Disposing of an Old Layout

by Andy Joel

Occasionally I get phone calls from people asking how they can dispose of an old layout, usually because a relative has died.

The first point to make clear is that Preston and District MRS does not have the resources to either buy the layout or to sell it on your behalf – though that said, if the layout belonged to an old member, we may be willing to help out.

If you wish to donate locos and stock to the club, then we may well be happy to help out with other parts of the disposal. We would also consider making a charity donation on your behalf. This would be conditional on the state, nature and amount of models.

Where can you sell items?

If you hope to get money for it, then your best bet is to find a model railway shop that takes second hand goods or to sell on Ebay. Assuming you are in the Preston area, your best bet for a shop is probably Sawyer Models in Leigh, now both Hattons and our own Transport Models have closed. I have never sold anything to them, but they are a respected retailer, and are regularly at our exhibition.

Selling on Ebay will probably get you more money, but you will need to know what it is you are selling – would you know if it is a class 50 in large logo livery, for example? You also need to know its condition; does the loco run smoothly, are the couplings okay, etc. Whether it is DCC, or perhaps has sound fitted, are also important questions. You really need access to a layout and some knowledge of model trains to check.

As a starting point, you will need to know the scale (see here), and approximate age of items.

Note that if the item is in its original box it will get a higher price, whether at a shop or on Ebay.

What can you sell?

The easiest items to sell are locos, wagons and coaches. I have a feeling model shops will only be interested in these items. For everything else, it is Ebay.

Scenery, track and electrics that is unused and still in the original packaging might be sellable. I would suggest bundling similar items together, so sell all the track as one lot for instance.

The controller can probably be sold, if you can confirm it works.

If the layout is fixed in place (and that is usually the case), there is really no alternative to just junking it, heart-breaking though that might be.

If the layout itself is not attached to the wall, and can be reasonably easily moved, you may be able to sell it, somewhat depending on its state. Do locos run well on it? What is the state of the scenics? You may want to require the buyer to come and collect it. You should look on Ebay and see what price similar items sell for – but remember they may not get the asking price. I would suggest setting your expectations low; your priority is disposal not making money.