New Bright G Scale TOY trains, and my plans to use them.

DieCastoms Nov 16, 2007

  1. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    First of all, Please do not flame me for 'playing with toys'. I am a serious beginner with a serious shortage of money for supplies!

    That being said, my name is Michael, and I am a married 28 year old living in Georgia. As with most of you, I'm sure, I've liked trains and model trains for as long as I can remember.
    When I was growing up, my father took a job as a blacksmith at a theme park in Massachusetts. The park was called Edaville Railroad and was originally built by Ellis D. Attwood in the late thirties and early forties to service his many acres of Ocean Spray cranberry bogs. His equipment was the remains of several of Maine's 2 foot railroads. As his trains became more popular with his friends, and then his friends' friends, he opened to the public. Being there every weekend (and able to ride the trains for free since Dad was an employee) firmly cemented my love for trains.

    Now, about 20 years later, I've gotten a renewed interest in building an outdoor railroad. I live in a mobile home so there isn't much room inside. I've had a New Bright brand "Gold Rush Express" "G Scale" set kicking around since I received it as a Christmas gift in the late nineties. I say "G Scale" but that unfortunately only extends as far as the track. The trains are somewhat smaller actually.
    Last summer, I bought a free standing above ground rubber swimming pool, and just HAD to have something I could mess around with IN the pool so I bought a New Bright brand radio control fire rescue boat. I got to use the boat twice before neighborhood kids decided my pool made a good BB-gun target.

    I got restless one night and stripped both the boat and the train down to nothing and broke out the Dremel and transferred the battery compartment and electronics from the boat into the train. This gives me the ability to use the 9.6 volt rechargeable battery from the boat, and 3 radio control channels, one of which is an on/off latching circuit that ran a pump for a water cannon. The drive motor wires from the boat were connected to the drive motor of the train, and the latching circuit got connected to the locos lights. There is still the steering motor circuit from the boat that I have not yet found a use for. I think I will eventually use it to run a servo that can be used to uncouple the tender from the train.

    As for the layout I am thinking randomly of, I want to build in some whimsy, as well as some realistic scenery. I want to try building a wooden trestle at least 36 or 48 inches long that would lead directly into a tunnel, but I also was thinking of very obviously using an open mailbox for the tunnel entrance. I'm not sure yet how I am going to manage that. Another thing is, I need more track. I found that I can get track extension sets from for $9.99 each, and shipping is free before Christmas if you buy more than $50. That will give me 90+ feet including what I have already. That should give me a good amount to work with, now I just need to layout a track plan. There are no cross tracks or turnouts to be had in the cheap plastic sets that I know of so I want to try building both out of pieces of existing track. Hopefully I can make room for more than one tunnel because I would also like to carve a tunnel entrance out of extruded foam board. I may go so far as to add a running stream if I can modify the pump from the pool I mentioned. it runs about 700 gallons per hour but doesn't have much uphill pressure. I am still trying to decide on using a turn table and a round house or a transfer table and a more generic engine house.

    Unfortunately expanding the set involves buying more New Bright trains since, as I said, they are NOT G Scale. Luckily these can be gotten at yardsales and 'junk shops' pretty easily but again, unfortunately most places seam to thing these sets are worth ALOT more than they really are. I saw one set in an 'antique' store, without box, track or ANY accessories, and had several pieces of detail missing entirely. It was priced at $180! I have been watching Ebay, but sellers seam to think the shipping of a half pound boxcar that would fit in an average shoe box cost anywhere between $5 and $30 dollars just to ship!!!

    Let me know what you think about my plans.
    More to come soon. I will add a few pictures once I have a chance to take some better lit ones.

    This has been an extremely long winded post by Mike, from DieCastoms and was brought to you by, being awake WAY too long!
  2. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to trainboard.
    I can assure you that no one here will "flame" you.
    I'll think about what you have mentioned and get badk to you.
  3. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    That's unlikely to happen here.

    Welcome aboard.

  4. dgwinup

    dgwinup TrainBoard Member

    I think your idea is wonderful, even if it is the "wrong" scale! LOL

    Removing the electricals from the boat and installing them in the locomotive was an inspired bit of thinking! A radio controlled train with self-contained power! Great idea!

    I am a little concerned about your layout being outdoors. If the neighborhood kids thought it was fun to use your swimming pool as a target, I'd hate to imagine what they might do to an outdoor layout! Yikes!!

