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Ordering a Large Amount of Track

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JPD
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Ordering a Large Amount of Track
Posted by JPD on Thursday, January 2, 2020 2:15 PM
This may be naïve, but I need to ask. What is the best way to go about ordering a large amount of track?
 
I am nearly done with my small switching layout and with my wife’s blessing will be expanding to an around the room layout that the switching layout will plug into as a peninsular. Given that I will need 55 turnouts and about 350 feed of flex track, I am wondering what is the best way to order the turnouts, track, cork, turntable, etc. that I will need.  Does it make sense to compile a detailed shopping list and send it off to a hobby shop and ask them if they can meet the order, the cost including shipping, and when it could be delivered? 
 
I plan on using Atlas track and so far I have learned that ordering it from Atlas directly or Walthers, even during their annual track sale, is very expensive. I have done some pricing at Hiawatha Hobbies and Midwest Model Railroad and see that I can save a considerable amount through either one of these hobby shops.  I do not have a local hobby shop in my area. Do any of you have a recommendation for a better place to order from?
 
I should point out that I plan on using Tortoise motors for the turnouts. I have been buying them used and getting some good pricing (usually half the list price). I test them when I receive them and so far only one has been a dud. I only need 15 more. Circuitron makes a great product and used Tortoises are pretty reliable in my experience. I have used ones on my switching layout and they perform flawlessly.
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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, January 2, 2020 2:47 PM

Make a shopping list and send or email it around to different stores.  Search around, there are many places you could send your list.  Model Train Stuff, and Trainworld, just to name a couple of them, along with Hiawatha.

I think if you look for what you want on the various sites, you can figure out how much it's going to cost you, including shipping.

You always call where you want to order from, and ask about shipping, quantity discounts, etc.

I'm spoiled, Hiawatha is about 30 miles from me.  I perfer going there in stead of Walthers, and what Hiawatha doesn't have, they can get fairly quick.

I think the motors you can adapt to any turnout, unless you want to get a price on them too.

Happy shopping.

Mike.

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Posted by Onewolf on Thursday, January 2, 2020 3:05 PM

I ordered most of my track/turnouts from ModelTrainStuff.com. I have always gotten excellent service (and price) from them.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

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Posted by nealknows on Thursday, January 2, 2020 3:35 PM

Another vote for modeltrainstuff.com  I've found the best prices with real freight costs figured in for shipping. Trainworld.com has free shipping so you may be able to pay a few cents more on a case of track and get the free shipping. 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, January 2, 2020 3:49 PM

JPD
Given that I will need 55 turnouts and about 350 feed of flex track, I am wondering what is the best way to order the turnouts, track, cork, turntable, etc. that I will need. Does it make sense to compile a detailed shopping list and send it off to a hobby shop and ask them if they can meet the order, the cost including shipping, and when it could be delivered?

I'm guessing if you go to any hobby retailer and say you need 55 turnouts and 100 or so pieces of flextrack, they'll find a way to fill your order.

Wink

You probably could do price-checks yourself by checking out the websites of the various model railroad retailers that are online, like Model Train Stuff, TrainWorld, etc. Certainly wouldn't hurt to send them an e-mail asking about getting a discount for such a large order. Keep in mind you don't have to buy it all at one place. One retailer might have the best price on flextrack, another might have the best price on turnouts.

FWIW I would recommend against buying everything at once. When you start laying track and seeing how it all fits together, you may come up with new ideas on what would fit best where. Maybe start out getting the mainline in place and figure out where the industries and sidings etc. will go. Not that hard to go back and cut in a turnout to an industry spur track.

Stix
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, January 2, 2020 3:57 PM

 A couple of years back when I was evaluating different track, I ordered some Peco flex, ModelTrainStuff was out of stock, but I found another place, the name escapes me, that had an even lower price, counting shipping. I was only ordering a 5 pack, not a whole case of the stuff. ANd it does come in cases - I just watched the James May's Toy Stories video on YouTube where he atempts to run an HO train a real 10 miles over an abandoned line that was turned into a bike path. Case after case of Peco Code 100 flex was used. Granted, the first order came completely mangled in shipping - despinte being packed in a box that it comes in for smaller quantities, with plenty of packing. So I had to get a second oder shipped (they did so, no questions asked after I showed them a picture of what I got), second box came perfectly fine. So now I have enough spare rail and tie strip for anything. I can look up the name of the place, see what their prices are for Atlas.

