Big-Trains Frequently Asked Questions

The Questions:

The Answers

What are Big Trains?

Some folks (and Walthers' Catalog) use the name Big Trains to refer to anything larger than HO. Most people use the term to refer to trains larger than O scale, especially trains built large and rugged enough to use dependably outside. The term "Large Scale" generally refers to that "sub-class" of Big Trains that run on 45mm track. These represent a variety of scales, depending on whether a narrow or standard gauge prototype is chosen.

What is the Big Trains Mailing List?

The BT mailing list is an e-mail "club" (perpetrated, er, maintained by Eric Schnoebelen) that copies every e-mail you send to the list to everyone on the subscription list (as long as you've subscribed first). People use it to ask questions about Large Scale trains, to make plans for excursions and conventions, and to post pointers to related information of interest.

Who are the BT listmembers?

Members of the BT mailing list include clueless newbies and internationally recognized experts, and everyone in between. Modeling interests are diverse, expertise levels differ, and many countries are represented as well. This means that a question you ask may result in several good answers, and you have to choose the answer that best fits your situation. (We also hope you reciprocate when a question you may have a good answer for is posted.)

What May I Post?

Theoretically, anything related to railroading, model railroading, garden railroading, etc. that would be of interest to other "big train" hobbyists. However, some "clueless newbie" general questions like "Tell me everything you know about garden railroading" are likely to go unanswered, because such a wide variety of resources is already available to answer that question. The BT mailing list is NOT the place for forwarding "touching Internet stories," chain letters, jokes, political diatribes, charity appeals, virus alerts, home business opportunities, or any of the other "general interest" stuff that eats up so much internet bandwidth elsewhere.

Where Can I Find the Answers to Clueless Newbie General Questions?

In addition to Garden Railways magazine and your local club, many BT listmembers maintain free, informative web sites:

Other useful free sites maintained by list members include:

A far more extensive resource that requires a monthly fee to access some of its information, is listmember Jon Dekeles' "Large Scale Online" site (

Why Do Longtime BT Members Sometimes Poke Fun at Each Other?

Well, some of us have known each other for years, partied together at conferences, etc., and it's hard to resist taking a jab once in a while. We try to keep it in good fun, of course, and not make comments that are racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive.

Is Father Fred Really a Priest?

No. He acquired the nickname back when he was the chief peacemaker on the list, a function that became less important when Eric started pulling the plug on really offensive folks.

What's With the Rodent and Raccoon Humor?

One listmember had his indoor layout destroyed by raccoons who collapsed the ceiling over his trains. Ever since then, raccoons have been the unofficial mascots of this list.

How Many People Have Access to Carl Vogel's E-mail Account?

Only one. Really.

How Do I Get Kicked Off the List?

By being continously obnoxious, hurtful, profane, or otherwise detrimental to the ordinarily fun, helpful, and friendly tone of the list. If you don't like a particular product, you may say so. However insulting people who use that product is NOT appreciated. It's one thing to say that some product, scale/gauge combination, or other aspect of the hobby looks "funny" to you or doesn't meet your requirements. It's another thing to say that anyone choosing otherwise is a clueless moron.

Why Are Scale/Gauge Issues in Large Scale So Complicated?

Because people who don't model the scales I do are a bunch of clueless morons. Oh, sorry, wrong answer. This is a "newbie" question that has already been addressed many times on this list. One article that will give you enough information to discuss this subject intelligently is Paul Race's article at

Tell Me Everything I Need to Know About Garden Railroading.

Please see the list of web page resources above, especially Paul's "Garden Railroading Primer" articles at

So Why Is Paul's Site at the Top of the List?

Because most of Paul's articles are written for beginners. Also because Paul wrote this FAQ list. Any other questions?

Last Updated .
Copyright , Paul Race
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