    Would it be possible to install a "doggie door" in the side of the trailer so you can run the trains into a safe storage area? Or loop the track into a secure storage space under the trailer? Something to keep the neighborhood kids from getting their hands on it.

    If you can solve the neighborhood kid problem, having an outdoor layout would be a lot of fun. I hope you do it and post pictures of your success.

    Darrell, quiet...for now
  5. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard!!!!!!!

    :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin:
  6. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Thank You folks for some nice replies! That's very encouraging. I was actually flamed off of a couple "G Scale" forums for "Playing with toys" and not being a "serious modeler" etc.

    As for responses to your replies, Darrel said the most:

    Is there a reliable way to determine what scale the trains them selves might be? I can tell you that the wheelsets under my Bachmann "Royal Blue Line" passenger coach are almost as large as the drivers on the locomotive, and the couplers are almost a half inch higher on the Bachmann car as they are on the NewBright trains.

    It would figure that only AFTER I did all that work I found out that NewBright actually issued a radio control train in the same 'scale' as these, however, like all the other 'toy' trains and even a few Bachmann Big Haulers that are RC, they all take SIX "C" batteries! Some of you may know that running 6 rechargeable batteries in place of 6 alkaline will loose you almost 2 volts (1.5*6=9, 1.2*6=7.2). The battery pack I used is 9.6 volts so the train runs a little faster than it used to, and when the radio applies power to the train, the mechanical safety clutch in it will skip a few times before the train even starts to move... When I have enough track set up to actually use the train with a full consist, I will add a resister to drop the drive voltage down to something a little more realistic and less jerky.

    The swimming pool was 12 feet in diameter and 4 feet high and BRIGHT BLUE! It was also in direct view of the street because that was the only spot in my yard that was level enough to put it. Finding 150 square feet of level ground is not an easy feat as any garden railroader must know!!

    You know, that's a really good idea that I will have to consider, but the side of the house that the layout will be on doesn't have many options for storage areas.. Its the master bathroom, the washer and dryer (that's the most likely place), the kitchen, a second bathroom (it's a double wide), and a roommates bedroom. If I get productive enough to build an elevator section capable of raising the entire consist up higher than the washer and dryer than that is most likely what I will do. Otherwise I was thinking of having a cassette somewhere on the track that I could trow a few bungie chords over and carry the whole thing into the house.

    I hope it can be more fun than the pool that got used a total of 3 times all summer. 'They' say that a pool is a hole that you pour money into... How true. I intend to salvage some liner and the pump system though to have a water feature in the layout. Hopefully a smaller volume of water will be easier to maintain, and who cares if it gets dirty, it is supposed to be a river!

    Here are a few images of the train, sorry for them being dark and blury. When I get some time during daylight to take better pictures I will post them.

    Looking into the open tender from the bottom,
    The large central item is the enclosure for the radio system and behind (above) that is the battery which you cannot see. The lumpy shiny spots around the edges are black hot glue that I used to fill a 1/4 inch gap on both sides of the battery compartment.
    You can't see it well in any of my existing pictures, but there are 8 wires from the radio system, two are to a power switch, two are to the drive motor, 2 are to the original steering servo and are currently unused, and the last 2 are a latching circuit that powered a small pump for a water cannon on the boat.
    There were 4 wires that went to the locomotive. 2 were supply to the loco and two were return from the loco to the sound system in the tender, since the switch that controlled the direction of the loco was in the loco, it had to cut power from the sound when the train stopped. I changed the wiring in the loco to make use of the 4 conductor cable between the loco and tender. 2 wires are now from the water pump circuit in the radio to the headlight in the loco, and the other two wires are from the drive motor circuit to the drive motor in the loco.

    This extra blurry shot just shows how the battery pack hides under the coal load where the original 6 "C" battery compartment was.

    The loco after modifications,
    and a view with the battery and the controller from the boat.
    The only visible change to the locomotive, if you know what to look for is the missing manual direction control switch that used to stick out of the side of the boiler just behind the smoke box and above the running board, and the only visual change to the tender is a slightly larger power switch located where the old one was on the coal platform.

