What’s the best starter pack to get

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AlanG
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What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:37 pm

I have a few old Lima trains that are 30+ years old and still in good nick. No carriages or track. What would you folks suggest as a starter train set to get for a 50 something getting back into the hobby.

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flying scotsman123
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby flying scotsman123 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:55 pm

I'll be first off the blocks then, with, once again, the stock phrase "it depends"! Both on personal preference, and what you actually want to be included in your starter pack, which in turn depends on what you want to do with the hobby, which is a pretty big question, and one that might be worth considering before making too many purchases.

Personally, if I was intending on embarking on anything more than a train set (and if you're not, that's absolutely fine, it's a broad church! :) ) I would look to avoid "starter packs" with track and a basic controller, and buy something better. For DC/analogue control, something by gaugemaster, for DCC/digital, that's another "it depends" and worth reading around on. For track, Peco all the way, probably Code 100 considering your Lima locomotives (slightly higher, overscale rail profile as opposed to a more scale accurate code 75). Preferably flexitrack, but if that seems a bit to ambitious Peco set track is still preferable to Hornby set track.

None of that is to say that "train packs" aren't worth looking at. They can be a cost effective way of getting an engine and a few coaches, but don't come with track and controller. Any packs by Bachmann or Hornby (except anything Hornby with an 0-4-0) will be of a similar quality, Bachmann perhaps edging it, so it's really down to personal preference. Steam or diesel, any particular era or region in mind?

Hope that helps, sorry if there's a lot to digest!
Image
Stone station in pre-grouping days, my layout. Workbench for other projects here.

AlanG
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:07 am

That’s really helpful. I’m wanting to build a proper set. Probably starting 6x4, but with options to expand.

I will have a look at gauge master and probably come back for some more advice. I had been swaying towards the Flying Scotsman set from Hornby, but felt something was just holding me back. Have also been looking at the PECO track but still getting confused between radi and which ones I would need.

AlanG
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:15 am

Oh, and steam. I would like to do steam.

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flying scotsman123
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby flying scotsman123 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:30 am

AlanG wrote:That’s really helpful. I’m wanting to build a proper set. Probably starting 6x4, but with options to expand.

I will have a look at gauge master and probably come back for some more advice. I had been swaying towards the Flying Scotsman set from Hornby, but felt something was just holding me back. Have also been looking at the PECO track but still getting confused between radi and which ones I would need.


Can I put in an early suggestion not to go for a 6x4? A board that size realistically means you need access on all 4 sides for track cleaning or in case of derailments at the very least. So actually the space required including access is more like 9x7. At which point, you'd make better use of the space if you have the railway going round the outside and you in the middle, rather than the railway in the middle and you going round the outside.

It also allows you to have wider radii, and it's always a good idea to use the widest radii you can fit. "Radius 1" is the tightest, and plenty of larger locomotives aren't designed to go round curves that tight, Flying Scotsman potentially being one. Radius 2 is usually the minimum guaranteed quoted radius for everything to go round. Someone on here h has done a very handy list which lists what will and won't go round what radius curves, it's not comprehensive, but for one person it's pretty good! Of course with flexitrack you aren't combined to set radii, my tightest curve is probably equivalent to radius 2.5, but with transitions either side which also helps with running.

AlanG wrote:Oh, and steam. I would like to do steam.


Any particular region or period? (lots changed from the 1920s-1960s which is the period manufacturers mostly cater for, going from 120 different railway companies, to 4, to BR) Plenty of folk aren't too fussy and just run what they like, others might prefer GWR, LMS, LNER or SR, or their constituent companies or BR region successors.
Image
Stone station in pre-grouping days, my layout. Workbench for other projects here.

kebang
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby kebang » Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:13 am

Here's a little 6x4 that I designed and built last year. It is intended for 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 steam locos. The 1st rad curves make it unsuitable for anything much larger, (although I have drawn a similar plan using 2nd rad curves which is slightly larger, but I think the Flying Scotsman would still look disproportionate on it, even though it would be able to negotiate all the track).
It is important that you have access to the bottom side and both short sides of this layout. All the points are within 2 foot of the bottom side, meaning that the can all be operated easily by hand. All the track is OO gauge Peco set track
6x4 layout.png

kebang
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby kebang » Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:59 am

This is the 2nd rad design I mentioned in my last post..... It does include a couple of 1st rad ST222 pieces, but these , in isolation, are easier for a large loco to negotiate than set track points which have a similar small radius over 22.5deg, rather than these which are only 11.25deg.
190x120.jpg

AlanG
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:52 am

Good god. This is giving me more questions than answers. Lol.

