Young children... what age to start...?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by lisafeg, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. d1andwill

    d1andwill New Member

    My 3 year old is train obsessed too

    My first post good forum
    We are from Sydney as well.

    Nice to know that We are not the only ones with a train obsessed lad. Our boy is 3.5 and almost from day 1 has had a thing for trains. Do you know about "the train shed" at Luddenham? They have a Thomas ride on train plus a few trainsets. (for the adults there is a winery there too).:)

    I have managed to get my 6.5 year old daughter interested too. We are looking at building a zigzag lay out in HO. So we are in the planning process. We went to the Epping model train show on the weekend and the kids had a great time looking at the diffrent layouts to get ideas.

    The lad loves his thomas Blue track & likes putting diffrent layouts up. This week he learned how to set the points to make the train take diffrent tracks.

    Lots of good ideas on the net for layouts.

  2. RogerH

    RogerH New Member


    I found a "bullet-proof" combination for my 3 yrs. old son:

    • I use locomotives and rolling stock from Hornby's Thomas the tank engine-series. These are quite sturdy models, without any (loose delicate) details that can fall off when kids handeling them.
    • I use C-tracks from Trix. These are actually the DC-version of Märklin's AC C-track. It is very sturdy, and easy to handle. You can step uopn them, and they doesen't slide apart when they are moved. They allows both my son and wife to "click" the tracks toghether to a functional layout without any problems at all. And the switches has workable groundthrows.
    When my son grow older, I plan to gradually exchange his equipment with more sophisticated models (if he still be interested in model trains).

    With kindly regards

    R:) GER
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I mentioned in another thread, I've ordered out a Whittle Wooden train set for my grandson for his birthday (2 in Jan 07). He is starting out right with a Santa Fe red & silver warbonnett!
  4. AmericanAirFan

    AmericanAirFan New Member

    Well I'll give my story about how I got into trains my next door neighbor had a vast room dedicated to O/O27 guage trains that he ran all around I think he had DCC I'm not sure he had two mainlines and lots of various other things that must be worth thousands! Well thats how I got started I liked it so much and I liked seeing trains in real life espescially the steamers they caught my eyes and still do. When I was older (7 years) My dad bought me an O27 Deleware and Hudson basic trainset and I had the biggest smile on my face at Christmas time. From there on my neigbor gave me some of his traincars and an old switch to add to my track. Then I started going to train shows anually and bought O/O27 stuff I ended up with lots of track some extra train cars and a train crossing and various other stuff It started costing a fortune for me at the time! Then I was given an old HO scale train and it really didn't run one or two years later I got a nice HO scale train layout and I got hooked on HO and had a blast and I have accumulated so much up to this day I must have at least 500 dollars worth of stuff probably more and I'm only 15 sadly 2 or 3 years ago I drifted away and let my aviation loves kick in Ive decided to try and kick back into trains even though aviation has me completely dominated me. I'd recomend minimal of age 7 unless you have a brilliant kid like TrainNut. Well there's my two cents

  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Please allow me to add this to this string...I heartily endorse this company - Whittle Shortline Railroad as the best in wooden trains. Their website is They make wooden trains that fit any wooden track like Brio or Thomas and they are better made and last longer than any Brio/Thomas set I've seen. They offer current American railroad diesels, railcars and some steam engines. Prices are very comparable to Brio/Thomas. I have 5 little ones and they have yet to wear any of the railcars out or even knock the paint off them - and they're played with almost every day. On the other hand, Brio and Thomas products are very nice looking, but the paint seems to chip off a bit easier - nothing a permanant black ink pen can't fix - but they do chip/dent easier. I've taught my kids how to handle and respect these wooden ones so that they can run our N-scale layout wisely and with care. Plus, they enjoy taking their track empires down and changing them up at will - something you just can't do easily with an electric train layout. I have some examples of my kid's wooden engines located in the Gallery section - look for my screen name and double click on the thumbnail picture. You can't find the Whittle Shortline wooden trains in many stores here in the USA so I really doubt you'll find any where you are as they are mostly a mail-order business.

    One other'll find that creating a layout and running the trains creates a wealth of valuable opportunities to teach, coach, and educate. Pick any railroad anywhere in the world and their's a history behind where and why those rails were put down. Each railroad has many interesting facts surrounding their creation and the cities they served. My kids have learned a lot about geography, construction, and commerce as well as developed fine motor skills and quick thinking all from running our layout. This is one hobby that you can't out grow, where you're only limitation is your own creativity, where a parents and children can work together building something that lasts. I applaud your interest in this adventure - it will pay lasting dividends.
  6. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Russ - if you haven't already received them...I'm guessing you'll be pleased how well the Whittle trains are made and look...we have a Santa Fe warbonnet as well as several others and the kids love them. The railroad colors are really accurate too.
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    dude, you are my clone. When i was 6 i got my Lionel 4-4-2 O-27 steamer, but then it took a back seat to all my B-17s and A-10s, and i only got back into the model train hobby after the model airplanes annoyed me to much (I always hated how you could see the seems in the models). I'm still into aviation, but i'm more ballanced. For example, i still build my model layout, but at the same time i'm trying to convicne my mom to loan me the other half of the money i need for a ride in the last flying B24 liberator. That probalby won't happen, but i'll still go to see the tour. the Collings foundation is stopping nearby with their B-17, B-24, and B-25. I went to the USAF Mueseum to. Its good stuff. Even though now my interests are primarily trains, I still have a massive WWII fighter planes models, a B-36 Peacemaker ( I love the shiny planes of the 1950s, with the F-86, and B-47s) and a UH-1C sitting here. I have a smaller B-29 i'm still working on.
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Speaking of airplanes, Herc Driver, you wouldn't happen to fly C-130s? Nice airplanes. I always enjoy seeing them roar by. The sound of a prop plane is super sasitfying compared to a jet thats here and gone in a second.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    They came in and your right they look great. Unfortunately, my wife was afraid that the wheels might come loose and be a choking hazard, so I have them put away to give to him when he is 3 instead of 2. It is great, but I guess I'm anxious to get him into trains. Obviously at 18 months he doesn't have a long attention span, but he likes watching the steam train videos that I recorded off the RFD "Trains & Locomotives" programs.
  10. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Green Elite - yep...been flying the C130 for two years now in the Guard...flew the C5 before that. The herc can do just about anything. It's not pretty, but it's strong and will bring you home.

    Russ - Glad you like 'em too. My kids really do. We've never had a wheel or magnet come off yet, but you're prudent to be careful. We also got the Amtrak Superliner set and it really looks good! The CN diesel we have has a paint job that looks closer to the real diesel than my Athearn SD75 I just got.
  11. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    It's quite interesting to read what other peoples idea of "starting age" should be. My girlfriend has a little guy (5 years old) and that having a bit of patients and taking the time to show how and why and what things do pays off later on down the road. Careful guidance and a bit of patients with him (or her) really does pay itself off. :thumb: Allow your son or daughter to become involved in helping with the small things and if you find him capable of that then advance him/her to more of the tech. stuff!

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