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Vintage Toy Railroading All scales G, O, HO, S, N, plus Lionel, American Flyer and Marx

Vintage Toy Railroading

Looking at getting models again

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Old 12-28-2018, 11:13:19 PM
Odin Odin is offline
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Default Looking at getting models again

Its been years. My family had a couple different sets that I grew up with, and over time they were played with until they were well worn. But they were all left behind when the farm was lost, since they rightly belonged to family members that I would rather not see again.

I'm not sure how I ended up on ebay today, but I ended up on a listing of an HO scale ATSF 0-4-0T saddle tank that brought back a few memories. Pretty cheap too, I might go back and get it even if I don't have a track to run it on just because it was a good deal.

But that said, suppose I wanted to put together an HO scale set again to play with.

I remember having some Bachman EZ-track before, and that it was so much better on the carpet because the plastic ballasting it came with kept it up off the fabric as well as providing some support for the total lack of proper grading and route planning. So I'd probably start with that again, at least until my living circumstances allowed a proper table layout.

For locomotives and rolling stock I'd probably just pick something from memory lane or that looked nice at a good price. Eventually I might want to get something fancy like one of the Nickel Plate 765 or UP 4014 models to run, but that's years away because of the $200+ price tags these engines have and their need of a DCC controller to actually use all the functions.

But here's where I'm not sure. Should I go for an entry level DCC controller right from the start so that I need not worry about converting to it later? Or am I better off just sticking with the traditional sort of system that I used years ago, and if I ever do upgrade I'll deal with the complexities of it then.

Anyone here familiar with DCC that could offer some guidance on that?
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:16:06 PM
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FWurth FWurth is offline
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Default Re: Looking at getting models again

In my thinking, it all depends on the level of involvement you plan on getting into. If your just going to turn the set on only occasionally why spend the extra cash, as that high tech system does run into some serious investment. But if you want to do some serious layout Railroading then maybe the extra tech may well be worth the cost. Years back I built the HO layout that I dreamed of as a kid. Then raising my family got in the way so the layout just sits in the basement today. Maybe when the grand kids get older, they can get some enjoyment from it. Me today, I tend to enjoy the old tinplate trains that Lionjel, Marx and AF.
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Old 12-29-2018, 03:28:39 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Looking at getting models again

My grandfather had a model railroad that ran thru 2 rooms of his home! He scratch built over 60 different marked and model box cars and running gear, as well as trestles, tunnels and a few locos, all modeled on equipment and locations of the Pennsylvania RR. All in HO guage It was a fantastic layout, and I remember running 3 trains simultaneously on the 3 levels of track he had. He spent over 15 years building the tracks and stations, all based on pictures he took of the RR when it was in operation. He even had buildings and equipment from the PRR yard in Strasburg PA. He had working grade crossings, and a dual track HO car system as well. He was an electrical engineer and figured a way to stop the HO autos at the crossings when a train approached and the gates came down. Working lights in the stations and buildings he built, as well as miniature head and tail lights in the autos! Even the cabooses he built had miniature red lanterns hanging in the back, that lit when the train stopped at stations. To this day, I don't know how he figured that one out! On one spot on his layout he had a train wreck staged (a 6 car de-railment, with the loco on its side), with a work crew and crane at the wreck site. It was neat to see the crane lift a set of trucks from the wreck, turn and set it on a gondola set near by. Unfortunately, when he died, my grandmother sold the entire thing, as it reminded her too much for her loss. It took 4 days to remove the entire layout, including the 6 layers of track along one wall, loaded with different PRR running stock equipment he had built
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Old 12-30-2018, 12:03:13 AM
Odin Odin is offline
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Default Re: Looking at getting models again

Went to a local dealer today, who had a quite large layout in his attic that we ran a little bit while discussing layouts and plans. He said that not only is a DCC system much more expensive than an analog DC solution, but I would end up with 2-3 discrete boxes that would have to be powered and wired up whenever I wanted to use this set versus 1 box that plugs into the terminal rerailer track piece.

For now the plan is to just make circles and ovals with maybe a siding or a spur to build the consist on and then have the locomotive pick it up. I don't exactly have the space to set up a proper layout while living in this tiny apartment, but winter has barely started and its driving me nuts because most of my hands-on hobbies depend on fair weather to enjoy.

So I have an assortment of track on its way, 18" curves and 9" straights of the Bachmann E-Z track that I figure would be a good choice for quick layouts on the carpet. In addition there are 3 cars and a bobber caboose, and 3 different locomotives. I'm getting a new in box 0-6-0T saddle tank marked Bethlehem Steel, which is DCC ready with a socket to install a decoder in and should last a lifetime. There's also the ATSF 0-4-0T that I spent many hours playing with as my only properly functional engine and found the same make and model of on ebay, and a PRR 2-6-0 that years ago had stripped drive gears and couldn't actually be used. Here's hoping the one I just ordered actually works.

The way I see it if the ATSF 0-4-0 or the PRR 2-6-0 arrive in a non-functional state, I can just remove the motor from them and push them using the 0-6-0 as though it was a double header. It'd be close enough to let me go back to a simpler time watching them go.

While I would someday like to build a proper layout and all that which would benefit from DCC, it just isn't cost effective yet. I will keep it in mind though if I purchase more locomotives at a later date to get the ones that have the DCC Decoder Socket in them so that I can simply plug in a decoder later.

Last edited by Odin; 12-30-2018 at 02:19:42 AM.
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