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I have pretty fond memories of my father and I putting together the tracks and trying to link up the train cars to the engine.

I don't even know anything about scales. All I remember is they seemed pretty large and the engine was heavy. The tracks were steel (I think) and about 1" apart.

My father had this all black cast iron engine with a broken cowcatcher from when he was a kid. He kind of thought it would be worth something today if the catcher wasn't broken.

When we get the house next year, I'm hoping to get a similar set and set it up in the basement. Any tips on getting started?
 

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Is there a model train shop in your area? If the shop is any good, they will be able to point you in the right direction, unless all they do is to try to sell you their most expensive sets. :freak:

Train modeling has all sorts of scales. HO is the most popular, with N behind it. Lionel -although expensive - is quite popular and is quite large.
 

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Is there a model train shop in your area? If the shop is any good, they will be able to point you in the right direction...
I disagree. Most train shops tend to specialize in certain scales. I'd advise that you decide what scale you want first, then check out sources.

Train modeling has all sorts of scales. HO is the most popular, with N behind it. Lionel -although expensive - is quite popular and is quite large.
Lionel trains are large, but curves are proportionally tighter, so layouts can actually take less space than HO.
 

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Well, it's true that trains shops do tend to specialize in certain scales, but the ones I'm used to covers most scales. ;) And they have proven to be largely knowledgeable, often having specific people who specialize in the different scales. Again... at least what I'm used to...! LOL!

Clarification: I oversimplified the Lionel train comment... yes, tighter curves are possible than in other more 'true to real life' scales with the Lionel system... my comment was intended to comment on the larger physical size of Lionel trains compared to (for example) HO. With Lionel, you can get the satisifaction of a large train that almost pull u-turns with their system. I continue to be amazed at how large and robust the Lionel trains are when I see them at the local train show.
 

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Well, it's true that trains shops do tend to specialize in certain scales, but the ones I'm used to covers most scales. ;) And they have proven to be largely knowledgeable, often having specific people who specialize in the different scales. Again... at least what I'm used to...! LOL!.
Most local train shops are overpriced, and understocked.
 

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OK, Since I both model in HO scale and I worked in a big hobby shop for 8 years, I'll give you the best info I can.
1. get a Walthers Model railroad catalog for whatever scale you decide on. HO provides the most items and choices, N the best use of space, O most detail, but gets expensive fast. Down side-O scale is not so Scale from the manufacturers. N requires more precision in laying track etc.
2. Get a copy of "101 track plans" , and John Armstrongs book "Track Planning for Realistic Operation".
3. read the Track Planning book through at LEAST 3 times while you decide on the other aspects of your layout. Failing to follow his planing concepts may just leave you with a boring useless layout you will be tired of before its complete.
Start with flex track and a few manual turnouts (Switches) and learn how to work it before jumping in over your head.
get a book on building Model RR Benchwork.
get a subscription to Model Railroader.
The big decision will be DCC ro just plain old DC. This makes a lot of difference when wiring and planning your layout.
 

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Maybe find a railroad club and go there to see what excites you about trains, and what doesn't. Maybe join the club to dip your toe into the hobby without spending a lot of time and money.
 
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