AuthorMaxine Beck

Best Train Set for Kids

 

Train sets are one of the best toys you can buy for your kids. Do you know? Playing with these sets can amuse your kids for a longer time than most other toys and at the same time improve their artistic and physical abilities. In the market, you will find a variety of train sets for kids and to pick the best for your children can be a daunting task. But worry no more, as this article will help you decide on the one that will interest your little one. Before we look at the best train sets for kids, let’s first understand the various types in the market.

Types of Train Sets
1. Wooden train sets – Wooden train sets have a wooden track and are suitable for small children, under five years. The wood is usually light enough for the little ones hence they won’t find it difficult to use them

2. Diecast train sets – These are sturdy metal trains suitable for 5 years olds and above. They usually painted in bright colors.

3. Battery operated train sets – Most of these are imported from China and include a plastic track, a locomotive, and cars. They come with a battery which powers the engine and others have a transformer. They are suitable for 4-year olds and above.

4. Electric Train Sets – These use wall current which is converted to 6—18 volts by a transformer. For small children, parents need to supervise them while setting up to avoid giving them an unnecessary headache.

 

Best Train Sets for Kids
The following are some of the best train sets you can choose for your little ones:

Lionel Little Lines Train Set
While most people know Lionel for its model railroad train sets which are not appropriate for kids, this remote-controlled train set is designed for little ones. It comes with a simple remote control and a snap-together track to keep your children amused all day long. With Lionel Little Lines Train set, your kids can take the train off the track and play with it around the house.

Imaginarium Train Set
This fantastic figure 8 train set will help your kids appreciate the joy of train sets. It’s usually a 31-piece set that includes 4 trains, 14 pieces of track, 3 buildings, a bridge, and 2 trees. The trains have a strong magnetic coupling that will ensure their durability.

Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set
This train set really sets the standards of train sets. What makes Thomas train set stand from the other train sets is that each train has a distinct personality. Actually, in a way, they are just like dollhouses only that they lack wheels. Your kids will surely find adventure in these wonderful toys.

 

 

Tips for Model Train Collectors

Most model trains sell as toy sets. As a result, enthusiasts feel frustrated due to the little information that is available concerning collecting the model trains as a hobby. In order to make the transition from a hobby to a model collector easier, herein is a guide on useful tips to collectors on how to go about this activity.

1. RESEARCH MODEL TRAIN COLLECTING
At first, you should take your time as a mere spectator. This may require you to visit toy stores or read magazines related to model train collection.

2. DO NOT PLAN EXCESSIVELY
Most collectors tend to be slightly over ambitious and may end up planning the sprawling landscape with multiple railway lines. This usually turns out to be a mistake since the vision and interests of the collector evolve with time, meaning that they have to make major adjustments to the railroads frequently. The trick is to plan small phases at a time.

3. CONDITION YOUR MODEL TRAINS
The aspect which separates model trains from other collection is the fact that your trains have to run. It is important always to keep your trains conditioned; after all, broken trains sell at a lower price as compared to trains which can actually move.

4. PACKAGING AND ORIGINAL PARTS ARE A BIG FACTOR
The collector should know that railroad cars and other locomotives often lose up to 50 % of their value if the original box or printing materials are missing. Therefore, maintaining the packaging is equally as important as keeping the trains in good condition.

5. BRANDING IS ESSENTIAL
Trains from brands which are not recognized will collect a much lower price as compared to trains from recognized brands even though the locomotive power is the same, if not higher. As a result, collectors are advised to avoid buying from unknown brands in an effort to save money. In the long run, the unrecognized brand will force you to sell your train at a throwaway price.

6. CONSIDER GETTING A STARTER KIT
Starter kits are available in most top brands such as Lionel, American Flyer, Tyco, and Bachmann. You should choose your kit based on the type of locomotive you have. It is highly advisable that you get a kit which does not have the power supply as those with one are usually of low quality. Purchase the power supply as a separate unit.

