Electric Train Setmodel Railroadfictional Railwaythomas the Tank Engineexpensive Engine

Model trains provide a huge return on your investment, or money paid by a relative or friend. They will give hours of fun to a child with imagination, and encourage lateral thinking, due to the permutations of the rail track layouts. For some children it becomes a lifetime hobby, and they continue to collect and acquire models into their adulthood. Depending on the treatment and condition of their early model trains, many become collectors’ items, due to their rarity and individuality.

Most model rail enthusiasts begin their hobby with a present of a train set. Typically it is a large box containing an engine, some rolling stock such as a carriage or a few wagons and boxcars, some track and a power controller to allow the engine to move.

Depending on the price, the components are usually at the lower range of that model manufacturer’s range, but are produced at a competitive price to allow access to a lucrative market. Sometimes, the quality of these products is so low as to render them toys, rather than miniature representations of railways.

Should this initial train set survive harsh treatment and engage the child, he or she will then want to add more components to the set. Some relatives are often pleased to hear this because it allows them to give a present of a piece of rolling stock that the child wants. Should the interest continue, the child will gradually collect a variety of model rail components, and enjoy a rewarding hobby.

There are two basic elements to collecting electric model trains that will become valuable over a period of time and of interest to collectors. Condition is the first. The reason that model trains become valuable is that most of them don’t survive, due to harsh treatment. Not only does good condition, such as a lack of scratches, damage and good paintwork add to the value of an item, but keeping the original box is also essential. Models with damage and signs of deterioration do sell, but the difference between that and a carefully treated item of interest is considerable.

The second element in collecting model trains is trying to maintain a common theme. For example, it is worthwhile collecting models representing the same rail company, or even collecting steam or diesel engines, not both.

It is worthwhile telling relatives what you like, rather than relying on their limited knowledge of railways to provide an unauthentic model as a present. Another useful theme is to collect one particular manufacturer’s models; they often provide matching themes. If you’re serious about collecting, avoid unauthentic themes such as “Thomas the Tank Engine,” based on a fictional railway.

Finally, it is always advisable to buy a quality model for a collector. Although it can be tempting to buy the cheapest model engine in the shop, it will not form the basis of a serious collection, unlike a good quality and more expensive engine or piece of rolling stock.