1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
kingpin
A kingpin is defined as the pin used to mount railroad cars to their trucks or bogies. The kingpin is the pivot which allows the trucks to turn freely beneath their railcar.
What Is the Best Model Train Scale?
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
Everything You Need to Know About Model Train...
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.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Slippery Slopes: Is Your Model Train on the...
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.
Freight Car Photos
Freight car photos compliled from the weekly Freight Car Friday blog, grouped by car type. Get the inspiration for your next modeling project here!
How to Install Bus and Feeder Wires for Your...
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of model trains.
Choosing the Right Train Set
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.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Building Your First Train Table
Assembly instructions, materials and tools lists for building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot model train table with storage shelf.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
What is the Minimum Curve Radius for Model...
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.
E60C - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Model Railroad Layout Rigid Foam Insulation
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.
GE's Dash 9-44CW (C44-9W) - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
Choosing the Right Transformer for Your Model...
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
EMD F59PH - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Parents' Guide to Toy Trains and Electric Trains
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.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Build a Static Grass Applicator for Model Train...
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.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Digital Command Control (DCC)
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.
Monopoly Railroads
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?
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Leasers, Demonstrators and Pools - Add Color to...
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
Toy Train Size: Electric Train Scales for...
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.
Building a Model Railroad Helix
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Over-Under Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring an over-under return loop, grade, and staging track.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
TT Scale: An American Orphan
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.
Line's End Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan that starts with track found in most starter sets.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Railroad Whistle Signals
Railroads used the whistle as both a warning and communications device. Learn the proper signals so you can incorporate them into your model railroad operations.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
About S Scale
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.
Build a Classification Yard
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.
Thomas the Tank Engine Toy Trains
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Trackplan
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Children's Toy Train Tables and Boards
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.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Reverse Loops
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Track Occupancy Detection
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.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Making Easements with Segmented Model Railroad...
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.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
N Scale Model Train Couplers
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.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Integrated Roadbed Track
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.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Model Railroad Track Switches a.k.a Turnouts or...
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Planning for a Model Railroad Helix
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Tomix N Scale Thomas and Friends
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.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
${sdpn} - By Category
Model Train Basics Model Train Basics Model railroad trains are what it's all about. Here you'll find
Simple Track Projects
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Model Railroad Scenery - Add a River and Bridge...
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Paper and Pines Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring mountain scenery and industrial switching around a paper mill.
American Flyer Model Trains
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
GE's P40 and P42 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Choosing a Prototype and Plan - Denver and Rio...
Choosing the right prototype and design for a model railroad as seen in the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge project layout.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
prototype
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
AEM-7 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Lionel Trains
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
How to Tell if You're a Model Train Addict
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
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.
Installing Model Railroad Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP15 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP15 sets a new bar for detail and performance for models of this popular road switcher locomotive.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Bachmann Spectrum Model Trains
Profile of Bachmann Spectrum's model trains.
How a DCC Decoder Works
A somewhat technical overview of how a DCC decoder works in a model railroad train locomotive. DCC (Digital Command Control) decoders are tiny, complex electronic devices that not only contain computer control systems, but power management as well.
Converting Track Curves Measurements from...
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!`
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
About O Scale
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Athearn Model Trains
Profile of Athearn model trains.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Model Trains Toolbox
Essential tools for working with model trains.
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Modeling Night
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Add a Grade to Your Model Railroad
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.
How to Submit Your Photos for Inspirational...
How to submit your images for Modeltrains.About.com's Inspirational Images Blog and Gallery.
Narrow Gauges
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Modeling Water
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
60 Minute Model Railroading
It's amazing what you can accomplish in just an hour - here are a few projects you can complete in 60 minutes or less.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Electric Train Do's and Don'ts For Parents
Specific things parents need to think about when buying electric trains and other toy trains for children.
O Gauge Loops and Yard Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 8x8' O Gauge model railroad featuring three independent running loops, a yard and plenty of room for accessories, industries and scenery.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Installing DCC in an HO Scale EMD Model 40...
Installing a DCC decoder in a compact HO scale EMD Model 40 Locomotive - lessons that can be applied to other small models.
Model Trains Toolbox - Track
Tools for laying model train track.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Modeling Open Loads - Gondolas
From precast to homemade, there are lots of options for realistic loads for gondola cars.
MU (Multiple Unit) Connections for Locomotives
Multiple Unit (MU) connections for diesel locomotives - how they work and how to model them.
MTH Trains
Manufacturer profile of MTH Trains.
Build a Working Derail
Railroad use derails to prevent more serious accidents.
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.