As a beginner (did some HO stuff years ago), I probably am not qualified to give advice. But, if a person learns from their mistakes, I have gotten quite well educated! Before you buy ANY equipment - get a couple of books: Basic wiring, Basic DCC, etc. Yeah, I know, no one reads anymore and the internet has everything you need. However, I have found that many of the internet sites overly complicate things, and unless you are smarter than I, you can get very confused. One exception to this: I read almost every post on this forum and discovered answers to many of my questions. There a lot of very knowledgeable people here with years of experience that are willing to help. I did everything wrong that can be done (or it least it seems that way). Not knowing much, I thought that buying a couple of train sets would be an economical way to get started. Unfortunately, I bought some Bachmann sets that came with EZ-track. I know some folks on this forum use it, but I discovered some severe limitations, but only after I had bought enough track to complete a layout. I found that the curved sections only come in two sizes - too large and too tight! The switches only worked after much reworking, and not always even then. I discovered that DC operation limited my operation unless I was willing to throw several switches. I looked into DCC and was so intimidated by some of the DCC wiring websites that I almost threw in the towel. So, I got some good basic books and started reading - which I should have done before I started. The layout got torn down, and is now being done using PECO code 55 track. What flexibility! I can make all the curves long enough so that I can run any equipment (and I am a steam nut)! The switches work well - no comparison to my earlier experience. Flextrack is marvelous stuff! I discovered that if wiring works for DC, it should work for DCC. It is not as complicated as it sounds. So, when I get the track laid, I will have a decent operating layout, reducing derailments and other problems. I have a DCC controller that will hook up as easily as DC. But, I have tons of track I can't use and several locomotives that cannot be converted to DCC (at least without major rebuilding) I guess that means a lot of items will be sold through e-bay so that I can at least recover a little of my mis-spent money. My wife has been very understanding about all this, and she is continuing to work on painting vehicles, building buildings, etc., that will eventually end up on the layout. (She also makes trees, thank goodness - I don't do that well). So, the moral is: Learn before you buy - you can save a lot of expense and frustration!