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Which tracks to buy to expand a 2011-2012 train layout?

Hi all. I am hoping for some advice regarding train tracks. My son is 4 years old and on the autism spectrum. He is really amazing with LEGO and can build MOCs and advanced sets with very little help - for example, he built the Haunted House by himself. I had to open the bags, apply some stickers and help him align the columns with the front door overhang, but otherwise he rocked through it at a rapid pace. I have gone backwards in the forum looking for the info I need and read reviews, but need some clarity. Thanks to this forum for a rapid extensive LEGO re-education this past year (though my bank account regrets it!)

OK so, 'Santa' is bringing the yellow Cargo train and red passenger train this Holiday. This morning, and of course after the sale, he explained that he really wants a train set with a turntable. I understand from my research he will need to build this himself but to be compatible I have read conflicting reviews about what types of extra track he will need. I will need to provide switch tracks or crossing points at the very least. I have already bought 2 additional train stations while on deal last month for extra straight track and such. Thanks to the forum, I have learned about and also use Bricklink if I need to to obtain pieces. Also, at 2 he already built an impressive Duplo train set, we aren't looking for that.

So thank you, LEGO friends for any help you can offer.
kylejohnson11

Comments

  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @red237 The yellow cargo train comes with two switches. I'm not sure how many your are looking for? As far as a cross, the only one I know of that is compatible with the RC Track is the 9V Cross (http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=32087) It is no longer in production so you will have to BrickLink it. Some of the other member should be able to point you in the right direction with the turntable.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    To the best of my knowledge there is no "official" LEGO train turntable. Some googling should help you see the ways that some people have designed and built their own - it looks like it generally boils down to some straight track on a swivel mechanism, all mounted on a large 48x48 baseplate or on multiple 32x32 baseplates.

    If you are looking for points (switches) you can always check eBay or Bricklink. If you are in the US I have a small pile of them (new) that I could sell you a few of.

    There is no RC/PF style cross piece. As @kylejohnson11 wrote above you could use the 9V cross piece. Another interesting piece is the #7996 double crossover, but they are out of production and can be spendy.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Darn you... :)

    I did not know #7996 existed... My pocket book was happier 5 minutes ago. :)
  • DeckerDecker Member Posts: 65
    ^ I have to agree. My wallet tried to run away when I saw #7996 . I had no idea as well...
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 311
    Thanks all. I do predict he will construct his own turntable as long as I have enough of the proper parts. Thanks you for the suggestions and the tips on the cross piece and the 'gasp' 7996. I am going to try to not obsess on that one, although I already am! Also the reminder to google other peoples creations, that has been helpful. Not sure why I didn't think of that!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    7996 is actually a rather cool idea, I've spent a few minutes looking at it and thinking of the options. A nice way to combine two seperate loops of track, create something more interesting than we have now.

    One issue that I see is that you can't have both directions be straight at the same time, or both be turned, but I can't imagine why you'd want to do that.
  • The_MackThe_Mack Member Posts: 239
    edited November 2012
    I don't understand why TLG won't bring back #7996 or even a new version of #4519. They have the molds. They have all the other track pieces, and with power functions now, you don't have any problems with creating reverse loops.
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 311
    Maybe we should launch an email campaign... :)
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,271
    ^ I'm in. I wish they'd do more track options.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    We used quite a bit of the #8867 Flex Track and while it makes it possible to vary the layout it is very noisy when the trains run!
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 311
    Yes, I had heard that about the noise, and he can be sensitive to it, unless of course he is making it! I will try some of those too, thanks for the tip. Some of the reviews have been mixed about it. He does enjoy the pictures you posted a while back of your extra LEGO room @AFFOL_Shellz_Bellz !
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^^^^ Me to. Although looking at bricklink i can see 4 people and 1 italian in particular who'll be hoping they don't!
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,479
    The_Mack said:

    I don't understand why TLG won't bring back #7996 or even a new version of #4519. They have the molds. They have all the other track pieces, and with power functions now, you don't have any problems with creating reverse loops.

    I do not think that the switch ever really sold well until it got discontinued.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,625
    ^ The switch was heavily discounted until they got rid of them, and it took a while for them to sell out.
  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    edited November 2012
    I love 7996, I forked out for a pair on bricklink a while back at a *reasonable* price (to me at least, but waaaay over RRP!), but would still welcome it coming back into production. It's great for running two loops with the ability to then run different engine setups onto each loop, I have it set up with three 7937s modified into a long three platform station.

    The switches are interesting, though - you have to run the trains in opposite directions else they both end up crossing onto the same track.

    So I'd recommend a station of some sort, as my son (6) loves getting the people (and other assorted animals etc) on and off the train.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^ i noticed that, you cant have them both staying in line, bit of a design flaw there.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    I've owned one of the switches and ended up selling it. There is no way to run two parallel trains in the same direction and keep them on their own tracks. To me the part should be redesigned in one of two ways:

    1: Make each of the 4 switches individually controllable (ideal)
    2: Provide center indent on the controls that position each track in the "go straight" position.

