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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I have got a max budget of £150 for a starter set, please could you comment to say which sort of set would be best. If i get into building a model railway i think i might want to be able to run two trains at the same time would it be best to buy a digital set first or later on.

thanks for your help
Ted
 

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No one else has jumped in so I'll try to help.

If starting now then I think that it must be digital. You don't want to buy a old-style controller only to have to change it fairly soon.

Which set depends on your interest. If it's diesel, then the Bachmann class 25 digital diesel starter set would be a fair choice for under £100. Many on this forum will say that there are much better digital controllers than the Bachmann EZ but they cost a lot more. You don't want to shell out a huge amount (and have said that you can't) until you decide that this hobby is for you. I think that the EZ will do you all right until you decide you want something better. It would also be good to start with an engine that is DCC fitted as fitting it yourself might not be too easy.
 

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Hello Ted,

For under a £150, I would seriously look at any of the Bachmann DCC (digital) starter sets. I bought a DCC Mixed Freight set about 18 months ago, with a diesel locomotive and a couple of goods wagons.

I now have a layout with nine locos, but have practically re-used every bit of my starter set:

- The locomotive is still around, and now has been weathered and has sound
- Some of the goods wagons I sold, and I bought quite a few more!
- Most of the track has been re-used somewhere on my fixed layout
- My EZ Command controller is still in use, and despite all the talk on the forums about expensive DCC controllers, I love it and it does nicely. I did buy a thing that plugs into a PC and can do the programming bits that the EZ Command cannot do, but that is indulgence and not a necessity.

In that sense, the starter set has fulfilled its purpose and certainly was not some throw-away item that had to be replaced when I got into it in a serious manner.

My starter set was this one: http://ehattons.com/StockDetail.aspx?SID=10152

With the Bachmann starter sets in your price range, you get nicer locomotives. Hornby have low-end versions of their locomotives in their cheapest starter sets. You also get a DCC controller which compares favourably to Hornby's basic DCC controller, despite all the ranting that goes on. Bachmann and Hornby rolling stock is fully compatible too.

If you start from scratch, I would defintely go for a digital set.

If you want to see what I got up to in 18 months, have a look at: http://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forum...opic.php?t=9982

Enjoy your purchase!

Walter
 

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I agree totally...the Bachmann starter sets, with DCC appear to be the best bet.

Of the 4 sets that Hattons offer, my first choice would be the top one..with the two small steam tank engines.

We already have Bachmann's US-only ''Thomas''...which is the same emgine as the little green sidetanker.

It runs very well, is very compact, and makes an excellent [if freelance] industrial loco.

The saddle tanker likewise.

Although there are only two wagons, this can be enlarged upon easily...with the important option of choice of era.

the siding is very important, for variance in operation...and the two locos really do hilite the advantages of DCC control...which is the main reason for its existence in the first place?

This particular set is also easy to identify with, from the young person's viewpoint, as similar locos are found all over the Preservation scene?

another ''advantage'' of the smaller loco sizes are that they appear to provide 'more per foot'' of track?
[ie, don't look too daft on tight curves and short sidings?]

The diesel option suggested by Walter is an admirable choice as well.....the loco is a good starter, being reliable in operation, ie goes when it ought to, and doesn't stall too often.

However, I have an issue with the stock provided.

I appreciate why Bachmann used the private owner wagons...for their colourful attractiveness......but in reality, that green diesel would not have been around when the private owner wagons were in that livery. Far better to have had plain, BR-type opens , vans, etc? [which is why Walter did some quick exchanges?]

The GWR tank loco and passenger coaches are a better bet perhaps, than the diesel set....since all is ''in keeping''??

however, both cannot exploit the DCC without another engine?

and chip

and more track?

so for me, it ends up as the first set mentioned.
 

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The 25 and twin steam loco bachmann digital sets have poor decoders installed which are limited in functions and give noisy motor performance. Modelzone have been flogging off the twin loco set for £59.99. There is a newer bachmann digital set with a steam and diesel loco in it which may have better decoders.
 

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would anyone suggest buying a DC set , then getting the dealer to equip for DCC ?

or better still, what about a suggestion for a list of stock, track, and DCC control.....that would get ted 1 started?

trackpacks?

what about Bachmans EZ DCC?

what about makers from the continong?

Roco, Fleischmann, Marklin, etc?

[or are they all too costly?]

US prototypes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So is hattons definately the best website to buy from ?
Is it worth buying one of the books advising you about how to build you track layout or are those a waste of time?
What make of track comes with the Bachman sets?
Is there any websites that sell Peco track extension packs?

sorry about all the questions
thanks for all your help so far
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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I started with that Bachmann digital start set with the two locos!

http://ehattons.com/StockDetail.aspx?SID=10151

Got it off ebay for £45, the box was a bit damaged and one of the polystyrene inserts was missing but it was complete and does give a great start into DCC.
The engines are very light weight and don't run amazingly well, maybe because it's second hand, the blue engine 'Stuart' has been sent back to Bachmann for a rebuild though and does run better but still not great!!
It will get you started though and you will just want to expand!!!

You really do need to have two locos so you can get into selecting each address and running them independently, it's great!!
I have never known any other way of wiring, reading the forums I'm really pleased I started off in DCC and not DC!!!

Ian
 

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Hattons definitely are very competetive; I've bought from them. So are Rails of Sheffield and you can save on postage if, like me, you live near the city.
Bachmann make their own track and this is obviously what is in their sets. I believe that it is very similar to peco code 100 and will certainly join with it.
 

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Bachmann use their own brand of ''set-track''.....which is compatible with Hornby and Peco, as far as I know.

