new railroader needs some advice

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Woodyncarlyle, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Woodyncarlyle

    Woodyncarlyle New Member

    Hello Everyone,my two daughters and I (mainly me)what to build an n scale layout, plese pardon my lack of knowledge. I in the end want a layout that has quality components. Where do I begin when it comes to track. I see alot of info on bachmans e-z track. is this the way to go or should I be buying track and laying it on cork. What about locomotives I've been told Kato is real good. Should I be considering a starter kit with rail, cars, controller , etc., or should I piece it together? I have many many questions, and any advice is greatly appreciated. Bottom line I need help spending my RR budget.
    Thank you.
  2. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    We can certainly help you spend your budget, but we need to know what kind of budget you have before getting ahead of ourselves.

    In model railroading, like most anything else, you get what you pay for. If you're looking for something simple, easy to assemble/take down, and not get into the nitty gritty of modeling...then an off the shelf, all-in-one type train set may be the way to go. However, if you're interested in modeling in detail and want a permanent layout, then that's something else. As you can imagine, the budget difference between the two is pretty large.

    You've mentioned both Bachmann and Kato, which illustrates my point. In my book, they represent opposite ends of the spectrum in price points. I consider Bachmann to be entry level, and Kato is pretty much top of the line. You're in good hands with the folks here, no one will steer you wrong. But before anyone can really help you, you need to answer a few questions:

    1) What kind of budget do I have?

    2) Do I have space for a permanent layout, if so, how much?

    3) What is my skill level? Do I want ready made structures/scenery, or do I want to model them myself?

    4) How much time do I have to invest?

    This is just a starting point, mind you. I think many here will tell you that planning ahead and having an idea what you want will save you a lot of money and headaches in the future. Personally, I spent the better part of two years doing research and figuring out what I wanted before making a single purchase.

    By being a little more specific in what your needs/wants/goals are, I think you'll find that the fellows here will be able to help you a lot better! Good luck!
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The EZ track goes down quickly and stays together. What is missing is variety and expandability. You can have the pieces that they make and that's it. Probably fine for a small starter layout, but you can't do, say, a double track main line because the curve radii aren't close enough together. Nobody else makes track that clips onto it, but you can probably join flexible track to it with a lot of work. Flexible track, as you'd expect, gives you flexibility.
    Almost all of us probably started with a train set and sectional track.A lot of still have that track somewhere on the layout.
    Train sets that you find in any store other than a train-oriented hobby shop are probably low-end. However, you haven't said how old your daughters are. If you are thinking of buying them N scale, they are probably past the stage of forcing it down each other's throats. A cheap train can be a foot in the water, but it can also be frustrating when it doesn't perform as desired.
  4. Woodyncarlyle

    Woodyncarlyle New Member

    thank you for your responses. To be more specific, we will be having a permant layout, the initial size will be approx. 10 sq ft, which we will have room to double if expansion is wanted, I am quite serious about this, however time can be a factor, it will be a winter hobby, we hope to establish a layout and have the train running by christmas. Our budget to get started with track, engine, a few cars, contoller and scenery material is approx $300-400. You have answered by question regarding what type of track to use. The flexible sounds like the way to go, can you recommend a specific brand that would work for me. Any suggestions towards the purchse of a contoller.
    Thank you for your help!!
  5. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Hi and welcome to The Gauge:wave:
    This statement jumped out at me because it will have a major impact on the rest of your decisions.
    There is a learning curve that comes with permanent layouts that isn't there with a Christmas layout that is put away after. Using flex track will involve cutting that track to fit and then soldiering it together (especially on curves).
    Now I'm not saying that it isn't doable...because it is...just depends on the time you have to work on it before Christmas and your skill level or "handiness" as it were.
    only you know the answers to those questions...but one thing is certain...You will have trains running by Christmas!:thumb:
    A big question is approx. how much time will you have before Christmas to work on this this?
  6. Boilerman

    Boilerman Member

    One should be able to get quite a lot of equipment & bench work with that kind of budget even if purchases are made at the LHS.

    I would be inclined to stay away from the train sets as most are second rate unless you look at the MT or Kato lines.
    The short of it is that I would purchase items separately, that way one has a better choice of equipment.

    Others here should have some input on this as well.

    Yes, there certain tools and skills that may need to be acquired for the construction phase of this project.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    For locomotives:
    Atlas and Kato are consistently good. Micro-Trains and Intermountain are good, but they don't have many models available. Athearn and Life-Like Proto 2000 are generally good. Bachmann Spectrum has some good models and some not-so-good (their steam tends to be better than diesel), but avoid Bachmann's regular line. I'm not sure about Model Power steam, but I've heard that their FP7 isn't very good.

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