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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my son and I have been working on our layout and ran into a problem. We are putting a loop in the center of our town area for trolleys and we have been trying to decide how to do this. My initial plan was to use Kato Unitram track which includes the street surfaces and even some foundations for buildings. The problem has been finding it in stock anywhere, combined with the price. We estimated that the loop and downtown streets would cost over $500 to get done. Since we could not get that and we are up to laying that section now, I bought some Atlas sectional track sections. I figured it would be easier to inset that into the foam base to give us rails at street surface height. That requires us to make the streets though, and requires different switches to control the turnouts. Also, the curves are 9" radius, which is a little large for street intersections.

So, I was looking at using Kato compact Unitrack with either 4 or 6 inch radius curves. I think the trolley (which are all that will run on this loop) would handle the 4 inch but I am 100% sure they will handle the 6" curves. These are a little harder to inset into the foam to get the rails at surface height, but it can be done. The best part was that the New Braunfels Train show is this weekend and I planned on going there to look for the track and whatever else caught my eye.

Then I got the phone call this afternoon that crated the dilemma. My LHS called. The Athearn UP 4014 Big Boy in excursion markings (DCC and sound) came in at the shop and they put it aside for me (I had asked them back in February to let me know if they found one, along with a FEF-3 number 844 in excursion marking to go with it). There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to the shop to pick it up on Saturday. The dilemma is if I should still go to the train show. This kind of blows my monthly budget for trains and I know if I go, someone will have something I want.
 

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Ahhh, the problems faced by the rich and famous! 😂
 
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Well, my son and I have been working on our layout and ran into a problem. We are putting a loop in the center of our town area for trolleys and we have been trying to decide how to do this. My initial plan was to use Kato Unitram track which includes the street surfaces and even some foundations for buildings. The problem has been finding it in stock anywhere, combined with the price. We estimated that the loop and downtown streets would cost over $500 to get done. Since we could not get that and we are up to laying that section now, I bought some Atlas sectional track sections. I figured it would be easier to inset that into the foam base to give us rails at street surface height. That requires us to make the streets though, and requires different switches to control the turnouts. Also, the curves are 9" radius, which is a little large for street intersections.

So, I was looking at using Kato compact Unitrack with either 4 or 6 inch radius curves. I think the trolley (which are all that will run on this loop) would handle the 4 inch but I am 100% sure they will handle the 6" curves. These are a little harder to inset into the foam to get the rails at surface height, but it can be done. The best part was that the New Braunfels Train show is this weekend and I planned on going there to look for the track and whatever else caught my eye.

Then I got the phone call this afternoon that crated the dilemma. My LHS called. The Athearn UP 4014 Big Boy in excursion markings (DCC and sound) came in at the shop and they put it aside for me (I had asked them back in February to let me know if they found one, along with a FEF-3 number 844 in excursion marking to go with it). There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to the shop to pick it up on Saturday. The dilemma is if I should still go to the train show. This kind of blows my monthly budget for trains and I know if I go, someone will have something I want.
Steve;

Your visit to the LHS needn't take all day, and you can pay with a credit card. That leaves the rest of the day to go to the train show with cash, and come back flat broke, but smiling. Welcome to model railroading Bucky! 😄

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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That's not an interesting dilemma, that's how this hobby works. Welcome aboard!

Visit your bank tomorrow and take out a second mortgage. Call the LHS and pay for the loco to hold it for you. Spend all day at the train show. Hide all your purchases and sneak them into the train room. Call in sick to work Monday and go pick up your Big Boy. Problem solved!
 

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Its likely the show will have everything because the sellers haven’t really been able to sell anything for the past year so chances are tables will be piled high so definitely go to that. I’d also pick up that Big Boy because why not? If It’ll put you over budget then just don’t spend as much next month and you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, the dilemma is solved, thanks to all your help. My son is meeting me at the train show and we will see what happens there. On the way home, we will swing by the LHS and pick up the Big Boy (I really want that). At the same time, I will ask them to find me a set of the Kato UP Excursion cars (unless I find them at the train show - I had forgotten how overstocked some of the dealers there will be since the last two shows had been cancelled. Thanks for that reminder Annie). And then I will leave it all at my son's house where he can tell his wife I bought it and my wife won't know it for several weeks.

And my video this week will be showing off the Big Boy instead of the improvements to the layout I had planned (I got the Stapleton switches in and was planning on building a new control panel).
 

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And then I will leave it all at my son's house where he can tell his wife I bought it and my wife won't know it for several weeks.
Don’t forget the model railroader classic to the wife: “What, this stuff? I’ve had this for months in the (pick one) garage, attic, basement, closet.” Choose the timing wisely for choice purchases though because you can’t use it too often lol. A Big Boy would certainly qualify.

And always great to hear about these various Kato Unitrack products that are probably only available in N scale. Oh well...
Sounds like a great layout.
 

