I have been buying used o gauge trains.In good shape of course.Just can not bring may self to buy a boxcar for almost a hundred dollars.So I have been to chuck trains in landis.I have got my hands on some good freight cars.Some were from train sets.But I don care I have got a flat cars and gons.Some boxcars mth and lionel and williams.I have picked up a williams conrail dash 8 from the little choo choo.At first I thought it was a dummy.Turns out its powered and they wanted $30.00 dollars.Turns out its a pretty good puller.I have also got a lionel hudson signal sounds for $100.00.And I have gotten a Railking N&W J FOR $125.00.It runs pretty good.It has a american flyer type puffer smoke unit.I thought it kind of odd but its all good.I have been thinking of giving menards a try.Their boxcars looks pretty good and a few here on the forum.Seem to like menards rolling stock.So who you guys buy used trains?

Original Post

Good for you !   Buy what you like and can afford.  Leave the collector mentality to others.  

Dan Padova


"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill


In the last year I've found 3 very good deals on some MIB scale steam locomotives, 2 PS2 3V and one TMCC. I got all of them for less than half their original price. Guys want the newest/latest thing so deals are out there on older stuff if you keep your eyes open. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

My entire train collection is used. I typically buy in larger lots from an auction house. The items I get are used, they are actually new, old stock from some individual or an out of business hobby shop. There are tremendous bargains available. Typically MTH premier or atlas rolling stock are $20 or less when purchased in the auction lots. 

A tmcc, ps-2 or 3 go for $200 or so. Steam locos for 30 - 50% oforiginal list. Most are pristine condition.

not the latest and greatest but true bargains.

Lou1985 posted:

In the last year I've found 3 very good deals on some MIB scale steam locomotives, 2 PS2 3V and one TMCC. I got all of them for less than half their original price. Guys want the newest/latest thing so deals are out there on older stuff if you keep your eyes open. 

I got a lionel tmcc scale berkshire C&O type.At a train show I got it for marked way way way way down.The guy said its priced to sale.So I got it I also got some really nice boxcars.A few modern type boxcars.You are right the deals are out there.

When I lived in Virginia back in the 1990s, I used to buy from a few local shops in the area, at train shows that were usually scheduled every three months, and through mail order places like Island Trains, Charles Ro Supply Co., and Grzyboski's Train Store.

In 2001 when the USAF stationed me at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, that all changed.  There are rarely any train shows in this area.  I heard of two in the 18 years I've lived here, but I was unable to attend due to prior commitments---a wedding and a concert.

There were two train shops nearby that I knew of, but their prices were full retail plus nearly always.  I don't remember a time when either one had a sale with more than 10% off of an item I ever wanted to buy.  One of the shops was run by an elderly couple.  It was actually a hobby shop that sold trains, RC stuff, plastic models,  die-cast vehicles, & modeling supplies.  I took a K-Line engine to them for repairs once, but they returned it telling me they were unable to repair/replace the circuit board.  When they retired a few years ago, a guy who ran a Vape shop next door bought them out.  He knocked down the wall between both shops to combine them.  He vapes in the shop whenever he wants, so the scent of strawberry smoke---that must be his favorite flavor---hangs in the air all day long.  I can't take it; it makes me feel sick.  When he first started running the hobby shop, I had a conversation with him.  He told me he didn't have any hobbies, but he figured he could make money selling the stuff.  I like to build and paint models in addition to being a train guy.  Needless to say he didn't know anything about both hobbies.  I went back once for an Atlas HO bumper.  He didn't have any, and I've never gone back since.

I've bought a few trains from OGR forum members and from ebay members too.  There were a couple of times I bought stuff through Craig's List, but that's it.  I've continued to buy from Charles Ro Supply Co. and Grzyboski's Train Store, but Island Trains has gone out of business.

I tend to try to buy mainly new old stock.  Why?  I'd rather pay $15-$30 for a NOS Lionel gondola vs. $35 & up for a brand new Lionel one.  I can't remember the last time I bought an item produced the very same year.

"What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

I guess I'm not that structured.  I have a very good Post-War collection that was half new and half used.

As for as post-1969 trains, I buy what I want/like, within economic limits, whether NEW, USED, old stock.  Doesn't matter.




If you are a Post War collector/operator pretty much your only option is used. I have yet to purchase a modern era Lionel or any other mfg used. I do pick up assorted rolling stock both modern any mfg and Post War when ever I find something I like or want.  So far I have been lucky on both price and condition. 


PRRT&HS #8473

N&W HS  #5825

State College, PA

"And the sons of Pullman Porters, and the sons of Engineers

   Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel"

    "This train got the disappearing railroad blues"


The beauty of the model train hobby is that in today's market it appeals to both the affluent and the middle class. If you just want the appeal of a layout, you need not spend a fortune to get it up and running. The used and NOS market is flooded with trains with more collections coming on the market every day.  Depending on the budget the choices are numerous. Over half of my collection was purchased used and everything works fine.

