Friday, April 10, 2015

REVIEW: Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains by Ron Adelman

Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains by Ron Adelman 2002 text Ron Adleman, 2002 design Krause publications

Though over 12 years old, Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains by Ron Edelman still applies to newcomers today. Make no bones about it: the title says it all. The focus is on using MTH products for model railroads. There are no materials on other track systems or tools. The book is about MTH trains, RealTrax, MTH power supplies and DCS. The Forward, Chapter 1 Introduction and Chapter 2 History of MTH Electric Trains all promote the brand and put it in its most favorable light.

Subsequent chapters handle the stages of putting together a model railroad with MTH equipment. There is plenty of good information on track work and track planning, building the platform for a layout, and then setting up tracks, wiring and scenery. Adelman uses a 4' by 8' layout based on Santa Fe’s Raton Pass as an example of how it is done. He describes the trackplan and scenery as well as the lineside industries. Included is a chapter on how to use MTH’s Railware track planning software. A form of RR-Track, it is an easy system to learn and gives great results.

There is plenty of good advice, from building your railroad with a purpose to the benefits of researching real railroads. A person could learn to make a very good layout based on the information contained in Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains.

Illustrations were not numbered, but their placement on pages mitigated that. All the illustrations were in the right place with accompanying text. Navigating my way through the book was easy.

The section on the MTH DCS command system was well-done. A person could read it over and be able to set up the basic configuration. Some books talk about command systems. This one showed how to use it.

Another chapter had a "Dispatcher game" for simulating real railroading. The book ended with an interview of Tony Lash, who was something of a hero among MTH fans for having a massive layout. Like I said at the start, this book was an MTH project intended to carry MTH’s message through and through.

For someone who wants to use MTH equipment throughout, Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains by Ron Edelman is worth consulting. The materials is presented well and the accompanying illustrations are excellent. By the same token, it is dated. I do not know the state of MTH’s Railware nor what improvements have been made to DCS in the past dozen years. Since it does not appear that other books introducing newcomers to MTH model railroading are out there at this time, Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains might be the only game in town

The focus is on Realtrax, and the appendices include ten different track plans that can be copied or adapted using Railware. Keep in mind that this information is 12 years old, and newer equipment might be available. As a primer on MTH, Model Railroading with MTH Electric Trains by Ron Edelman can’t be beat. Even a dozen years later....


In the matter of MTH versus Lionel and RealTrax versus FasTrack, I am not involved. I have loads of tubular rails and switches which I use. For those unfamiliar with the doings around O Gauge, MTH and Lionel have been engaged in a fierce rivalry for a long time. Among their customers, each has a small stable of diehard fans who love their favorite and hate the other. These hardcore fans’ intensity reaches that of religious fanatics at times. And with my background in religion and esoteric spirituality, let me tell you that such fervor is rare outside the fields of religion and politics.

The plain fact is that MTH and modern Lionel can make a nice train. I have bought from both on several occasions. I would not have bought more than once if I thought they made junk. Most of what I have from MTH and Modern Lionel are rolling stock. There are a few locomotives such as the Chessie F3 and Docksider by MTH, and the train set 4-4-2 and PA by modern Lionel.

With MTH and Lionel and anything else, be your own judge. Don’t let these partisan fanatics drive you away from one or toward the other. Buy what you like. With competition, you have choices.

I would like to get a recent version of MTH’s Railware for a future review.

1 comment:

  1. new to the hobby and at times do not now where to go but having a blast with my MTH s