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Discussion Starter #1
I'm completely new to trains and am making plans to start up an outdoor settup this year.  My initial setup will be just a small loop maybe around 30' and I plan to just have 2 stops, a mine and a small town.  The setting will be basically an old west.
Unfortunatly, that's about all I know.  I know nothing of trains.  I did talk to a family friend who has g-scale indoor trains and he recommended that I look into digital trains.  Other than that I have no idea where to start.  
I know it's a fairly broad question, but where do I start?
Thanks for the help!
Dan
 

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Well I'm a relative novice compared to most of the people here. Maybe I can help. If I get anything wrong, somneone's sure to straighten me out

Do you plan to just run one train, or more than one at once?
Do you have a sense of what scale you want?

The least expensive choice for an engine and cars would probably be a Bachmann starter set. Bachmann mostly offers "western" narrow guage stock in 1:22 scale. Here's an example:

www.ridgeroadstation.com/istar.asp

The Bachmann track, though, is no good for outdoors.

The next least expensive would probably be an Aristocraft starter set. Aristocraft stuff is mostly less "western" looking and mostly standard guage models in 1:29 scale. Aristicraft has a huge product line and an excellent web presence. The company responds quickly to questions. Their track is excellent

USA Trains makes a few starter sets but I never see them anywhere
LGB starter sets are very high quality and expensive
You don't have to get a starter set, you could buy individual pieces
Track is expensive! I've used LGB and aristocraft track. LGB track is very sturdy; Aristocraft track feels a little less sturdy but has a better system for joining pieces. I prefer the Aristocraft track. USA trains makes track just like it.

You'll need to figure out how to lay the track. The simplest way is proably to dig a shallow trench the size of the track, then fill it with small gravel and "float" the track on top. It has advantages and disadvantages. I like the "ladder" method--if you search the archives of the track and roadbed forum for "ladder" you'll find a lot of info.

You'll need to power it--a starter set will come with an adequate transformer, but only just adequate. There are a bunch of ways of powering the trains and they get complicated quickly

Here are two good places for general information

www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/index.htm

www.girr.org/girr/tips/tips.html



www.girr.org/girr/tips/tips.html
 

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Nice to meet you, Dan.

How to get started? Hmm...

The first thing you need to do is get some track on the ground and run a train;)

There are lots of good ways to do everything, and lots of fun things you might do. My suggestion would be to spend some time here looking at what people have done and asking questions. Maybe go visiting a little. Pretty soon, you'll have an idea of what you want to do and how. Don't worry, this idea will change with time.
 

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Posted By youngdanf on 01/29/2008 4:01 AM
I'm completely new to trains and am making plans to start up an outdoor settup this year.  My initial setup will be just a small loop maybe around 30' and I plan to just have 2 stops, a mine and a small town.  The setting will be basically an old west.
Unfortunatly, that's about all I know.  I know nothing of trains.  I did talk to a family friend who has g-scale indoor trains and he recommended that I look into digital trains.  Other than that I have no idea where to start.  
I know it's a fairly broad question, but where do I start?
Thanks for the help!
Dan
You definitely want to read through our forums--the ones that obviously relate to your vision of what you think you want. Some of us have been in this hobby for over a dozen years and have had to learn a few lessons the expensive way. The benefit of our experience IS here if you take the time to look around. Welcome to the most-satisfying hobby I can ever imagine and good luck with it. --Ron in Alaska
 

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I am fairly new to the hobby as well. I had Lionel when I was a kid and HO for my kids. Now that I am retired I have gone to garden railroading. All of my equipment is Bachman. I just like their selection of engines. Everything I do replicates narrow gauge, meaning three feet width of the track. That works out to a scale of 1:20.3. Bachman trains are all modeled around this criteria. They are fairly in-expensive and not hard to modify. You cannot use Bachman track outdors as it will rust rather quickly. I would recommend you look around for a garden railroad club in your area. The people who are into garden railroads are always willing to help a new comer. Seeing the trains installed outside and talking to a railroader is much better than just reading about it on the internet. If there is a particular type of engine you like, steam or diesel, that will help you choose which manufacturer's equipment best fits your requirements. Welcome to the world of garden railroading.

John
 

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Posted By youngdanf on 01/29/2008 4:01 AM
I'm completely new to trains and am making plans to start up an outdoor settup this year.  My initial setup will be just a small loop maybe around 30' and I plan to just have 2 stops, a mine and a small town.  The setting will be basically an old west.
Unfortunatly, that's about all I know.  I know nothing of trains.  I did talk to a family friend who has g-scale indoor trains and he recommended that I look into digital trains.  Other than that I have no idea where to start.  
I know it's a fairly broad question, but where do I start?
Thanks for the help!
Dan


Dan,

Welcome to the great outdoors!

I can strongly recommend some research.  Try our member Alan Miller's book "Getting Started in Garden Railroading" which can be bought right here:
www.mylargescale.com/Shopping/BooksDVDs/tabid/60/wc_vw407/prd/Default.aspx .

Also get a subscription to Garden Railways magazine, as it will give you lots of tips and ideas.
 

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Hi Dan welcome!