Collecting model trains have continued to become more popular in the past century. Even though the activity can be somewhat intimidating for beginners, with the correct starter kit, locomotive and power supply, the collection of trains can be a satisfying hobby. The collector has to be patient at first so as to become more confident and experienced in the future.

Take a look at this video clip of an amazing collection of model trains!

Tips for First Time Amtrak Travelers

Are you planning a trip with Amtrak Trains? Perhaps an overnight trip? Or, maybe you’re just thinking about, and you might even be considering traveling for more than one night. Most people love traveling on Amtrak. It’s usually a wonderful experience — even if long-distance train trips take far longer than plane rides. However, the pros can heavily outweigh the cons. There is much less hassle involved in taking the Amtrak, and the stress is greatly reduced. Not only is the overall struggle of traveling lessened, but the train can also offer many more interesting attractions.

There are many things you can do aboard the train. For example, you can read books, magazines, newspapers, or even write. The train rides are not bumpy and are often smooth, so all of this is made easy. You can watch movies on your laptop, or even just sit back and recline in your seat and watch the beautiful landscapes passing by your window. That’s one of the things about Amtrak rides. You will almost always see beautiful scenery right out side of your window.

Of course there are many things you can aside from sitting down and engaging in entertainment. You can take a short walk to the train if you like while stretching your legs and grabbing some food or beverages. At train-stops, while everyone is waiting, you can always go outside and catch a few breaths of fresh air if you like.

One thing that is interesting is a number of opportunities that you will have access to. For example, you will have lots of time to talk to people or make new friends. If you make good friends, you can lounge in the dining areas or lounge areas and enjoy some good times that way.

If you are in fact traveling over-night, the best and easiest way to go about this is to rent an over-night room on board the Amtrak. Typically, and most often, the cheapest and most affordable option that will present itself is the roomette — which is a standard, default room, meant for two people. Roomettes usually come with a bunkbed (Two beds). This means that it is usually more efficient to travel with a friend or companion. It’s just more economical that way. The only thing is, this can cost about three times the original price of two coach tickets. However, at the end of the day, it’s just worth it — because you are paying not only for the ride itself, but also for the general relaxation, accommodations, food, and other perks.

However, in case you don’t feel spending the money, sleeping over-night in coach class is perfectly reasonable and acceptable. Believe it or not, but Amtrak seats are pretty spacious and comfortable over-all. The Amtrak seats are much larger than those of airplanes or buses. They are almost like big reclining chairs that you might find in a massage parlor. The cars are even equipped with useful tables and trays, which is handy for setting up a computer or putting your food down.

If you do end up choosing Amtrak, there are a few things you should think about bringing with you on the train. Bring things like water, an extra blanket or pillow, some changes of clothing, and some form of entertainment. (It can get boring if you haven’t brought anything to do…)

Consider taking Amtrak cross country!

History of Trains in America

The idea of beginning construction of railroads in America was originally thought of by a man named John Stevens. This was in the year 1812. John Stevens described his ideas in a journal like the ones of a pioneer. He frequently stated that the trains were a superior mode of transport. The first railroads ever made were simply cars pulled by the horse on a single track. These trains often hauled freight or other supplies.

The first train-line to ever be constructed was the Granite Railway of Massachusetts. It only ran three miles. This was in 1826, so three miles was a big deal then. Then, the first train to consistently carries passengers in a safe and efficient manner was the infamous Baltimore and Ohio rail-road. Then, finally, on Christmas Day, in the year of 1830, the first fully automated, mechanical train system was created. After that, train-lines began to flourish and soon every major city had begun constructing their own lines.

The first ever locomotive was named the “Best Friend of Charles.” This train was made for the South Carolina railroad. Then, rail-road and train construction began to increase by leaps and bounds. By 1850, the United States was leading the world in train production. Both England, and France, put together, came nowhere close to a level of production the United States was maintaining. Then, by 1933, the over-all total mileage of all the rail-roads was easily thirteen times bigger than that of Great Britains. During the 1930s, the steam-liner era had begun to emerge. These trains were far faster and sleeker than their previous counter-parts.