    It is nice having the switchover in such a compact piece, it just didn't offer the controlability I wanted.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,479
    oldtodd33 said:

    ^ The switch was heavily discounted until they got rid of them, and it took a while for them to sell out.

    Yeah kinda glad I bought a few when they were on sale.. Wish I would have bought a few more though..lol
  • JBricks27JBricks27 Member Posts: 678
    I saw an article on rail bricks where they hooked up a 9V train motor to run on the new plastic track (connecting it to the power function receiver) and use 9V track pieces to activate crossing lights. In theory, the 9V motor will activate the crossing lights (which are connected to the 9V track piece). Think of it as the reverse principal of the 9V system. Instead of the track powering the motors, the motors transfer electricity to the 9V track piece to operate a crossing function. Blew my mind.
  • RykeerRykeer Member Posts: 35
    I was looking at www.railbricks.com (thanks @jvdrummer182 for the site, didn't know about it yet) for various uses of Mindstorms in regard to crossings and switches when I found this link on there to a Youtube video of a Mindstorms Nxt powered roundhouse. This might be over your son's head considering his age, but it might give you a good idea how to do it (minus the Mindstorms--expensive for the starter set, not to mention additional sensors, motors, etc). I saw several other similar videos on Youtube of these. youtube.com/watch?v=pOij0IooAC4&feature=youtu.be
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439
    An idea for building a turntable could be using a full circle of narrow gauge curves as base. They are quite cheap in black as they were recently available in the Alien Conquest Mothership set.

    ---

    As for 7996, its design seems quite flawed to me so I don't really regret missing out on it.
  • mdellemanmdelleman Vancouver CanadaMember Posts: 274
    I would LOVE a #7996 switch! Unfortunately they were discontinued before I got back into LEGO and trains. Now as everyone knows the price is just crazy.

    I have found so many great MOCS and ideas for layouts, buildings, and custom track ideas at Eurobrick Train Tech forum. I would recommend scouring through the pages there as you will certainly find some inspiration for you and your son. Happy building!!
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    Hardrada said:

    An idea for building a turntable could be using a full circle of narrow gauge curves as base. They are quite cheap in black as they were recently available in the Alien Conquest Mothership set.

    How many of those curves does it take to make a full circle? I'm guessing 8 or 16?

  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    edited December 2012
    It's 8 - that what's in the Mothership #7065 inventory
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Technically you can keep #7996 "straight" on both sides, as long as the trains only run in one direction on each branch line. If you run the train into the switch from along one of the diverging rails, it will allow the wheels to pass through the switch no matter the position of the points. Even if that track is closed, the switch's spring has a designed leeway to let the train to pass through.

    To answer OP's question, I'd get another #7939 Yellow Cargo Train, because more is better, more cars, more track, more switches. Plus, you can cannibalize the Power Functions in one of the yellows to run a Maersk (or New Horizon :), and turn the disabled yellow into a non-powered "B" unit to run with the other.

    Another piece of advice is to grab a few #8878 battery boxes. They are overpriced at $50, but if you get a TRU sale they can be cheaper ($33 each if you hit a 3 for 2 sale). You also need the #8887 transformer to charge them. Once I bit the bullet for them, I'm glad I did because a) they hold a charge for a really long time, and b) it's easier to plug them in than it is to rip the cheaper #88000 AAA battery boxes out of trains to replace the batteries.
  • jaggir10jaggir10 Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2012
    I'm trying to decide which set to buy for my son's new passenger train 7938. Any advise on which one? I may just break down and get one of each;)
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    Go with 7499. The flexible track is not the best. The trains can tend to de-rail if using that type of track and it is not aligned very well.
  • DeckerDecker Member Posts: 65
    I would also go with 7499. The flexible track is nice but I don't like using it where I can use a full piece of straight or curved track.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    ^^^^^Sums it up for me. I use solid track for mainlines and save the flex track for sidings.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @jaggir10 also look into getting #7895 for the switches. My boys love having the switches in our set up.
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    I would go with #7499 as well. There seems to be a lack of straight pieces in most sets, so it is nice to pick them up whenever you can.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    You can also buy track sections through the Lego websites "pick-a-brick" option. They are a little pricey at $3 a section, but if you only need a few to complete a track plan its worth it.
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 311
    Hi, sorry to bump this thread, but I put out a call for help earlier last month and the flood of advice and other site suggestions was so welcome and helpful, just wanted to say thanks. My son has been working on his turntable, and boy did it take up more space than i was planning for. Scored some Motherships at Clearance and they worked beautifully. Now we need lots more track and some level crossings too, to fit everything else inside! Definitely running into some directional challenges, but he is dealing with it! Wish I had even more switches, and wish they were more multi-functional. If I ever figure out how to post a video to this forum, I will. Thank you LEGO 'family' :)
    mdelleman
  • mdellemanmdelleman Vancouver CanadaMember Posts: 274
    @red237 I'm sure many would love to see a picture of what you two have created!
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