The enduring popularity of model train sets shows their continued appeal to many fans with the accessibility of hobby drones, complex gadgets, and gaming systems. From young ones to seasoned hobbyists, model trains offer adequate opportunities and great enjoyment for the entire family’s creativity.
Mindless of your level of experience, the scope of your area, or even how much you’re willing to spend, this guide lists the essential accessories any model train enthusiasts might need to build the perfect railroad.
There is a great variety of model train track options. Different manufacturers design their track styles depending on the design and gauge of the particular train set. Each track style has a specific means of connection, and often, you can’t connect them to different gauge tracks.
In addition, although the easiest to use and most common track material is nickel silver, some sets might also feature other metals. These extra materials will have to be handled and treated differently, including different means of storage and cleaning.
All tracks come in two primary styles: Roadbed and Conventional style.
These tracks include the ties and rails of a standard track in addition to multiple forms of molded “roadbed” ballast, like dirt, crushed rock, or concrete. These sections are easy to attach and guarantee that the electric current that powers the set travels evenly throughout the complete track. But there is no shaping or bending these sections, so you are limited to using the track shapes created by the manufacturer. Most sets usually use roadbed-style tracks.
Conventional tracks are metal rails molded onto plastic ties, creating a standard “piece of track.” This track style enables hobbyists to have more inclusive customization of the track’s layout, but it takes a longer time to assemble and requires creating a roadbed or any other way of proper track mounting.
If you’re looking for a track set to help you start with building your layout, consider the E-Z TRACK SYSTEM by Bachmann. The track system gives you a set of track options, including a card of six nickel silver 5″, 10″ straight tracks, and 11.25″ radius curved tracks. Bachmann also offers both left and right-track remote turnouts to diversify your layout.
Wheels and Couplers
When it comes to wheels, there are two primary choices: plastic or metal. You can usually find plastic wheels on more budget-oriented model train sets. Modern plastic wheels operate well but forego the various desirable characteristics that metal wheels bring, such as cleanliness and durability. In addition, plastic wheels have a much better probability of going off the rails.
On the other hand, metal wheels benefit from added weight and smoother rolling to help keep the train in a proper position while running, and these wheels deliver that pleasant click-clack of the train gliding over its tracks. Although sets that include metal wheels tend to be more costly, most collectors find the additional benefits worth the price.
For couplers, multiple higher-end sets will utilize the same knuckle coupler as perceived on real-life trains, wherein a claw on one coupler grips the other, connecting the cars. However, in some of the more beginner-friendly sets, magnets replaced these couplers to fasten the cars to each other. Though these magnetic couplers aren’t as authentic, they make it easier to assemble and use the set.
Model train sets come with a wide variety of whistles and bells to create the sounds and sights of authentic trains. From smokestacks and working lights to the chugging sounds as the train rolls over the track, various sets will allow you to trigger and control these sounds and lights as you wish.
Several sets come with hundreds of added pieces, such as people, various signs, and lampposts, allowing enthusiasts to build the exact setup for their particular layout. Other sets offer different types of train cars and track designs.
Nevertheless, several sets include an engine, around three to four extra cars, and an adequate number of tracks to build a sizable circular course to have fun with your train. Beginners profit from these much simpler offerings, as they enable the user to focus on discovering the set’s proper operation while additionally offering incredible customizability in the future.
Of course, all prime manufacturers sell a myriad of additional parts and pieces, from miniature shrubs to specific-powered tracks to houses. The customization is boundless.