    Thanks for reading another long winded post by Mike, from DieCastoms!
  7. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    This board is a pretty "safe" spot. Flame wars don't usually develop, and when they start smoldering they get shut down pretty fast, and I am, personally, glad for that. Most of us take on enough abuse in our every day lives that we don't need it in our hobby as well.
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Argh. That's sad. :tb-wacky:

    Boxcab E50
  9. Triplex

    Triplex TrainBoard Member

    Bachmann G is 1/20.3, correct scale/gauge ratio for 3' gauge. This is sometimes called "F scale". Is the New Bright train actually Gauge 1 (1/32, correct scale/gauge ratio for standard gauge)? 3' gauge trains are usually larger compared to their track than standard gauge trains.
  10. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    So wait, I am a little confused, "common G Scale" trains like the Bachmann Big Haulers sets should actually be referred to as Narrow Gauge then if they are 3 foot gauge track?? If that is the case then it is very possible that the size difference is due to the fact that the New Bright trains are modeled to standard gauge.. Well that's interesting. It still doesn't give me a reliable way to determine exactly what scale the New Bright trains are, though the 1/32 statement makes perfect sense..

    What are some tell-tail areas I could measure on the locomotive? It is a 2-6-0. I could measure the width of the cab or the height from floor to ceiling inside the cab... Length probably wouldn't help.. I could measure the height of the boxcar from the railhead, but not knowing what size boxcar it is intended to be a model of, that wouldn't help either..

    Confused as usual King Friday..
    Mike from DieCastoms
  11. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    Out of total boredom, I have come up with the following information regarding the tracks that come with the New Bright battery trains:

    The track for these trains make 23.5 inch radius to center of tie, and 12 track sections for a full circle. The INSIDE RAIL on the turns are 12 inches long.

    Straight tracks seem to be several lengths ranging between 3 and 12 inches long and include special features such as a rereailer and a station control track with two safety rails down the center that can be thrown about a half inch to either side of center to catch a plastic pin on the bottom of the loco connected to a switch that changes the loco's direction or stops it. This track may be useful as a point machine for a hand made turnout.

    Rail hight (A) is about 5/16ths, the width of the rail head and web (B) is 1/8th (straight sides, so technically there is no head or web I guess..), and the foot of the rail (C) is also 5/16ths. The rails are on 1 29/32ths" on center (D). The top corners of the rail are rounded but there is no discernible crown.

    Ties are 7/16ths wide (E) by 5/16ths high (F) by 3 5/8ths long (G) and hollow and spacing is about 1 3/32 (H) from center to center.

    Hope this information is useful to someone other than myself. If I have missed an important dimension or have used the wrong name for something please correct me.

    Mike from DieCastoms.

    Attached Files:

  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    RE: Gauge and scale

    With your track the only really critical element is the gap between the two rails or GAUGE of the trains.

    SCALE refers to the actual fractional reduction from the real thing.

    Ok, if that makes sense so far, then what happens with G Gauge is that everyone uses the same Gauge of track. Anything G Gauge is the same. It is the scale that changes, depending on what type of train is being modeled. Narrow gauge trains will be a different scale than Standard gauge trains.

    Sorry to hear about your being flamed off a forum for not being within spec. Frankly, I think the fact that you are hacking apart trains and boats and making something unique, puts you in a much cooler category than those guys. by the end of it you may end up with something much nicer. most of all you are developing skills that will pay off in the long run.

    I find it amusing when people get into their train snob mode. If your trains are toy trains, then go to the bachmann site and look at some of their Xmass stuff. Totally fantastical toy train santa on a handcar etc. LMAO not prototype by any means. Who cares right?

    New Bright is probably more of a toy than the scale stuff, but with some work you can make a really nice custom train out of it. As you mentioned low funding for layout is no reason not to play trains.

    There is a guy over on this O scale forum who has taken to building all his own stuff for backyard O scale. Here are some links to threads with pics. Seems like a really nice guy you might ask him for info about backyard modelling as he seems to not worry too much about proto stuff. He might find your concoction and ideas interesting too.

    Here is linkage:
    Decreptitude - Topic Powered by eve community

    great excitment in O gauge, 2 rail 7/8" scale - Topic Powered by eve community

    Hound rescues Pacific Fast Mail - Topic Powered by eve community

    Run what you want! - Topic Powered by eve community
  13. Triplex

    Triplex TrainBoard Member

    Yes, they are narrow gauge. No manufacturer that I know of makes G (either 1/20.3 or 1/22.5) standard gauge.
  14. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    Triplex, in the forum about renaming the G Scale section they mention that MTH (?) makes 1/32 scale on G Gauge track which is supposedly standard gauge for G track. Also, I am pretty sure now that my New Bright trains are in fact 1/32 scale on G track so are standard gauge.

