A reader writes:
Hi, thank you for taking the time to read and hope you can help me out. I own and operate a restaurant named Choo Choo McGoo's in Kokomo, Indiana. I actually own a MTC G-12 at my home that is operational and a "static" display National Amusement Device 24" Train that sits in front of the restaurant, which the kids(young&old) enjoy. My question is this. I would like to set up a Large Scale Train inside the restaurant which would go around 4 wing walls. Total length of the train would most likely be around 50'. So is there a special track that would work better than another? Would I need special power sources for that length and is there a better train-brand that would work in a commercial environment that would likely be running 12 hours a day. With afternoon breaks maybe less. I have a brother who also owns a restaurant and he actually had a train set up, but he was replacing the engine so much(3-4X a year) that he took it down. I dont want to have that problem and want to counter it before the get go. Thanks again for any help you can give.
First of all, I would look for any brass track that has screw-together rail joiners. USA Trains, Piko, an Bachmann's brass track (not Bachmann's stainless steel track, which doesn't have solid rails).
To get power to the track, you can get some 16 gauge lamp wire and some little lugs and run jumpers every several feet. Frankly, if the track connection is good you should even need that, but I like a belt-and-suspenders approach myself.
For reliability, consider LGB or Hartland Locomotive Works. The Big John locomotive from HLW gets a lot of kudos for running well for a long time.
Consider getting cars with all metal wheels or replacing the wheels on your car with metal wheels - it will SUBSTANTIALLY cut own on maintenance, track cleaning, etc.
That said, you'll always want to have backup locomotives, because even if the loco stays running, there's always a danger of someone bumping it onto the floor.
A power supply that supplies at least 3 amps will probably be all you need.
Hope this helps.
Paul Race - Paul