Reserch, as Pete says is very important.

Also what you want to do is check to see if in your area there is a garden train club. There you could actuually see various kinds, brands of not only trains but controls..if that is what you want to get into...kind of get a feel for which brands you might like better then others rather then buying and then being sorry about A decision!
Remember there is always plenty of time to "jump in".

I know I always stress the "club" issue but you do not have to join, our club always welcomes guests and visitors....just become a guest so you would be able to pick people's brains asking questions, or just looking, to get a feel of what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it!;)
 
All of us in the "G" scale trains world love to share thoughts,  ideas,  and help! 
I never met a person involved with "G" scale trains, that if you walked up to them and started asked questions...you didn't get more then you wanted to know about any given subject!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif 


Bubba

 
 

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Welcome abaord.  I am also new to garden RR's.  I have always had trains, started out with Lionel, N scale, and Ho but never had any real layouts due to lack of space for a layout.  G scale was something I have always wanted but could never afford it and I also never new you could put them outdoors.   Once I found this out I was hooked.  I plan on starting my layout this spring.  I first bought the Bachmann Big Hauler tweestie RR.  You cant beat their prices for the sarter sets.  Check out ridge road, they have some of the best prices. The track is only good for  indoors.  You want to go with something better like brass or stainless.  I also bought the LGB value sarter set.  Very nice set although I feel it is a little more toy like but that can be fixed with a little kitbashing.  The track is much better with the LGB sets but the curves are 4ft or R1.  To tight of a curve.  I went with 6.5 ft in Aristo.  Most recomend 8ft but I dont plan on ever running large trains.  I like the smaller gauge (logging operations and Mtn railroads).  I have learned a lot on this site as well as the Garden railways site.  The best advice I can give is buy a sarter set and have fun running them in the house and Do your research first before you sart laying down track outdoors.  Winter is the best time to do your planning. Good luck.
 

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Welcome to the G-scale Train World.  LGB Starter Sets are still a great value, you get what you pay for.  For under $350 you can get a set including sound, which is a great value!!  Like everyone has said there is alot of help here on MLS, but also try and join a local club,  seeing layouts in person and talking to people who have made some mistakes helps a new person from making the same ones in the future.  Mike  
 

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Dan,
  Sounds like it will be a nice layout.  You've come to the right place to get your questions answered.  Keep us updated on your progress.
 

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Dan, Welcome to the most addictive hobby you'll ever start!

as others have suggested start looking for a starter set, there are many to choose from, however USA Trains and Aristocraft starter sets are a little better than Bachmann because once you buy them you can start outdoors right away, Bachman you need to buy a starter set, and then go buy real track (Brass or Stainless Steel) - the power pack from bachman isn't as powerfull as the one in USA trains..Don't know about the Aristo one.

I started out with a USA trains SW2 starter set (About $350), then 2 bachman christmas sets (1 for xmas, the other to bash)

If you have never been into trains, starting out with a small loop and then expand as your more comfortable might be a good way to go about building your railroad. If you haven't already.. look for Garden Railways Magazine also http://www.trains.com/grw/ Barnes and Nobles carries it if you wanna read one first, lots of good info in them.
 

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Dan, Welcome aboard. Have fun, jump right in with the rest of us, and shop shop shop around before you buy to much. I think a couple of items were over looked those being Hartland starter sets or AML track. Don't forget if you buy seperate loco and cars you need to think about power and controls. So heed the advice of the others "lots of questions ,a few visits to clubs". On the east we have the East Coast Large Scale Train Show in York,Pa. coming up the end of March. Check AristoCraft web site for info Lots of good people and pleanty of info to be had along with a few good deals.And a hint as to where you live will help us give you the info you may desire. Yes location helps with the answers.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the help so far!
I live in Northern Utah, so we get the extremes on weather. From videos I've seen on you tube, it looks like snow isn't too much of a problem though. I also did get the most recent issue of Garden Railroads and I think I'll buy the "Getting Started in Garden Railroading" next.
It certainly is a good time to plan, as it has snow consistantly for the last month and couldn't start even if I wanted to.
 

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Dan, I am just like you just starting out. I am thankful to the vets here at MLS and even though I was a newbie victim, signed up under the ill fated old server(Jan 2), of the system crash I am thankful to Shad for posting the archives which allowed me to keep gaining wisdom and ideas. I am excited to see your progress as well as share mine as a wonderful new 'lifestyle' starts.

Johnny
 

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Welcome Dan!

I too am new.  I have been busy spending money on procuring equipment and have yet to lay track, let alone test run the Connie I bought almost a year ago.  This fourm is extremely helpful.  I find myself wandering thorugh various member's layouts getting ideas, as well as being entertained by the bantor that goes on here.  These folks have been wonderful at solving the mysteries I had involving the hobby.  The good news is, I may have reached the point where I give up the smaller scales, because all the do is take up space.  This is the real deal here.

Phil
 

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To us newbies at MLS:
I don't want to hog up Dan's post but I am with Phil, these guys are great. One thing I have seen from reading the archives, be careful were you post your opinions of analog track power vs. DCC vs. batteries (lol).
 
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