A Guide to Buying Your First Ever Model Train Set

Model Trains are always a delight for the eyes, and they don’t cease to amaze kids of all ages. We wish that your first ever train set will ignite an enduring passion for the hobby as it gives you numerous hours of pleasure.

Inside a typical train set you’ll find a locomotive, about 3 to 5 passenger or freight cars, a good amount of track to set a circle or oval track, a transformer ( commonly called a Power Pack), and wires that runs just between the track and the power pack or the transformer. A “Rerailer” section, which is a part of the track pieces is also included in order for you to slide the cars and locomotive onto the rails with enough ease.

A complex train set however, may include a Turnout, which is actually a track switch, and accessories like trees, telephone poles, a bridge, a tunnel and even tiny structures

It is essential, if you’re a first timer, to be informed of just the basics so that you’ll be able to acquire the suitable set which will address your needs. Below are several point to consider so that you’ll have an pleasurable time buying and playing with your first ever train set.

Age-to-Scale Suggestions
One important thing to have in mind when purchasing a train set for a child is that, the younger the child, the bigger the scale should be. (Indicated below are the definitions of SCALE and other key terms.)

Older children, aged 8 years and up, can usually manage N scale (1:160 ratio) or even bigger sets. on the other hand, younger children will most likely find O Scale and much larger trains easier to handle. Note however that if you are buying the train set for an adult or for the whole family, any scale starting from Z until the largest can be considered.


Couplers: These are located at the very end of both locomotives and cars. They are shaped like a knuckle. Years ago, the National Model Railroad Association engineered the “horn-hook” style, so as to promote mass-production of HO Scale equipments. The “Rapido-style” coupler on the other hand is the actual N Scale standard. At present, however, a more-prototypical looking “knuckle” style couplers dominate the market, to mention are those initially made famous by Kadee.

Drivers: Connected by the side rods, these are the big wheels on a steam engine.

Flywheel: This is a pure-metal cylinder aligned with the locomotive’s motor that is turned to smooth out the motor’s circular motion to the train.

Rail joiner: This is a small metal clip which links two pieces of rail together.

Rerailer: It is part of the track which directs the wheels onto the rails.

Scale: The ratio of a Model train to its true counterpart.The famous scale, the HO (“aitch-oh”) scale has a ratio of 1:87, or 1/87th of an actual train. The N scale, comes second in popularity, has a ratio of 1:160. Other larger scales may range from 1:32 to 1:20.3, and the most famed of which is 1:22.5. almost all of the large scale trains utilize the same track gauge. In North America, O (1:48), S (1:64), and Z (1:220), are just about the other common scales.

Tender: This is a car usually following a steam locomotive which carries fuel and water for the firebox and boiler, consecutively.

Throttle: This controls the speed of the locomotive, it is however, a potentiometer which controls a voltage regulator, in the model world.

Truck: It is the frame found beneath the rear of each car or diesel locomotive which secures the wheel sets.