MTH & LIONEL QUESTIONS?

Question by ComputerGenious#1: MTH & LIONEL QUESTIONS?
I want to buy a MTH or Lionel train set. Please keep all my questions simple, I am new to model trains.

1. Do the model trains have battery’s or is there electricity in the railroad?
2. Can you connect Lionel freight cars to an MTH locomotive? (or connect MTH to Lionel)
3. If I buy a train set, would I be able to buy more freight cars, tracks, and replace the freight cars that came with the train set with new ones?
4. Which is more cheap?
5. What is the difference between gauges? Which is better, the O gauge or the N gauge, why? (I don’t want G gauges because I heard they’re toys and made of plastic.)
6. What is a good train set for $ 200 or under. (O gauge)
7. Do tracks come with a train set?

Best answer:

Answer by Lastdue
1. Do the model trains have battery’s or is there electricity in the railroad?
Lionel makes some battery operated trains but most are powered by the track. MTH to my knowledge is all track powered.

2. Can you connect Lionel freight cars to an MTH locomotive? (or connect MTH to Lionel)
Yes

3. If I buy a train set, would I be able to buy more freight cars, tracks, and replace the freight cars that came with the train set with new ones?
Yes

4. Which is more cheap?
That depends on the quaility you’re looking for. Lionel is more common and seems to be reasonable on the secondary market (ebay).

5. What is the difference between gauges? Which is better, the O gauge or the N gauge, why? (I don’t want G gauges because I heard they’re toys and made of plastic.)
MTH and Lionel don’t make N scale products. Common scales for model trains are G, O, S, HO, N and Z, the size get smaller as you go from G to Z. Each has pros and cons.
G takes up a lot of room but most of it will hold up outside so it gets used in garden railways. I had one in the backyard a few years ago. Some of it is toy like but this scale lends itself to scratchbuilding. I used to make my own cars out of wood. The scale varies from 1/32 to 1/20 with several variations.

G scale 45 Tonner Operating 015

O scale is 1/48 or one foot represents 48 feet in real life. It’s been around a long time is still popular. It does take up a lot of room.
HO is about half the size of O scaling out to 1/87. HO stands for “half O”. It’s the most popular scale, has lots of items available, and can be modeled in a realatively small area. Layouts on a 4X8 sheet plywood are common.
N is about half the size of HO at 1/1160 scale. This is a newer scale dating back to the 60’s. I have quite a large N scale collection. You can have a fairly decent layout in a small space. Using a door for layout is common. Most items in HO scale are also available in N scale. The small size allows for modeling longer trains.

Christmas Peace Through Strength Train

Z scale is the newest scale. It’s 1/220 about 3/4 the size of N scale. It would be great for someone with only a coffee or end table for a layout. Items tend to be pricey and I doubt my eyes could take it for long.

6. What is a good train set for $ 200 or under. (O gauge)
I’m not sure what the quaility level is going to be this price range in O scale. I think I would look at Bachmann On30 sets. (On30 trains are O scale but run on HO track, these are narrow gauge trains.
It would take too much to explain it here but do a search on “narrow gauge” online. There is plenty of info out there) These appear to be OK. I have some Bachmann Spectrum locomotives in N scale that are top notch. Make sure it’s the Spectrum line. Lionel also makes O scale set but at this price range you may be buying trouble.

7. Do tracks come with a train set?
If it’s a set then it will come with an engine, cars, transformer and tracks. They usually spell it out for you on the box.

Good luck and hope this helps.

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