Libraries still running on Yates and Zarchy will clear the track for the new Harvey Weiss--a typically careful, thorough, imaginative introduction to model railroading. Terminology and ""locomotive anatomy"" precede, so you'll know what he's talking about, and then it's over to the kinds of trains--O gauge, HO (aitch-o), N--and their advantages (in plain words, N ""is a little too delicate and fussy"" for many people), with a strong plug for freight over passenger models (more realistic-looking in a small layout, and far more interesting to operate). The electrical apparatus is explained, and instructions are given for attaching connectors, for switching and coupling. Best of all, predictably, is the discussion of laying the track and constructing the setting. Weiss recognizes that ""a lot of people like to use . . . kits"" (""They can be sure of accurate scale and correct detail"") but of course he's not one of them: for his railroad, the NP & H (running between North Piddleton and Happenstance), he's built barns, stations, bridges, trestles, water tanks . . . and landscaped the layout so that it looks ""truly realistic--a scaled-down version of some small part of the earth's surface!"" Operating the line is a story in itself, with a scenario describing an extended freight operation. Subsequently Weiss adds a second, inner oval, allowing for the operation of two trains at a time (a friend can come over With ""his or her"" train), and then converts the whole setup into a wildly unrealistic, amusement-perk-like complex. With everything clearly and precisely illustrated, the clean-cut layout of all Weiss craft books, and sufficient challenge to make model trains more than ""merely toys which you'll quickly tire of.