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Buy My Trains: A Simple Process at By Denis Blazevic Print

Buy My Trains: A Simple Process at



So you’ve got a lifetime’s worth of trains in your collection, and you’re barely able to get through your bedroom door without the possibility of slipping on a loose boxcar on the floor. You love your trains, but you also realize it might be time to downsize some of your collection. Now you’re asking yourself, “how do I sell my trains?” Or “is there anyone out there that can buy my trains?”


The answer to both of your questions is – “yes” and “yes”. There are a few different ways to go about it, of course. If you’re computer savvy you could look at selling online through a model train forum or a marketplace like eBay. You’ll need lots of pictures and details for each listing. There’s time spent reviewing recently sold listings to figure out what prices you might get, assuming there’s a buyer for your particular item. 


Then there’s the packing process to make sure nothing breaks in transit, and yes, the likelihood of returns. Item not as described, at least according to your buyer, and they want a refund. Damaged in transit. Scammers pretending it never arrived and filing a claim. Even something as basic as buyer’s remorse. Remember, negative feedback is going to make it that much harder to sell the rest of your collection, and all these potential issues are multiplied by every transaction. 


Or maybe you’re old school, and you want to sell your wares at a model train show. Plenty of people do it! You’ll need to buy a table space at your show, lug everything inside, set it up, put price tags on everything, and then figure out how to handle payments. Cash only? That limits your customer base. PayPal? Venmo? Transaction fees are going to eat into your earnings, and that’s before the tire kickers show up and start talking you down on price. 


It sounds like a hassle, doesn’t it? And certainly not an instant process. What if you want to be done with everything in a hurry because you’re moving? Wouldn’t it be nice to just let someone else handle everything? That's where the 'buy my trains' process is the most convenient.

At we’re dedicated to just that, and buying trains is just as important as selling model trains. Actually, we probably wouldn’t be around if we weren’t bringing the massive O-Gauge lots or world record Z-Scale collections of the world back to HQ in Buford, Georgia. 


But how does this all start? Does Trainz have robots that spend countless hours scouring different retail sources on the internet for the best collection? The answer is no. While we do have a buying department, they're certainly not the run of the mill call-center style of operation you typically see with most retail chains. In fact our buying team is a small and close-knit group of three people that have the pleasure of checking out collections from every scale and era you can imagine. 


A Phone Call and some Emails


For those of you wondering when and where the buying process takes place, the answer is simple – a phone call and an email. Our buying team typically starts their day with emails filled with pictures of train collections and voicemails from eager sellers looking to clear some shelf space. After some coffee, the team gets to work and begins reaching out to each seller. 


On any given day the buying team will see everything from a couple of shoeboxes of HO locomotives to literally the Guinness World Record Z-Scale collection. No collection is too big, whether it’s a 5-bedroom house with locomotives and cars filling every room, a tractor trailer stuffed with moldy boxes full of rare HO scale brass, or a hobby shop with shelves and shelves worth of inventory. We’ve seen it all. 




After some over-the-phone tango, our buying department will schedule a time and a date for the next step of the process – creating a physical inventory. We usually try to fly out first thing for collections, but with so many we usually create a route that could span over several states and thousands of miles. Take a look at the photo below where you’ll see how routes are planned and organized. The yellow and blue blips on the map are distinguished between inventory that still needs to be verified for a final offer and collections ready for pick-up and a new home. This is a crucial part of the 'buy my trains' process where the logistics are ironed out and laid out to our drivers.



Scan it in


Well now we’re in the next step of the ‘buy my trains’ process. You’ve scheduled an inventory date with one of our buyers, so what’s next? This is my favorite part, and an experience I’ve gotten to enjoy on a few different occasions. In 2022 I spent most of the year flying all over the country identifying and buying model trains with Trainz founder Scott Griggs. 


Now that you’re in the ‘sell my trains’ mode, we follow up with our initial visit. After setting up shop, usually in a living room or a basement, the next step is really easy – scan it in. We go through each item one-by-one, scanning each bar code/model number into our database, and then putting a final price on the item. This is typically the most time-consuming part of the whole deal, but also the most crucial – we want to be able to make an offer that’s accurate and fair to our seller and business friendly on our end too. 


I’ve got some really fond memories of these trips – from a three story house full of MPC and Modern O-Gauge in beautiful sea-side San Luis Obispo in California, to a house full of Rock Island memorabilia in the Windy City itself, Chicago. Whether it’s upstate New York or the arid desert of Phoenix, Arizona, we are there to check out what you got! Wherever you may be, the 'buy my trains' process applies.


Pack it Up


After the initial visit to inventory the collection, we gather up all of our information and create a price sheet. Once a value is placed on everything, we then make the offer to the seller. Once the offer is accepted, a second visit is scheduled with plans to box up and haul off the collection. We try to make things as simple as possible for our drivers and sellers with a simple pack-it-up process. We intentionally try to keep this easy for the sellers for a few different reasons. Thanks to our 'buy my trains' system, we're able to comfortably handle any major situation.


One major thing we experience with our sellers is that selling a collection isn’t the easiest emotionally, as many sales are tied to the loss of a loved one. I’ve personally been involved in a few trips where we were sent to pack up the collection of a loved one that has passed away. It’s these instances that separate us from most retail companies. For a recently widowed spouse, the task of moving and assessing a lifetime’s worth of model trains can be incredibly overwhelming and daunting. For us, it’s important to make sure the seller doesn’t undervalue their collection, or even worse, may just scrap an entire collection unaware of the potential value. It's just another way that our 'buy my trains' process differs from any other retailer out there.


Once arrangements are made, our drivers load up the 26-foot Trainz box truck (yes the same one you see at York) and it’s time to roll. The team loads up everything from moving boxes to packing tape and starts on their cross country adventure. Check out the photo below of one of our trucks completely full to the loading door. I wasn’t kidding when I said some of these collections are HUGE. 


Our drivers do a great job, with most pick-ups typically taking 2-3 days. If you’re looking for the smoothest ‘sell my trains’ process, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone better. Once the packing is complete, we hand over a check, and your work is done. The collection is transported back home where our check-in team processes every item in preparation to be listed for sale. 


Buy My Trains


Well now that you’ve gotten a little look at the buying process here at, it’s time to schedule a pick-up! Just kidding, let’s first get together with the buying team before a big red box truck randomly shows up in your driveway. Our emails are always live and our phone will always ring for anybody considering selling their model train collection. With drivers equipped to deal with it all, whether it’s winding mountain roads, scorching deserts, or ice and snow, we’re always on the move buying model trains. 


If you’re in the ‘buy my trains’ mode, we’ve got a perfected system that’s well tested and provides the smoothest process for the seller. And, despite our growth over the years, we’re still committed to making fair offers on collections. Our buying team is firmly against making low-ball offers or trying to pull a fast one. Cheating someone out of their fair share is a great way to go out of business in a hurry. We believe in transparency and a straightforward approach, and word of mouth has kept us in business for decades.


We’re always improving upon our buying method, so if you’re thinking it’s time to “sell my trains” – we’re here to help you with the smoothest experience possible. For now I’m just going to scan over this Post-War collection out of Miami, and you, well you just give us a call when it’s time to sell some trains.

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