Thanks for sharing the layouts and the advice about a larger board with a space in the middle.

As I ponder, is there some to have a two level on that size of board?

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Mountain
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby Mountain » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:11 am

You may have a lot of exploring to do before you decide, or you could just take the plunge and go straight in! Haha!

Train sets do offer the best and cheapest ways into the hobby as they have everything in them to make a start at a budget price... However, they do tend to have underpowered controllers so if anything, it is likely to be a better conteoller will be the first move as well as some additional track if one goes down that route.

I am assuming you are thinking of 00 gauge as you mentioned Lima? Though Lima did do N, H0 and 0 gauge though you would not fit 0 gauge onto a 6x4 board without having a few compromizes. I am saying this as I happen to be modelling in the narrow gauge of 0 gauge using 00 gauge track width on a layout that I am slowly building in just 2ft x 7ft... And I have an oval of track in that! A tight squeeze indeed so it can be done... BUT... Back to 00.

You mention you have some Lima locos. Diesels? Steam?

You can do two levels on a 6x4 board but it will need a compromize. If you stick to smaller shunting and branchline engines it can be done, but all on the same level can make things easier. To climb a sufficient height to have one track passing over the next it is going to have steep inclines to do that which really means short trains with small engines.
Last edited by Mountain on Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

AlanG
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:15 am

I know. Too much to think about. Lol. I have king George 5th steam, mallard and a diesel, all oo gauge.

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Mountain
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby Mountain » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:19 am

I used to have King george V. I had both a Hornby and a Lima version. Lima got the body shape right but Hornby captured the overall look better. The bit I did not like about both versions was having a tender drive. But with a decent set of newish traction tyres they pulled well.

Mallard will be Hornby or possibly Bachmann as Lima never made a class A4. Hornby made theirs from 1979 onwards BUT they did used to make a cast metal Hornby Dublo version years before that in both 2 and 3 rail.

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Mountain
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby Mountain » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:31 am

Track... Peco and Hornby make decent sectional track in 00 gauge. I used to use Peco for pointwork and Hornby for the rest though Hornby have improved their points a lot in recent years... Peco have the edge on their pointwork but I certainly would not say no to Hornby points if I needed one.
To save money, flexible track is cheaper then sectional track, but I would use sectional track for the sharper curves (1st and 2nd radius) and actually, if one is thinking of a layout in asmall space, use sectional track for the points as well. (I would avoid buying curved points unless one has to because if a train is going to come off the track, it is usually on a curved point!)
Note... If mixing flexible track and sectional track then use code 100 flexible track if modelling in 00 gauge.

kebang
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby kebang » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:41 am

Mountain makes a very good point (pun intended :D ) regarding curved points. This is my smaller design with a straight point substituted for the curved point.
Final Designb.jpg

Mike Parkes
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby Mike Parkes » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:24 pm

The comment about two levels might work with the kebangs plans above if the continuous run link is removed, refererncing the last one, the ST240 and ST241 points connected by a ST221 (respectively R613, R612 and R605 in Hornbyese) towards the bottom right which would then give a fair length to gain appropriate height between the ST241 at the start/end of the reverse loop and the first ST240 at the entrance to the station. The first radius curves limit stock choice but I would suggest Hornbys new Terrier with their new or Hattons forthcoming 4 wheel coaches would look fine and keeping to similar sized stock; it could be based on a line with a restriction on stock used for example the Hayling Island branch was worked solely by Terriers on the account of a weight restricted bridge. If sufficent height was achievable by the ST225 (Hornby R606) top right then it would be possible to run some tracks off the lower circuit to a fiddle yard located to the right hand side of the board so precluding an otherwise simple out and back working of the same train.

AlanG
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Re: What’s the best starter pack to get

Postby AlanG » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:03 pm

Thanks for all your advice so far folks. I might see if I can get a degree in modelrailwaying. It doesn’t seem straightforward at times :?


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