Unfortunately, in the time of World War II, rail-road and train production drastically slowed down. As a result of the reduced budget and stock-market plunge, many railroads were left almost entirely unkempt. The tracks would often become overgrown with weeds and grass. For the specific carrier like the Rock Island, and Penn Central, were both close to almost receiving a complete shutdown. Most of the equipment was very dirty and almost completely dangerous to operate.

Trains used to haul garbage, not just raw materials. As of 2016, some train companies have ceased to haul garbage, which has opened a market for national solid waste companies, like Waste Focus, which primarily use trucks.

Railroads of today would be quite different if it weren’t for the Staggers Train act was initiated in 1980. This act was conceived by a man named Harley Staggers of West Virginia. Before the approval of this act, there had frequent, yet ineffective talks about nationalizing the entire industry. Now, this was a terrible and scary proposition that both high-level executives, business’s and even the Government wanted to avoid. As the 80’s progressed, the train system began to see a recovery. The Conrail Railline began to post its profits, and construction began to begin once again. Trainlines began to merge to create giant single company lines, which saved money over-all and was more efficient. Since then, the freight growth has continued to grow and flourish. We have seen and witnessed a revolution in the travel of today. Now, there are nearly 140,000 miles of rail-road within the United States of America.

Best Scenic Train Rides in America

Here are some of the most beautiful and scenic train rides in America!

In number one, we have Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. This train goes from Seattle to Portland to Los Angeles. It is thirty-six hours, one way. Some of its amenities include but are not limited to things such as a dining car a sleeping car a few great places to eat and relax, while enjoying the view of the coast. Voyagers and travelers have always come across the entire world just to experience this train ride in its totality. This ride is widely regarded as Amtrak’s most people route, and it is definitely one of its most popular train rides. The Coast Starlight boasted over four hundred thousand passengers last year!

The Coach Starlight takes you past beautiful and vibrant flowing waterfalls, caves, mountains, and lush forest undergrowth.

In the second place, we have the Amtrak’s Empire Builder. This train goes from Chicago to Minneapolis, to Spokane, Portland, and Seattle. As a one-way trip, the total amount of time it takes to get from beginning to end is about forty-six hours. Some of its amenities include but are not limited to things such as a sleeping-car, a dining car, and of course, great places to lounge about and relax. This train will take you along beautiful western scenery, such as the Lewis and Clark trail, and the Pacific Northwest. You’ll go by rivers like the Mississippi River, float by Montana’s big beautiful sky lands, and even quietly pass by the incredible National Glacier park.

Directly leaving Spokane, you can head to places like Georgia, Portland, or even the Cascade Mountains. Along the route, all of the scenic and famous Mountains are marked so that you can enjoy it more.

Amtrak’s Californian Zephyr is quite the sight to be seen. This route includes but is not limited to destinations such as Chicago, Sacramento, Reno, Denver, San Francisco, and a whole plethora of other cities. A one way trip from beginning to end is about fifty-one hours in total. Of course, the train is equipped with a dining car, a sleeping car, and a relaxation and lounge car.

When you look out the windows of the car, you will see an incredible view almost every time. You will be able to imagine how the first Californian gold diggers felt when they originally rode the first intercontinental train line down to the West Coast. You will come across abandoned ghost towns, mines, vacant hills and mountains, and beautiful deserts. This train even passes by the Rocky Mountains. From there, you will be able to see beautiful aspens and dark green trees dotting the ever so cliffs that tower above the horizon. Then, towards the end of the journey, you will see the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge as a final destination.

In fourth place, we have the Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. This train goes from Chicago to Los Angeles. It’s total travel time can add up to about forty hours or so. The amenities include are not limited to, a lounge car, a sleeping car, and of course, a dining car. This train passes by some of North Americas most beautiful sites, such as the Sante Fe Trail, the Grand Canyon, the steep red cliffs of Sedona, and the Continental Divide in the Rockies.

