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Discussion Starter #1
In an earlier post to MKEIFF, SUBWAYAZ said NO to sets. He suggested going to the hobby store and buying an Atlas Trainman GP15, some "snap track", and some rolling stock. His premise was that MKEIFF would be much happier this way than with a prepackaged set. SUBWAYAZ sentiments were echoed by CHOO CHOO. Their comments have led to my confusion, and being new I do not want to make a mistake.

I have seen advertised at various places on the Internet the following "N" gauge train set: "Atlas Trainman N 2105 Train Set with True-Track and GP-15 Norfolk and Southern #1452." Is this a different Atlas Trainman Loco than the one recommended by SUBWAYAZ? How about the track, controller and rolling stock, are they different too?

I have been contemplating this set and one other (but had finally settled on the Atlas Trainman) when I read this exchange this morning. Before I was just brand new to the hobby; now I am new and confused! I do not want to purchase this Atlas Trainman set if it is the wrong thing to do, bu it just seems to me an excellent way to enter the hobby at reasonably low expense. Having something to "mess around" with can do nothing but wet the appetite and begin to satisfy the desire to learn.

Help me out here. What am I missing in SUBWAYAZ and CHOO CHOO'S posts. Where is this Atlas Trainman set different from individual components?

Thanks,
KCD
 

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KCD,

First, welcome to the forum! Second, the the advice you received is good, but it's not the only answer. Getting a set is a good idea if you're interested, fairly inexperienced and want to get started. If you're hot to get going, buy the set and get started.

Now, let's get the the "why" of their advice, and it was good advice. Hindsight has told most of us that the best thing to do at first is be patient, read, learn, ask questions and then make your purchases. That way, you get the ideal components for you, and don't waste money on stuff that was close but not exactly what you needed. For example, you might buy a set that has a great engine, but the track leaves a lot to be desired. What I think they are suggesting is to put some time in on your imaginary drawing board, first. Decide what it is you want to do. Are you going to be happy with a train that runs around a big oval? Or do you intend to model a certain era and a particular industry? Buying a contemporary set with 2000-era cars and engines may be inexpensive, but if you later realize you wanted to do 1940's steamers...well, you have a problem.

So...do what feels best. If you're dying to get you feet wet, get the set and get started. If this email makes you reconsider, then give some thought to where you think you want to go. Investing in a set only works if you want what goes with the set---if you don't, then buying piece-by-piece to build your own is a better approach.

Best wishes,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, Reckers. I can see what you are saying, but I was confused by the responders to MKEIFF when they said "sets were trash", then suggested buying individual components from Atlas Trainman that are available in a set... doesn't compute, at least for me.

What I would like to do and what I can do are most likely two very different things. Having lived in the high country of Colorado, I always marveled at the still remaining narrow gauge still clinging precariously to the sides of one mountain after another as you wend your way west from Denver. If I knew what I was doing, and knew I had the remaining years, I would model the Georgetown - Silver Plume narrow gauge with its renowned switchback. But, I have neither the time nor the talent for that; it will remain a dream.

My other wonderful memory from Colorado is of the very narrow Glen wood Canyon with its highway, the Colorado River and the railroad running along side on a very narrow (not gauge) road bed chiseled from the canyon that overshadows everything. I will not be able to do anything accurate here as I want more than a point to point layout, but somewhere along the table, the mainline will cross bridges and tressels, run along the river and pass through tunnels as those wonderful trains in Colorado did and still do.

Id even consider an Nn3 narrow gauge in the mountains with the mainline running through the valleys, but that is beyond my ability and pay grade. I wouldn't know where to start.

Your advise was well served and has been well taken. I'll let you know what I finally do, but whatever I do, I know it will be fun!

Thanks again,

KCD
 

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My other wonderful memory from Colorado is of the very narrow Glen wood Canyon with its highway, the Colorado River and the railroad running along side on a very narrow (not gauge) road bed chiseled from the canyon that overshadows everything. I will not be able to do anything accurate here as I want more than a point to point layout, but somewhere along the table, the mainline will cross bridges and tressels, run along the river and pass through tunnels as those wonderful trains in Colorado did and still do.

