used fluorescents with the thin tubes. I got the tubes that are color balanced to 56k. That about what daylight is. The tube holders I got at Home Depot. Don't remember the name of them but it was "Red" something or other. They are painted red by the way. The really great thing about them is they can be controlled by a rheostat. They won't quite go off totally but you can make your room almost dark. They give a good even light and are not expensive. Don 

I have florescent ceiling lights with track lighting on my center beam.  The track lighting is on a dimmer for night operations.


No the florescent lighting does not destroy paint.  All the paint used on todays trains holds up.  I know a friend who has some older post war Lionel and he has had a problem with this.

I'm using the thin tube flourescents from The Depot. No complaints about the electric bill either. I've yet to add the dimmer switch. At my age I need all the light I can get.

God Bless.



Pappy, for photo shoots it's great having a dimmer on those lights. Long exposures, great depth. I'm going to put those florescent on my new layout and pull the regular lights out of the room. We are paying $100 every six days for electricity here on the island. Don

The types of lights available out there are mind boggling. You have fluorescent , incandescent and now LED . Track lighting with halogen,  xenon bulbs and regular incandescent . LED are available for these also
I'm just finishing up a job for a home owner who is going to mostly LED lighting . I installed the flood lights today and I must say they are impressive although at this point in time very expensive . I did take some Amp readings on various circuits prior to doing the work just for my curiosity . The 4 lighting circuits I pre-checked are as follows:
Circuit 1- 13 Amps before installing LED lighting after? 3 Amps
Circuit 2-11.5 Amps before/after 3 Amps
Circuit 3-10.75 Amps before/after 2.5 Amps
Circuit 4 14.0 Amps before/after 2.75 Amps
He will save a heck of a lot on his monthly electric bill and these LED's have a 100,000 hour life so he won't be buying any bulbs any time soon.
It will also help with summer cooling cost because they don't generate any heat
But with everything there's always a trade off . His bill for my work is 8,000 bucks and half of that is the cost of the lighting so at what point will he break even and actually start saving money?
I'm convinced that LED's are soon to be the norm ,They'll be getting rid of the CFL's soon because of the gas in them fluorescents will be next. as consumers start to buy them in quantity you'll see the price of LED lighting come down considerably .


Ok lighting was decided on, purchased and installed today.  I ended up going with just some in-expensive fluorescent lights.  2 t-8 4 foot bulbs in each.   Looks great and will give me plenty of light for the layout.  


Now to start on the benchwork.  

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653

Link copied to your clipboard.