Playing with trains

Ok I've spun this off into another thread - how do I get into playing with trains? We have some track from when my husband was younger but I don't know if it's any good (don't even know what sort it is!).

I think my son would be interested in the logistics of track laying and signalling and ultimately doing something like getting a raspberry pi running trains (he's a confirmed trainspotter and has been seriously missing his travelcard jaunts around the area).
 
Plenty of videos of how to do things on YouTube. Also Google 'Model Railway Clubs in xxxx' to find your local one, they usually are a friendly bunch.

Measure the space between the tracks - if it is 16.5mm it will be "OO" gauge which will scale down (4mm to 1 foot), if different let me know
 
Older track (pre-late 90s) is usually steel which corrodes. It still runs fine, but needs cleaned more often with a track rubber to get rid of the oxidised layer.

If you are wanting to get into signalling and other 'advanced' level stuff I would suggest opting for DCC. The locomotives are more expensive because of their chips etc but the controllers are a great way to get into programming.

With DC, the train is moved by the amount of current being passed through the controller to the track, but on DCC the current is always the same and the controllers work with the chips on the loco independently. This means that you can have multiple locos on the same loop running at different rates/directions.

I have seen a lot of awesome fully automated layouts with points and signals etc operated with motors and controlled by something like a raspberry pi.

That said I have a very small layout so mine is still DC (because I can't be ar*ed with the faff haha) but for someone who is into the faff so to speak, DCC is brilliant.

Both Hornby and Bachmann have DCC train sets which will come with a loop of track (which you can easily add to), a basic DCC controller and a ready to go locomotive and some rolling stock. Its by far the quickest and cheapest way to get up and running for DCC :)
 
Thanks! There's a model railway club near us that I've seen advertising, but I don't know anything about them (yet)! Any suggestions for good suppliers or is it just a case of googling?
 
Thanks! There's a model railway club near us that I've seen advertising, but I don't know anything about them (yet)! Any suggestions for good suppliers or is it just a case of googling?
Depends on your budget and skill level - the local club should have a website and email address. Start with looking at Hornby and Bachmann ranges. the firm 'Rails of Sheffield' will be helpful as well. Google may bring up American websites first. Be wary of ebay - sometimes people will be desperate to get rid of rubbish that won't work properly.
 
I swear by Hattons, they have amazing customer service and you can always get what you want ordered through. They were also on the ball with brexit etc so one of the very few places that actually sends to northern ireland haha
 
If he has a ps4/xbox/p.c. then Train Sim World 2020/2 shows how to drive a train, all kinds on many routes but not steam at the moment. It also allows you to undestand signalling. The German system is a real challenge.
 
In terms of suppliers, that's also something worth asking local clubs about. They will know the best dealers nearby, and you might find that the members have small setups that they are looking to sell themselves.
 
If he has a ps4/xbox/p.c. then Train Sim World 2020/2 shows how to drive a train, all kinds on many routes but not steam at the moment. It also allows you to undestand signalling. The German system is a real challenge.
He already drives trains using a simulator. He seems to prefer UK commuter routes.
 
We actually have 1980s Lego trains - in theory at least as they’ve been mixed in with all the other stuff.
Awesome! Although 'mixed in with all the other stuff' gives me flashbacks because when I was young, all of my toys were kept in their specific containers, lego with lego, transformers with transformers etc, but when it got handed down to my brother a lot of it was just mixed together :crying::crying::crying: during lockdown i spent some time in the roofspace sorting it into its separate boxes though, took me FOREVER haha
 
We have tons of 1980's Lego train set, non of it mixed in with anything else. We also have some of the newer Lego train set which the kids have got, I was meaning to help my son build a big track with both as they are the same gauge so you can use them together. I'm frustrated Lego don't really do proper train sets anymore as the 1980's set's where proper train set's with lots of different point's and stations and crossing and such which you could add. Now they just do a couple of stand alone sets and a few boxes of extra track.
 
Awesome! Although 'mixed in with all the other stuff' gives me flashbacks because when I was young, all of my toys were kept in their specific containers, lego with lego, transformers with transformers etc, but when it got handed down to my brother a lot of it was just mixed together :crying::crying::crying: during lockdown i spent some time in the roofspace sorting it into its separate boxes though, took me FOREVER haha
It's in one big box of lego but the beautiful loco and carriage got disassembled.
 
Ok I've spun this off into another thread - how do I get into playing with trains? We have some track from when my husband was younger but I don't know if it's any good (don't even know what sort it is!).

I think my son would be interested in the logistics of track laying and signalling and ultimately doing something like getting a raspberry pi running trains (he's a confirmed trainspotter and has been seriously missing his travelcard jaunts around the area).
Toy Trains are one of the great educators. Or perhaps its just my experience of them. First train set at 5 years old with the attendant problems. Gradually I gained so much knowledge of electrics, geometry, logic from shunting problems, engineering/tinkering to find what was wrong and onwards to learning about real steam engines. I'd suggest start with an oval and expand. That way you can always play trains rather than designing the ultimate layout that never quite gets finished. (where I am at the moment).
 
Top