 

Advantages of Traveling by Train

Trains are not the primary mode of transport in modern cities, but they are certainly popular. Thousands who choose the train over cars, planes, and boats for their daily commute say it has several advantages;

Safety
Statistics show that in comparison to roads, rail is the safer mode of travel. Train accidents are reported with less frequency than road accidents, meaning it is safer for commuters that rely on rail transport. Rail is thought a more reliable means of transit than air as trains are rarely grounded due to poor weather.

No traffic
There is hardly ever a delay on the railway, which is a major plus for city dwellers who lead a fast-paced life. There are no traffic gridlocks and jams lasting for hours, which is commonplace on roads everywhere.

Impressive views of the scenery
Trains tend to go off the beaten path, passing idyllic locations and landmarks which make one’s travels more captivating. The first train ride is a pure thrill for anyone as it is a chance to see the world from a different perspective. Depending on your destination, a train journey might take you through a city, national park or across a river, all with stunning sights to behold.

Comfort
Rail passengers are typically more comfortable with larger seats and plenty room to move around. This is ideal for long journeys when feet can get stiff from sitting too long. There is much convenience on a train as it has several amenities to suit the traveler. A dining car gives one the chance to mingle while a private cabin gives room to rest undisturbed. Backpackers enjoy nightly train travel as they can shower and comfortably get dressed for their next adventure. If pressed for time, they can also fill up on supplies on the train.

Energy efficiency
Trains consume less energy than cars or planes and electric trains further reduce the carbon footprint of the rail industry. In addition to lower power consumption, electric trains do not cause noise pollution.

Traveling by train is a delight for the eyes, refreshing and certainly more comfortable than most other means of transport. It may not be the fastest way to reach a destination unless you are on an express train, but the journey is certainly memorable. For people who work in a busy city, taking the train is an ingenious way of avoiding the dreadful wait in crazy road traffic.

The Fastest Trains in the World

Would you like picturesque views while on your trip? Then, choosing a train as the method of transportation is the best choice. Traveling by train can be far more exciting than air travel. It also has an added benefit of being more economical than most modes of transport. With the advancement of technology, high-speed rails have been introduced making trains faster than ever. Some trains are said to move faster than some planes in some places. That said, many people are curious to know the world’s fastest trains and if you’re one of them, then I’m going to tell you right now.

Shanghai Maglev

The Shanghai Maglev is currently the world’s fastest train and it runs from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport to the Longyang Road in Suburban Shanghai. It takes the train only 7 minutes to travel the 19-mile journey between these two stations. It can move at a speed of 431 km/h or 267 mph.

Harmony CRH380A

The Harmony CRH380A is the second-fastest train in the world. It’s a passenger train that runs from Shanghai to Nanjing moving at a speed of 379 km/h or 236 mph. It began its services in the year 2010.

Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000

The Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000 train transports passengers from Milan to Rome or Florence taking less than 3 hours to complete the journey. Also called Italy’s red arrow, Trenitalia 1000 is the fastest train in Europe and travels at a speed of 354 km/h or 220 mph. It was launched in 2015 and is not only known for its high speed but also its 100% sustainable and renewable components.

Renfe AVE

The Renfe AVE is the fasted train in Spain. It travels through the major cities of Spain moving at a speed of 349 km/h or 217 mph. In fact, with this train, a person can take 6 hours to travel between Barcelona and Paris.

Deutsche Bahn ICE

This train moves at a speed of 320 km/h or 205 mph and is the fastest in Germany. With a Siemens design, this Inter-City Express was built and designed to fit via the Channel Tunnel.

These are the top 5 fastest trains the world. As you have read, China is leading the world’s fastest trains. China has laid 20,000 kilometers of high-speed rail and just the other day; they announced that they would be introducing new generation bullet trains that will service the Beijing to Shanghai route at a speed of up to 400 km/h or 250mph. They also said that they would expand their high-speed rail with another 10, 000 kilometers rail. This train will again see China as the world’s leading country in high-speed rails. If you’ve never traveled by train, then this would a perfect train to start out riding.

