C&O #500 Class M-1 Steam Turbine in HO Scale Brass By Division Point. This very hard to come by locomotive comes up just once and a while on ebay. They were produced in HO scale much more than their full size counterpart! There were only three produced and had a very short service life. Could you imagine this thing coming around the bend?
To the purist in model railroading, detail is everthing. Even in the tiniest of scales much effort is made to have exact measurements, colors, axles and road numbers. And I think that is great but sometimes it’s good to act like a kid again. When we were kids, our imagination added the detail and because of it, we were able to do so much more. A friend of mine had a bunch of Legos and we would build for hours creations, usually cars, trucks and airplanes. The really cool looking ones might be kept built for a while but most ended up in Lego smash up derbies.
So why are we talking about Legos on a model railroad site? Well Legos has offered a few really neat train building kits over the years. Some are modeled after real locomotives, others are made for the imaginaton. One that really caught my eye is the Lego Set 10277 which is a Crocodile Locomotive. This cool little kit has 1,271 pieces and has a display track. Now if you are a model railroading and you loved playing with Legos as a kid, this would be a great little project. There is a company that makes a lighting set for the locomotive! Or, maybe a gift to stir the love of model railroading in a youngster.
If you are a collector, you may want to buy the 10277 set and tuck it away. Lego sets can be a great investment. Check ebay, you will be suprised at what some of the discontinued sets are going for! You think brass is a good investment, some sets really increase over time. Take for instance the Lego 10133 BNSF Locomotive Kit released around 2005. (Pictured below) Original price was $40 U.S. Now, try to find one unbuilt for under $500!
I know there is a ton of interest in MAERSK container stacks. Well here is another set you should have bought new, the Lego 10219 MAERSK set. Originally at $119 U.S. back in 2011, going for 3 to 4 times that now. You can still find them, but yes it will cost you!
You will aslo find other locomotives and actual little trains sets from Lego as well. I was surprised to see the wide selection of custom built Lego train pieces as well. There seems to be quite an interest in Lego trains!
Model railroad layout design software may not be needed for a basic layout or if you have a layout plan already that calls out track pieces needed. But if you want to have a little fun or if you are designing a more complex set up, you may want to give AnyRail a try. AnyRail model railroad layout design software is easy to use and works with any scale and really is very moderately priced for what it will do.
AnyRail has an extensive library of track sections from most all suppliers in all scales G-Z (including some I didn’t know existed!) I do mainly z scale and I am very impressed that the library has all the manufactures latest turnouts, crossovers etc. so I can design with current pieces available. As you get into the other scales, you will be pleasantly surprised with the choices. Most of my layouts are fairly simple table top designs with no elevation. Below is a super simple double oval for z that uses a crossover switch so you could run two trains. Pretty boring layout but I wanted to show what you can do in under 5 minutes with the AnyRail model railroad layout software. I drew this with their free limited version that limits you to 50 track pieces.
Now check out a more complex design drawn with AnyRail model railroad layout software. Here is where you can see how this is really a fun software and the real power of it!
Click here and you will see more examples of what users have drawn with this software. There are some incredible designs that have even more detail. Some really simple little layouts, some fill a whole garage! You can really plan your dream layout and envision not only what will work but what you need for track. You can also place buildings trees, mountains, hidden tracks, power breaks, elevation and so much more. And here is another cool thing from the site I realized, you can download the examples into your copy of AnyRail and modify! What a great idea.
As I mentioned at the outset, this model railroad design software from AnyRail is simple to use. It is very intuitive and reminds me a little of Power Point with simple drag and drop usage. If you spend any amount of time with the software you will become very proficient very quickly. You can try the limited version for free. It limits you to 50 track pieces, the full is really the way to go with a great price point.
I have to laugh when I think about how I used to tell my father that he should have a computer to design his massive n scale layout. After I would tell him all the benefits of model railroad layout design programs, he would reach into his pocket, pull out his mechanical pencil, click it a couple of times and say “I have my computer right here”. For those of us not as smart as him, I recommend giving AnyRail a try.
