Okay, So I got about $170 from selling Wooden Trains I played with when I was little. Added the current $20 Dollars I already had, I had a total of about $190. my original plan was to buy the Super Mario Maker Video Game for the Wii U. Then I thought about buying Mario Kart 8 Video Game, also for Wii U. My final decision was buying a 3 rail O gauge starter set. However, I have 3 big specifications: 1. my set has to have a steam locomotive 2. I have to make sure I get The best Bang for my buck. and 3. My set has to be able to fit in tight spaces. my parents say our house isn't fit for O gauge. so It's Important

to know what'll fit and what Won't.

I love Trains!

Original Post

I would suggest this Pennsy Flyer. This is the same set our modular club is giving away in our raffle. It is $10 over budget. I'd be looking to mow some grass or wash and wax a car ASAP.

 

This gives you 40"x60" of FasTrack, Transformer, Lionchief remote control, two freight cars, a caboose, and a very attractive 0-8-0 steam engine. The FasTrack is great for setup on the floor and is durable when you're frequently putting it together and then taking it apart.

First off, Lionel Polar Express, you might want to check out the following link and then talk it over with your parents to see how much space you can have...

 

 

http://www.thortrains.net/

 

Scroll down on the page and you will see links for all sorts of small layout designs. You'll want to check out all of these. Lionel's traditional 027 track will offer the most variety for the smallest spaces and is the most affordable track system out there, new or used. You can build a decent layout on a hollow core door with 027 track.

 

There's also some videos on YouTube of layouts built on a hollow core door, if you search for them.

 

FasTrack, which now comes in all Lionel starter sets, doesn't have the small space flexibility, but offers other advantages. I'm not sure, but the Lionel Polar Express Berkshire might not clear the switch housing on 027 switches. So there's an advantage of FasTrack.

 

I'd second the recommendation of the LCCA Open House if you can get to the event. But you can still find older Lionel sets, still sealed, or lightly used that came with 027 track.

 

Your small space (and probably small budget) will limit the types of trains you can run, but these types of trains are usually the most affordable. The Lionel 4-4-2, 2-4-2 and 0-8-0 steam sets are good bets for small spaces. There's a plenty of older MPC and postwar Lionel engines that run on tight curves and look good doing so. 

 

I suppose the first question you need to answer is how much space you will be allowed. That will help determine what type of track you'll use and what sorts of trains you will be looking for.

 

I would just keep saving till you have enough for a set of your choice.  Maybe someone will see that your looking and pass on a deeply discounted set to you.  My parents also did not support my train hobby when I was your age, but my grandfather did by keeping my father's set from the late 40's.  In fact there is a dublicate of it on ebay for under $200 with even the set box.  All you would need is track and transformer, both cheaply had if you go with used track.  My MPC era Lionel starter set is long gone, but my dads starter set, 1423w from 1948 still runs to this very day, with its original transformer.  My parents only know have come to under stand what the trains mean to me.  My autism spectrum disorder was only diagnosed a little over a year ago.  Trains are my obsession.  Here is a link to the set that is a duplicate of my father's  http://www.ebay.com/itm/LIONEL...?hash=item51d74f0124   Good luck on your hunt for a set.  Mike 

Silly NT's...I have Asperger's Syndrome! 

If you don’t have a lot of space then you want O-27.  I would check craigslist, I bet you could get a good used set for around $70.  If it has to be new-in-the-box and you want fastrack, you can find a 4-4-2 steam set with an 80 watt transformer for around $150-160, the Pennsylvania Flyer sets are actually very nice.  You can swap out the curves for 0-31s.  

 

From there I would buy a Lionel Pullman passenger expansion pack, and a pair of alco diesels from Williams or maybe a used GP off of ebay.  That gives you one steam engine, one diesel pair, and both a freight and passenger consist.  Then I would STOP buying rolling stock and put everything else into the scenic items and track.  

 

If space is really, really tight, you can do an all-traction layout using Superstreets/EZ Streets D-21 curves.  

Lionel Polar Express, 

    Montclaire is giving you some good advise, take it seriously.

Also I have a question for you, are either of your parents Military Veterans?  My Business helps Veterans & Active Duty Military families, especially at Christmas time.   Many Christmas seasons, we gift an O Gauge Train Set to Military Veterans families, to help pass on our O Gauge Hobby to Military Veterans and their children.  

If either of your parents or Grandparents are Military Veterans, have them contact me.

My e-mail address is Pine-Creek@live.com 

PCRR/Dave

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

Originally Posted by Lionel Polar Express:
Originally Posted by Pingman:

Didn't you get the Thomas tank engine you mentioned a while ago in a previous thread?  How is Grandpa Don doing these days?

Unfortunately, No. My Dad doesn't like the whole "Thomas Idea" so he said "nope".

also being almost a teen, My Grandpa's doing fine. 

