I greatly appreciate everyone's insights, this place is awesome and very helpful. I stopped at my only local hobby store tonight for ideas, was surprised to see they stock N scale Kato track only, all HO is EZ. As much as I like my local hobby store for my drone/rc car needs, they lack much in model trains. Said there isn't much interest which is sad. So that trip wasn't helpful. Got home and son wanted to run trains again so I filled our living room/hallway floor with about 60 feet of track and ran them for a bit. Didn't realize how much I had and could of doubled it. Going to work on cleaning out the basement this weekend to see how much space I have. Only thing I worry is with this old house we sometimes get moisture in our basement but am always running a dehumidifier so I hope that won't hurt anything.
You're welcome! That's what we all do here is share information among model railroaders, and try to help each other.
Hobbies grow and fade in popularity. As you know, R/C cars, and especially drones are "hot items" right now.
To have a really good selection of model trains in a hobby shop, the shop has to be very large and stock lots of products for lots of different hobbies, or it needs to specialize in trains. I'm lucky enough to still have a good train-specialized shop in my area. They, and hobby shops in general, are fast disappearing though. Even my local train store is up for sale.
The attitude, knowledge, and cooperation level of shop owners also varies a lot. Some shop owners make it their business to try and stay up on what's available, and are willing to help you pick out and order whatever you want. Others only stock, and care about, whatever is selling best right now.
Online shopping has changed the market drastically. About the only advantage the brick-and-mortar shops have left is hands-on merchandising and personalized service. Once they give up on those, they're destined to fail.
About your possibly damp basement. The dehumidifier is a very good idea, but how likely is your basement to flood? Has it ever done so? If that's not a serious problem then the basement should be a good location for your railroad, once you get it cleaned out! <img src="http://www.modeltrainforum.com/images/smilies/eek.gif" border="0" alt="" title="EEK!" class="inlineimg" />
One thing you can do to minimise warping of the wooden benchwork is building all the frame, and leg, pieces as "L-girders" , typically a 1x3 and a 1x2 screwed and glued together in a wood version of an "angle iron."
I use yellow carpenter's glue for this job, since it's more resistant to moisture than Elmer's-type, white glue. L-girders are impossible to bend, and warping is simply a form of bending.
Another warp-fighting technique is painting, or sealing, all the wood. I live in a fairly dry climate and my layout is in a garage rather than below ground, but I still use all painted, all L-girder benchwork. I saw the effects of warping at my old club, and I don't want to see my trains bobbing up and down on warped plywood like ships on rough seas.
Is your old track brass? Are the rails gold, or silver, colored? The gold-colored rails are brass, and will require more frequent cleaning than the silver-colored ones which are nickel-silver. Either type will work, but brass rails in a potentially damp environment will oxidize quickly and need to be cleaned before running trains.