Where do I start?

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  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,134 posts
Where do I start?
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 15, 2004 1:25 AM
My young son is obsessed with trains, and I want to put an elevated train around his bedroom. My brother-in-law has donated a number of HO scale pieces, including an AHM Alco Century 424(G Burlington) and a number of cars, all which seem to be in excellent condition. Would this be appropriate for an elevated set in my son's room? These pieces are 20+ years old, and the track length is a bit daunting (nearly 60 feet). I've never done anything like this, so any advice is appreciated.

Dave
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 7,863 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, March 15, 2004 6:43 AM
Hi Dave, welcome to the hobby. You don't say how old your son is, so I can't give a definitive answer. But in general, young children like to handle the pieces which an elevated railroad defeats. If he is around 5 you're probably better off with Lionel or KLine (and save the HO for later). If he's 8 or older then HO will be fine,but he'll need help from Dad. In either case if you have room for it a 4x8 foot table is probably a better choice than an elevated. You can make a table from a 4x8 ft sheet of plywood (which is why this a popular starting size). 20 year old engine may need cleaning and light lubrication (very light and plastic compatible). 20 year old track (if that's part of the donation) may need cleaning as well - if it is brass replace it with nickel silver. Make sure all track and turnouts (switches) lie flat and the turnouts operate easily, replace any that don't.

Visit your local hobby shop and/or some train shows and buy a beginner's book to help you get started.

Enjoy
Paul
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,134 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 15, 2004 9:56 AM
Hi Paul-
You hit the nail right on the head for my reason for the elevated track. He's only two, so it'll be a LONG time before he's playing with anything more complicated than his 'My First Train set." I guess my question is should I be concerned with:
a) The age of the engine. Like I said it is in excellent condition, I doubt it was run for more than an hour total, but it is 20+ years old.
b) Is 60 feet of track (His room is 10.5x16) too long for this scale? I'm brand new to this, so if this is a silly question either way, let me know.

Thanks for the advice.

Dave
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,134 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 15, 2004 10:51 AM
I don't think you have to worry about the age of the engine. It'll run fine for many, many years to come if it is treated well and the wheels are occaisonally given a cleaning. I have engines that are over 60 years old and still run perfectly! Also, you might want to consider posting this topic on the Model Railroader forums, where you'll get much better results.
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 7,863 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, March 15, 2004 9:40 PM
Dave,
Well at 2 he is going to be watching for a while. Length of track is a factor only in the sense of voltage drop. Using rail joiners to connect the sections and carry the current usually results in the far side of the loop (from the power pack connections) having less voltage and the train slows down. Solutions are clean track and joiners to minimize the problem, soldering the track joints, or adding additional feeder wires from the power pack. Soldering is probably the best solution, but it is kinda of permenant. But 60' of track is not too large, many have much more. If the engine runs without problem then it is probably good to go otherwise clean and lubricate - some hobby shops offer locomotive servicing.

As Sask_Tinplater says - posting on the Model Railroader forum will get you a lot more responses

BTW there are no silly questions, only silly ignorance. Ask away, people here are happy to respond and share their knowledge and opinions.
Enjoy
Paul
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.

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