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Does it ever seem like things are backwards. These are some things I noticed working on 3 rail trains over the years.

The cheaper the 9v battery, the less likely it is to leak. I have bought trains with top name brand 9V batteries left in them for 7+ years and they leaked. I just pulled out a super cheap no-name battery with a July 2012 experiation date and not a sign of leaking. Might make it through the next ice age without leaking. My VOM showed 9v still, but not enough current left to run the sounds at shutoff. Dead, but not leaking. Maybe there isn't as much to leak out in a cheap battery?

The bigger the item, the more oversized the box and documentation will be.  I have a K-line bigboy from 2002 era.  The original box is about 1.5-2 times bigger than it needs to be in my opinion. The documentation instead of being a 5.5" x 8.5" I normally see with K-line, it is a full 8.5" x 11" booklet.  Maybe todays shipping cost will reverse this trend?

When you try to buy trash, you sometimes end up with gold. I needed a truck for a 1950's madison car. Found a parts car for sale cheap, cracked body, windows knocked in. A little fuzzy on the pictures. The trucks looked good enough in the pictures. When I got it I found the frame and trucks in pristine, unrun condition.  Light bulbs in new condition, only a little dust on them.   Not a run mark at all on the wheels or pickups. If there wasn't a chunk taken out of the shell it would have been good, perfect screw holes still. The wires had gone hard else I could have used the frame and wheels as they were. Also the window frames didn't have a spec of rust on them. I replaced the window silhouettes since someone poked them out. A spare shell and I have fundamentally a new Madison car.

The more you try to save money the more it costs. After a couple of, "I can fix it" projects, I no longer buy them if they are not complete.  Complete and not running, I can fix. Finding missing details, trim or parts often ends up costing more than buying one in good condition.

Don't buy one, hoping to find the other. Example, I have a TMCC powered UP F3 B unit, it was a deal. Finding a dummy A unit or even a matching A unit shell is like finding hens teath. 

Any others?

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@VHubbard posted:

Don't buy one, hoping to find the other. Example, I have a TMCC powered UP F3 B unit, it was a deal. Finding a dummy A unit or even a matching A unit shell is like finding hens teath.

@VHubbard,

I'm going to be the nonconformist here.

There's an opposing corollary to this observation, and so far it works quite well for me.

I buy the 'A' units first.  Once that's done 'B' units are fairly easy to find, relatively plentiful, and surprisingly low cost, for some reason.

It doesn't work every time but for me it works pretty well -- and more often than not.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

I've run into the trash/treasure issue a few times.  The best occurred when I was a teenager.  At the time all you could get were Lionel Lehigh Valley Hopper cars.  I decided I wanted to have something different so I ordered 4 sets of decals from Walther's for different roads/owners and then started checking the for sale ads in the back of Model Railroader.  One seller advertised Lehigh Valley hoppers in poor but usable condition - price a dollar each.  Perfect!   I sent off the money, a week or so later UPS brought me a package, I opened the package and inside were 4 brand new, still in the box Lehigh Valley hoppers....I still have the cars. As for the 4 sets of decals - they are still in their envelopes.

@RoyBoy posted:

A week to a month after you throw out some junk that has been lying around for ten years, you will need a part that was on it to fix something else.

THAT is absolutely, positively, TRUE.

It's an amazing phenomenon that's bit me on the azz over and over again... but I never seem to learn and end up getting rid of something.

Oft times it's something I've kept for years... only to need it 1-2 weeks after it's gone.

Something sinister is afoot.

Andre

I'll have something I know I can use, so I put in a place where it won't get lost.  Sure enough when the time comes I can't find it, I search everywhere, every box, every shelf and drawer, nothing.  So after spending days searching I break down and repurchase the same item (now much more expensive) and low and behold once the replacement arrives, I find the original sitting there in plain sight,..

However this never works with bourbon,

Here's my "medical variant" on this thread ....

After a TIA, a stroke, a cardiac incident, and placement of a cardiac pacemaker, I decided to spare my "likely widow" the pain and agony of disposing of my extensive Rock-Island-related O-gauge train collection along with accompanying control gear and action accessories -- an inventory list 8 pages long. Stout Auctions handled the sale, and nearly all that stuff was sold in a weekend. I kept a few treasured items, and they are now on display in my train room. Refer to the attached photos.

With help from family members, hobby friends, and a hired helper, I designed and built a 15x19-feet L-shaped layout. It's big enough for me and my great-grandkids.

