'Inherited' a train

My mother-in-law recently gave us a model train set she had in the attic. It used to be a cousin's or something - I forget, and you don't
care - but now it is ours. I've never owned one of these, but I'm getting interested.
The set is an American Flyer from 1952 or 1953, I think. It has a 282 on the side of the engine, and has a plastic 'case'. It didn't work so I took it to the local train shop, and they fixed it up for me, and told me what it was and when it was from. And threw in some smoke for free! :) I have the manuals and track, so I came home, laid out an oval on the carpet, and, after replacing a few rusty track pieces, got the train running in circles, puffing smoke and going choo-choo-choo. My boys - 6 and 3 - got more excited than I have EVER seen them about any toy that didn't plug unto a TV. So, now I'm really interested. If this is something they get into that I can do and enjoy too, well, that's just what I've been looking for. I spent two hours tonight cleaning the old, rusty, nasty track, so hopefully tomorrow we can get the train running a little better.
I'm not posting just to tell you my boring stories though. Since I've never done this before, I have a few questions I was hoping you would answer. I apologize if these are FAQs, but I searched the group for one and didn't find it. Also, I've googled around and found a lot of pages, but they don't seem too novice friendly.
- Is there a glossary of terminology somewhere? Am I playing with electric trains or am I model railroading? - What scale / gauge is my train? - Can I buy stuff for this scale / gauge / brand? I know my kids will want gizmos and scenery to aid their imaginary play. Would I be better off finding a new set that comes with a few things? - Can I get track for this? - How should I clean the plastic cars? They have been stored away for years, and I get the feeling they were not kept clean before that. - How does it make that choo-choo sound?
I have a few extra bits - switches and what-not - that I haven't tested yet, but the manual explains how to use it all, so hopefully I'll get to that in the next day or two. The manual mentioned some accessories that I looked for on e-bay, but the authentic ones are a little out of my price range (that stock yard sounds so cool though). Hopefully they have modern substitutes.
Thanks for your time. Again, I'm sorry if this is all answered on a web page I didn't stumble across.
-Ben
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Ben wrote:

Ben, the American Flyer trains you have are "S" gauge, and that scale of train is still manufactured. Your best friend right now is running the hobby shop. Ask him about track, accessories, and about books to help you in your new hobby.
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*snip*

Model Railroader magazine (aka MR) might have one. Try looking at www.trains.com and see if you can find one.
You're playing with electric trains, btw. To me, model railroading involves attempting to model something, even if it's just a general feel of a location. Nothing wrong with just playing with electric trains, mind you.

Probably S, 1:64. This is a really common toy car scale, so take a look at a toy store for properly scaled vehicles.

You can buy things, and you can also make them yourself. You may be able to find close to scale buildings and such at a toy store for this stuff.
One purchase I'd recommend is a good scale rule. Mine's an essential part of my enjoyment of the hobby.

Ask your LHS. (Local Hobby Shop)

My recommendation is usually just soap and water. Just wash and maybe use your hands to wipe the dirt away. I wouldn't use anything like a brush before I knew what condition the decals and details are in.

There may be a speaker in there that's connected to a sound board. Without hearing it, that's my guess.
*snip*

Hope this helps, please note I didn't spell out the Usenet-specific acronyms, only the model railroading ones.
Puckdropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Best to play before you model, in fact. Playing gives you an idea of what you may want to do in the future.
But of course, even once you have modeled... you play.
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The American Flyer #282 (a 4-6-2 "pacific" patterned after a Chicago & Northwestern prototype) came with smoke and "choo-choo". AF used a couple different arrangements for these features, all versions of the #282 having a 1" dia. (about) cylinder mounted on the forward part of the loco chassis. AF used a worm on the motor driving a worm gear on the rear driver axle to propel the loco, and piggybacked a second worm gear above the worm to drive the piston in the smoke pump/choo-choo cylinder. It is the action of this piston that makes the choo-choo sound. Geezer
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On 14 Jan 2007 05:27:23 GMT, Puckdropper wrote:

In 1953 a "sound board" would be larger than the locomotive! But the glowing tube filaments could make for a nice glowing - and HOT! - firebox!
--
Steve

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Ben wrote:

Other posters have given you some good starter information so I won't repeat that. Here are some links to other information that you may find useful:
http://www.heimburgerhouse.com/ A publisher and manufacturer of S scale magazines and products
http://www.americanmodels.com/ A manufacturer
http://www.rfgco.com/index.html Repair parts and documentation
http://www.nmra.org/ National Model Railroad Assoc., more for scale trains rather than toy trains
http://www.ttos.org/ Toy Train Operating Society, this is really the group for Lionel and American Flyer toy trains
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Flyer a bit of history
http://www.showcaseline.com/ another manufacturer of S scale trains
--

Rick Jones
Remove the Extra Dot to e-mail me
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Ben spake thus:

Regardless of what others here and elsewhere may say, you're doing both. Model railroading *is* playing with trains, just with a lot more realism, seriousness of purpose and, more than anything, $$$.
Nothing wrong with playing with trains. It's all good.
--
Just as McDonald's is where you go when you're hungry but don't really
care about the quality of your food, Wikipedia is where you go when
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On Sat, 13 Jan 2007 23:14:55 -0800, David Nebenzahl

That is my sentiment also. What would be the point of modeling without eventually playing?
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Ben wrote:

Still being made - American Flyer "S" Gauge:
http://www.lionel.com/Products/Catalogs/Catalog.cfm?CatalogUID D98741-B8B4-F5A5-9867DF780CEE5190&PageID5
http://tinyurl.com/y6v5ds
Rob
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

The rec.models.railroad FAQ is posted here:
http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/modrail/faq/rmr-faq.html
--
Ken Rice -=:=- kennrice (AT) erols (DOT) com
http://users.erols.com/kennrice - Lego Compatible Flex Track,
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Ben wrote:

Your children are playing with electric trains. You are engaged in the serious grownup hobby of model railroading. :-)
David Starr
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    And you are being a good father spending time with his sons. Nothing beats that!
--

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Planet Maca's Opus, a Free open BBS system. telnet://pinkrose.dhis.org
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Thanks, all of you, for the information and links. I have a LOT of reading to do. And some money to spend from the looks of things. :)
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