Any Model Railroad enthusiasts here?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Eric_L, May 24, 2003.

  1. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I have a small dilemma. Since a very young age I've had HO scale railroads. I have a reasonable collection of track, cars, etc. Nothing very valuable I believe. Mostly TYCO brand. I've been hauling it around in boxes for about 20 years.

    Now my two boys are getting old enough to appreciate it without trashing it. However, there is really no place in my house for a good layout. (8x4 plywood) and the garage gets too HOT.

    Now I am considering getting an N scale or Z scale set so I can have a reasonably interesting layout indoors. But then that just wipes out the whole point of 20 years worth of storage.

    My preference is toward the smaller ones - it always has been. I just can't bring myself to chuck out the older ones.

    Money-wise it is not really an issue. Mostly it is space and sentiment.

    What, if any, are your thoughts on this? I'd really appreciate hearing some other perspectives, particularly from model railroad enthusiasts.
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Eric
    I have a space problem too.Space in SF is a little expensive and Victorians have small rooms. I collected American Flyer when I was a boy - most were over 20 years old when I got them back then. Now they are over 50 YO and can go into the $1000s.
    S Scale is bigger than HO so I had a real problem. I ended up building a modular layout that splits into pieces. They then store underneath each other in a cabinet that I built with bookshelves.
    Ho would be perfect for a modular layout and there are books and magazines on the subject.
    Another option is a layout that goes around the room and takes up little space. This is what I wanted to do but the wife did not like the idea. She now says it would have been cool.... oh well
    Good Luck and let me know if you have any other questions
    Grant
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yeah, you can still keep it fairly portable. If it is just track, a sheet can be lain up against the wall when not in use.

    I saw a layout once where he framed the plywood sheet with 2x4's, set some eyebolts in each corner and hoisted the whole thing up on a pully (in his garage) when he wasn't using it.

    If 4 x 8 is still too big, slice it in half and have the tracks join where you cut it.

    Glenn
     
  4. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    Just keep in mind that the stuff you've had in storage may not work to well anymore. Be sure to test things out before you spend a ton of time on it. Tyco locomotives were generally driven on only one truck with a small pancake motor. Many times these will be no good or close to it after all that time. Good locos now have nice can motor & flywheel setups. Most of the time these aren't like the old Lionel & American Flyer stuff where items from 20 years ago may have held up better. The cars of course should be ok. The track if most likely brass which means it will need tons of cleaning & will dirty faster than the newer nickle silver track. Also the transformer may of may not be good anymore after sitting for so long.

    I'm not saying not to use the stuff you have. Just be sure & check things out before you start putting lots of work into it. It could be that all your stuff works great and stuff. Although a new loco won't set you back to much, $30-$100, depening on how far you want to take it. It is very possible to build a nice HO layout even with a small amount of space.

    As for N or Z. I'd say look at N just because of the availability of stuff if your kids really get into it. Z has limited stuff and much of it is a fair bit more costly. The smallness factor of Z is kinda cool though.
     
  5. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    I moved around the Tyco stuff from my childhood for a few years. Although some of it still works, for the most part, it's not really all that great anymore.

    A few years ago, I picked up a set of Lionel trains that I like, and now I try to buy one car a year, around Christmas time. I only ever put them up at Christmas, but I like 'em more than the smaller trains. Unlike the smaller trains, Lionel (and American Flyer) often appreciate in value, if kept in good condition.
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I had enough sense as a kid to keep my american flyer and sell my HO set. I dont know if it was me or the quality of the Ho set but I never could get them to stay on the tracks. I am sure there must be better quality HO stuff out there.

    As Don said, Lionel & AF are good investments.. but starting a collection today would be $$$$$
    I sold some empty AF boxes on ebay and one went for $50!!!
    They were no use to me since I never intend on selling my collection but I guess if you have the box with the train it's even worth more.

