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New to the forum, mainly posting this to vent to my frustrations. I had an HO layout some years ago that I had to get rid of because of moving locations, but recently have been able to get back into the hobby with O gauge. Northern California fires are making benchwork material really hard to get, so they say, and when it's available at my local home center it's ridiculously expensive (not to mention twisted and bent)! COVID has all but killed product availability from Lionel, it looks like. Nobody has anything in stock anymore. And if they do, it takes weeks to ship! Local hobby stores have all closed years ago.

I have ordered some smoke fluid from model trains and stuff, but they are so backed up "because of COVID" that I will be surprised if I get my order before Christmas. The fluid that came with my trains smells like dirty socks - unscented my foot!

I wonder if I could put some pipe tobacco down the stack? Only kidding.
 

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Can’t help you with the benchwork material, but there are plenty of trains available. I have bought more engines this year than any previous year. Nicholas Smith, Pat’s Trains, Just Trains of Delaware, Charles Ro just to name a few have lots in stock. Lots on ebay too if you don’t mind used. And JT Megasteam would be glad to smell you smoke fluid.
 

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Northern California fires are making benchwork material really hard to get, so they say, and when it's available at my local home center it's ridiculously expensive (not to mention twisted and bent)! COVID has all but killed product availability from Lionel, it looks like. Nobody has anything in stock anymore. And if they do, it takes weeks to ship! Local hobby stores have all closed years ago.

I have ordered some smoke fluid from model trains and stuff, but they are so backed up "because of COVID" that I will be surprised if I get my order before Christmas.

MrBlueBoat... Are you in or near Northern California? I've had good experiences with The Western Depot in Yuba City in NorCal. I'm in Sacramento and not too far from their store and they have always me given great service. The retail store is now temporarily closed to the public, but they are still shipping internet orders. You might want to hit them up for some items. https://www.westerndepot.com/
 

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I think it depends on what you’re buying and where. Can’t help ya with the lumber as where I am, in WNY, I can walk into a Home Depot or Lowes and get what I need. I have to sort through a stack of 1x4’s to get some that are straight but that’s no different than any other year for me.

As for locos or rolling stock, new is out of my price point so I shop eBay as all local train shows are on hold due to Covid. If I’m patient I can get what I’m looking for at the price I am willing to pay.

Track and buildings I’ve had no issues getting orders from Scenicexpress, Hobbylinc, or Trainworld.

So I guess my advice would be to be patient, shop around. Or buy a car/loco, strip it, and decal how you want. Get the satisfaction of actually modeling instead of buying.

**I have a large HO and decent N scale collection as well.
 

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No worries: there's more than one way to skin a cat. I went with alternative benchwork: no lumber shortage, but to suit my physical restrictions - 2" styrofoam over 2x4 ft folding tables. The black object on the layout is wire-management conduit, which I use along the front of the layout. 👍👍
FW
549644

549645
 

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No problems from Modellbahn Shopp-Lippe in Germany. It's still four days from order to arrival via UPS.
 
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I've got LOTS of smoke fluid. I will send it to you for the shipping cost. How many bottles do you want? I recommend Captain Black for pipe tobacco. Nice smelling and tasting when I used to smoke a pipe.
 
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