Orangeville, ON (James Doan) In an ideal world we would always buy quality over quantity and every item in our collection would be new equipment. In today’s market you can spend hundreds of dollars for the highest quality locomotives. In an effort to cut costs, you may consider buying a lower priced locomotive. Be aware that while many budget priced engines may be well detailed and look good, that can be lacking in dependability in their inner workings.
You may tell yourself that you will upgrade later, but that is a false sense of economy. The money you spent initially will not be recovered. While there is no substitute for quality equipment, there are ways to economize on your purchases.
One way to save on your purchases is to buy locomotives on an internet auction site, such as eBay. With a little research of vendors and the products they are offering, it is possible to buy a ‘gently used’ locomotive for a fraction of the price of a new one. By dealing with reputable vendors who are generally very careful with their trains, you will reduce the potential for problems with defective equipment.
Even model railroaders must eventually pass on. Estate sales and auctions can be a source for railroad items covering 30 or 40 years of model railroading. Again, with some research, is can be possible to buy complete sets for a only a small fraction of you would pay for new merchandise. Watch your local newspapers and community bulletin boards, check in at the area hobby shops, and keep in touch with your local model train club.
Most hobby shops will usually only sell new equipment. However, as part of their service for interested modellers, a good hobby shop will keep your details on file to connect with someone wanting to sell any of their model railroad equipment. If you take the initiative, you can place want ads in newspapers and newsletters. It is not surprising to learn that there are a lot of model railroaders who have accumulated more equipment than they need. Some of their merchandise may have been packed away in boxes for years. Your inquiry may come just as they are finding a need for a little extra cash.
Model train clubs also offer an opportunity to swap or trade model train equipment. Quite often fellow club members are not interested in cash. A barter for your skill in building a trackside scenic detail or painting their model train room can result in you being the proud owner the item you desire.
For the craft adept there is also the option of building what you can’t afford to buy ready made. Model railroading is a great way to learn new skills. Your education can range from electrical design to building landscape features like rivers and ponds or mountains and tunnels. The skills that you acquire are why model railroading is one of the best hobbies in the world.
There are almost limitless e-books and modelling websites available to help you learn every aspect of model railroading. Your local library is a source of printed books and magazines. This is also a great opportunity to learn from fellow members of your model train club. Getting involved with others who share your interest will make the hobby so much more enjoyable.