New to it all

OK, I'm new here. Have looked at a few sites and an FAQ.
My daughter (5) wants a "train set". She played a little when she was younger
with those wooden toys you push around a track and now wants a proper train
set. I don't know how long this will last, but I'll go along with it because
I never had one and always wanted one :-)
Anyway, after looking in a shop she decided she wants a real train set rather
than the Thomas the tank engine variety. I'm sure I'll do what most people
do and buy a Hornby set to start off with. This is going to be a set that
is played with, not something that is going to sit pretty and unused. I guess
I'll glue the track mat to baseboard (with frame) and mount the track using
pins on foam underlay, but I have no intention at the moment of creating
a model village.
Anyway, as to my questions:
1) Are any of the Hornby starter sets much better value than the others?
I notice some of the sets have trains that will not run on first radius curves,
so I'd rather avoid them as she wouldn't understand.
2) How much track do you think would be the right amount to start with? Looking
at the Hornby trackmat, I think that she'd be bored without at least two
ovals (basic track + A/B/C).
3) Is it simple to motorize points and signals?
4) Other than EBay, are there any particular on-line retailers that are known
to be particularly cheap?
Reply to
David Mahon
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"David Mahon" wrote
Don't dicount the sets from Bachmann. Overall they're slightly cheaper and are better quality and more resilient to handling by little fingers. The controllers are better too.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
I'd go for the Hornby Mixed Goods set, a 060 tank engine (easy to put on the track, no tender to rip off), some trucks and 2 4 wheeled carriages. IOW very easy for little hands to place on the track. Comes with an oval of track and a siding, nice and simple and still with a bit of variety.
Wait 'till she's played with a set first, she might say that she wants x, y and z but what she means is that she wants to see trains go in circles as fast as they can. Mine were like tha at that age, it was daddy who wanted to build a "real" layout. :-)
Yes ... but you really need to put your set/layout on some form of board/table/worksurface to do that. If you start of with clip together track (as per a train set) to start of with again until you find out if she or thee really wants to go to town.
Hattons, Rails of Sheffield, The Model Centre at Southampton ... just about most folks on line have a pretty good reputation ... you could even try our resident retailer John Turner who's already replied to this thread, he's sorted me out with a few bits and pieces in the past. Otherwise I particularly recommend Rails of Sheffield, they do retail and ebay and have exceptional customer service. Wouldn't recommend ebay though for your first trainset, you're never entirely sure of what you'll get.
Reply to
Chris Wilson
A point my mother often brings up- small children love to have open wagons they can load. Nothing complicated, just simple things they can put toy animals in and cars on. I wonder if any of the stock you buy here now will be around in forty-six years time? My dad bought me a Hornby Dublo goods set with an R1 tank, an open, a van and a brake at Christmas in 1958 (I think it was meant to compensate for the arrival of my little sister three months later). The loco has long since gone, but the goods wagons are still about, albeit with Parkside underframes these days. They got painted drab green in my early teens, after the Longmoor Military Railway briefly inspired me to combine military and railway models, but have since gone back into bauxite. Not all kids like to run things as fast as possible- my French god-daughter helped us to operate Tonbridge West Yard when we took it to Aubenas show a decade ago, and operated the down main line for a couple of hours. The only comment one of the team made was that she stopped his E* rake too abruptly in the yard- it should be noted that she did this with the controller, and not with the rear of the preceding train as he normally does......... Good luck to her. Brian (shortly off to play with his real train set for eight hours..)
Reply to
BH Williams
Apart from Hornby and Bachmann as suggested by others, I would also ask her about LGB stuff; their "toy train" range has lower prices and less detail than the "full brand" range, but the mechanical underpinnings are the same. Its available from a smaller range of shops than Hornby..
Advantages for you/her - its big, indestructable, works better with dolls/cars/other toys. Will work outside in garden if required. Disadvantages - its bigger, and generally a bit more expensive. I think you can get basic sets with lower detail from circa £80-£100. So, start price may be higher, but I suspect you'd end up with fewer items than a typical "hornby".
Ultimately, she seems quite strong minded about what is "right", so its what she says. But I would look at the option.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
My daughter plays too (and she's only 3). As someone else points out, she likes to load up the open wagons with sweets and things, and then have them delivered to the "drop off" siding, where, if she put them in the tipper wagon, they tip down, and fall all over the floor, where by she does it all again.
She has her own loco and wagons, which I've painted in chalk board paint, and modified to remove the sharp bits (magnet couplers, ala Brio), so she can colour them in whatever colour she wants, and she loves doing that, then telling me where to put the loco and wagons, then telling me which way to move them. She controls the steam whistle sound, I control the loco (I can just about do the DCC controller, not sure about her, yet).
Anyway, to your questions... I can't help on 1 & 2 (though I have a lot of 1st radius, and only one problem loco (though it's a problem for other reasons). Q3...It's easy, but requires planning. For points, you need to put the point motor either beside the point, or better, underneath, so you need to cut a biggish hole to mount it in. Light Signals can be made to work easily, though the older style semaphore signals are not so easy.
Reply to
Ian Cornish
In message , Ian Cornish writes
Give up you'll never be able to control her - she'll always control you. I've got 3 daughters who can each control me -)))
Reply to
Mike Hughes
When my young nephew got his first train set, I used to put a piece of paper in the goods wagons with a number on it. I then wrote out corresponding numbers on other pieces of paper and distributed them alongside the track, thereby creating shunting puzzles for him to work out how to re-arrange the wagons in the least number of moves. I understand shunters were engaged in doing this at goods yards.
Reply to
Keith J Patrick
In article , Keith J Patrick writes
I know both of these two sets below are passenger trains, and although I agree that it would be nice for her to load things onto the trains, she also has a very good imagination and given the way she plays with her other toys am sure that she would want the train to start and stop picking up and dropping off imaginary people at stations. Maybe I'll end up buying one of each type of train eventually (although after reading a little, I wish Hornby had hurried up with their DCC kits as having isolated segments of track sounds as if it will be difficult to explain to her).
Anyway, after looking at the other kits, I've seen two kits that appear to be quite good value:
1) Flying Scotsman R1039. On EBay, £99 inc. free track pack "C". Brand new but in a damaged outer box (the guy has 10 of them, plus multiple lots of various other sets).
2) Caledonian Local R1028. At Argos, £99 (includes oval+A,B,C and building extension pack A). I think this pack is only sold through catalogue outlets.
Any advice on which of these is the better set? Argos has the obvious advantage that it includes a guarantee and I can pick it up directly.
Reply to
David Mahon

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