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Discussion Starter #1
First let me state that while I'm not very good at it, I wholeheartedly believe in the saying, "Search is your friend". With that in mind, I did search around for some answers before posting this alas I came up short.

As I said in my intro, I'm looking at re-building the collection that I had when I was a little one. My Grandfather bought it for my Dad, I played with it alot when I was young, but unfortunately my parents sold it to a dealer when they retired and moved into a smaller house. :(

I went out and got one of those Chicago and Northwestern sets from Menards when they went on sale this year. Very basic 40x60 loop with an engine and a few passenger cars. But that Fastrack stuff I don't seem to care for.

As I shop fleabay and other places, what should I focus my efforts on acquiring? Build up a large assortment of track pieces? Keep an eye out to start collecting cars and a couple engines? Working accessories such as log loaders and coal loaders? Or lighting and such?

Seems the obvious answer is everything I listed after the track pieces is useless without the track, but you're the experts!

Thanks for your help, I really hope I'm not the 400th person to have asked this!
 

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Yard Master & Research
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10,693 Posts
Fleabay?

I would suggest that you list your Dad's collection. Make a list of what you want in an order. Old track can be gotten at train shows by the box. Big question is how are your train skills? You will have to maintain your collection. So start small, and don't buy the 1000 dollar collectable right away. You best bet is to look at the fleabay lots. By spending a few hundred you can a mass a collection. You have to know what your getting in pieces and that is why your list is important. Buy the lot that has the trains you want. Buying individual pieces will be more expensive, and save it for the harder stuff to find.How is that for starters? Do you ebay at all? Much can be said on just buying there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tip. It would take me a while to put together a "list", right now I'm just browsing ebay listings and making note of things I recall having. For example, I know we had several of the green 4-light towers. I've seen those now on ebay selling anywhere from $45-$90. The silver ones are consistently less. The most I know about ebay is to search the completed listings to see what things actually sell for to avoid overbidding. Also, I've noticed that the best deals on larger lots seem to be from non-train enthusiasts. Some of what you get might be garbage, but for the most part you're still getting a deal on the working pieces.

The skills point seems good, and I think I've got enough will power to not go buying high priced collectibles before I've really researched and know what I'm getting into.
 

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Yard Master & Research
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You will need reference material. For Postwar, look at the Lionel catalog by doyle.The ebay disk will help in servicing or buy a postwar service manual with a blue hard cover. This will cover a lot of basics to engines and acessories. Amazon.com is worth the look. The e bay disks also have the prewar catalogs a good reference to id an engine.Keep in mind some items tag along in lots like towers and track. It's all about on where you want to start. Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Regarding track, are there any particular pieces that are more versatile than others? Or better yet, are there certain pieces (like switches, crosses, certain diameter curves) that people generally wish they had more of when designing layouts?
 

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Yard Master & Research
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O27 is common 27 radius track. The 022 switch starts at 31 inch radius O gage with the deeper rail. Ebay usually doesn't say what type or radius the curves are. Today many styles exist some with a hidden center rail.Or go retro and get super 0 from the 50's. The larger radius, the more you can pull. 72 is the largest radius. Of course it s harder to find the larger radius switches. With new track you have more flexiblity and supply. The old tubular is easly cut to fit, try that with easy track. It's all a matter of space and taste. Start with certain size table and go from there.
 
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