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

Nearly all of our O-27 stuff (Trains and scenery) was either a gift, purchase here, or a  trains-show/resale/antique/craigslist  find.  I think the only new items I purchased were a few cheap Menards flats with our  own loads added.   We don't have a year-round layout but do a Christmas display for almost 2 months of the year.

$30 for a working modern loco is Fantastic!  I've been searching for a deal like that for years now.  My son loves what we have but really wants to have a modern loco.  However, I can't justify a large expense for a train that only comes out for 2 months a year. 

I agree about the affordability of the hobby being a much-overlooked benefit of model railroading.  If you adjust your expectations and are willing to hunt for deals and DIY, almost anyone enjoy the hobby in almost any scale.

Eilif posted:
  My son loves what we have but really wants to have a modern loco.  However, I can't justify a large expense for a train that only comes out for 2 months a year. 

One solution is to take them out more often, like all year round.


Good thread, 90% of my collection, although it is not that big, is all used.  I'm like a lot of you guys, I can't afford nor can I really justify paying $1200+ for a locomotive.  It has to be something I want really bad, otherwise, I just look and sigh and pass it on by.  I do have a few post war stuff and there are a couple of postwar sets that I'd like to get, they are from the late 40's up to about 1960 or so.  The price will have to be decent and not in the highway robbery area either.

There's so much I want and so little to buy with ....... there's something wrong with that picture.



TCA 12-67009


The new stuff is pretty much....insanely priced.  That's probably the best word I can use.

But you can get nice, LN TMCC scale Steamers for 500 bucks or less.  You can now get early legacy scale steamers for under $800 now.

And you can see the used stuff run a lot of times....and not deal with today's QC issues.

Great time to be in the hobby, IMHO.

My entire collection is used. Been buying on Da'bay, Trainz, and here on the Forum.

I've got post war up to older-modern (MTH PS-1's, early Lionel's with TMCC). Everything I have arrived as advertised and all gets run on my layout.

You mentioned Menards. A big yes from me. I have several of their cars and accessories and they are excellent quality and well detailed. (OK so I do have SOME new stuff)


Three Rails Are Better Than None 

seaboardm2 posted:

I have been buying used o gauge trains.In good shape of course.

I almost never buy new anymore, which is not good for the future supply, but I'm 71 years old....

New locos are almost unheard of around here. The "features" put me off, the Price being one of the "features", as well. I did buy the new Lionel Niagara, Pilot version, then turned right around and upgraded my older MTH PS2 Niagara to ERR Cruise Commander/RS. So why did I spend the price of a used Hyundai on the new one? Dunno. It is beautiful, for sure.

I do buy new rolling stock - sometimes. Mostly I don't buy much of anything any more. Many - a whole lot - of those "used" pieces are essentially NIB, if not actually.

My latest used purchase arrived today, a Williams PRR  three car rdc set.  Price could not be beat.  Decals for relabeling arrived today as well.  All three are in great shape, test run was successful.  PRR markings will be gently removed, cruise commander installed and I will be a happy CNJ railroader.  I do offer my sincere thanks to those folks who purchase new items.  Without you my CNJ fleet would be much leaner.

Unlike the 80s and 90s, it's nearly impossible to avoid seeing great buys in used or NOS O Gauge trains.

 Everybody already has what most of what they need, the buyers market is shrinking, and the mfgrs keep pumping out more volume.  

A lot of sellers make their money on half of a collection and need to unload the balance for cost.  Others are retiring and have newer interests.   I talked to a guy at York 3 yrs ago who was selling his own collection to travel.  He had great prices.  Told me he had 800 engines and over 3000 rolling stock.  His kids asked him to liquidate so they wouldn't have to deal with it.  I've seen him every York since, and rarely see the same items.  Most everything is 

I mean how many brand new O gauge people need to come into the hobby to buy all this guy's trains just to keep the supply and demand in balance.  If they don't, then prices drop and supply increases.

I just look with an open mind and buy things that I happen to like and are dirt cheap.  

I buy used cars, houses, lawnmowers, computers, etc.  Let the previous owner pay for the factory new aroma.

I don't know how many of you have seen a movie called The Red Violin. Basically, it traces the history of a very old violin down through the years from when it was first made til the present time. Sort of like the violin in the movie, a lot of my trains have passed through other owners before I got them. I have often looked at my own collection of used Lionel trains and wondered about their history . What little boy eagerly awaited it one Christmas long ago. What father and son built a small layout using it. How many owners it passed through before I got it and who is going to get it after I'm gone. Where are the previous now. Our trains are like other things that stand the test of time, they just keep on going. They sort of have lives of their own. We have them for a while and then they go on to someone else to build memories with. It is this kind of imaginative speculation that enhances the appeal of older trains for me.

PW / conventional operator so that drives my purchases accordingly. PW and MPC-era are about it. I am finding really great deals on PW motive power and rolling stock these days.

However, in the "modern"  category I do have a small roster of Lion Chief Plus locos. In fact my one pre-order from this last catalog was one of the LC+ 0-6-0s. 


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