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.
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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.
Assembly instructions, materials and tools lists for building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot model train table with storage shelf.
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of model trains.
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Millimetre Based Model Railroading Scales and Gauges in the UK
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
A list of steam locomotive classes
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
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.
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 to N scale model trains.
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
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.
Prototype history the Mogul type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
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.
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.
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel 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.
Railroad use derails to prevent more serious accidents.
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.
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.
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Tips for selling used model trains.
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.
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
In recent years, the size of HO scale knuckle couplers has been shrinking. Why does it matter?
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad 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.
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
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.
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
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.
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Starting with inexpensive Christmas garland,cut the cornstalks to length.
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
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.
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Simple wheel cleaners you can install on your model train layout to keep your wheels clean while you run your trains.
Choosing the right prototype and design for a model railroad as seen in the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge project layout.
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
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.
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
It's amazing what you can accomplish in just an hour - here are a few projects you can complete in 60 minutes or less.
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
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?
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Wiring the NCE Power Cab to the layout. Page 3.
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.
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.
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Review of the Centerline Products rail cleaning car.
Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on model train layouts.
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Prototype history the 0-4-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
definition of scale. Model Railroad Trains.
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Manufacturer's Site Cleaning track is one of those never-ending and never-enjoyable projects that come
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
Track plan for a 4x8' N scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Powering a switch frog requires a very simple circuit that uses either an electrical switch or relay. Page 2.
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
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.
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
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!`
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Product review of Walthers HO scale model of the Pullman Standard coal gondolas.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
A quick guide to basic electronic components common in model railroading.
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) railroad operations.
Essential tools for working with model trains.
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
Tips for laying flex track on the Rio Grande narrow gauge layout.
Removeable or lift-out benchwork sections allow access to portions of a model railroad without bending over.
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
10 Tips to improve a temporary or seasonal train display.
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Add loads of interest and excitement to your models by adding loads.
Prototype history the 0-6-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
A sheet of Plexiglass makes modeling water easy. Page 7.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.