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I've always wanted Lego trains as a child, but never had any. However, now my son is old enough to appreciate them, I thought I might invest in some 2nd hand sets. The problem is, what standard to settle on?

Growing up, I always wanted to go 9v because of the automatic points etc. but is it still worthwhile going that route since Lego have long since stopped producing compatible hardware?

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While the format of the track has changed, the gauge and the size of the wheels has remained the same. –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 2 '11 at 7:56
    
I've poked around for 2nd-hand track, and it's all grossly more expensive than stuff straight from the Store. Lego is always a collectors item. You're prolly best off going straight for PF. –  AndrewS Feb 17 '12 at 22:45
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

If you opt for an older system which isn't produced anymore, it's going to be very hard for you to reach a decent collection and maintain it. Even 9v which was only recently been discontinued will be hard to find, especially straight tracks.

Also, 9V points were not automated, so if you really want automated points, you'll have to go back to 12v, which is even older and harder to get in quantities (not to mention the parts become fragile).

Rolling stock will usually be fairly compatible since the gauge has always been the same, and magnets have always been used as coupling mechanism. So there you can buy whatever you find.

And if it's for your son, keep in mind that other relatives (granparents for example) may be less informed than you and will tend to just buy whatever they find in stores. So if you go for a 9v layout but your kids receives PF tracks, he won't be too happy, much to the chagrin of the relative.

On the contrary, if you opt for plastic-only Power Function trains, even if someone manages to buy you 9v track, you can use it as is, it's fully compatible. Also, the flexible track part is easy for a kid to work with and not bother too much about whether the layout will work or not, something which can't be said for older systems where you would sometimes need to draw your layout in advance to know if the geometry would make sense.

In short, I think it's easiest for a kid to just embrace the new Power Function trains, but stay clear of the two "RC" trains which weren't too good.

(Of course, for a very young child, Duplo trains might be a good choice too ;-)

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Hi. I'm new to Lego in adult age, and new to bricks.SE. Help me a bit please? So 9V and PF are compatible, right? I want to buy Maersk (PF) and good old 9V (from my dreams from catalogue of 1993) –  abatishchev Dec 12 '11 at 15:15
    
@abatishchev Welcome to bricks.se! I was about to suggest you ask this as a question, but I see yoou just did. But in short, the Maersk train is not even motorized to start with, so yes, you can motorize it with a 9V motor and tracks if you have them. –  Joubarc Dec 12 '11 at 18:26
    
Thank for your answers here and there! :) –  abatishchev Dec 13 '11 at 7:42
    
9V straight track is available in good quantities on Bricklink.com. It's a bit expensive, but it's definitely available. –  Robert C. Barth Feb 8 '12 at 16:40
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