I've always been fascinated by real trains and model trains. When I was a kid, my father had a small train set, that I got to play with a couple times, but then it broke and that was the end of that. I also had a neighborhood friend who's father collected them, and I remember playing with them and being obsessed, but it kind of ended there.
For the past 2 years, I've kept on thinking that I would like to get involved in this hobby, albeit, an expensive one. I'm looking for advice as to how I can get involved in this hobby. I don't know which gauge I want, because I don't know what the pro's and con's are. I can tell you this, I do like the bigger trains, because I want the ability to have the sounds, lights, smoke, etc. (maybe you get these with the little ones, but I'm assuming not)
If I were to pick a set to start with, Sante Fe has always been a locomotive that has always stood out to me. That being said, I don't know what kind of sets exist for Santa Fe. I'm also interested in the "old school" trains, i.e. coal operated trains from the early days I'm also interested in trains from the 50's, 60's and 70's as well. .
To be truthful, I've started projects/hobbies before, which have ended in disaster. As an example, I had a friend talk me into mountain biking, so I bought all the gear for around $500. He let me borrow his bike, after the first 5 minutes, I hated it. My point is, I don't want spend a boat load of money and find out that I made a mistake.
I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, but what do you guys do with your sets? Do you sit in the rooms and play with them? What can I expect to do with this hobby? I know these sound like smartass questions, but I'm genuine in learning about this.
I sincerely appreciate any advice from you folks.