Model trains stores can be expensive, but then you do get what you pay for. If you are a beginner then model trains stores should be your first stop.
Notice I said model trains stores and not hobby shops, because there is a difference. Hobby shops are usually staffed by people that are not experienced model railroaders.
While model trains stores are usually owned by very well experienced model railroaders.
Building a model railway is the most enjoyable hobby in my opinion. There is no other hobby where you can learn and improve a wide variety of skills in one place.
Building a model railroad exposes you to planning, design, woodwork, metalwork, wiring, electronics, kitbashing, scratchbuilding and so much more. But, you don’t need to know it all when you start.
The model trains stores in your area are filled with people waiting to advise you on building your dream model railroad.
So, why is model railroading known as an expensive hobby?
The answer is in the decisions they make. These are the 7 most common model railway mistakes you should avoid:
1 – Not Knowing What You Want
Most model railroad beginners start with an electric train set that comes complete with an oval track, locomotive, some cars and a controller. Often this is because it is cheaper to buy the set rather than individual components, but you get what you pay for.
As soon as you add more track to expand the oval, the problems start.
The power pack in the electric train set may have only been designed to power the oval length of track. When you add extra track, the power pack is now not powerful enough. This results in a voltage drop on the track and intermittent starting and stopping of the locomotive. This can be very frustrating.
2 – Building a Model Railway That Is Too Big
Often the impressive model railroads at the shows encourage beginners to go home and convert their entire basement into a huge model railroad.
Some of the model railway experts at those shows have spent 20 or more years on their layouts and a beginner trying to achieve that level of model railroading from the beginning will be disappointed.
Often the smallest of layouts can be more fun because they get to a level of enjoyable operation quicker. The experience adds up over the years and a small layout is always easy to expand.
3 – Paying Full Retail Price
If you are going to pay full retail price for every part of your model railway then it is going to be an expensive exercise.
Your local train club will have members, with equipment in good condition, that they will sell at a fraction of the new price. Model train experts are a generous bunch and always willing to help beginners.
Dan Morgan is the author of Model Trains For Beginners which should be compulsory reading for anyone considering model trains as a hobby.
Are you looking for a step-by-step guide to avoid the expensive model train mistakes almost all beginners make?
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