Edit: I found my old order - checked current prices, they are $40 higher for the 100 pack of Atlas Code 100 (compared to ModdelTrainStuff).

 You might still get the best deal at your LHS, if you are going to buy a mass quantity in one go, they may be able to work something out. You might have to wait until they make their next order. If they get it right from Atlas, there's a good chance of some sort of deal. If they get their stock through another distributer, like Walthers, not much chance of them getting a whole lot lower on the price.

 There's already a pretty good price break at ModelTrainStuff. They are usually my go to for buying train stuff. Atlas Code 100 is over 57% discounted from MSRP in a case of 100.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by carl425 on Thursday, January 2, 2020 3:58 PM

wjstix
FWIW I would recommend against buying everything at once.

Except that the best prices on flextrack come when you buy a box of 100 pieces.  I'd at least buy that as bulk.  Another consideration is that prices are only going to go up.  Anything you'll eventually use can be bought cheaper now rather than later.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, January 2, 2020 4:24 PM

Well, If you are building a larger layout, I would buy at least 80% of what I need all at once and find the best prices.

I have always bought Atlas flex by the 100 pc case............

I'm the kind of person who designs the layout then builds it, I don't figure it out as I go along, so changes during construction will be minimal......

Sheldon

    

JPD
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Posted by JPD on Thursday, January 2, 2020 4:57 PM

I used AnyRail to design my switching layout and made very few changes. I prefer to order all at one time as I expect I will make few changes. I test the AnyRail design by using TrainPlayer to verify that the operations work out as I expect. If I have a few turnouts or flex track left over, then I will eventually find a use for them.

I will check out Model Train Stuff, thanks for the tip.

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Thursday, January 2, 2020 5:01 PM

I possibly could have found my boxes of flex for less on-line somewhere but decided to just buy them right from my local store.  Easy in, easy out and I can support a local business.  Due to the amount I bought I got a discount.  For what its worth...

Andy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by jim57 on Friday, January 3, 2020 5:18 PM

JPD
Do any of you have a recommendation for a better place to order from?

[quote user="JPD"]

The cheapest source of Peco track I have found so far is Blue Ridge Hobbies https://www.blueridgehobbies.com/index.htm.  Frank is always helpful.

Jim57

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 3, 2020 8:19 PM

 I dunno about Peco, but their price on Atlas is WAY more than Modeltrainstuff. And not an insignificant difference, if talking about buying it by the 100 piece case. ANd thats WITH some sort of "Track Sale" going on at BRH.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 3, 2020 8:49 PM

I use Atlas Code 83 flex and sectional track, and I have never ordered it before I needed it.

.

Shinohara Code 83 Turnouts... I buy those whenever I can find them, and hoard them.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 3, 2020 10:55 PM

According to the track length calculator in 3rd PlanIt, I need about 180 sticks of flex track just for my first level. Peco seems to only come in 25 packs, no 100 piece cases, at least not from the various retailers (they do make big cases, i saw them in the episode of James May's Toy Stories where he tries to run an HO train 10 actual miles over a bike path that occupies an abandoned rail line).

I'll probably buy 100 sticks to start, and order another 100 when that starts getting low. There's no LHS to run out and get a few pieces if I run out on a weekend, so I don't want to run out. I hatew when I get rolling on a project and then have to quit to go buy more of something, or in this case, quit for a couple of days until a new order can get delivered. Running to the store every week to pick up 10 pieces at a time is a huge waste - of time, gas, and money, considering larger quantities are much cheaper per piece.

                                   --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, January 3, 2020 11:45 PM

SeeYou190
I use Atlas Code 83 flex and sectional track, and I have never ordered it before I needed it.

Not to be contrary Kevin, but I agree with Randy. After what our club experienced when Atlas turnouts were hard to get, I am a firm believer in buying stuff in sufficient quantities to get the job finished. When we started the layout we initially decided to buy only those track supplies that would be needed in the short term, largely because some of the members were afraid of spending big dollars all at once. Big mistake! The Atlas turnout shortage a year or so ago set our club's layout construction back by five months.Bang HeadBang HeadAngry Once the turnouts were available we bought everything that we thought we would need to complete the layout, and most of the track was down in less than three months after that. We ended up with four surplus turnouts, and they are all Pecos.LaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by Medina1128 on Saturday, January 4, 2020 2:44 AM

There are decent prices on Hobbylinc's website. You didn't specify what code you were looking for, but I included a link below.

