Just starting out...are my kids too young?

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Just starting out...are my kids too young?

  • Hi All - This is my first post.  I have two young boys, ages 2.5 and 5 years old, and they are obsessed with trains.  I brought them to a museum to see some layouts and they loved it.  I must admit that I was also impressed and I've been bitten by the model railroading bug.  My wife and I thought it would be fun to get into the hobby with the boys.  My only concern is that they might be too young.  Given their ages, do you think I should wait until they're a bit older or do you think they're old enough?

     I also picked up a copy of Model Railroader magazine and their publication "Getting Started in the Hobby" for HO scale.  I'm trying to do my homework before getting started.  I figure a basic 4x8 layout in my basement will be the way to go.  I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you might have to offer.  Thanks in advance!


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  • I say go for it. My son is 2.5 i just put the table high enough so he has to sit on a barstool to see the layout.
  • In my opinion, your never too young. Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the forums.

    "It's a great day to be alive" "Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been......"
  • LOL never to young
    Death to Diesel!
  • Enjoy them while you can! I started my then 5-year old son on model railroading last year with a basic 4-6 HO layout on plywood. We expanded it this christmas with an additional two feet of board and started putting some model scenery around the track. He now knows certain engines, road paint schemes, wheel configuration for steam locomotives, etc. And always asks me to roll down the car window when we encounter a train while out on the road.
  • Thanks for the words of welcome and encouragement!  I'm going to take the plunge.  I'll start building a table while I dig through a couple of books to get a track and layout plan.  I'm hoping it will be a good learning experience for the boys in addition to being fun.  This is a great forum and I plan to visit regularly.  Cheers ~ ski
  • I agree with the others that you're never too young. 

    Make sure you get some rerailers to make it easy to get the trains on the tracks.  Maybe even set up a place where the boys can push the cars (cheaper ones) by hand.  At this age they'll have a lot of fun, but they like to handle the pieces.



    If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • I agree that you should get them started now, but instead of HO scale, you may want to take a look at O gauge. O gauge trains are twice the size of HO trains, and are a LOT more durable. I was given a Lionel O gauge train set when I was 6 (the best gift I've ever received) and even though I was trying to be careful, they were flipped over and dropped on more than one occasion. The great thing was, these trains were NEVER damaged no matter what I did to them. HO scale trains are a lot more fragile and some can pieces break off easily.

    As an added bonus, there are a lot of animated accessories for O gauge, which young children seem to enjoy (along with adults). Powering an O gauge train is a lot easer for kids because of the third rail. Just clip the wires to the track and you're off and running. By the time I was 7, I could set up an entire layout and have it running in about an hour.

    Of course, this is just my My 2 cents [2c], but you really can't go wrong no matter which scale you choose


    If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space...Wink
  •  railroadboy wrote:
    LOL never to young

    Shoot, any age is the right age.

    Lionel collector, stuck in an N scaler's modelling space.

  • Hi im Emily Htownpopo's youngest daughter.....Im only 9 we dont think they are to young. Were new to this to. How are yall? Hope yall have fun!


    Emily and Robert 

  •  I started when I was 6 or 7 yrs old, My Dad built me a layout-Stopped for awhile and when my son was 7 We built a layout. Took it down when I moved and he went into the Army. My Grandson was 4 yrs old when I was in the walk in attic and he seen the box of old track and train cars. LOL. He would not stop talking about the trains and when can we get them out-I finally gave in later that night, And am glad I did. I now have a layout started and have geared it towards him. Things he can play with, Logging cars that dump Etc.. He was putting on the Eng/cars that night.. He had to learn what he could and could not do. And he did great- It taught him patience and respect for things that break. Not to say things didn't break. But as long as it is not abuse I am O.K with it. Besides it lets me Model and fix things.

     He is totally crazy about anything that has to do with trains. And we have a blast at shows,driving and seeing trains,briges,overpasses. LOL on and on..

     So I say go for it..


    P.S. All we have is HO Scale. 





  • Well you missed X-mas so you can wait til their birthdays or Santa can give them one- which is classicBig Smile [:D]
    All hail the Mighty HO Scale Does thinking you're the last sane person on Earth make you crazy? -- Will Smith from I, Robot
  • ok. I am 12 going on 13 in a month. i have been into trains ever since preschool. i had my first HO scale train set since i was 6. About a year ago i decided to make it into a layout. I built a table with my uncle from a Model Railroader magazine. If you want some info on building that table, go to my site- http://freewebs.com/homodeltrains and then go to the beginner page.


    I don't really think that they are too young, just as long as they are gentle with the fragile pieces. 

  • O gauge may be the way to go right now. They are young. The O gauge stood up to our abuse when we just started out like around 6 years old or around that time.

    Hold off on the expensive HO stock until they settle down. Once they hear a sound equippted engine, I fear that they will drag you (And your wallet) into the DCC business. This is where some of the new units made to run on analog DC with perhaps a simple sound controller comes in.

    If you go with O gauge, expect the room with the largest amount of clear floor space to be taken over by the trainset provided you have enough tracks. If they are already all over the HO you might find some Thomas that will do well with them and not cause a heart attack should one of the engines take the "Big drop" to the floor.

  • Believe it or not, when I was 8 or 9, my first layout was in N scale! Laugh [(-D]
    "It's a great day to be alive" "Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been......"