    Geek, thank you, and all the rest of you for your supportive comments. I really was getting tired of getting told that 'those are TOYS, not MODEL TRAINS, get out...". It happened more than once.

    Mike, from DieCastoms
  15. inch53

    inch53 TrainBoard Member

    I had a setup bout like your talking around the flowerbeds and enjoyed it, at least till I got tired of fighting moles. Now it’s boxed up till we get a sure fire mole killer. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a loop and the buildings were peaces of wood scrap painted up, but it was still fun to play with.
    We’ve got 9 or 10 new brights now that we’ve picked up at yard sales or flea markets [most for $5 or less, never more than $10], and a couple that given to us. Most of them run and some we got just for the track and cars. So the next one will be bigger and the buildings will be a little fancier when the time comes, but it’ll still be done cheap.
    I liked your idea on using RC controls and batteries from old cars n such. Our grandkids have several they’ve destroyed that should work and the price is right, free.
  16. DieCastoms

    DieCastoms TrainBoard Member

    Inch, I would LOVE to see pictures of your collection, if you have any. Also would you list the road names you've got? I am trying to find out how many unique pieces there are in the New Bright sets. I have found about 10 different boxcars, including collectors items like the ToysRUs car, an Elliot (race car driver) car, and a few others which aren't coming to mind at the moment.

    Also I am looking for the sets that had swiveling trucks on the cars. Mine have 4 axles on each car but they are mounted directly to the chassis of the car and simply allowed to slide sideways in their mounts to follow curves in the track. I took the two inside axles out of each car giving me 6 'extra' axles and I want to try my hand at custom building a flat bed lowboy car with 3 axles at each end.

    Mike from DieCastoms.
  17. master_sage

    master_sage E-Mail Bounces

    Ah a newbie like me :)


    So I too have been into trains for a long time, now as a 33 year old with a 2 1/2 year old daughter that loves trains I was able to pull out my old HO Santa-FE Tyco.

    After making a trip to the hobby store, my wife and I were introduced to Gauge 1 weeeee. Needless to say my wife was much more willing to let me tear up the back yard rather than the house :) and since she likes to build doll houses or used to she is going to help me with the buildings.

    Any way that's me, and this is about you.

    You mentioned that G scale trains are expensive. Well they can be for sure I nearly passed out when the guy at the hobby store told me that the "Big Boy" that was causing me to spilling drool over his counter was $4800.00 . So I looked around. There is a site on the net that has an 0-4-0 loco with tender and Caboose for $139.00. I just picked up an Aristocraft 0-4-0 RC for $219 comes with a 4D loop of brass track. This will be my "switcher" for my big layout, or at least until I get money to buy something nicer.

    Need to store inside because of kid's:

    Hum,,, your mobile home should have at least a two foot area under the floor. I think my Parents is 3ft. More than enough room to run some track through the side and under the house. All and all I don't plan to keep my trains outside, and my wife does not want me to cut a hole in the side of the house, so I'll be picking the trains up when I'm done and putting them on a storage shelf. "normally a shelf with a strait piece of track mounted to it."

    Space can be a challenge, however I've been doing a lot of reading you can fit some amazing layouts in a fairly small area. There is a really nice layout tool out there for pre-planning your layout. It may even be linked somewhere on this board. XtrkCad it's free and can be found at

    I'm going to lay out the following in a 29' long by 14' area which is about 400sqf.

    Since eventually I want a nice 4-6-2 with some heavy wieght"long" passenger cars, I will need a large loop with 10ft radius turns. This large loop will run Zero elevation in a big oval.

    Inside the oval will be a mining narrow gauge rail line, including a shunting yard. The mountain will run along the back 29' gaining nearly 16" of elevation. and switching back and forth three time along the 29' the appearance will make it look like it's climbing the side of the mountain. When I'm done with the layout the Visual, I'll be using Tunnels cross overs will make it look much bigger that it really is. There will be a town set along the front 29', backed nicely into the curves of the mountain. Should look really nice when I'm done. I'll be leaving some switches in the large oval, as I plan to take the track strait across the 60' x 7 ' area along the back fence, into another 30' x 20' area where I'll be building a water feature. It will make a really nice "dogbone" layout when it's done But since I don't have 15,000 for all the landscaping I'll need to do, I'm doing it in 5 phases.

