Old track versus new

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MeCasa, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. MeCasa

    MeCasa New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm buying my grandson his first train set and I've noticed that most of the new sets have EZ Track, however I've also run across an older set (late 70's) that is like new and it has the older style track. They're both Bachman.

    Which would be my best bet?

  2. EZ-Track. It's either steel alloy or nickel silver, whereas the old one is definately steel alloy, and EZ-Track is easier to use on the fly.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think it unlikely that the older set has any sort of "roadbed" track (like EZ track) - nickle silver or steel. The track is more likely "standard" sectional brass, identified by its yellowish colour. There's nothing wrong with brass, but it does require a bit more cleaning to keep things running smoothly, as the oxide of brass will not conduct electricity, whereas the oxide of nickle silver will.

    The main concern I would have about the late '70s set is the locomotive. While I have a Bachmann unit from that era that is a solid runner with all-wheel drive and a heavy frame, lots of others were poor performers. They are identified by their light weight and "rear wheel drive" powered by a noisy, weak pancake motor power truck.

    If you have the chance, try out the set(s) before you buy.

  4. MeCasa

    MeCasa New Member

    Thanks for replying guys. It's embarrassing but I forgot to mention the boy's age. He's 5 years old. I have to keep reminding myself that the track is for him and it's not mine. I've about come to the decision that if he likes his train, there should be 2 tracks. One for the boy's room and one at grandpa's house that we can both play with, I also have to keep in mind that at his age his will no doubt get destroyed (we were all kids)

    So let me ask this, what would be a good starter set for a boy that age?

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    You'd be surprised at the care they can take... I have a 6 year old daughter that started "playing trains" with me at about 2.5 yrs old. She has a pretty good respect for the somewhat fragile nature of the trains now, and can operate pretty independently.

    As far as sets go, I am not sure where you are, but the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws has their "Presidents Choice" set on sale right now for CAN$50. Not bad.

    However, if you want to get into this in a more serious way, you might want to go to your local train/hobby shop and buy parts separately. Train set power packs tend to be underpowered, and the set will likely include sectional track that is not overly conducive to anything but an oval. The engines can be anything from poor to good quality.

    What might work better (especially with two locations for the railroad) is to buy items, especially the power source and locomotive(s) from higher quality manufacturers. Good engines can be had from Bachmann Spectrum, LifeLike (Proto series), Atlas, and Kato.

    Tell us a bit more about what you'd like to do (for yourself and/or grandson ;)), and we can give you some more suggestions.

    Welcome to The Gauge!

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The EZ track makes into a fairly solid oval that can be picked up and stored that way. However, I've heard poor reports about the quality of the switches. The black track is steel rail; the grey track is mickel silver which is better.
    If you start with EZ track, you either stay with it or replace it with something else eventually. The are other tracks that look like it, but won't join to it. The older style track will join if you put the right size roadbed under it.
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Steel rail is bad for conductivity...but good for traction. Brass track is the best for conductivity...but a nightmare for cleaning.

    It is common now for locomotives to have steel tires and for track to be nickel silver. Steel and Steel will maximize pulling power...but that can commonly be achieved with more weight...and it may produce sparks if the lights are out.
  8. kokoracer

    kokoracer Member

    Just finished laying track for my first "real" layout. For a child you might want to look at the"Lifelike" track by Walthers. It does not use the conventional rail joiners which means fewer small pieces to lose.

    For grandpa, I recommend the Bachmann EZ. Go nickel silver. More expensive but better quality. The LL track has limited avalibility, but with the Bachmann you can do anything a normal track can do.

    I have a 14x25 ft layout in the EZ track. Were it not for the tack, I would not be here. John
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The rule of thumb is the lttler the hands the bigger the trains. Ho might be a bit small for your grand son to use. It might be better to start him with a Lionel or MTH starter set in O-27 which is a circle 27 inches in diameter. On30 which is O scale narrow gauge on ho track might be a good choice as well. Bachmann is the primary manufacturer of On30. If he is going to put the track down and pick it up rather than having the track fastened permanently to a board in ho or On30, then you definately want the track with the built in plastic road bed. The other track with just track and ties is just too delicate and too hard to keep in alignment without having it nailed down to plywood. I'm referring to ho scale track here, the various brands of O-27 track are very strong although the MTH track with the built in road bed is probably more delicate than Lionel Fast Track.

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