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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
GE 44 Tonner - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
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!
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.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP50 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP50 is a stellar model of a rarely reproduced locomotive.
Mallet Steam Locomotives
Explanation of Mallet type steam locomotives.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
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.
Knuckle Couplers
Description of knuckle couplers available for model trains, including brief prototype history.
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.
EMD F59PH - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel 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.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
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.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
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.
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.
E60C - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
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.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Reverse Loops
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
EMD
The meaning of the acronym EMD is usually Electro Motive Division, which was a division of General Motors from the 1930s until 2005 when it was sold and became an independent company, Electro Motive Diesel, Inc.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
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.
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.
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.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
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.
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.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
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.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
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.
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.
EMD E6 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's E6 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
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.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
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.
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
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?
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Trimming the corstalks is an easy but messy task.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
Installing Streetlights
Connecting the wires for model trains streetlights. Page 4.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
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.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
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.
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!`
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
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.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
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.
Modeling Night
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Scale vs. Standard Knuckle Couplers
In recent years, the size of HO scale knuckle couplers has been shrinking. Why does it matter?
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Finishing Your Track.
Painting tips for model train track. Page 2.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
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.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Bowser HO Scale H30 Covered Hopper Reviewed
Review of the new Bowser HO Scale H30 Covered Hopper - a distinctive Pennsylvania Railroad car.
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
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
N Scale Showcase Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' N scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Model Railroad Scenery - Add a River and Bridge...
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Scale Speed for Model Trains
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Definition of HO and OO Scale Model Trains
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.
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Cloverleaf O Gauge Layout Track Plan
Track plan for an O Gauge layout with a four-loop cloverleaf inside an oval.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
0-8-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Consolidation (2-8-0) - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the Consolidation type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Modeling Water
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
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.
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.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Narrow Gauges
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
Building a Helix for Your Model Railroad
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
Seating Model Buildings in Scenery
The building used for this project is a feed store kit marketed by Walthers. The kit was built previously
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP49 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP49 represents the first model of a very rare prototype.
Model Trains Toolbox
Essential tools for working with model trains.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
Ballasting Switches
preparing for gluing ballast with a bath in alcohol. Page 5.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Installing Model Railroad Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Scale
definition of scale. Model Railroad Trains.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Supporting the Span: Abutments and Piers
Add proper supports for your bridge with abutments and piers. Page 5.
Model Trains Toolbox - Model Building
Helpful tools for building model trains.
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