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Author Topic: A newbie here  (Read 5172 times)
jbfox1977

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« on: December 11, 2011, 11:37:11 PM »

Ok, well Im new to this hobby and to be quite honest, I really don't know where to begin.  I think, just from doing some research, the HO scale would be best.  I am like everyone, working on a budget, I see online and on this website, train sets, and just locomotives.  Some of the "locomotives are very pricey"  More than the train sets, in some cases.  I guess what I am looking to do is have a maybe an oval, or an oval with some sort of incline.  Maybe if I get really into it and not too frustrated, two tracks.  But where do I begin?  What train would some of you guys recommend?    Ireally don't know too much about wiring, but I guess that would come with some time and reading instructions ( I assuming for more complicated structures)
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RAM

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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2011, 11:50:46 PM »

Welcome.  In general, train sets are at the low quality.  However Bachmann does have some good train sets.  If you are interest in steam,  Bachmann's 2-8-0 is a good choice.  Other wise a gp7 or s4 would be a good choice.  These are locomotives that are jack of all trades.  You can work the years or run on the main.  With a train set you get every thing you need to get started.  I would stay away from LifeLike train sets.  Look for after Christmas sales.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 12:09:57 AM by RAM » Logged
jbfox1977

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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 12:09:24 AM »

That makes sense, I guess having a high quality "locomotive" might be better for expansion, inclines, etc.  Compared to a train set.  I guess I just don't want to spend on something that I might get tired on shortly, but sometimes that can be the fun of something.  I guess there really isn't a wrong way of going about this.  I just seem some of these layouts on youtube and a person can get ahead of themselves thinking "I can do that", while Im sure its possible, alot of planning and hours got into it Im sure.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 02:38:31 AM »

jb-

Starting small is a good idea. You might turn out to be a truly ill person who can't appreciate the magnificent experience of model railroading or you might find a great passtime in the hobby. So far, you have no idea which you will be. So keep your initial investment small. Believe me, it's easy to expand your plans later if you decide to stick with the hobby. In any case, however, I suggest that you be certain to buy quality goods. Junk train sets and cheap electrical controls will only frustrate you and make you want to pitch the whole thing through a window.

Bachmann has several sets worth considering including the Royal Gorge, Rail Chief, McKinley Explorer, Overland Limited, Empire Builder and Durango and Silverton. Some of these are freight sets; others are passenger. You can find a description of each in the Product Information section of this web site, under "HO" and then "Train Sets." Think of the listed prices as suggesting relative prices rather than what you'll have to pay. This merchandise is heavily discounted on line. If you buy on ebay be sure to get a new set only; many ebay train sets are ones which were defective or broken by their owners who are now dumping them. One ebay seller worth checking is the Favorite Spot. They have a good selection of items and pretty good prices. Do a Google search for "buy HO train sets" to find other retailers.

Good luck, and I hope you find peace, enjoyment and the meaning of life in the hobby that captured me more than 50 years ago.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 -- D
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 03:49:03 AM by Doneldon » Logged
Desertdweller

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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 03:53:02 AM »

jb,

You've gotten some good advice here so far.  You are smart in taking the time to think about this a bit before diving in.  There is a tendency in this hobby for newcomers to buy everything in sight with no rhyme or reason. By the time they find what they really like, they have a lot of money tied up in stuff that really doesn't help them achieve their goal.

This is just a hobby to have fun with.  But what makes it so special is it can have so many different skills learned and used in it, all depending on what you like to do.  You can build scenery, design track layouts,  build control systems, modify or construct your models, do research on the trains you want to model.  Really more things to do than I could list.

One of the nice things about this hobby is there is a great variety of equipment.  In a variety of scales, equipment is available for any historical time period from the very beginning to the current day.  You can also find equipment for all current large railroads, and railroads from earlier periods.

Try, before you buy anything, to decide what kind of railroad you might want to build.  Also consider what space is available to you.  Those two factors will help you decide what scale to model in.  The smaller the scale, the larger the operation you can model in a given space.

HO is a popular choice.  I'm sure that scale has the most equipment available.  But consider that N-scale is roughly half the size ratio.  This means that an HO railroad of a given size can be built in about 1/4 the space in N-scale (half the width x half the length.

Do you like watching trains?  Or studying their history?  Maybe you have a special time period in railroading.
A very popular time to model is called the "transition era".  This is the period when the railroads were converting from steam locomotives to Diesels.  The 1940's and 1950's, in the US and Canada.

If I were you, I'd visit a lot of internet sites and read a lot of magazines to get a good idea of what is out there.  A model railroad show would also be a good place to go.

Disclaimer:  I'm one of the guys who bought everything in sight.  Ten years later, I had a good idea of what I really wanted.  I sold ten years' collection of HO stuff and replaced it with N-scale.

