Old vs New

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by witeagle, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. witeagle

    witeagle New Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks to my wonderful wife I now have a new set by Backman and am getting back into the hobby. I used to have a railroad setup when I was a younger but the trains are all up in the attic at my parents house for about 20 years. Most of the trains/track etc I had was all Tyco.

    I have a pretty large area in the basement and will be starting to build a new layout and would like to reuse a lot of the stuff I still have stored away.

    What I did notice right off the bat was the track is different. Looks like the old track now mounted to a base plastic. Is the track compatable with the old tyco track I still have? I know there is a hight difference but I can make this up by elevating the track to the same height once I start the layout.

    The other question, the new Backman coupling system is very different than all the old HO gauge I previously had. Are they compatable, how do I go about upgrading the old stuff to the much more realistic backman coupling system?

    THanks

    Justin
  2. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

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    Welcome back to HO! As you mentioned I'm sure you realised there have been a few changes in the hobby since you were last in it. First the track that you have with your new set probably has the roadbed molded on. You can still get the regular track that just has the ties in fact when you build your permanent layout in your basement, it's probably better to use what's called 'flex track' it comes in 3 foot sections and as the name suggests you can flex it around curves. You can 'shim' the track up to the roadbed track's height by measureing the height difference and using an appropriate height plywood, foam board or cork. Don't try to use cardboard as it will deteriorate over time and as you add scenery materials Be careful about re-useing twnty-year-old track. Often this track was made with brass rail. Brass rail isn't too bad but it will oxidize faster than the current nickel silver rail and you will have to spend more time cleaning it.
    Also, the equipment (locos and cars) made by Tyco back then were not very good. The newer equipment runs and rolls much better. (older tyco tends to derail)
    Finallly the couplers, These are what's called knuckle couplers, they are slowly replacing the older 'horn-hook' couplers. COnverting over on most cars and engines is reletivly easy with the exception of the older cheaper equipment that have the couplers mounter and the trucks, these would require you to cut the old coupler off the truck and then attatch the new coupler onto the frame of the car, shiming it so the height of the new coupler matches the other cars and engines that you already have with knuckle couplers.
    There are a few books that are for beginners like yourself and most hobby shops carry them.
  3. mharrison

    mharrison New Member

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    I also just got back into model railroading. I had a large set that I ran and built from 8-18ish. I've had everything packed up for the last 20 years. My 9 year old daughter just really wanted a train set for christmas. I have to confess that I was unsure of her true desire here, so I got her a cheap LifeLikeTrains set. She hasn't stopped playing with it, so a trip to the grandparents house was made.

    I got down all of my old engines and cars. I've run several of them on her new track and she loves my old Control Master1 that I hooked up for her.

    What is the best place to find replacement parts for some of these 20-30 year old engines I have?

    Oh, BTW, It's GREAT to be back. I forgot how much I had enjoyed my railroad! My wife has been laughing at me for getting so excited about my old "toy" trains!
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Hello Justin:

    I'm just getting back into model railroading myself. One thing I have found to be quite entertaining is the this: I will buy an old Tyco or other brand "old cheapy" freight car from off the bargain table at the LHS for 3 or 4 bucks. They generally have the truck mounted horn hook couplers. What I do is remove the old "snap-in" trucks, fill the remaining holes with plastic sprue and JB Weld, then drill and tap the plastic sprues for a 2/56 screw. Then I add new trucks and wheels. I also add Kadee coupler boxes and #5 couplers to the body of the car. Probably the best thing to come from all this is I am learning how to use the pin vise, the taps, learning about couplers, and just gaining some MRR skills in general. The downside is I pay say, $4 for the car, another $3.50 for a pair of trucks with metal wheels, and around $1.50 for the couplers. So that is $9.00.... for just a few more dollars you can buy an Athearn RTR that already has metal wheels and knuckle couplers.

    Now, since you already have the cars, it may be feasible to upgrade them, and you may actually find you enjoy this aspect of the hobby.

    One other good thing about the old cars, they don't have many fine details, so they can take some serious rough handling compared to some of the really nice stuff with all the fragile detail parts, why, these things could probably even survive the "big plunge" off the layout down to the floor! :p

    Good luck and keep us updated with your progress.

    Attached Files:

  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    :wave: welcome both of you to the gage :wave: as far as parts Ray Marinaccio would be the one to contact.
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Hi Jim... so you are saying that Ray M. can get me parts for cheap? Iassume he is a member here and can be contacted via PM?
  7. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    don't know if he has them but he repaires a lot of older locos and might be able to point you in the right places. and yes he is a gauge member.
  8. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

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    Hi guys,
    Yes I am hording some parts for the older locos.
    Availability will depend on what loco you have and the part needed.
    There are some parts that are really hard to come by.
    Let me know what you need or even post a wanted post in the buy and sell forum as someone else here may have the part if I don't.
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Thanks for the replies... although I am not in need of loco parts at the moment. I am however always in the market for good deals on metal wheels, trucks, and kadee couplers (even though at the moment, my current rolling stock has all been changed out to the metal wheels and kadee couplers).

    At what point does this become a "thread hi-jacking"? ;)
  10. witeagle

    witeagle New Member

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    Hi all,

    So I also just went to my parents house last night and pulled down everything that was up in the attic. I have a crate of track, although it's all kinda old and all of it's brass - so I guess I will be getting a lot of new track. I also found 3 HO sets, a box full of rolling stock (most tyco - and price tags still on the boxes - $1.74 from toys r us) there are a bunch of other boxes I have yet to go through and it was also nice to find my first train set - a Lionel O27 set and a crate of O27 track to boot.

    Thanks for all the info about changing out the trucks and couplers. I will get to my lhs soon and pick up some parts and see how it goes.