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Howdy, Lost Bob here and I am looking for a push in the right direction and where to start. I am new to model railroading. My kids want to start building a train set. Thinking this might be a great way to spend some time together. But not sure where to start. Thanks for any help.
 
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HMMMMMMMM, Bob. That is one loaded question. If I were you and just starting out I would look for a model railroad club and take the kids to see their layout(s) when they have an open house. Bear in mind that it may be a lot to take in all at once. At least you and your kids can see what it's all about. When you go there don't be afraid to ask questions. I'm sure the people at the club would be glad to help you out.

Regards,

Gary.
 

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Thank you Gary. I have found a club here locally and we are planning to go and see what it is all about. Trying to get a little base knowledge before I go and sound like a complete idiot (isn't hard for me to do). What type or class is best for younger kids? That we can grow into?
 

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My one advice I like to give is to find a book or video that's a beginner's guide to model railroading. Then go through it carefully from front to back. It will answer all your questions plus ones your going to have. It will help you decide on a theme, the proper size for you, and more.
 

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Act fast! You did not mention kids ages but I would act fast before the idea fades. Children's attention span is fickle. Get a train set that can be set up on the floor today. Set it up tomorrow. You can do your research while they crash the toy trains. If they are still interested next month you can start building.
 
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Hi Bob. First off, how old are your kids? Do they like Thomas The Train? Might be a good place to start. The Thomas sets are "toy" trains and have the ability to grow with added pieces and track. Also not as expensive as other scales. There are also starter sets In O/27 gauge that have die cast steam locomotives that are very durable and come with track and a transformer. Quick to set up and get running and are more realistic looking. There is a ton of engines and freight cars and passenger cars available in O/27 and a lot of people like this size as you don't need a really huge space with large diameter curves as you do with O scale,1/48. Plus the cost is lower and there are less delicate parts with O/27 Gauge. As an example I built a layout for my son,(age 6),at the time that was roughly 8'x12' . We got a lot of enjoyment from it. He is now 27 and is starting to collect trains again. He also wants to help us build our " last"layout when we start it. sometime life comes full circle. Remember kid's interests can change over time. If you have the space for a layout with larger curves that would handle 1/48 scale locos and rolling stock layout I would probably say build it. I prefer to spend money once. That being said you have to think if this will be a long term hobby for you and your family. Model trains are a great hobby as it has not only the ability for great family fun but is a teaching tool for the kids as well. Glad to here that you have a club nearby to go to. I'm guessing you live in the U.S. and that is great because here in Canada where we are there is little or no model railroad infrastructure as the hobby is nowhere near as popular as it is in the states. If you wish to send a pm feel free, my contact info is in my profile.

All The Best,

Gary.
 

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I have to disagree with Dennis on one point...
DO NOT set up a train ON THE FLOOR.

Not only will the loco pick up dust and lint,
lose power and stall,
but if on a carpet, the track will be uneven
and result in many derailments. A person
I know bought a set, and did just that. He
got so frustrated that he tossed the whole
thing in the trash.

You don't want the kids to face trouble like
that.

Even with the cheapest set, place it on a
hard surface such as a piece of plywood or
fiber board.

Don
 
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Bob, if your kids are small go with bigger trains like O or G gauge. These trains are big, rugged and have lots of play value. You can set these trains up on the floor with no ill effects. You can start with a relatively inexpensive set and add on. If they stay interested you can move on to semi-scale or full scale trains as they grow.

If your kids are older, say teenagers, they may enjoy the smaller scales like HO or N. These trains aren't nearly as rugged as the big ones but they are scale models. Good track work is very important. Small gaps in the track will cause derailments and frustration. It can be difficult for little ones to put the trains on the track. Don's advice to keep them off the floor is very good.

All the scales are good but some are better for certain situations. I recommend big trains for small children. Older children can work with whatever scale most interests them.
 

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Welcome aboard!

Howdy, Lost Bob here and I am looking for a push in the right direction and where to start. I am new to model railroading. My kids want to start building a train set. Thinking this might be a great way to spend some time together. But not sure where to start. Thanks for any help.
Lost Bob;

Welcome to the forum!
It's great, especially in this age of "smart phones" with each family member constantly staring at their own, that you and your kids, can do something fun together. You are lucky!
As to which direction to go, that depends on many things. First the age of the kids. Second the space available to build a layout. And most importantly what you and the kids are most interested in. Each of these things will tend to point you down one of the different paths available in this hobby. Along each path there will be other decisions to make. Don't sweat it, just take one small step at a time. There is no real "right" or "wrong" way; and you and your family are the only ones who need to be satisfied with whatever you choose to build.

I wrote the first file below, "Where do I start? " specifically for people in the same situation you face now. It covers some of the options, and presents you with some basic choices of different ways to go. I suggest reading that file first, and then sitting down with your family to talk about which direction YOU want to go. The direction varies a lot with the individual. Each model railroad is different, and each one reflects the decisions, experience, skills, and knowledge, of the person that built it.
Since you have never built a model railroad, I suggest you follow the three-'S' principal. Make your layout, Small, Simple, and Sectional. The files on "How to build a better first layout", cover this three-'S' principal and the reasons behind it.

I'm also going to recommend a good book on the subject. It's called "Getting Started in Model Railroading" by Jeff Wilson. It covers all the basics of this hobby in simple, easy, text and color photos. You can order a copy from https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/products/books
The files, and/or the book, should give you enough information to understand what you see, and hear, at the model railroad club. Visiting a club is a great suggestion. Most model railroad clubs, and their members, are friendly and willing to share their knowledge with visitors. A very few are more snooty, but if you should happen to run into that kind, you can always bail out. The kids need to be told before the club visit, not to touch anything. Models are often fragile, and usually involve a good deal of both money, and time, invested in building them. Nothing can wear out a visitor's welcome faster than breaking something! If the club's railroad is too high for the kids to see, they should not try to grab the edge of the table and pull themselves up. Either hold them up yourself, or ask to borrow a chair for them to stand on.

Feel free to ask any specific questions here that come up. I think that, as you read some of the files, many questions will be answered for you. Any that aren't, just ask, and we will try to answer them.

Again Welcome;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START 3.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment Choosing a Scale.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts revised.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 2.2.pdf
 
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