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New Member
Hi Folks,

I'm 37 and have twin 7 year olds (boy and a girl). At first, for a few months at least, I plan to let them put it together in different layouts until they seem to settle on the layout they want. Then we can refine it. I didn't really buy this stuff for me since that wouldn't be fair to them. We'll build it up at their pace. Mostly its about all the stuff a 7-8 year old can learn by playing with model train stuff with the right guidance of course. I've generally been a bit of a geek all my life and I'm confident with most of my general knowledge here but I'm a total noob when it comes to modelling trains.

I recently purchased two 16"x20"x12" boxes of old HO gear from a retiree. I don't know the retiree but I think he might have ripped me off. I paid $110 dollars for 6 engines, 2 of which work, a bunch of rolling stock and a 100+ pieces of track that is pretty oxidized and probably not all the same brand/height. Going from the prices on eBay it seems I'd probably have spent that much for 2 engines and a bunch of newer track instead of 2 old engines I had to repair and a bunch of old dirty miss-matched track. LOL

I've cleaned up the engines with some precision spray electronic cleaner and re-lubricated the moving parts carefully. The other engines simply don't work. One isn't even an engine but rather a really heavy box car. I guess the guy thought it was an engine because of its weight. Overall I think the HO gear I bought is in poor shape but I wasn't sure what I was looking for before I bought it. Live and learn I guess.

Anyway - so now I have a room that is about 12 x 9 to do this in. Is there any tips that anyone can impart on a total n00b at this before I make more mistakes than I've already made? LOL I'll probably assemble an L shaped bench covering two walls for my kids to assemble the track. We'll troubleshoot and work through problems as we go I guess.

Quick question though... I plan to clean the track with some very fine sandpaper. Seems to work with the few pieces I've cleaned so far. Without cleaning the track the engines stall terribly. Is that a reasonable way to do it?

Well thanks for reading, glad to be aboard.


Craftsman at heart
Welcome TheZeke.

You could start from scratch by purchasing some HO Gauge Unitrack made by Kato or other similar track.

As for cleaning track, you could use a Bright Boy or other brands. I personally find the Bright Boy a little too abrasive and only use it on track that has overspray on it.


junk collector
The bright boy is a good tool for the job. I'm sure the fine sandpaper used carefully followed by a clean cloth would only help in your situation with the old oxidized track. Now-a-days I can't afford to buy every kind of tool or accessory so I make do with stuff I already have a supply of. Now that you have some track, engines, and cars to start with....keep in this economy there are tons of model train stuff for sale for not much money. If you live near a city, you might find it at second hand stores and garage sales. Ebay has more than 1100 pages of N scale and I would guess a similar amount of HO. A determined bargain hunter with a little cash can do well in todays model train market.


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