 

I love Trains!

Pine Creek Railroad posted:

Lionel Polar Express, 

    Montclaire is giving you some good advise, take it seriously.

Also I have a question for you, are either of your parents Military Veterans?  My Business helps Veterans & Active Duty Military families, especially at Christmas time.   Many Christmas seasons, we gift an O Gauge Train Set to Military Veterans families, to help pass on our O Gauge Hobby to Military Veterans and their children.  

If either of your parents or Grandparents are Military Veterans, have them contact me.

My e-mail address is Pine-Creek@live.com 

PCRR/Dave

No. Neither of my parents are military Veterans. I do know, a couple people that are military Vets, both active and retired. my grandpa has this ultra rare Lionel O-modern set that he may give to me, but it's basically mine. but no. neither of my parents of military vets. 

I love Trains!

As far as new sets go, I would say the Pennsy Flyer suggested by Gilly@N&W is probably the best value out there at the moment. As others have said, you can do even better with older/used starter sets with O-27 track, though you will be sacrificing the sound effects and the remote control. The good thing about O-27 track is that it requires the least space of any system, and is very abundant and cheap. The bad part is that it is unrealistic, and will have to be tightened periodically if you have it set up on the floor (tho you can get around that by zip-tying the sections together). Also, it won't protect the carpet from a greasy engine!

Save a few more $ and start with an MTH set. Runs great and you can expand later. The biggest feature is the Proto 2.0 or 3. , which is command (computer) control. Besides more "play value."

 It has Great quality to boot. Yes I'm biased but have much experience with all 3rl makes.

Please do not use "Craigs list" unless you meet the seller @ local Police Station.

 

Don't listen to your parents.  They don't know anything.  I should know, I'm a parent.....LOL

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

                                                                                                                                        

Here's another vote for the Lionel Pennsy set, which does go on sale fairly often it seems.  It will be much cheaper than an MTH set.  Another nice thing about this Lionel set as opposed to an MTH ready-to-run set is that the Lionel fits very neatly in a smaller box, with less packaging.  I have both manufacturers' low-end boxed RTR sets and have to keep picking them up and moving them for my house cleaner.  The Lionel is a snap to pack up or drop in the trunk to visit my mother at Xmas.  As has been noted, the Lionel track will handle being  setup and torn down better than the MTH track, if that's something you'll have to do.  The MTH plastic guides used to connect the track can break off during setup/tear down.   That said my floor layout is actually MTH because it comes in a smaller O-31 radius.  But the Lionel 0-36 is still manageable size-wise if you go with the simple oval supplied in a RTR set.

Good luck!

Tomlinson Run Railroad

Do you have a local hobby shop where you can look at sets?  That would be very helpful.  If not, and your budget is $200 or less, there is really only one choice and that's a Lionel LionChief starter set of some sort.  Probably from Amazon or a good internet retailer (look at Charles Ro, Nassau Hobbies,  or another forum sponsor)It will come with a small steam loco, likely a few freight cars and Fastrack, which can make a small loop of track about 40 x 60. 

The advantage of LionChief is that if you decide to expand and buy some more track (say another loop from a second LionChief set, plus a few extra straight track, or even a pair of switches), the second locomotive can be independently operated with a second remote. Just don't buy two of the same set (each set loco is uniquely linked to a specific remote). 

Thus for an investment over the next few years of perhaps $400 to $500 you wind up with command control for two locos,  and two loops of track if you buy a few extra straight tracks.  Compare that with the the higher quality but more expensive MTH sets, at about $300 each, and in order to have independent control of your two MTH trains, you'll need MTH's DCS, which is another $300 or so.  So $500 versus $900 for somewhat equivalent functionality.

In any case, unless you can come up with an extra $100 or so,  you're "stuck" with Lionel starter sets.  However, that may be a more suitable solution as you will achieve independent future functionality in the loco (LionChief) right off the bat,  superior track, and significantly less initial expense.  The Lionel loco and rolling stock will be adequate quality and detail, but almost certainly significantly less so than the more expensive and more detailed, robust MTH rolling stock and loco.

 

The alternative, which I don't recommend for a beginner without expert experienced advice, is reasonably inexpensive conventional used equipment (I'd go with Lionel postwar or MPC for price), which will be in rougher shape than new, but good value.  The problem here is it will have to be bought from used equipment sellers without a warranty, unless you have a dealer who sells used equipment with a dealer warranty.  Without experienced help, I'd go with new stuff.  If you buy something from Amazon or Charles Ro and it is defective, they will exchange it or refund your money.  That's reassuring.

Expert experienced advice?  These are toys for children.  I think he will be fine.  There are plenty of small hobby shops that do sell "serviced" used locos and track/transformer packages at a reasonable cost.  And if buying from a private seller you can always ask to see it run first - even online sellers can send you a video of the same.  

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