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Anyone here does model railroads for a hobby?

What's the best place to start? Any advice for a beginner -- something you wish someone had told you before you started in earnest.

Wouldn't it be fun to do a theme layout like "Galt's Gulch" or "The John Galt Line", or even "Taggart Transcontinental"?

I don't model any more but my dad and I spent years doing it. It was a very fun hobby. If I wasn't doing lead casting now I'd be doing railroads.

HO sets are the most common and the cheapest sets. Those are the boxed sets that you see at stores like Wal Mart etc. It's the most common guage and accesories are the easiest to find.

I started out with HO and we did gagillions of diaramas with everything from scale accurate mountains etc. The downside is that after not to long you start to consume up space. After mom got tired of parking outside, we started using N guage. N gauge is much smaller. It allowed us to do some really detailed stuff in a compact space. You can do a basic oval track in a 2x5" space in N but HO will double that.

The most fun is the assembly and planning. You get the chance to create a new world and flex your artistic muscles. Start small and simple and see if you like the hobby. I'd really recomend instead of buying a set from a chain, go to a dedicated hobby shop.

They'll have the same sets as the big stores but the price will be a small bit higher. What you do get is a bunch of great advice. Plus they often sell used track and rolling stock. While it may not look the best you can use it to do more complicated layouts at a better price. Did I mention advice? Most people that own hobby shops do it becuase they love the hobby and love talking about it.

Start small, build piece by piece, and most of all have fun.

{edit} The post Christmas time is the best to buy. Up to Dec 24, that's their busy season. After that, they're really wanting to unload their stock of basic sets since most of their customers want to build on pre-existing sets, not buy new ones.

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Wouldn't it be fun to do a theme layout like "Galt's Gulch" or "The John Galt Line", or even "Taggart Transcontinental"?

I used to be active in model railroading (HO scale), but have been too busy in recent years to do much. So my layout remains fragmentary and incomplete.

My railroad is the Colorado Division of Taggart Transcontinental. The time period is 1957, so motive power is mostly first generation Diesels: GP-7s and RS-3s. I have a copper mine (d'Anconia Copper # 1) and have partially built a Walthers' blast furnace (for Rearden Steel).

I lettered my locomotives and rolling stock, using dry transfers. Makers of custom decals advertise in "Model Railroader" magazine. About 10 years ago, one ad featured a photograph of several customers' decals: one of them was for The John Galt Line!

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