Les
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mabloodhound


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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 10:39:34 AM »

I'm a little older than most here and after having HO years ago I am now into On30.   I really like the larger scale and it can fit into most of the same space as HO because it uses HO track.   Probably one of the best things you could do is go to a train show where there are running display modules.   I don't know where you live, but the big Springfield, Mass. show in January is an excellent place to see all the different scales.   And I'm sure there are shows in your area this time of year where you can actually go and see the layout first hand.
In person visits are always better than the internet for initial decisions like you're trying to make.
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Dave Mason

D&G RR (Dunstead & Granford) in On30
 “In matters of style, swim with the current;
 in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”   Thos. Jefferson

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Ken G Price


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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 07:53:50 PM »

Desertdweller sums it up very well.
All I can ad is for a beginner I recommend that you do not get a steam engine as the first one.
A diesel with fewer moving parts will be more reliable.
Way to many moving parts to get out of whack on steamers. Shocked

Also read lots of the older threads on this forum for what other people that have just started out say about products. 

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Ken G Price N-Scale out west. 1995-1996 or so! UP, SP, MoPac.
Pictures Of My Layout, http://s567.photobucket.com/albums/ss115/kengprice/
Jhanecker2

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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2011, 09:29:31 PM »

I would also suggest that you get some of the Books from Kalmbach to acquaint your self  with wiring DC & DCC systems .  This will allow you to figure out how you will operate & choose what type of trains.  Books on benchwork and layouts help to see how layouts are planned & constructed .  It is a lifetime hobby , with myriad disciplines.   Good Luck  & Welcome  !!! J2.
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NWsteam


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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2011, 11:39:25 PM »

Quote
You've gotten some good advice here so far.  You are smart in taking the time to think about this a bit before diving in.  There is a tendency in this hobby for newcomers to buy everything in sight with no rhyme or reason. By the time they find what they really like, they have a lot of money tied up in stuff that really doesn't help them achieve their goal

I will second this! It's best to decide on (at the very least) a railroad to model. That way you will only buy equipment for your road. That will help cut cost. Also, decide on a time period. That way you will really focus your attention. Some people will disagree with this philosophy and say do what you want it's your railroad. They are right about that! It's your railroad, bend the rules, make your own rules, rewrite history if you wish...its part of the fun! It's just a suggestion that has helped me out.

By my own admission...I do sometimes break my own rule for that pretty locomotive at the store.

Welcome and happy railroading!

-Brad
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Terry Toenges


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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 01:28:49 AM »

I agree with most of what has been said.
Decide what time frame and location (if specific railroad) first. Choose diesel or steam or both depending on your first choices.
Donaldon gave some good set choices to start with - passenger and freight.
Get a set, set it up, and run it to wet your whistle. Once your whistle is wet, there's no limit to your imagination as to where you go from there.
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Feel like a Mogul.
jbfox1977

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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 02:26:16 AM »

I really do appreciate everybody's input.  I live in West Virginia, so I might try and see what railroads ran around here.  I did find an actualy train hobby shop only four miles from where I live.  I am going to check it out on Friday.   It seems like quite a place.  He has an actual railroad crossing sign with the lights and bar that moves up and down when you enter his driveway.   Please keep sending me the info and I will definately buy a railroad book or two.  It seems like such a great hobby.  I am like a big kid and just want to enjoy my childhood again.  Like most children, had a little train set the went around the christmas tree.  It wasn't much, but I did enjoy it and I've always been fascinated by trains.

Again, I appreciate everybody's time, alot of good suggestions and looks like everybody put alot of effort into steering me into the right direction.

John.
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jward


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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 12:28:59 PM »

if you live in west virginia (what part?) you are in an area of fascinating railroad history. many lines there just beg to be modelled. the western maryland out of elkins, b&o at grafton, c&o in the new river gorge, to name a few.

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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Desertdweller

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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 02:22:03 PM »

jb,

You are extremely fortunate to have a train-oriented hobby shop only four miles away!

You really should get to know this guy and give him your business.  The small amount more you'll spend there compared to buying on-line will be rewarded many times over in advice and guidance.  You might even be able to become involved with other model railroaders.  If there is a dedicated train hobby shop that close, it would indicate you are not alone in your hobby.

Les
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jbfox1977

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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 05:58:47 AM »

Well, I live in the Parkersburg, Vienna Area.  Right on the ohio river.  There is a train that goes by there everyday.  Kinda funny, in town, the train is elevated as it goes through town. 
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jward


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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 11:31:29 AM »

i know parkersburg. my daughter graduated from marietta college.

parkersburg was once an important town on the b&o. the baltimore to st louis mainline crossed the pittsburgh to huntington line which followed the ohio river. the mainline is now a stub, having been discontinued as a through route in the mid 1980s.  my dad had a friend from belpre, john king, who was an encyclopedia of all things b&o. not sure if he's still living.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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