    In one of the books I've read, the writer was able to set up a "Double wish bone" in and area 12' wide, though he does not mention the length, in order to get the 12" of clearance for the 3 track cross overs you would need at least 20' in length(not sure just guessing) thought I guess you could use cross track, but the scene would be less impactfull I think. The idea of the double wish bone is to add elevation, using bridges and tunnels to keep observers guessing. I did this with my daughters Thomas track, and my wife is constantly asking me if the trains are going the wrong direction so I it can be done with plastic toy track, some plastic tunnels and a bridge, I can imagine that it would be way cooler with some modeling :)

    That being said.. if you have little area for building you may want a simple figure 8.

    The book I'm referring to is ;
    How to Design and Build Your Garden Railroad. It's the book the hobby guys recommend as a starting point. This is where I got most of my layout ideas.

    To avoid running wires I have opted to convert all my trains to Li Battery systems and radio controls. No need to wire up DCC for multiple trains or pull city permits for that matter ;) Expensive I know,, but I can use cheaper track if I need to save money.

    Anyway good luck to you.

  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    Ryan, that was quite a post. Welcome to TrainBoard! Please keep us up to date on your progress.

    Boxcab E50
  19. master_sage

    master_sage E-Mail Bounces

    Thanks!!! I will keep you posted.. Laying out a project plan at the moment;

    Long story short; I'm expecting to be done with phase 1 mid to late may so it will be a while.

    Warning long message ahead, phase 1 ruff plan. So you can stop reading if your not interested. I figured I would include it here as an example.

    Phase 1;

    Compete first layer of overall layout. This includes completion of the "Main Line" oval.

    • Survey area; Lay stakes and string to mark the construction area; as soon as weather permits;
    • lay string for brick retaining wall. as soon as weather permits;
    • remove current plant's 3days April;
    • remove current landscaping 3day; April
    • level surveyed area 5 days; April
    • mark out brick pattern; late April
    • lay bricks 3days late April
    • fill and level area; late April early may
    • mark expected track lay out for oval 1 day; may
    • purchase, fines, working ballast, and show ballast for road bed.
    • purchase, very large PVC for rear tunnel most likly several pieces, tunnel expected to be 24 feet long, with a 5 foot gap in last third to allow for future valley. it will actually run behind phase 2 Mountain retain wall and be non viable from the viewing area.
    • CUT PVC pipe in half, hinge pvc pipe for maintenace and train retrieval, plastic weld 2foot mounting rods to sink inside retaining wall for added stability. 3 days not sure when I will do this yet.
    • Dig road bed trench for expected track layout. 2 days
    • lay road bed 3 days
    • laytrack 1 day.
    • play play play :)
    over all I should be done with phase 1 by mid may earlier if weather permits.

    expected cost for phase one, track included $1500 dollars.

    I'm still trying to figure out what to use in the pvc pipe for a road bed, and the diameter of PVC i'll need to allow for clearance, any suggestions are welcome. Right how I'm thinking bench work. Why a closed pipe? you might asked if it's going to be hidden.

    Sound is a big part of creating an illusion, if the sound of the train is bouncing of the back fence after it enters a fake tunnel it will kill the illusion, if however the sound is escaping out of the end of the tunnel it will create death, as the train grows closer and closer the sound will increase.I plan to add around an inch of sound insulation to the top of the tunnel to help prevent sound loss.

    While i'm doing the actual work I will be taking half hour shots to document the entire process which I plan to put out on the net for viewing.

    As you can tell I'm a bit winded :) and have a large task ahead of me :tb-ooh:

  20. inch53

    inch53 TrainBoard Member

    Sorry we never took any photos of it [that the wife can find] while it was set up and it’s been over a year since I had them out. As far as an inventory, I never did write anything down, but there’s a Timber wolf 0-6-2, Silver Rail tender and Rocky Mountain caboose here in the house. The rest is stored till spring anyway.
    I’ve also got 3 different Christmas trains that we would run out in the snow. That was fun, but cold.
    I do kinda miss running them though, but trying to keep a good running track was H with moles moving it all the time.
    At one time I had a link to their web site, but one I tried to find it yesterday, all I came up with was for the RC car and such. Wish I cold have found it, they had listing of all the parts, cars, engines n track available and the prices wasn’t to bad for direct sales.
    Your plan sounds quit ambitious for a starter, but well planned. I wish you luck with it.

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