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In the mid/late 70's I got into HO model railroading. I had a 4x8 table with a simple layout which kept me (sometime) out of mischief as a teen. Unfortunately all that equipment is gone. But now with two grandsons, 2 & 10 months, and seeing some neat Christmas displays online, I'm getting the fever again. I don't have a lot of room. But I'm considering one of three directions. One, a small display incorporating our tree. I'm guessing N for this. Two, a larger one I could use outdoors in a Christmas yard display. Or around our outdoor bar area around the pool during the season. Three, a small HO or N I can build in a room in our church for the K-5 ages & use as enticement for our SS program. I'm pretty decent with woodworking. And have been in the instrumentation field in the chemical industry for close to 30 years so I'm familiar with electronics / pneumatics / some programming. I'm searching this site for these topics. But I'd appreciate any ideas, links, books, DVD, etc anyone can recommend. Thanks folks!!! :)
 

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You will be glad to know that quality control
has greatly been improved for model railroading
in recent years. So much so, that you can select
the locos, cars and accessories based on what
attracts you.

One of the most important innovations is the
introduction of DCC,(Digital Command Control).
It permits you to run several trains at the same
time with individual control of each.

G scale tracks are made to make possible outdoor
railroads. The tracks of the other scales are not.
Some have built outdoor HO layouts but have
had difficulty with corrosion causing loss of
electrical conductivity.

Tho there are widely differing opinions as to
whether small children can handle HO trains
without damage. O gauge is built stronger and
is often the choice for youngsters.

Do read through the various threads here
on the Forum pertinent to each gauge. You may find information that will help you choose.

You'll find here on the Forum various 'How to"
videos that are very helpful. At the top of most
of our Forums are 'stickies' that are packed with
information and advice helpful to new modellers.

The Form members have decades of experience
in model railroading and stand ready to help you
with all of your questions.

Don
 

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Hi, Charlie! Welcome back to the hobby! I think you'll find that having trains as a teen, taking a long break while school / career / family take priority, then getting back into the hobby in later years is pretty common.

If you must pick only one (and i think that's wise), I would go with option 2 -- build an outdoor layout around your pool area. Since you live in Texas, you can probably get 4 season enjoyment out of it. As Don said, G scale (pretty big stuff) is often designed for outdoor use. Outdoor HO is problematic, but you can make a go of it if you're willing to weatherproof it somewhat.

For the other ideas, I think you will find that N is neither large enough nor robust enough to make a good around-the-tree option, especially with little fingers involved. Normally, I'm the first guy to say that wwhether kids can handle the small stuff is very dependent upon the individual child, but the necessity for constant vigilance in a common area of the house is probably a deal-breaker, because kids that you will need your complete supervision, at least for a few years.

The Church idea is a nice one, but i'm afraid you would not retain total control over that layout, and things might go in a direction you won't appreciate and that won't fulfill your needs. Keep it in mind as a second option, though, especially if you can interest a group of members into doing it together. Because not all kids have the same level of self control or discipline, you would need to ensure kids can't touch this layout, or make trains collide if they are allowed to operate them.

Just my thoughts. Hope that helps.
 

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In the mid/late 70's I got into HO model railroading. I had a 4x8 table with a simple layout which kept me (sometime) out of mischief as a teen. Unfortunately all that equipment is gone. But now with two grandsons, 2 & 10 months, and seeing some neat Christmas displays online, I'm getting the fever again. I don't have a lot of room. But I'm considering one of three directions. One, a small display incorporating our tree. I'm guessing N for this. Two, a larger one I could use outdoors in a Christmas yard display. Or around our outdoor bar area around the pool during the season. Three, a small HO or N I can build in a room in our church for the K-5 ages & use as enticement for our SS program. I'm pretty decent with woodworking. And have been in the instrumentation field in the chemical industry for close to 30 years so I'm familiar with electronics / pneumatics / some programming. I'm searching this site for these topics. But I'd appreciate any ideas, links, books, DVD, etc anyone can recommend. Thanks folks!!! :)
Don't forget, you could always do an 'around the walls' layout.

most of mine is a 10" shelf around the walls of the basement. Doesn't really interfere with using the room for anything.
 
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