Calling all model railroaders!

I’ve been posting about my experiences with railfanning and model railroading, but now I’m calling on the experience of others.  I have a model railroad set by Marklin.  It’s very well made, but the cost is high and it’s hard to add to the collection.  Along with those reasons, I can only have Marklin or other German companies’ rail cars, pulled by Marklin engines and run on Marklin track exclusively.  Because of this, I was thinking about getting started in an American company.  This is where I need help.  What do you readers think would be a good American company to start with, and why do you think it’s good?  How much would it cost to get started with this company?  Is it easy to add to the collection, and is it compatible with other companies’ track and rail cars?  Is it durable?  If everyone experienced with model railroads could comment below with the company that can answer all these questions well, I would very, very much appreciate it.

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