Any book that advises how one should go about things is a GOOD DEAL.

I would suggest checking out Peco publications.....?

There are many others....all available from Amazon.

which one to buy? choices, choices.....

Hattons may well sell Peco extension packs.....TBH I haven't looked.

Probably the first idea would be to see how much ''space'' you can allocate to trains?

then produce a specialised ''table'' to put the track onto...called a 'baseboard'.....there are a million and one ways of achieving this....baseboards themselves are a massive subject......from simple, to engineering.

the objective is to acquire a stable base for the trackwork....and eventually, scenery...(into theater and drama yet?)

getting the whole shebang up to a reasonable working[playing] height may well involve legs...or even, a bed...or furniture, or shelves, or......................the list is again endless.
Avoid laying track on the carpet.....it gets trodden on, and most UK track wont withstand such treatment.

but a book, or six, will start to give you ideas about what can, or cannot be achieved.

the important thing about layout design, for example, is to maintain interest. There is only so much chasing of tails that can be tolerated before boredom sets in. [ever tried Scalextric as a solo performance?]

any book on starting a model railway by C.J. Freezer, or Chris Leigh, for example, is a good starting point.....although I feel CJF rather assumes an old fashioned view of what is an enthusiast?
 

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One thing I forgot to mention in my previous answers - are you set on 00 scale? This links up with alastairq's point about space available for the railway. I model in 00 and I've got a dedicated room 11ft 6in by 9ft and I think that's ONLY JUST big enough for a continuous run circuit, and I would like a couple of feet more in length. (Isn't it true that everyone would be happy with an income a few thousand p.a more than they are getting, and with a house a little larger than the one they've got?)
The smaller N-gauge would give you the same thing in about 6ft by 4ft 6in but I think the models are just too small. I have seen some 3mm models at exhibitions and think that's a really good scale. Pity that you have to make everything yourself to work in that scale.
IF ONLY when 00 started it had been proper British HO with 3.5mm to the foot scale I'm sure that we would all be a lot happier today. Anyway, that's enough ranting for now.
 

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QUOTE IF ONLY when 00 started it had been proper British HO with 3.5mm to the foot scale I'm sure that we would all be a lot happier today. Anyway, that's enough ranting for now.

the reasons for british adoption of 4mm scale, but with 16.5mm track, are well documented.

But 4mm as a scale isn't unique...the americans also have a 4 mm scale movement, albeit on 19mm gauge track.

and 3mm scale isn't quite as accurate as OO gauge, either, with the TT track gauge being 12mm! N scale is a compromise as well....why not 2mm scale, which I think pre-dates N scale?

3mm isn't so VERY far off 3.5mm scale, is it?

one advantage of OO gauge..ie 4mm scale with 16.5mm track, as per HO....is that the scale allows a slightly more bulky, or 'meaty' model, than would be the case in HO (3.5mm scale), but with the added advantage a narrower track gauge gives, of being able to squeeze curvature, etc into a tighter space?...[a valid reason for the prototype being ''narrow gauge?'']......certainly EMgauge doesn't suit the sort of trainset curves found in OO?

and no, I'm aware of the scale appearance, etc...I'm referring to the MECHANICS of a track gauge at 18 mm.

so OO gauge gives us the mechanics/space advantages of HO, and the visual and manual bulk of a larger scale.
(eg, I now struggle to 'see', let alone model, handrail/steps in HO ..US prototype.....on a US box car.
On anOO gauge brakevan, I have less of a problem,with the 'same' item.....in fact, a reason why I am investigating S scale!)

I do like to fight the other's corner!

which doesn't help Ted one iota.
 

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Ah - the forums! :) Such great places for advice and sharing ideas, but if you ask what starter set to buy with £150 you're into the good old discussions on scale, decoders, etc... before you can say 'locomotive'! Still - guilty as charged sometimes...
 

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I was being tongue-in-cheek, Walter......

I am a tad disappointed with the range and variety of train sets fro the big two.

Certainly so when I compare what they put together, with the likes of Hornby-Dublo of the 60's.

there certainly is remarkably little choice if one has some enthusiasm for trains.

For example, where are the modern-image diesel hauled big freight trainsets of old?

I get the impression that the starter sets are merely snifters to entice folk to buy more stock.....if the interest is sustained.
If the starter set, by being of a limited nature, does not achieve that 'appeal', then who has lost?
 

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Some of the start sets from the likes of Roco, while not being UK outline offer superb value for money - it may be worthwhile checking them out.

Regards
 

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If time is not important to getting one soon then I would wait until after xmas. The likes of Toysrus, Argus and Woolies will have sets on offer to clear unsold stock.

They may not have digital controllers in them but you can pick up 2-3 sets for £150.

I got the Hornby industrial set last year from woolies for £39.99.

Ebay usually have some cheap sets as well.
 

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I am disappointed Hornby haven't put a decent coalmover set together using the marvellous J94 austerity tank.

This loco, in my opinion, is one of the best, and most recognisable (due to the preserved railway scene) steam locos around, for the beginner, bothe age and experience-wise.

It has good slow speed performance (rig the controller so that it only allows about half voltage..prevents the full belt accidents)....can be pushed whilst 'dead' with impunity (try that with a loco with traction tyres).....has a shortish wheelbase for good pickup over turnouts...etc...

It is appropriate for timelines from WW2 to present day......and is available in more liveries than one can shake a stick at!

It is also available with a number of detail variations.

Coupled (?) with either plain BR wagons, or colourful private owner wagons...maybe even a couple of coaches, as found on preserved lines.......???

How easy to chip the J94??
 

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