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Wiring Your Toy Train Layout

Wiring is fundamental to toy train operation, and this updated classic covers how to set up conventional wiring using today's technology. Key topics include wiring simple and advanced layouts, two-train operation, organizing the control panel, wiring operating accessories, and much more, all clearly explained by experienced operator Peter Riddle.

Paperback: 95 pages

Publisher: Kalmbach Pub Co; 2 edition (October 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0897785436

ISBN-13: 978-0897785433

Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8 x 10.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #166,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #19 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Crafts & Hobbies > Toys & Models > Model Trains #16710 in Books > Teens

This book was out of print for a long time and the used versions were going for more than $70 if you were lucky. I held out and finally it's back at a price commensurate with its value. Overall I was happy with this book because it provided me with the fundamental details on wiring that I sorely lacked. The O Gauge train business is severely lacking the necessary 21st century technology and progress getting there has been painfully slow. This book does a great job of providing the basics on wiring but stops short of explaining the mulit transormer connection. If you need to know what size wire to use for accessories and track work, which rail is the power and which is the ground, and how to block your rail sections in clear and easy to understand language, this book is for you. There are also some very good tips and tricks on making connections, soldering, etc.

Recently I decided to get some 0 gauge Lionel trains and make a layout out of Lionel's Fastrack. I hadn't wired a train layout in 40 years, so I knew I would need some help in refreshing my former wiring skills. This book answers all the question a beginner or even an intermediate layout designer might have. My Fastrtack layout is now complete and wired with its proper blocks and switches. Peter Riddle's book was easy to follow, the diagrams are well done and easy to comprehend. If you're new to the hobby of electric trains...this book will save you time and eliminate wiring mistakes that could damage your trains or transformers.Elliott

You can't go wrong following Riddle's instructions. If you are just starting with an O gauge, want to expand your layout, or add in accessories this is THE reference book. Especially valuable of you are branching out into the larger gauge from HO gauge. HO uses direct current while toy trains use alternating current, so wiring requirements sometimes don't translate across.The language is easy to understand, with little electrical or electronic jargon. The guide is terrific for troubleshooting problems.

Author is a brilliant model train-man, quite obviously. But a more basic approach would have been appreciated, as I had absolutely no wiring or electrical background. For instance, a step-by-step pictorial description of HOW TO ATTACH A FEEDER WIRE TO A BUS WIRE would have been most welcome. Of course, a non- soldering approach would have been the easiest with which to start, for example. I just didn't have the background (or the smarts) to understand much of which the author wrote or diagrammed. Basics in the beginning pages, however, were very useful.

This book really explains how to use blocks and toggle switches to activate those blocks. How to wire different manufactures track for power and ground. Did not like this book in the beginning, but the more I read it found out it is very informative. Really hard to put down now.Highly recommend this book for all model railroaders.

This book has a lot of great information. But all of the examples given are almost always for big layouts, there is not enough for some one who wants to do something smaller.


Peter Riddle writes books for us toy train folks that are long on simple sentences and clear instruction. Nowhere does he fill pages with unnecessary technical data to confuse us who simple like trains. If you want to clean up your wiring mess, learn how to use controllers or expand your layout, read this book.

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