    Go out and buy a few copies of model railroader magazine and see if there is something that suits your space and wants. There is still a huge amount of HO out there...compared to S scale there is no comparison
     
  7. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    Those Z trains rock. They must be a pain to work with, but damn they're cool.
     
  8. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I've ben trying to find some info on building a modular layout and not having much luck online. Everything is photos of other people - mostly clubs- sets. Nothing about how to or storage of. Anyone got a link or suggested reading?
     
  9. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Eric, I agree with Brian. You should see if your Tyco stuff works well anymore.

    PLUS there have been so many advances in the tech that it might well be worth starting over with N. (I agree about Z... it's cool, but expensive and hard to find stuff.)

    For instance, if you wanted to go with DCC control (which I *highly* recommend) your old locomotives probably won't be able to deal with it.

    Considering that space is the primary issue, I say go with N-scale. I love my HO stuff, but I have *just* enough room for a decent layout with it. Otherwise, I'd be going to N. [​IMG]

    If you do go N, you might be able to sell some of your HO stuff at A) A garage sale, B) EBay or C) local train-club swap meet.
     
  10. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Good point Tony. I'll try it today. I think N is cool and the way to go if my HO is dead. The modular idea is good, but I am having trouble finding interesting examples online. Primarily, the stored options.

     
  11. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Eric
    I sent you a couple photos of my layout. I would have posted them on this thread but never figured out how to.If you know how, youre welcome to post them here.
    Originally I had just the (2) 2 x 8 halves but found accessing the part by the wall almost impossible. With the 'access hole' in the middle, it's not a problem. I used 1/2 thick plywood and 2 x 2s around the plywood. 2 x 4s made it to heavy.
    I join them by 3in drywall screws. Easy to disassemble that way
    If you have any questions, feel free.
    Grant
     
  12. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Aaron Reynolds
    N-Track have a national standard for N-scale modules. What's cool about this is that you can build your little pieces and then bring them out to a gigantic meet and hook 'em up with other people's stuff and make a giant layout. I participated in a number of these with my father (who is still into it -- I've moved to Scalextric 1:32 scale cars).

    One time we were at a meet (in 1992, I think) that was something like ten scale miles around, and took trains forty minutes to travel all the way around.

    Kato's N-scale engines are just astounding, both in how they run and their detail. I think that they're manufacturing the Atlas line in the States now.

    I don't know if N-Track have a presence online. I know that we all bought manuals from them by mail-order, but that was a decade ago. If you don't find anything about them online, let me know and I can get the mailing address from my Dad for you.

    Some clever people in our local train club had even made pre-made metal modules with pop-off legs (and later folding-table style legs) that were exactly the right size, so all you had to do was build your scenery and lay down your track (and there were convenient, premade holes for track wiring). N-Track groups often have "building days", where a bunch of folks get together and build and wire their modules, everyone helping everyone else. You might want to see if there's a group in your local area if you go this way.

    I don't know if there is a similar standard for HO -- I know that ten years ago there wasn't one, so our club made up its own, based on the N-Track standards, just scaled up.
     
  13. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    My layout was modular. It was 4 sections, 2'wide by 8'long. I don't know if I have any pics anymore or not. I don't have room right now so I gave this layout to a guy & his kids. It's barely big enough for HO really, but it served me well.

    The basic construction was a 2x4 frame with a 2x2 grid inside. Plywood on top of that. 2 sections had a lower level of hidden staging tracks. The legs were cross braced 2x2's that could be swung up and pinned underneath the layout for storage/transport. Plywood sheets (about 2x8) would bolt to the side of one module and then had 2x2's about half way up to act as a shelf for a second module to be stacked on and bolted down. The bottom module of each of the two transportable sections had casters so they could be rolled. Kind of hard to explain. Everything was wired back into two huge switching stations with handheld throttles. Nothing as fancy as DCC, although if I ever get to build a new one it will be DCC. It will probably also be N scale.

    As Aaron mentioned, N-Track might give you a start.
    http://www.ntraksite.com/
     

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