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SO, a buddy of mine tried the "I've had it for ages" line, but then his wife called him over and showed him the pictures she took of his stock pile and he had to explain the huge increases... Stupid digital cameras...

I've been married for more than 60% of my life to the same lovely women, but if I have learned one thing its this : "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission". Ok, maybe two : "sleep with one eye open"...
 

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SO, a buddy of mine tried the "I've had it for ages" line, but then his wife called him over and showed him the pictures she took of his stock pile and he had to explain the huge increases... Stupid digital cameras...

I've been married for more than 60% of my life to the same lovely women, but if I have learned one thing its this : "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission". Ok, maybe two : "sleep with one eye open"...
Lol. Yea. And let’s not forget it can work both ways too. Maybe that Louis Vuitton handbag has been around for ages.
I think back about Long Island: Get a few of us in Trainland and the wives shopping in East Hampton and see which group maxes out the credit card first. It wouldn’t even be close.

“Well dear, I just bought $700 locomotive.”
“That’s nice, honey, this evening dress only cost $12,000!”
DOH!
 

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You might have missed the part about budget problems. I am more like poor and infamous.
You really are new to this. Just skip a few mortgage payments. No one will care! :D
 
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Well, the dilemma is solved, thanks to all your help. My son is meeting me at the train show and we will see what happens there. On the way home, we will swing by the LHS and pick up the Big Boy (I really want that). At the same time, I will ask them to find me a set of the Kato UP Excursion cars (unless I find them at the train show - I had forgotten how overstocked some of the dealers there will be since the last two shows had been cancelled. Thanks for that reminder Annie). And then I will leave it all at my son's house where he can tell his wife I bought it and my wife won't know it for several weeks.

And my video this week will be showing off the Big Boy instead of the improvements to the layout I had planned (I got the Stapleton switches in and was planning on building a new control panel).
Just keep a couple of bags in the garage so they collect dust. Anytime something new arrives they go in the dusty bag and bam you've had them forever! And I agree with everyone else, budget, lol, they don't exist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, the dilemma did not turn out to be nearly as bad as I thought. We got to the train show this morning at about 10:30 (it had opened at 10). I was shocked at how crowded it was. New Braunfels is a small town about 30 miles north of San Antonio and 60 miles south of Austin. It looked like the whole town was there and I had to park two blocks from the convention center, then wait in line to get in. But it did look to me like most of the visitors were families just wanting to see the trains (the display layouts were crowded but the booths selling stuff were not nearly as busy). It helps to understand that they advertise a children's layout where they let the kids run the trains and the San Antonio Lego User's Group brings a portable Lego city and train layout to display.

The vendor's seemed to have mostly HO and O gauge train stuff. There were some with N gauge but not as much as I had hoped. I did see quite a bit of older trains and a lot of rolling stock that had what I think were Rapido couplers (they looked like a squared angle instead of the knuckles I am used to seeing - it might be something else, but I knew it would not work with my existing stock). The stuff I did see that was newer did not seem to be any great deals. I do have a weird attitude that I don't mind paying a little more for stuff at the LHS because I get great service from them.

It was not a complete waste of time. My son did find a couple buildings he wanted and we got leads on more. We both got quite a few ideas from looking at the various layouts and saw stuff we could use (I think we are getting a new baseball diamond in the park area and if anyone knows where to find the old Life-Like N scale Pizza Hut, he really wants that). All told, we only spent about 20 dollars on train stuff, plus admission and lunch. My oldest granddaughter went with us and really liked some of what she saw (was impressed with the smoke coming from an HO gauge steam locomotive on one display).

Then we went down to Dibble's and picked up my new Big Boy. Of course, we had to pick up a few other things, so it was a $600 trip. But, it is only $120 over budget between both, so I can make it up pretty easily next month by cutting back. So far, I only have one problem with the Big Boy. I have been using the blue tools Kato gives you for putting the train on the tracks. It is way to short for the Big Boy, with the locomotive barely fitting on while I hold the tender up in the air until it slides forward far enough for the tender.
 

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Yep, sure does sound like a very well set up Train show.

You can find some very good deals if you look closely. The prices
do vary from booth to booth, and the vendors are usually willing
to negotiate.

You can't go wrong buying cars at the shows. There are usually
boxes of them under the tables in addition to what is on display.
You should be able to pick up a well detailed car, knuckle couplers,
and possibly metal wheels for from 5 or 6 dollars up, a fraction
of the new cost. Usually if you buy several you can get a good discount.

Don
 

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You might have missed the part about budget problems. I am more like poor and infamous.
I feel and know your "pain". I've just gotten the most recent order in and built and am in the process of setting the majority of the structures in place, the wiring for the lights is what will take the longest time. Now it's time to pay down the cards some more, again, I haven't gone over budget ("almost" only counts in horse-shoes, hand grenades, and atomic weapons LOL). I'm chalking this one up to my birthday, last one being Christmas
 
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