Just chiming in here for one second to say that the "vision" above sounds fantastic! I do hope you can incorporate some of that "feel" into your layout.

Good luck!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #5
TJ...
Thanks, it will be a while... I havn't a clue about how to do it. The thought of all that scenery is scary. But maybe, just maybe, and with help, I can do something that will do my memories and thinking proud.
KCD
 

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Sets are usually assemblies of bottom end components so that they can be priced to appeal to the general public,not really to modellers who are usually much more selective based on their experience.Some even call them "Christmas tree sets" wich isn't far from truth to be honest.But they still will allow you to get the feel of the hobby.

However,this particular set being from Atlas already tells that it should be somewhat better than some other sets (Bachmann,Life-Like,etc).The loco should be quite nice and you likely could enjoy it for years.But when it comes to tracks,that's where sets don't shine at all.The True-Track may be dependable but will not likely fit with any thing else than True-Track components,and if you try to expand with this type of pre-made tracks,you'll find that these systems are very limited as to what patterns you may be able to design with them,not considering the costs.As stated in an earlier post,snap-track will allow more flexibility and flex-track be even much better.

My suggestion...go with the set to get your feet wet...but when expansion ideas do come up,think outside the limitations of the set.Get better tracks to start with and then you may need a stronger power supply...or go DCC instead.This is an addictive hobby you know....
 

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KCD,

Welcome aboard bud!:thumbsup:

The advice you get here is top quality. But like Reckers said, ultimately, the final decision is yours.

I had a 30 year gap in my model railroading hobby, and in January of this year, I caught the bug,

I picked up stuff off of eBay, traded stuff from neighbors, bought from friends, etc, now I'm running N, HO, and I've just ventured into O scale.

Its great, and I love it! I don't have any fancy scenery or anything (not yet anyway:D), I just have ovals set up on old boards in my basement.

I run my trains and have fun doing it. Enjoy yourself, thats why we do this:D

Cheers, Ian
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Brakeman Jake,

In the two or so weeks I have been studying "N" gauge, I have gathered a bit of knowledge... just enough to be dangerous! One of the things I did from the start was to research layouts. I collected several that looked good (in a confined sort of size, which is what I mist have), and then downloaded "AnyRail 4.0" so I could begin the process of learning through experimentation. So, I am learning! You, along with Reckers and TJ, have provided the kind of insight I need to be ready to take the plunge, and I thank you all.

The only thing that keeps me from buying the Atlas Trainman set today is my deep seated desire to do Colorado's Georgetown Loop. The set would provide the running gear for the Glenwood Canyon idea, but that loop is stuck in my head. I don't know if anyone has ever done it, and I don't know how to do it, or where, even, to start. I don't know if I would have to do the Georgetown Loop in "Nn3", or if I did it as a stand alone if it could be done in "N". There appear to be a couple of very nice Shay locos out there for "N" (and theat would be appropriate), but I do not know what I would run on "Nn3" (which, as I understand it, is basically "Z" track).

Ian, thanks for your post as well. I still have my old, beat-up American flyier set (Loco, cars, and track... no transformer though). Maybe I'll dig them out and set them up just for the fun of it. They have not run in well over sixty years!

However, I'm sure time will sort things out. Thanks again for your thoughts...

KCD
 

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TJ,

AnyRail requires a very limited learning curve, models all sorts of track types and will really do a great deal. I still have a long way to go to optimize it, but I'm learning. Thanks for the links, I'll go there now.

KCD
 

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I use Anyrail and am a big fan of it. KCD, you're now well into following the advice of MKIEF and SUBWAYAZ; buy what you need and want, as opposed to a set in which the manufacturer gives you what they want to sell. Both paths work, but the first allows you to minimize you purchasing things you didn't really need or want. Best of luck, and don't let scenery scare you. It's your layout, so you being satisfied with it is the only thing that really matters.
 
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