Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
Model train track curves may seem like a simple issue, but there can be much more to track curves than meets the eye. Track curves on model railroad layouts require some planning and knowledge of a few relevant issues.
Track grade is the slope of a railroad track. The track grade is expressed as the percentage of its rise for the length of its run. For example,if you have 100 inches of model railroad track, and the train climbs one inch, then the grade is 1%. So when 25 inches of track rise 1 inch the grade is 4%. Maximum grade is the steepest slope your trains can climb. Well planned grades can make a layout interesting. Badly planned ones can be a disaster.
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Freight car photos compliled from the weekly Freight Car Friday blog, grouped by car type. Get the inspiration for your next modeling project here!
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Millimetre Based Model Railroading Scales and Gauges in the UK
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of model trains.
Tips for finding the perfect train set to adorn your Christmas display, give to a young railroader, or get started on the hobby of a lifetime.
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Assembly instructions, materials and tools lists for building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot model train table with storage shelf.
Explains flex track and how it is used.
A tip about sculpting landscape on a model railroad layout using rigid foam insulation. Links to a series of YouTube videos demonstrating the sculpting of this kind of foam insulation.
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Nothing impacts a track plan like the minimum radius of your curves. How sharp is too sharp? There are several answers to this simple question.
Build your own static grass applicator to apply fine scenic ground cover to model railroads and other miniature scenes. This simple tool has many uses and can be built with only a few basic tools for around $10.
A primer on toy trains, electric trains and model railroading for parents. Topics include when to start children on electric trains, how available space is a primary concern in the selection of a train, and how to utilize electric trains as an educational tool.
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Description of knuckle couplers available for model trains, including brief prototype history.
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Explanation of Mallet type steam locomotives.
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP50 is a stellar model of a rarely reproduced locomotive.
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Finishing the fascia panels for a model railroad. Page 4.
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
A list of steam locomotive classes
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Any railroad switching arrangement comes down to just three track combinations - trailing point switches, facing point switches and run around tracks. See how all three can be combined in your track plans to get the most out of your operations.
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Are you confused about the sizes of toy trains? Here's a guide to choosing the scale, or size, of an electric train set for a child. This article focuses on cost and available space as the primary concerns and proposes smaller electric train scales, resulting in more track layout options for your available space, as a method of maintaining a child's interest in their train sets. When starting a child in model railroading the size of trains can make all the difference.
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Here are some children's train table and train board space planning ideas. A toy train table or train board can be used to keep a child's toy train track layout intact between play-sessions. This helps avert the tedium of having to put away track between uses, which may detract from a child's enjoyment of their electric trains.
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad.
Track occupancy detectors allow you to know where you trains are even when you can't see them. They are also essential elements in prototypical signalling systems.
S scale is defined as 1:64 or 3/16ths of an inch to one foot. S gauge track is an unusual 0.884 inches. This article is an overview of S scale and S gauge, including the History of S scale and modern S scale manufacturers in both three-rail AC and two-rail DC varieties. S scale is frequently regarded as synonymous with American Flyer trains, which were made by A.C. Gilbert who originated S scale and S gauge.
Product Review of the Tangent Scale Models PS4000 covered hopper.
Here is an overview of Digital Command Control (DCC), a system that utilizes digital computer technology for controlling model railroad trains. DCC in model railroading has been around for a decade now and, as the terms used in this technology have defined a new language for the model railroading community, this overview is intended to serve as a primer for beginners.
A helix is the ultimate train elevator and always a center of attention on a model railroad. Although intimidating, even a large helix is a very manageable project.
Integrated roadbed track is defined as any track attached to a roadbed. This track makes assembling a model railroad train layout much easier. Many people erroneously refer to this type of track as snaptrack, snap track, or snap-track. However, SnapTrack is a brand name for a track with no integrated roadbed. Today children's toy train sets benefit from the use of integrated roadbed track. Here is a list of brands, scales, and types of integrated roadbed track for your electric trains.
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Easements can be simulated using segmented model railroad track pieces. A true easement is a parabolic curve. This means its radius is different at any point along it's path. Unless you are using flex-track, model railroad track curves have fixed radii. But you can simulate an easement by placing segments of smaller radii inside of segments with greater radii when building your curves.
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
Prototype history the Mogul type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Prototype curves aren't measured by their radius but by degrees. How can you convert a prototypical curve to model proportions? A little math can shed some light on just how tight our model curves really are!`
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
The difference between an efficient classification yard and an operations nightmare is all in the planning. Learn the steps to design the right yard for your purpose.
Tips for selling used model trains.
TT scale is defined as 1:120 or ten feet to the inch scale. TT gauge track has rails spaced 12mm. TT scale was introduced to American model railroading by H.P. Products in 1946. This article is an overview of TT scale, including the History of TT scale, modern German and other Eastern European TT scale manufacturers, and some thoughts on the future of the exotic TT scale.
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
No matter what scale you choose, what railroad you model, or how large your railroad, these design tips will never steer you wrong. Page 5 of 6.
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Couplers are an important consideration when buying N scale model railroad trains. You need to make sure the couplers on your locomotives and cars are compatible.
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
Prototype history the 0-4-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Everybody knows the railroads in the game Monopoly are the Pennsylvania, B&O, Reading, and Short Line. But how many people realize that three of the four were real railroads?
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Most real railroads aren't flat, our models don't have to be either. Adding a grade to a model railroad takes a little planning but offers big rewards in operation and appearance when done correctly.
Add loads of interest and excitement to your models by adding loads.
It's amazing what you can accomplish in just an hour - here are a few projects you can complete in 60 minutes or less.
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Modeling a railroad interchage and its operation.
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
N scale Thomas the Tank Engine and friends are manufactured by the Japanese model train company Tomix. They offer Thomas, Henry, James, and Percy models in N scale.
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP15 sets a new bar for detail and performance for models of this popular road switcher locomotive.
A hump puts gravity to work, switching cars on the side of a hill.
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
10 Tips to improve a temporary or seasonal train display.
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
The final appearance of your cornstalks can be tailored to the season with a little paint.
Locomotive class lights and flags; what they mean and how you can use them on your model railroad.
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
An overview of different railroading eras and the advantages and challenges of modeling each. Page 2.
Adjust coupler height with washers. Page 2.
Three simple methods for adding graffiti to model trains. Page 5.
Manufacturer's Site Cleaning track is one of those never-ending and never-enjoyable projects that come
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
Definition of HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Choosing the right prototype and design for a model railroad as seen in the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge project layout.
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Track plan for a 4x8' N scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.