Where did the year go? That’s what I thought as I flipped over the calendar this month. Then I thought, “why do I have such a boring calendar at work?” I started searching for a Railroad calandar and was pleasantly surprised. The photography on these Railroad calendars is just spectacular. You will find the big roads, modern and past and even a Model Railroad calendar. Calendar’s can make a quick easy gift that will be used all year. Take a look below at what is available for calendars on Amazon right now. We have selected a few, if you don’t see what you like, try searching them.
Are you looking for a nearby train store? Searching for a train store near me is a good start. Google will give you some results. But, finding a train store isn’t near as easy as it used to be. When I was young we had a couple of local train stores that had a little of this and that for most scales. Even if they didn’t have a huge selection, they usually had the essentials, kits, glue, track spikes connectors, balsa and paints for your model railroad. Usually your local train store would also feature more road names for your area. We had plenty of Burlington Northern to choose from as well as the usually biggies, AT&SF, UP and PRR.
What a treat though when we drove just a little further and went to one of the big hobby shops. Many of these had working layouts and a much larger selection of trains. My dad took my brother and I to a large shop where I bought my most valuable train, an n scale Atlas Warren tank car. Have you ever watched a young child stair at a model train as it rolls by? It’s a beautiful thing!
With the advent of e-commerce, so much has been lost in the model train experience. It just isn’t as special sitting in front of the computer with your kids looking at model trains. So if you can find a train store near you, especially one with a working layout, you will be adding so much more to the experience and increasing the odds that this great hobby get’s passed on to the next generation. The time my brother and I spent bonding with my father on the way to and from the hobby shop, asking question and after question is something I treasure long after his passing. If you can’t find a local shop, that’s not all bad, read on.
I was surprised when I googled “train stores near me” to find there actually where a few near me! One was in my small town of Buffalo, MN and only handled G scale but still a full fledged family owned train store within 2 miles of me! My search also showed that if I would drive 25 miles, I would find even more train stores that I could visit and actually find what I was looking for. Many of these stores will order in for you as well. Please don’t get to hung up on pricing. I had a customer call my power tool business and let me know Amazon had the same drills I had for $5 less. My question to him was “which one did Amazon feel would be best for your use?” . He got the point. So if your local train store is a little high, remember, there is some expertise there. I have found that some of the bigger craft stores handle some model train basics including glues, paints, balsa and even some actual trains!
All of that being said, if you search train store near me, you simply may find nothing within a comfortable driving distance. You will find more and more brick and mortar stores bringing their expertise to the internet. When a local hobby shop starts selling online, be it through ebay, Amazon or their own site, they are bringing along that local customer service and love for model trains that giant online sellers just don’t have. Through in the fact that they can offer service and used inventory and you may find the best train store near you is actually online!
Start here before you sell off your model trains! If you are curious what the most valuable model trains are, here is a good starting point to help you see just how valuable your trains are!
How valuable is that train? Good question. Whether you are just curious or are looking to sell off a few pieces of your collection, ebay can be a great source for finding value. If you are selling off your collection, I highly recommend scanning through the sold items on ebay and see what things are actually selling for. I use them all the time when I am buying lots of trains to really see what kind of deal I am getting. For fun, you will find some of the recent highest selling items by scale. Click through and snoop around, you may have a small fortune in your attic! Below we have broken down the scale into two groupings per scale.
First the highest price sales in last 90 days on ebay and secondly, the current highest price listings.
So there you have it. Again the dollar value of an model railroad piece is based on what someone will pay you for it. As you look at the value on some of the pages above you will note there are many sellers really shooting for the moon with their values. That is the value of looking at the sold last 90 days links for trains on ebay. This data is actual sales so you are getting good info.
Besides dollar value of any model train, there is the emotional or sentimental value. That is a completely different topic! I have bought and sold some very expensive pieces, but I will never part with my Atlas N scale Warren tank, car. A few of my other never sell items are an MDC 3 Truck Shay my father built for me before he died, a Roundhouse 0-6-0 he helped me build and a Tyco D&RGW steamer that I bought when I was 13 and promptly repainted. I later bought the original!