Starting Simple: Model Train Sets

Model train sets are perfect if you’re looking to start collecting model trains but don’t know where to start or aren’t confident about building your own trains. Most model train sets are relatively affordable in price and give you (or your child) a place to start your hobby.

You can purchase model train sets from your local hobby shop, toy store, or from an online vendor. There are advantages and disadvantages in buying from each but if this will be the first set you purchase, I recommend the local hobby shop. Most of them offer technical support, tips and advice on the products they sell and will service their model train sets if you have problems with them. Online and mail-order vendors usually offer lower prices, making it a better place to shop once you are experienced. But until then, hobby shops are your best bet.

Basic model train sets usually come with a train, a few cars and pieces for a track. Some sets come with more pieces, such as extra track or accessories like buildings or telephone poles. Just make sure you read the contents on the box so you know exactly what you are getting. If you choose one of the basic model train sets, you can always add more cars or buy another train later to add to your collection. Tracks can be expanded with extra pieces, available at your local hobby shop.

When purchasing model train sets be sure to think ahead and choose the gauge of the set carefully. The gauge, or distance between running rails of the track, is more important than the actual scale of the model since you can have different scales running on the same gauge (as seen with N Scale Model Trains).

This isn’t to say that the scale isn’t important either. If you’re purchasing model train sets for a child, larger scale models will most likely be tougher and better handle the abuse that children put their toys through. Lionel Model Trains make great O gauge trains which are perfect for younger kids.

LEGO trains are another popular option. LEGO model train sets include a steam engine and five cars and are available at lego.com. Working with the plastic LEGO blocks provides many options for building railway equipment.

Whether you are a child or an adult, model trains sets are a great way to start your model train collecting adventure. For more information on model train sets, please refer to the links below.

Also, be sure to check out our pages about Bachman Model Trains, Ho Model Trains, Lionel Model Trains, and Live Steam Model Trains elsewhere on this site.

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