Hobbylinc

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:45 AM

Atlas Code 83 flex track can still be bought for $4.00 per stick on eBay, but you have to buy in bulk, 100 pieces or more.

Rich

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 4, 2020 7:02 AM

I got the Walther's Flyer on Thursday, and they have a track sale going on.  I don't know how that compares to others, as I don't need any track right now.

What little track I may eed in the future, I'll get from Hiawatha.

I do have my eyes out for On30 track, for an upcoming project. Peco or ME.  LHS stocks ME.

Mike.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, January 4, 2020 10:23 AM

hon30critter
Not to be contrary Kevin, but I agree with Randy. After what our club experienced when Atlas turnouts were hard to get, I am a firm believer in buying stuff in sufficient quantities to get the job finished.

.

I guess my needs will be far lower than most of us.

.

I don't even think I will need 50 pieces to complete the whole layout.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 4, 2020 11:07 AM

 And I don;t even consider my layout to be particualr huge, not compared to other basement size layouts, since I have a significant portion of the basement that ends up being the garage. It's the biggest layout I've built myself, but even my old bedroom size single track layout, I know I bought 10 piece boxes several times. Far less than 100 sticks, but definitely more than 10. Actually - since I still had the plan in 3rd PlanIt - about 43 sticks. It goes a lot faster than you think, once you start adding sidings and a yard to that main track.

 And I haven't even calculated for my helix in the new plan yet, it's just drawn as a circle, not an actual helix with all the turns. Double tracked, it will probably take 50 sticks just for the helix. Just think about it - a simple straight run down a 20 foot wall is 7 sticks of flex. Double tracked, it's 14. For pefectly straight tracks, no sidings, no nice gentle curves for better appearance.

                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, January 4, 2020 11:39 AM

The Walthers monthly flyer has new Walthers turnouts  20/24 and 24/28 code 83 curved, L&R #4,5,6,8,10 turnouts and a 5 pack of flex track at $49.98

For less than 10 pieces of flex Walthers track, you can buy 25 pieces of Atlas from the mail order place in Maryland. 

 

Henry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, January 4, 2020 12:47 PM

BigDaddy
The Walthers monthly flyer has new Walthers turnouts 20/24 and 24/28 code 83 curved, L&R #4,5,6,8,10 turnouts and a 5 pack of flex track at $49.98

.

Is there a feature I am missing in this track that makes it more expensive?

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:21 PM

SeeYou190
 
BigDaddy
The Walthers monthly flyer has new Walthers turnouts 20/24 and 24/28 code 83 curved, L&R #4,5,6,8,10 turnouts and a 5 pack of flex track at $49.98.

Is there a feature I am missing in this track that makes it more expensive?.

-Kevin 

I don't think so. From the very first introductory date, the pricing of Walthers flex track and turnouts has been outrageous.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:49 PM

 Yes, it's sold by Walthers. Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh

I'm sure they are setting the price based on their cost to design and manfacture and package it, plsu some reasonable profit, but their volume is a lot lower. Back in the day, Walthers was almost required - these days, apart from their own products, they aren't nearly as relevent in terms of the hobby needing a good centralized distributor. Some of the bigger companies like Atlas sell direct to dealers, so a dealer can get a price like Walthers would get, and then sell for less than another dealer who gets Atlas via Walthers and has to include Walthers markup in their pricing. 

 The place mentioned above has various track on sale, because they work through Walters. But their SALE price for a 100 piece case of Atlas flex is $120 more than the same case from the place in MD. If it was closer, and the higher price place was a local shop I could just walk into and get the product, I'd certainly thrown them a bone now and then to maintain a relationship. But this is a rater large difference. OK, that's what he has to charge to make a profit, well, the other guys aren't selling for a loss... 

