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How To Sell My Model Train Layout

Gordon asks:

“We’re downsizing and I need to dismantle and sell off the freightable components of my layout i.e. engines, rolling stock, and possibly structures… if they stay in one piece. I know I will need to trash some things. If you have tackled this exercise then I would be interested in your experiences and any suggestions or pitfalls. I’m not sure who to approach or where to advertise. I know I will take a big loss but I have had a lot of enjoyment over the years. Ideas please.”

If you can guide Gordon, please post your comments and suggestions below.

5 Responses to How To Sell My Model Train Layout

  • Bill says:

    At some point we or someone close goes through this. There are a few suggestions I can give you.
    I ran into an individual at a local train show who does exactly what you are looking for. He will come in and disassemble and remove all or part of your layout and pay you for the pieces he can resell.Obliviously you will not get anything close to what you paid for it. Check wit a local club or go to a train show and ask around.
    There are larger buyers of used pieces and they are on the internet. Model Train Market is one I am aware of but there are probably others.
    The other option is to do the work yourself and sell it in pieces or as a lot on eBay.
    Good luck.

  • Frank B says:

    If there is a lot, you can take all the pieces and hire a stall at a Model Railway show. Or maybe sell it as a lot to one of the traders there. Or put an ad in Railway modeller’s magazines. Or see if a local model society wans it.

  • Jay Ross says:

    I read Bill’s comment, and he is spot on. I have bought many collections, even some layouts (small ones). There are several ways to sell your equipment, Train Shows, Swap Meets, Facebook Marketplace, and sites like Ebay. It’s work, no matter how you look at it. As far as the actual layout itself goes, if it’s large, you will be lucky to find a buyer who is willing to haul it away. In my opinion, you will probably get the most for your stuff on Ebay, and it’s a very safe venue. Other sites like Facebook can lack the security that you need. Train meets are a good place, but people are looking for the lowest prices they can get, that’s why I don’t sell at them anymore. I only sell on line, but again, it’s lots of work.

  • Andrew says:

    It probably depends on the size of your layout and collection of locomotives and rolling stock. I have sold trains on eBay and a small layout on Facebook marketplace. The first provides deadline and has the additional cost and administration of postage, the second can take time to find a local buyer.

  • Bob says:

    Hi Gordon,
    I think Bill is right. When I was a kid and first started collecting coins the gentlemen who had the local coin shop gave me some advice: your collection will be better in the long run if you have one $100 coin rather than 100 one dollar coins. His point was for me to collect quality if I wanted my collection to maintain value. He was right of course.

    As you said, you, me and many others recognize that the majority of our train “things” have little if any real value other than the memories of the enjoyment they gave us. My time of downsizing is near. I plan to list on ebay only those items that are new-in-the-box and have a value which is significantly greater than the cost to ship. There won’t be many and these are the only ones a reseller would be interested in paying ten cents on the dollar for. Any that don’t sell in a reasonable time, I will donate to a local thrift shop, a month or so before Christmas. Timing will matter; interest in trains wains in spring and summer. I will list the rest on social media, or with a local train club, as “free to a good home” and hope my “treasures” bring someone else some joy. Otherwise, I will send them to the landfill and not burden my family with that task.

    I am reminded of the line in the hymn “when at last my treasures I lay down”.

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