The Future of U.S. Trains

 

Trains have been used actively since as early as 1863 for purposes of transporting cargo and people. The U.S is one of the many countries which have significantly embraced the use of trains for transportation of people in the cities. Even though it is a very reliable, fast, safe and energy efficient means of transport, many passengers are opting for the use of other methods of transportation like taxis and the popularity of trains is diminishing.

With the growing population in most cities in the U.S, the need for a faster mode of transport in the form of trains with new and improved features is required. Traffic has become almost unbearable in the main cities, and there is the need to make the trains more relevant and reliable once again. To be able to achieve this vision the following are key elements to look at:

More trains
America needs more trains now, and fast. It is a good thing that new metro systems are already being put in place in cities that have been having traffic problems. Doing this will solve the issue of accidents and congestion on the roads, and many people can get to their destinations faster.

New Trains
The current trains are the old trains that were designed long ago. They have limited space inside, and most passengers are inconvenienced having to stand up because all the seats are full of other travelers. New trains with a large number of seats are needed. They should be designed to be a bit more comfortable with enough leg space.

Other countries are already ahead of the technology curve by having state-of-the-art trains with onboard TVs, heated seats, breakneck speeds and semi-automated trains where the driver has very minimal control over the train. Imagine having a train with a cafeteria, a lounge or even a place for playing indoor games inside. Such trains already exist in places like Dubai and Tokyo, so it is up to the U.S to embrace this. Implementing these ideas will motivate the use of trains especially for long distance travels as it gives you the feeling of a relaxed atmosphere. Such levels of comfort have proven to draw more people to use trains as their major means of transport.

Another advantage is at the train stations as congestion and confusion will be reduced because of the mass availability of trains, so no one will have to run over being worried that they may miss their train.

The future of U.S trains relies on these and many other factors to be fully put in place. Let trains be once again a haven for passengers to enjoy not only safety but also for comfortability when commuting to their various destinations.

 

Basics to Building Model Railways

Building model railroads is a fascinating hobby for many. If you are thinking about getting into the hobby, here are some important basics to consider.

Think about the size you want to have. Model train scales are expressed as a ratio. For example (1:87) is 1/87th the size of the real train. Here is a list of some of the scales used in model railroading: G scale- (1:22.5) often used for garden layouts, O Scale – (1:48), S Scale – (1:64), HO Scale – (1:87) this is the most popular scale, TT scale – (1:120), N Scale – (1:160), and Z Scale – (1:220). There are other model railroad scales used, but these are the most popular.

Carefully plan your layout. Where will you be setting up your tracks? Many hobbyists like to use a spare room, garage, or basement for their model railroad layout. You will need to find a space that is big enough to fit your finished railroad comfortably. Other factors to consider are humidity of the room, light, and also that the room has enough heat to be used year round. When you are planning the layout of your model, also think about how much time you think you want to invest in this hobby. A 6-week project is very different from a 10-month project.

There is an abundance of design elements that you can incorporate into your railroad, so you can really get creative with the details. From bushes, grass, and trees, to streams, rivers, and lakes, from gorges, cliffs, and valleys, the possibilities are virtually endless. You can also add any number of out buildings, as well as bridges and tunnels. Don’t forget to think about the time of year. You can have a winter theme on one side of your layout, and a summer or fall theme on the other side. Use the colors and seasons you like best to make it most appealing to you.

Make the railroad and scenery coherent with a lovely backdrop. You can make your own or use panoramic murals. Your railroad can have a rolling countryside with a bright sky behind it, or a majestic nighttime city scape, complete with skyscrapers, or even cliff side mountains with crashing ocean waves. It’s important to make sure the theme of your backdrop is harmonious with the rest of the railroad scenery.

Depending on your time investment, skill level, and budget, you can build model railway trains and layouts on as grand a scale as you desire. You are limited only by your imagination, so let it run wild and create a railway you’ll be proud to show off!

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