Mixing old and new model trains?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Jul 23, 2008.


Do you prefer old or new model trains (or both)?

  1. I only run finely-detailed new/modern stock

    2 vote(s)
  2. I have no problem mixing old and new

    46 vote(s)
  3. I mainly run old trains from approx. 30-45 years ago

    2 vote(s)
  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    This may be a silly question but it's one I often think about when I operate my layout. I inherited a large MRR collection (with some items being 30- to over 45-years-old) from my Dad, and I have also bought a fair amount of new/modern stuff that was made in just the past few years. Because of this, I usually end up running a mixture of old and new stock (i.e. stock that was made and sold 30-45 years ago and stuff made in the past few years).
    (I'm using "stock" to refer to [or include] locos, coaches and freight cars.)

    Running a mix of old and new usually works well but occasionally I run into coupler problems, or having to "tolerate" a rather solid but basic looking loco sitting next to a new, finely-detailed one.

    BTW, I run British and occasionally North American trains. So many of my really old British trains are Hornby Dublo products. These die-cast beasts are built like tanks and run quite well some 40-45 years later, but don't have the fine detail of today's locos.

    So I thought I'd toss this question out here. Do you run only new/recently-made stock, a mixture, or simply stick with old products made about 30-45 years ago?

  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Unfortunately, since I'm interested only in trains of 100 or so years ago, I don't fall into any of your categories; however, it's your layout so it's pretty much whatever blows your skirt up. :cool:
  3. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    It depends on your definition of "old" for me. I voted mixture, but the oldest thing I own is a walthers kit with DIY trucks w/ knuckle coupler springs, which is maybe 30 years ago at most, while the newest thing I own is the Athearn 60th Aniversary cars I bought less than a year ago.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Mountain Man, he is talking about when the models were built, not the era they represent. I run a mix. I have some old blue box Athearn locomotives, and late model P2k locomotives. I also have Athearn blue box kits, Roundhouse kits, Accurail, and then I have the newer more highly detailed Intermountain, Red Caboose, and P2k cars. My old Athearn Gp7's with the wide hoods have had the bodies replaced with Trains Unlimited (ex Front Range) Gp7 and Gp9 bodies with correct scale width hoods. I have an A-B-A set of blue box Alco Pa's that wil have cast on details carved off and new brass details added before I put them in a train with my P2k Alco Pa's
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have mostly newer stuff, since I started seriously only in the last decade. I have my original train set from when I was a kid (falls into your "old" category - thanks a lot! ;)). I have also been given or purchased some things that are older than I am, including rolling stock (a scratchbuilt passenger car) and an engine or two (Varney steamers, I think...).

  6. Dave1905

    Dave1905 Member

    I run older stuff from 100 to 110 years ago. "Old trains from 35-40 years ago" only takes you to 1973 to 1968. That doesn't even cover any steam or even first generation diesel hood units (no GP9's or GP18's, no RS3's). It just barely hits Alco's and no Baldwin diesels.

    Dave H.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Robert is taking about the actual age of the models, not the era they represent...

  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Sorry for any confusion, but as Russ & Andrew say, I was talking about when the models were actually made, not the era they represent.

    It's interesting -- my favourite loco is a Hornby Dublo model of a steam tank engine. This model was made about 1962 when its prototype was still in use in Britain. I think it's cool that, when this model was originally sold, the real thing was a "current" loco. I also clearly remember my Dad and I running this when I was a kid in the mid-1960s, which is one of the reasons it's my favourite loco. It's also one of my best runners, although Bachmann makes a much better-detailed model of this tank engine now.

  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for your feedback folks -- I think this interesting. Rob
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I run them both---but---as you've noted, it takes a bit of patience and tinkering as ne'er the two shall meet without it...

    My 40 year old side dump gets pulled regularly in 35+ car trains with my...

    ....2 year old Atlas high ender.

  11. seanm

    seanm Member

    I went for old and new... but when it comes to engines, I prefer the new ones. I don't like trains that only run at Mach2 and stop at every switch. I don't mind, however, running rolling stock from the 70's. I still have some stock from my first N-Scale layout someplace.
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I have that problem with several of my old locos -- they either hesitate or stop at switches unless you "rev" up the transformer as they cross the frogs. It can be quite annoying. Rob
  13. I say go for it. If, for example, I were to score a sweet deal on a brass SD40-2 that was made when the prototypes were still new, you betcha I'd run that puppy alongside newer plastic models.
  14. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Much of the rolling stock I run, is from kits I built 50+ years ago. I've updated trucks and couplers, but the rest is as it was then. My favorite loco, which I have posted enough pics of here, my standard gauge 2-4-4-2, I purchased 40 years ago.
    I have more diesels than I would admit to, and the rollingstock for them, goes back 20 years.
    At the same time, I run stock (steam era, and modern) that is less than five years old.
    And, yes, I started in this hobby about 54 years ago, and still have some of those very first pieces.
  15. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    I prefer new locomotives just due to how smooth they run, plus DCC and sound if you want it. But for rolling stock I run anything that catches my eye, from any era, from any country, and any date of manufacture. I like to browse ebay, flea markets, etc. and bid on old stuff, some of which is junk, but with some careful consideration to new free-rolling trucks and Kadee couplers you get a nice model for a modest price.

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've been a bit disenchanted with some of the new model railroad products. I like the way the new locomotives run; but, as I transport models to modular railroad setups and see plastic details break off in transit, more and more I'm passing on the new highly detailed "craftsman" type kits and going with less detailed "shake the box" kits which can then be drilled for wire grabs, wire brake lines, etc. I've found with tuning that I can get an old Athearn blue box locomotive to run as good as anything on the market and if I start with an inexpensive old style Athearn, and add metal detail castings and wire grabs, I get a much more durable locomotive than the new P2k, Kato, Atlas etc with delicate plastic details that seem to break off just by looking at them too closely!
  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member


    For HO, my favorite freight cars were built by my dad while he was in high school...40 years ago. They are Silver Streak kits with Kadee sprung trucks. They've long been my favorite HO cars. My favorite locomotive is a brass hudson from the 1970s...imported 5 years before I was born!

    On3 wise, half of my roster of cars either predate me or are at least from before I could walk. My long-time favorite locomotive for operating characteristics is a Grandt Line porter that is approximately my age. My #1 On3 locomotive is a 1972 brass import...still with the original tender drive (I plan on dropping a new motor in the locomotive and adding a Tsunami to the tender). The other half of my roster is made up of kits from college and scratch built stuff...and some post-2000 motive power.

    I don't really care about how old my trains are, I care about how they look. Older items can be upgraded. In the past, it required a little bit of effort and skill to get trains that look like stuff which is available RTR today...but you can still get new stuff that is just as junky as the junky stuff from 50 years ago.
  18. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    If I ever finish building some of the locos I have started , they will be 30 years old the day they are done!
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have around 45 Athearn RTR cars and 10 Atlas/Trainman cars.I have no problems running these with my older BB or Walthers cars..
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I run everything I've had except for a few that have totally failed. Very little of my HO/OO stuff is older than 1959, but for one show I put together a LNER train showing coaches made from the 1940s up to the 1980s.
    I get a lot of fun running cast metal locos -- one of them pulls a train that approaches 20 feet long while a modern plastic loco required extra weight to pull its 6 coaches on my 2% grades.
    But I really like the cars with the lit lamps on all the tables.

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