Well I just found this forum and I wanted to share a little story with all of you for Christmas. I like almost every other little boy I new, back in the early 1980's, got a model train to play with for Christmas. I got a Tyco... yes that's right a Tyco HO model train set. It was absolutely horrendous and I quickly learned it was a piece of junk and became rather bored with it quickly. The worst part was this from a father who grew up with all Lionel equipment (a very large collection) which if we still had today would be worth many thousands of dollars. The first train that I ever bought was back around 1996 from Sam's Club, it was a Bachman G scale to go around a Christmas tree. I think I paid about a hundred dollars for it. It sat in storage for many years until just a few days ago when my girlfriend and I decided to pull it out of storage and put it around the tree. It lasted all of about a single day. Unknown to me it was damaged when I moved, the main dive gear was broken. I was able to fix it with some plastic glue and it ran for another fifteen minutes before quitting yet again. Well her two-year-old son, and my little buddy, would not stand to have a broken choo-choo train around the tree and the two of us agreed; something must be done. On my quest I first went to Toys-R-Us and well... let's just say I left quickly. There was a hobby shop net to Toys-R-Us and wouldn't you know it, the only hobby shop in my town had gone out of business. Things were starting to get desperate. I tried Wal-Mart; nothing and in my town if you can't get it at Wal-Mart then it cannot be had I then looked online at Sears and to my astonishment they carried a Lionel train set! Of course I then found out that my local Sears did not carry it, or any other train for that matter. People, let me tell you... the dissapointment in my little buddies eyes almost had me in tears. How could I explain to him that the big choo-choo train under the tree is broken and that we cannot fix or replace it? And then we went to Hobby Lobby; known to me as an arts and crafts store geared towards women. They had trains people! I saw Lionel and a lot of names I did not know. My girlfriend spotted one down the aisle as I was looking at the Lionel train. She called me over to examine it. It was a K-Line, I had never heard of it before but I noticed it had Lionel RailSounds and thought that's good. Then I kept reading the box and saw that it had everything I was looking for. Now what's the price on this sucker? MSRP was $360, their regular price was around $340 and it was on clearance for about $240. There was one that looked identical on clearance for $160 and I got a sales clerk to help me and explain the difference. They were both identical (same stock numbers too) but one was a year older then the other. I told her if she marked the new one down to the same price as the older one I would take it. Well she walked away and came back armed with her price sticker gun and marked them both down to $70 each! I almost passed out. I got both, of course, and paid about $150 with tax. My little buddy and I now have a real train set to start with and there are already plans in the works to build a good starter layout. Having both trains is added insurance against little hands accidentally breaking something and just having extra parts around if needed. The look on his little face watching it go round and round with the smoke going and whistle blasting was worth my search. This is what we ended up getting. A K-Line K-1116 SF "Steam Chief" Passenger Set. Diecast engine, RailSounds, nice 120-watt transformer, and some really nice passenger cars (these will be getting replaced with working cars); all in all I am tickled pink. Now... where am I gonna build that layout? Merry Christmas everyone. I'm off now to go look at all those layouts.