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Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Old Sep 3rd 2009, 3:59 pm
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Default Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Ok, I don't have any trains in the UK, but my boys are getting near the age that I want to pull out all of my old American-made HO trains from the attic and set up some track and there are some very cool looking train sets in the UK that I'm thinking of grabbing some on my next trip over.

I know the UK is OO scale (apparently it's a very very slight difference) but that the track width is actually the same between American HO and UK OO scale trains, such that they can run on the other track relatively easily. What I'm wondering about is power--could a UK OO locomotive run on US tracks with US power, or do I need to get a UK train power transformer and then a step up transformer?

Anyway, wondering if anyone else has brought their toys over and had experience with this.

p.s. bonus points if anyone has brought over their Scalectrix and had success with those.

p.p.s. feel free to file this as the geekiest post of the month (or year).

Last edited by penguinsix; Sep 3rd 2009 at 4:04 pm.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post

p.p.s. feel free to file this as the geekiest post of the month (or year).
I didn't like to say...
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:25 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OO_gauge
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

The voltage on the track itself would not change, your power transformer is key. If the power transformer already accepts multiple input voltages and can handle 110 volt input, you are good to go. Otherwise you would need a new power transformer, or a step down transformer to lower the input from 220 to 110. The easiest and safest solution would be to just get a new power transformer. Unless your trains are some odd brand, you should be able to find one that works with your train system over here in the US.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

I'll probably buy a new transformer here in the US. I was just wondering if what electricity that is sent into the locomotive would matter. If the little engine inside would be expecting something more, or is it the same sent to the track once it leaves the transformer regardless if it is UK OO or US HO.

I guess a similar question is could I use a US Scalectrix 'plug/transformer' for with UK Scalectrix cars?
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
I didn't like to say...
The moment I became a dad and started wearing dark dress socks with white tennis shoes I basically gave up any hope of ever being 'cool' again.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

As long as the new US transformers you buy supply the same output voltage (and wattage) as the UK transformers, you are good to go. 12 volts is 12 volts no matter where in the world you are.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Thanks. Guess I just have to make sure they are 12v when I pick them up. I saw some cool trains in Germany too but I'm now reading they are 16v or something odd like that and would probably be a bit of a pain.

Now to just convince the wife we don't really need a study and that the train set would be a fine addition to the house.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Customs guidelines are that you need to be wearing an anorak while holding a thermos flask in order to carry those sorts of items through customs.

Otherwise you may rouse suspicion.

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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

You should be OK but you'll have to reverse running order on the track so that freight trains take priority over passenger trains to reflect reality. Also, the power supply may shut down for hours at a time for no reason and regular, reliable service will only be provided in the northeast corner of the set.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Originally Posted by lapin_windstar View Post
You should be OK but you'll have to reverse running order on the track so that freight trains take priority over passenger trains to reflect reality. Also, the power supply may shut down for hours at a time for no reason and regular, reliable service will only be provided in the northeast corner of the set.
I susepct that the biggest issue will be the different kinds of leaves.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 10:41 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Anyway, wondering if anyone else has brought their toys over and had experience with this.
Regardless of what some people in another part of Portland might think, I moved my model railway stuff over to the US.

It is now set up with American Thomas The Tank Engine trains for my grandson. All I needed to get was a US power controller. UK engines some over 30 years old run OK, using American and UK track all mixed together.
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Old Sep 4th 2009, 1:12 am
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

we have a mix of tracks and trains, built up over the years from, USA, Canada and UK, we haven't set up over here but they all worked fine in the UK. I don't know if we had a transformer thinggy as I am not technical! sorry.
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Old Sep 4th 2009, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

DC or DCC?
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Old Sep 4th 2009, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Can I bring my model trains with me from the UK

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Guess I just have to make sure they are 12v when I pick them up.
I only used 12v as an example. The output voltage needs to be whatever your trainset and slot cars requires, you can tell by looking at your original british transformers.
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