Need help in selecting first train set

Greetings
I am purchasing an HO set for my 8 and 10 year old boys and need help
in the following areas:
What are the most important accessories that I should buy?
What types of locomotives/cars should I look for?
What should I spend on a set....I was planning on about $500. Is that
enough?
Thanks a million
Frank
Reply to
FDL
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For $500 you can buy a lot, better in your case would be something in the $100 to $150 range and buy some accessories to go with it, like track, turnouts, maybe some building kits.
For locos, cars, and their age, probably something with a switch engine, maybe a dozen or so mixed car types, box, flat, gondola, reefers. Big locos with lots of wheels can be frustrating to try to get on the track right, and don't like small radius turns.
Beyond that, whatever turns your crank.
Greybeard
Reply to
Greybeard
Greybeard's recommendation is good. I would recommend a Bachmann Spectrum set ($200 to $300). They are pretty good quality yet not too pricey. I have a few Spectrum engines and like them very well.
Charles Perry P.E.
Reply to
Charles Perry
$500 is enough to build a nice 4'x8' layout, including the train table, buildings, and scenery.
Apart from that, your question is too vague - you don't have any objective apart from Buy A Train Set. Thus, giving you advice is, um, difficult. :-)
I strongly suggest, nay, I _urge_ you to buy a book or two about the basics of model railroading. For example, buy the current (Jan 2005) issue of Model Railroader, and look at Kalmbach's book ads in it (pp. 119, 120, 121, 124, 125). I recopmmend one of the basic "getting started" books, plus a book that covers building an actual layout from start to finish. These will give you the information you need to answer your own question (although you may wish to come back here with requests for clarification.)
I recommend "HO Railroad from Start to Finish" (#12121, $16.95). Your boys are old enough to share the building of this layout, and best of all, you can start with an almost bare 4'x8' table, and then add to the layout in stages, as your skills and confidence grow.
One last note: do not set up an HO train set on the carpet. You can set up a large scale (G gauge) set on the carpet, but I would not recommend doing so, especially if you have pets.
Have Fun!
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
For folks that are just getting started, I'm partial to the sets that have the newer style locking track with roadbed. I think it eliminates a lot of the frustration with regular track that doesn't go together properly or easily separates.
Jim
Reply to
Ctyclsscs
You guys are AWESOME! Thanks so much for the help and for your patience with a newbie like me. Hope I can help someone out in the future
Reply to
FDL
I am purchasing an HO set for my 8 and 10 year old boys and need help in the following areas: What are the most important accessories that I should buy? What types of locomotives/cars should I look for? What should I spend on a set....I was planning on about $500. Is that enough? ---------------------------------------------------
This Model Railroader book might help, "HO Scale Model Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby":
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As someone mentioned, there are several good books that would be helpful. Many of these are up to 30% off and include free shipping on orders over $25:
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Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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's Books and Toy Trains:
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to 1,000 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
I am purchasing an HO set for my 8 and 10 year old boys and need help in the following areas: What are the most important accessories that I should buy? What types of locomotives/cars should I look for? What should I spend on a set....I was planning on about $500. Is that enough? ---------------------------------------------- A basic starter set such as the Spectrum sets are a good place to begin. Some extra track and a couple of turnouts, some plastic structure kits, a few extra freight cars, and a couple of model railroad books would get things going.
You should be able to get off to a real good strart with $500. Good luck with the new railroad. I hope you and your sons derive as much pleasure from model railroading as I have over the years.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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's Books and Toy Trains:
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to 1,000 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
Or a four year old that can't keep his hands off. Our On30 Wonderland Express has been shopped except for the combine after a simulated Gomez Adams type incident. After my wife set our little man's butt on fire I set up my dads old Lionel set. It's been around longer than I have and just keeps on going. A real Christmas Season survivor. Things made out of cast iron and armor or something. The track is like rebar. Its made to run fast and hard and sling into the curves the tin plate way. Woe to any ornament that falls on the track or any cat that tries to beat the train. No one likes the big, ugly, nosey thing except me so I guess the Wonderland Express well be back in action after some repairs. Bruce
PS. Wolf. The loco still ran ok. I cleaned it up and oiled it. I cut and picked away carpet fibers from the axels. Some of the fibers were reddish and gold.. That means they have been there since the early 1960's.................That's probably when it was lubed last too. :) Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
X-No-archive:yes Re:
********************** Frank,I am a fellow "newbie" and just purchased my first set last week after getting excellent advice here. I purchased a Spectrum set and I feel that a larger gauge would be easier for the kids to play with.We had Lionel as kids and had no trouble correcting de-railments, coupling the cars etc.I notice that this HO scale is hard for me even,and putting the "EZ track" sections together is about 10X harder than lionel.HO will be fun but for 8+10 year olds I think it's too small.Someone else here advised the same. Best....Brian O FWIW My Spectrum engine broke after about 10 hours but the shop was good enough to fix it for free.
********************
Reply to
Brian Orion
[...]
Yeah, those old tinplate things were built like Mack Trucks... I bought a Lionel Thomas set some years ago, it's still a favourite with the grandchildren (now 9 and 5), who set it up in the living room and put chiars over it for "tunnels". It's big enough to stuff Annie and Clarabelle full of toys, you see... I often hitch an MDC ore-car to it. Looks funny, but who cares?
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
I tried HO for my kid and found it very frustrating. He had a hard time with the track and handling the cars. I decided to but him a basic Lionel set the next year. Now he is fully hooked on trains. He started at 8 and is now 14 and more into it than ever. The action and durability cannit be beat. He bought a basket case postwar steamer at a trainshow 3 months ago and has now restored it to it originial beauty and it operates perfectly. The engine was made in the late 40's. Not bad for a toy!! Personally, if you are nuts about scale you will certainly enjoy HO. For me it is Lionel all the way for the next 40 years. Also MTH and K-line also make fine Lionel type (O and O-27) trains as well. This season our visitors have been very impressed with our son's basket case restoration. In fact, a friend offered to give him his old trains simply because he knew my son would enjoy them.
Reply to
PES949
I just went through this process myself a few weeks ago when I was looking for a set for my 4 year old. I made the mistake of getting the Bachmann Keystone set. The engine that came with this set is a K4 steam engine that, in my opinion anyway, is very detailed. Lots of moving parts and delicate details. I had already ordered when one of the more experienced modelers here alerted me that I should be looking at diesel sets for someone that age.
I decided to swap out the engine that came with the set and get a low cost diesel from a show that was in the area. This way my son gets to use his set without fear of damaging an expensive engine and when he grows into it the K4 will be there for him to use.
Michael
Reply to
mtv
I'd recommend Lionel for that age. HO can come later. Another consideration is what do you want to run - steam? early diesel? second generation? modern? Be advised that modern cars don't do well on a 4x8 layout. Both the motive power and the cars are just too big. On30 is very nice, but hard as all get out to get on the track. Gene ABV61-1043.001.HCB
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"Skinny Dipping and Other Stories" On the web at
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and look for "Into Joy From Sadness" soon.
Reply to
STEAM GENE

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