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Author Topic: Help on selection of train scale and set  (Read 2745 times)
6060dwill

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« on: November 06, 2010, 06:59:15 PM »

I am totally new to train sets so would appreciate any help on selecting a scale size & brand to place around the Christmas tree.
We have about a 4'x8' area where tree is and would like a train set around the tree.
Thank you
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simkon
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2010, 08:25:26 PM »

For sets around the Christmas tree the absolute minimum would be S or O scale, although large/garden/G scale would be the safest bet. Any Bachmann G scale set would do well in this situation, if you are careful with the needles and debris you can buy any Williams (by Bachmann) O scale set.
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6060dwill

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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2010, 09:04:20 PM »

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your reply and guidance on sizes.
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NarrowMinded


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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2010, 11:02:46 PM »

 I'd buy a bachmann g scale set, you won't be sorry for around the tree once set up mine runs 14hrs a day from december 1st to January 1st with no more maintenance then clearing the track with a dustbuster once in a while. The smaller O or on30 scales are nice with Christmas villages set up under the tree, but I would only do them with an artificial tree just about every pine needle that fall on the track with have you on your hands and knees rerailing your train.

Just my opinion

NM  
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2010, 01:06:46 AM »

Over the years, I have run various scales of trains under the Christmas Tree.  One was a Bachmann G-scale "Big Hauler" and like NarrowMinded said, it ran faultlessly, clearing the track of pine needles, fallen ornaments, dogs, cats, rabbits and the like.  The only problem you might have would be that the 24" radius curves will not fit in a 4' x 8' area.  It needs to be at least 5' wide.  G-scale Big Haulers are about 1/22 of full size.

Another scale was 0-27, the undersized 0-scale that is actually closer to S-scale.  True 0-scale is 1/48 of full size but Lionel and MARX 0-27 scale is closer to 1/64 full size.  The big, antique, diecast metal engines have no problem clearing the tracks, and collectibles or not, toy trains were made to RUN and at my house, they do.  The only problem with 0-27 is that the old ones tend to be noisy, which bothers my wife, and they put out a fair amount of ozone, which bothers me.

A third scale was H0 scale.  With weighted cars and heavy locomotives selected from among those on my H0 layout, I did not have much problem with derailling, even on spruce tree needles.  How this train would have coped with the longer pine needles, I do not know.  With artificial trees, I am sure it would have no problems.

A forth scale I have run around the tree is 0n30.  These are models of trains that ran on tracks only 2'-6" between the rails (as opposed to the normal 4'-8".)  The locomotives and cars are comparable in size to 0-27 trains but are not as heavy.  They run on the same size track at H0-scale trains.  Like H0-scale, they can run on a display only 40" wide, using 18" radius curves.  But the narrow gauge track tends to make the cars tippy and I suspect they would derail with any kind of needles on the tracks.  I have only run them under an artificial tree, so I cannot say for sure.  However, as Hunt has pointed out, these trains go absolutely great with the porcelain Christmas Village type buildings, either under a tree or on a separate display.

There are a few other considerations to think about.  If you expect children to visit at Christmas, you might want to avoid the smaller scales.  All trains are kid magnets but the smaller ones do not stand up to being accidentally stepped on.  Trains also tend to be cat magnets as well, particularly if your cat views them as mechanized mice that need to be batted into the farthest, most inaccessible corner, preferably under a large, immobile piece of furniture.  Hair from dogs, cats, and other furry creatures as well as carpet lint is easily picked up by the smaller scales and oftentimes ends up jamming up their mechanisms.  A good solution is to put the whole display, tree and all, on a sheet of plywood and an even better solutions is to elevate the plywood 6" to 8" off the floor (books or concrete block work well for a temporary display.)  I must warn you, however, that  having a train and a sheet of plywood both together in the same house has been known to lead people down hill into the <gasp> world of model railroading.

Jim

P.S.   If that 6060 in your name should happen to indicate that you are a fan of the ex-CN 6060 locomotive, you might like to know that President's Choice in Canada put out a model of this locomotive in H0 scale about 5 years ago.  They occasionally show up on eBay.
JB
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 01:20:06 AM by Jim Banner » Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2010, 03:00:18 PM »

Will,

If you want to continue on model railroading, or if you just want some more info on model trains, here's a couple links that could help you.

http://www.walthers.com/exec/sets?

http://www.walthers.com/exec/page/getting_started
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simkon
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2010, 03:30:41 PM »

I did some experimenting with pine needles and scales. HO will not work under real trees. My only ON30 loco derails every time. My only O scale loco derails 75% of the time. One of my old American Flyer S scale locos will not derail because it is pretty heavy. So unless you have an older heavy O scale loco, you will have to go with large (G) scale if you have a real tree. If you have an artificial tree you can use ON30 or HO scale, but not if you have a dog or cat or kids or other children may visit. If you have an artificial tree and kids or pets the minimum would be O scale since it is much more durable than HO or ON30.
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jbsmith


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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2010, 04:22:19 PM »

I would go with Lionels'  Polar Express.
I have the Polar Express,,that Loco weighs about a ton, it is cast metal.
Not the G scale battery powered set,, THIS set , the traditional O scale

http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/PROD/434-31960

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Lionel-O-631960-Polar-Express-Train-Set-p/lio-631960.htm

lots of extras to go with it as well
http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=Polar+Express

The track that comes with the set will give you a basic oval , 40"x60"

 With good care the loco will probably outlast you!

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Doneldon

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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 01:24:43 AM »

6060-

I picked up the track-powered G-scale Christmas train from New Brite a few years ago and it makes a terrific tree train.  It's large enough not to be bothered by pine needles or small children, runs on track power (ergo no batteries), and has lots of lights and animation.  I also have the animated extra cars and the whole thing looks very Christmassy.  The only problem with these is that they have become quite expensive and I don't see any for sale on the cheap any more.  I purchased mine at a real great price.

I also purchased a 30o crossing which I was able to work into a twice-around layout which adds a little interest.  All-in-all, I'm very pleased with the set-up.
                                                                                                   -- D
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2010, 12:32:33 PM »

I am totally new to train sets so would appreciate any help on selecting a scale size & brand to place around the Christmas tree.
We have about a 4'x8' area where tree is and would like a train set around the tree.
Thank you

Whether the tree is nature-made or man-made, if it's a floor model, go with O gauge or up. If the tree is a table-top model, I think you can safely go with HO, even if the tree is nature-made. Personally I wouldn't do N gauge at all under a Christmas tree. Too small.

For HO, On30, or O, definitely use a track that comes mounted on roadbed, like Bachmann's EZ Track for HO or On30. It will give you a good, solid base for your train to run on. Roadbed track is also available for O and O-27. I'm not familiar with available track products for G scale.
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