After the auction sell-off, my medical condition improved and remains good to this day. With 20/20 hindsight, I sold it all prematurely; although I realize the collection would have to be disposed of sooner or later.  I'm now 83 and have resisted the temptation to "re-buy" those trains. I consider that resistance an affirmation of will power. However, I miss them; especially several of the favored action accessories: Lionel's Nuclear Reactor, Lionel's Sawmill, and MTH's Fire Station.

Like other responders to this thread, I bought some replacement accessories (MTH Mel's Diner, MTH Car Wash) rather than wait a year or more (so I thought) for repair of my existing (non-operating) accessory at a repair shop. Soon after the arrival of the "replacement" accessory, the original (and repairable) accessories were fixed.  I told the repair shop to place them with a worthy Train Club that would welcome them. I hope those items will be appreciated by young hobbyists-to-be who may visit those Train Clubs.  Nothing "given back" is wasted.

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

Attachments

Images (5)
  • MHM Layout, Level 1 as JPG
  • MHM Layout, Level 2 as JPG
  • E-W Platform
  • N-S Platform
  • MHM with Trains 2

Here's my "medical variant" on this thread ....

After a TIA, a stroke, a cardiac incident, and placement of a cardiac pacemaker, I decided to spare my "likely widow" the pain and agony of disposing of my extensive Rock-Island-related O-gauge train collection along with accompanying control gear and action accessories -- an inventory list 8 pages long. Stout Auctions handled the sale, and nearly all that stuff was sold in a weekend. I kept a few treasured items, and they are now on display in my train room. Refer to the attached photos.

With help from family members, hobby friends, and a hired helper, I designed and built a 15x19-feet L-shaped layout. It's big enough for me and my great-grandkids.

After the auction sell-off, my medical condition improved and remains good to this day. With 20/20 hindsight, I sold it all prematurely; although I realize the collection would have to be disposed of sooner or later.  I'm now 83 and have resisted the temptation to "re-buy" those trains. I consider that resistance an affirmation of will power. However, I miss them; especially several of the favored action accessories: Lionel's Nuclear Reactor, Lionel's Sawmill, and MTH's Fire Station.

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

Mike, I empathize with you and am delighted to I hear to hear that you still have some of your beloved trains.

I've given much thought, like many of us have, to the issue of when it's best to sell off most of the collection as we get up in years.

My current thinking is to hold on and continue enjoying, to the maximum extent, the trains I have.

IMO, this hobby is a very good activity for an old timer. Our multi-faceted hobby keeps us active, mentally and physically, without being too demanding.

It would be great, Mike, if you could join or visit, on a regular basis, a club layout or the layout of a fellow Forumite or friend, where you can see and run the trains and accessories that you love. Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Arnold:

Fortunately, I live in central Arkansas (Conway, near Little Rock), so I'm not very far away from one of the best (and tallest) O-gauge layouts; i.e., the home layout of Alan Arnold of OGR fame. A visit to his layout is good for my humility -- I'll never achieve the level of skill in design and construction evident in his IMPRESSIVE layout. Thankfully and gratefully, Alan is a mentor who inspires other hobbyists by example; as you do with regular, helpful postings to the OGR FORUM.

FYI, for five years or so, I led a group of central Arkansas O gauge hobbyists who designed and built a LARGE modular layout that was shown daily for three weeks during five holiday seasons at Laman Library in North Little Rock. Some pix of that layout are attached. LCCA sponsored that special event, and more than 22,500 folks visited the layout during its multi-year run. Unfortunately, that event ended as the core members (me included) grew older and less capable of presenting and staffing the show.

Santa knows ... kids (of all ages) love toy trains in action.

Mike Mottler     LCCA 12394

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Images (3)
  • 100_5986
  • 100_6010
  • 100_5994

When at train shows, look at EVERY table, even if it looks like all junk.  That is where you will find the gems you might be looking for, and many times for very cheap prices.  Dont be afraid to root thru boxes of stuff under tables, sometimes under those busted car bodies is a treasure waiting to be found.  You spent the $$ in gas to get there and get into the show, leave no stone unturned.  AD

@RoyBoy posted:

A week to a month after you throw out some junk that has been lying around for ten years, you will need a part that was on it to fix something else.

@laming posted:

THAT is absolutely, positively, TRUE.

It's an amazing phenomenon that's bit me on the azz over and over again... but I never seem to learn and end up getting rid of something.



And don't forget its corollary...

After you pass on your kids trying to figure out why you kept all these busted trains.

My favorite is piecing together a loco with about $150 worth of parts over time and then seeing one at a show for $100.



Jerry

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