 Wlathers may offer convenience, as in one stop shopping, or at leasat two - if the shop carries Athearn. But if they are not just exclusively trains, then they've probably been dealing with Horizon for years anyway. For a small shop, trying to manage realtionships with dozens of manufacturers may just not be possible, so they just get it all from Walthers, but the penalty is higher prices.

                                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 2:51 AM

 

Because I'm in the way to make a big extention for my N scale layout I have made research to find a good way to win some money in the investment.

This need a lot of track around 350 lenght of flextrack.

My choice is ME code 55 in N scale.

The best price I have found is to order directly to ME.

I asked them to do an offer including shipping to Québec where I live.

I have done the same for my switch machines which are Hankscraft display motors sold by Switchmaster; I send an inquiries to Hankscraft for a batch of motors also shipped to Québec.

To the end, these prices where equal or really under the best offer I can find on the net or in a hobby shop.

When you need to make big order ask an offer directly to the manufacturer, some agree to sale to you directly because of the big order; others send you to a retailers.

But to the end the direct offer is very interesting in many aspect.

If you see a good store you can ask also an offer for a big order; I  have often used this way to find good price.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:44 AM

Walthers has always been one of the higher priced train company.  The flex track is silly expensive for what you get so I won't be buying any.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 8:06 AM

I don't buy more than I think I'll need.  Granted, I have a small layout, but it seems to me that if price is a big concern, I don't see where buying a box of 100 pieces helps to save money if you only need 70 pieces.  

Maybe that's why Peco sells it in boxes of 25?

If the need doesn't work out exactly to the box count, I would buy just a bit less than what I think I need (but enough to complete the entire mainline and staging areas/major yards) then buy it by the piece to complete whatever spurs I can't with the big order.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 2:36 PM

 Maybe less damage packing it in boxes of 25 instead of 100.

Well of course it's silly to order a box of 100 is you only need 30. But if you know you will need 180, why not buy the 100 piece case for the discount, even if you only have time this week to maybe lay 10 or 20 pieces? You'll definitely use it all.

I bounce back and forth - I can't just work on benchwork for weeks, then just lay track for weeks, etc. I need to mix it up. So other than when I get down to the last bit and only need a few peices of track to finish up, I'd rather buy the biggest quantity that is less than what I need, than keep buying piece by piece and not having any on a day when I decide to lay track. ANd it is a significant price difference, getting those 20.25 peice boxes vs buying single sticks. And the 100 piece Atlas cases are cheaper still. If you need 100+ pieces for your layout.

 I think I calculated the cutoff while building my last layout - as in, if I need 90, is it cheaper to buy 100 and have 10 leftovers, or is it cheaper to buy exactly the 90? Could calcualte it all again, but I think it's somewhere around 80 pieces actually, depending on the vendor. Cheaper to haev leftover, than to buy the lesser quantity. ANd if you buy 100 and only use 80, you have 20 sticks you can legitimately sell on eBay as brand new. Or something. But just hanging on to the extra, it's cheaper.

 At current prices with Modeltrainstuff, it's 90 pieces - if you need 90, buy 25 and 5 piece packs to equal 90. But if you need 91 or more, buy the 100 pack and have a leftover few pieces. For Atlas Code 83.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by floridaflyer on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 3:09 PM

Got me thinking so I did the math. Using MB Klein, 100 pc of code 100 is $350, buying 90 in groups of 25,25,25,10, and 5 is $344. Buying 100 gives you 10 extra sticks for 60 cents a stick. Couldn't do code 83 as they didn't have the 10 pack listed, but using 3 25 packs and 3 5 packs, it came to $400 for 100 pack and $381 for 90 pc. Intresting that the 5 packs for both codes is the same- $22. So the extra 10 pc of code 83 would be $1.90 ea.

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Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 3:26 PM

Just a couple of thoughts I have on the subject.

I had a friend living in a remote part of the country that had a large order to put in and put together a list of what he needed and offered to put a deposit down with the order. The difference in price was quite significant when the answers came back from all the vendors he had written to both in Canada and the U.S.

Also, I know a couple of people in the biz in Canada and when tariffs started going on products in the U.S. the orders from places like Australia and New Zealand went through the roof. One company has had a 42% increase in orders from those two countries in 2019. Pricing with duties/taxes and shipping can make the bottom line go in either direction but is worth exploring on a large order.

Maybe look North of the Border as well.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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