You Don’t Have to Buy Expensive Model Trains for a Collection

Passion is one great virtue that fuels humanity to achieve even the unexpected. Who would have thought that the humble hobby of Bruce Williams Zacaggnino will entitle him to the largest model train layout and museum in the World? Yes, he is the owner of the famous Northlandz located in Flemington, New Jersey. This is awarded as the world’s largest model railroad by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Zacaggnino’s hobby can be traced back to the wonder of a small track beneath a Christmas tree. As he grew and became a family man, he would keep building miniature railroads in their basements after his work. Slowly building from one model to the next until his model trains and railroads outgrew the basement space. The conception of sharing the wonderful view with the world resulted in the nine-acre lot purchase where Northlandz is located today.

So, you are a model train enthusiast. Perhaps just like in the mid-20s of Zaccagnino, you already have become an avid model train collector. Still another scenario can be, that you might just have started taking into action your fascination with trains. One question that might hit you is if you need to purchase expensive model trains for your collection.

The answer to this crucial question depends on your decision, taking into huge consideration the amount that you can shell out for your passion. As a hobby, choosing model trains for starters need not be so expensive because model train models’ choices can be learned along the way. As you gain in-depth knowledge of how this hobby works, the varied aspects that you need to look into will show you a clearer picture.

Here are some considerations that might guide you as you immerse yourself in the wonders of the model train collection.

Budget Friendly Model Train Collection

The scale or gauge of the model train is a big determinant of its price, as a novice to this hobby, you do not necessarily need to jump into the most expensive and the largest model trains. Slowly and surely can be the key to sustaining your passion. If money is not the issue, then you can purchase what your heart desires of course for example the most valuable model trains in the world. Now, thinking into consideration that you might want to do it in a modest way, the models N and HO scales are common budget-friendly options worldwide. There are a lot of N model trains that can serve your passion well and slowly bring you to higher options as you go along.

Another factor to consider is the track/railroad. Though the track is included in the most common settings that you will buy, the track is a multi-factored aspect that you might want to look into. The gauge of the model train track must conform to its track for the set to work together considerably. Plastic tracks are widely available recently and they are quite cheaper too. However, there are metal tracks that pay a modest price as well. Take for example a nickel silver is a good rail for conductivity and does not rust or corrode as well. Comparing the price and quality of plastic to metal tracks, the latter gives a better option. You may also deepen your knowledge with all about railway modeling set accessories to optimize your railroading options.

As you venture further to a budget-friendly collection, investigate the power supply as well. Most model train set includes the track and power supply to encourage easy setup for children and teenagers as well but if you are in the sphere of collecting, you might need to invest and upgrade into a substantial power supply or even the command control system. Some sets may require you to have the appropriate adapter as well so be extra attentive when you are buying from overseas.

Wheels and couplers must be an aspect to investigate as well, these may seem a small issue, but they are crucial parts for reliable operations. Still in this aspect metal works better compared to plastic wheels. If you buy a set that provides plastic wheels and couplers, you might need to purchase a replacement for these parts.

Vintage and Rarity at Play

When it comes to collecting, the itch for something rare is always at play. Most people opt for vintage because of the time element it carries with it. As you collect your train pieces, this aspect may hit your decision-making. However, there are some factors for consideration too. If cash is not an issue, then you can easily mine the most expensive train set that you might want to have in prompt. But, if you want something rare at a modest price, look into forums, there are vintage model trains that sell at a cheaper price simply because they have outgrown the hobby, or the enthusiast of their family had passed hence the valuable toy is just dusting at the attic. You might want to read some people trying to know the price of their antique models at Some people are looking for buyers of model trains that are more than a hundred years old. But you may be able to buy this at the right price because of the condition, along with the mechanical parts as well.

Where to Buy Vis-à-vis the Price

To ensure that you are getting the quality set of your choice hand in hand with the right price go to a hobby shop that specializes in it. In this case, go to stores that specialize in selling model trains. There are also quality sets that are sold online so you might want to explore that area. Department stores usually offer very basic toy choices hence if you are collecting model train sets, the best option is to go to reliable stores for the items. If you are buying from a local store, you may also ask someone who has better experience in model train collection.

Some of the Best Model Trains

Miniature model trains and railroads are a delightful activity for the whole family.

To give you an idea, we will mention some of the best electric train sets for 2022.  This is listed on The Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer is listed as the overall best electric train set. It is said to be the fastest train that the review ever tested with a smokestack that emits a puff of smoke in time with chuffing sounds. It runs via a battery-powered remote or through Bluetooth. Another is the Bachmann Chattanooga, which is considered the best value electric train set. It possesses great design and detail, it comes with six cars, and a seamless track assembly. Last that we can mention from that list in this article is the Athearn Iron Horse which is best for teenagers and featured as a fast-moving model train.

Collector’s Notes:

We added some trivia stuff in this post because you might be on your way to becoming an ardent model train collector. Who knows, maybe your humble beginnings will lead to the world’s most expensive obsession in the future?

  •  What are the top model train manufacturers?

Lionel, Bachmann, Williams, Athearn, Walthers, and Kato are included in no particular sequence.

  • What is the world’s most expensive model railway?

Miniature Wonderland in Germany, worth 12.12 million USD, is by far the world’s largest and most expensive model railway.

  • What is the world’s most costly model train?

The Lionel Standard Gauge Set from 1934 sold for around $250,000