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Operating boxcars,animated accessories and slot ca

  • I have 2 sons aged 6 and 8 and they love to play with "their" HO train and can easily use the ez-track, change the layout once a week and understand the basics of switching. But
    there are very few operating accessories in HO to
    further their interest.My children's background is Brio trains where tracks can and are changed frequently. Everything in this hobbie seems geared to prototypical layouts and
    operation. Once a child has seen grandpa's "do not touch deluxe layout" for 5 minutes the boredom will set in. Has anyone tried combining slot car and train tracks?
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  • I've combined HO slot car track and Railroad track on my permanent layout. You can buy HO slot track sections that incorporate a railroad track crossing, but I just made my own by sawing the slot track section in half and connecting the power wires under the table. Having trains crossing the road every now and then really adds a lot of interest to the car racing!
    If you have no slot car equipment yet, I'd recommend a Tomy or Tyco set. Tomy (aurora) has a slightly bigger selection of track sections, but both brands are good quality and value. All the cars are interchangeable - so you can run tomy, lifelike, faller, t-jets and tyco cars on any track. The exception of Matchbox slot system - which is a different type altogether, so I'd avoid that.
    My favoutites cars to race with the kids are t-jets. They're cheap, easy to fix and maintain, a little smaller than the newer cars (so they look better on the layout) and they move a lot slower and more realistically than the new super fast magnet cars.
    My kids are 2 and 4, so most of their play involves pushing hotwheels cars around the roads, loading the freight cars full of stuff, and covering the scenery with plastic HO soldiers.
    My 4 year old is starting to get into the slot cars now, but staying on the track is a problem! To help him out, I put a short strip of clear tape over sections of the power rails on his lane just before the difficult corners. That slows his car down a little at the right moment, so it doersn't come off so much.
    As you said, kids love building track, so the next thing I plan to add is a large area of flat scenery on one end of the permanent layout, where the kids can build railroad layouts with e-z track that connect to the main railroad line.

    If you're interested in adding slot cars to your set up, I'd be happy to reccomend equipment and on-line retailers.

  • Thanks for the reply. I think I'm going to opt for the Tyco type > there is a set with a policecar that has flashig lights and I can get the railroad crossing. Which online retailers do you reco?mmend
  • For the Tyco set, I wouldn't like to reccomend one retailer over another - the prices seem to vary quite a bit tbough.
    A good place to start looking at slot car stuff in general is
    They have a great selection, so you can see what's availale, and the shop[ around for the best price.
    There are often a lot of slot car items on e-bay. Some are very good deals, but it's best to check the prices against one of the on-line stores.
    If you decide to try a couple of t-jets, I'd recommend - they're making the old aurora t-jets now, and have a nice selection, but are not cheap.
    They sell a lot of stuff that's not listed on the site - and it's a lot cheaper. Chasis for $7, bodies for $2 - so you can get a complete t-jet car for $9 !!
    The last word of advice is to get a power pack for each lane. Sets come with one power pack for every 2 lanes. The problem with that is that the cars share the power, so when one car comes off the track, the other cart gets a sudden burst of power... so it usually comes off the track too! You can either buy a 4 lane set, and then use it to make a huge 2-lane track, or buy a 2 lane set, and order one extra power pack, and one extra terminal track section.

    Have fun!