Sunday, March 20, 2011

Train Parts

I went to Train World this weekend, and bought the first batch of parts needed to build the layout.  None of the expensive stuff -- just the track and cork. I'm holding off on getting the expensive stuff -- breakers, auto-reversers, and so forth -- until I get a better handle on what exactly I need and which models I should get.

Here's a picture of the haul.  Everything's new except for the controller, some of the flex track, and the loco and cars.

I've got all the special track I should need (turnouts, crossovers, etc).  Hopefully I have enough flex track and ballast.  We'll see.

Train World was great.  It was everything I expected a train store to be.  It's hard to overstate how much more I liked it than I did Red Caboose.  Train World was everything Red Caboose was not: spacious, clean, staffed by helpful salespeople.  It's much less convenient than Red Caboose, but I'll go to Train World again in a heartbeat.  This is surprising to me, as it's Red Caboose that's supposed to be the NYC mecca for model railroading.

Finally, a word on couplers.  My loco and some of the cars have the Atlas Accumate coupler, while a couple of the (Con Cor) cars have the Rapido coupler.  Sigh.  I picked up two pairs of Accumate trucks from Train World, planning to use them instead of the Rapido couplers on the Con Cor cars.  Unfortunately, the Accumate trucks don't quite fit on the Con Cor cars.  The pin used to attach them to the cars seems to be a hair too big, making it hard to rotate the trucks.  For giggles, I tried some Speedplay Dry Lube on the joint.  It helped with one car, but didn't help with the other.  I guess I'm going to need to buy replacement trucks for those cars from Con Cor.

Con Cor sells trucks with Microtrains couplers for $5-6 a pair.  (cough)  According to this page, the Accumate and Microtrains couplers are supposed to be compatible, so I guess that's what I'll do.  They've also got their own brand of (rigid) couplers, which are cheaper (about $3 a pair), but don't support automatic decoupling like the Microtrains couplers do.  I eventually want to have automatic decoupling on this layout, and don't want to have to swap trucks again, so I'll probably pay the Microtrains tax and get the Microtrains couplers for the Con Cor cars.


  1. On stores in Manhattan, I offer .

    The Red Caboose appears to be well known, because that store is such an ... experience.

    If you are looking for some really odd-ball part or model, this guy probably has it. For everybody else, The Red Caboose is a turn-off.

  2. I remember that post. I completely agree about Red Caboose, as you might have guessed.

    I've been to Gotham Model Trains once or twice, and I agree that it's well laid out and clean. Something about its isolation (I've been there a few times, and have never seen another customer) creeps me out, though. Both times I've been there, there's been a sign in the door saying to go knock on the door of some seemingly-unrelated business to get someone to unlock GMT. That just strikes me as weird.