Need Simple HO Gauge Track to Put Around Christmas Tree

Hello,
I wondered if members might have suggestions for this. I have, in a box in basement, a very old HO gauge train set, several engines, lots
of general stuff, transformer, very old track (sections and flex) that is about 30 years old. Should be in great conditoin though.
My kids (pre-teen) want a train around the tree, I thought about using this one. But the track is old, brittle, held together by brass clips, clumsy/fraile, tarnised/needs-cleaning, and was nailed to a big board when it was used years ago. Doubt it would work well at all on carpet around a tree.
Is there a simple, durable, easily connect-able, not too expensive, good track I could use to make a loop. I'm thinking slightly oval, about maybe 5-feet by 4-feet. Of course it needs to have two screw-post connectors for the transformer too.
Thanks for any suggestions of types, brands, where to buy, whatever
G
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

First off, you need a track system with a filled in base to keep dirt and fluff out of locomotive mechanisims. Second, you need nickel-silver rail.
There are a number of brands which offer both those attributes: Bachmann "Snapfit" with grey base. (They also make a steel rail black base track to the same design - don't!) Lifelike. I haven't tried either of those but they should work for a circle or oval.
Atlas make a finer scale version but that might be too fragile for your intended situation. Fleischmann Profi is the one I use for a quicky test oval on the floor, but I'd guess that would be hard to find and expensive in the USa.
Regards, Greg.P.
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Bachman (E-Z track), Lifelike (Power-loc ), Kato (Unitrack) all feature snap together track with plastic ballast roadbed all ready to run, easy to take apart and reuse (read that to mean no glue needed)
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Kato sectional track (UniTrack) is what I recommend. It looks good (with integral roadbed) and makes good mechanical and electrical connections.
-- Bill McC.
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Oh Boy! You're going to get many and good ideas from this group.
Yes - First the track. Bachmann E-Z Track, nickle silver with gray plastic roadbed (the plastic base) is the gold standard for this kind of layout. It snaps together firmly and can be put right on the rug and will keep the train up off the floor and out of the dust. E-Z Track has curved and straight terminal sections for the power wires.
Under a real tree, I put a couple of old white sheets, arranged directly on the rug.Fold them under in a circle etc. You can lift up "hills" and make it look like a snowy scene to arrange little houses and scenery on.
Bachmann also made a plain steel E-Z Track with black plastic base - you _don't_ want this as the gray, nickle silver is so much better, with regards to dirt and conductivity. I believe that Bachmann gray n/s rail is the most popular track of this type.
Look here at Bachmann's web site: http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/index.html Click "Product Search" then, on the left under "HO Scale" pick "E-Z Track" from the drop down menu. There you can see all the different pieces available.
OK - got the track done. Now the locos and cars. Older trains are fun, especially if you remember a younger day when you enjoyed them before. HOWEVER, it is very likely that they will need a little cleaning and lubrication, these little electric motor'd machines.
Cleaning - the locos pick up their power from the track with their wheels. When there is dirt on the track and/or the wheels the power pick up will be interrupted and the train will run jerky or not at all. You won't be happy and give up on what could be a really fun hobby. So look at the wheels on the loco, and look at the wheels on the cars too. Crud on the car wheels can get on the track, and clean wheels run smoother. Smoother running cars put less load on the loco so the train can run better. For cleaning wheels use a plastic scrubber like Scotch Brite, don't use steel wool as the metal pieces can get into the motors.
Lubrication - both the locos and cars need it. Car wheels can use a tiny drop of oil on the axel ends where they are fitted into the "trucks" - the parts that hold the wheels under the cars. Be careful, oil that get on the wheel tread gets on the rail and causes problems. In this case, less is more.
Locos have need for oil and grease. Oil goes on the motor shaft where it comes out of the motor bearings at each end. Also goes on all the moving joints of a steam engine drive rods and things like the flexible joints in a diesel drive shaft under the plastic shell. Again, remember less is more. Grease goes on gears, the cog wheel parts that mesh together and also where the axels are fitted into the frame. Oil works for the axels too. However watch out for too much oil or grease on the wheels. The wheels pick up the electrical power from the track. The power gets from the wheels to the motor usually on older trains by sliding copper/brass "brushes" that rub on the wheels. The brushes connect to wires that connect to the motor. If oil gets on the place where they rub together, again, the power flow can be interupted. ...Less is more...
Finally, trains made since around the 60's have plastic bearing for axels and shafts. You need plastic compatible lubricants for these trains. Here's the best: http://www.all-railroads.com/lablubes.htm I wrecked a motor in one loco and the wheels/axels under another by using that great (non plastic compatible) oil that we used as kids on our bicycles, 3-in-1. Great for bikes, bad for model trains. Take a look at the rest of that web site for more neat stuff: http://www.all-railroads.com /
And Finally, finally... Please do not begin your journey without looking at the very wonderful web site lovingly maintained and produced by our friend Thor. Anyone who is getting back into the hobby or is the most experienced expert, should not miss this site when planning a train set under the tree All Guage Model Railroading Page: http://www.thortrains.net / Lots of ideas, information and even neat buildings that you can print on paper and glue onto cereal box cardboard. They're neat - I have used them for the train set under ther tree at church.
And for the other best information and links to more please look at the most complete collection of model train information maintained by an individual, Bill's Railroad Empire: http://www.billsrailroad.net / Everything you a searching for can be found here. And you will frequently find Bill here in this newsgroup helping modelers with their trains. We are blessed to have someone like him.
Hope this is helpful and not too much stuff. I collect, repair, maintain and _especially_ run trains from the 50's to the 80's and have learned a lot from others who have helped me. Please ask any more questions. HAVE FUN!!
Best Regards,
Robert
On 4 Dec 2006 12:20:18 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Robert replied: *** And Finally, finally... Please do not begin your journey without looking at the very wonderful web site lovingly maintained and produced by our friend Thor. Anyone who is getting back into the hobby or is the most experienced expert, should not miss this site when planning a train set under the tree All Guage Model Railroading Page: http://www.thortrains.net / Lots of ideas, information and even neat buildings that you can print on paper and glue onto cereal box cardboard. They're neat - I have used them for the train set under ther tree at church.
And for the other best information and links to more please look at the most complete collection of model train information maintained by an individual, Bill's Railroad Empire: http://www.billsrailroad.net / Everything you a searching for can be found here. And you will frequently find Bill here in this newsgroup helping modelers with their trains. We are blessed to have someone like him. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't know what to say, Robert! That's certainly enough incentive for me to start working on my website again soon. I've had a number of other priorities this year and was lax in adding to it this year...
Thor's All Gauge Page is certainly a "must" for anyone that is planning a model railroad or adding to an existing one. It is possibly the best I've yet to see. It's obvious that Thor has devoted many, many hours to his website.
Good luck with your project, G. I'm sure you'll enjoy the holidays this year.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Books, Toys, and Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,200 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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Thanks everyone, for all the great info... track options, track recommendations, plus Robert B's info on the engines, trucks/wheels, oil, etc... which was my next post, but you already answered it. Any other suggestions welcomed, especially any discount stores/websites to go buy the track, oil, etc. Will keep checking back. Our kids will really like this surprise train around the tree this year, and all future years. Outstanding, thanks again. Happy holidays, George
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