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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Model Train Track Curves and Minimum Curve Issues
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.
Model Train Track Grades and Maximum Grade 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 Is the Best Model Train Scale?
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Installing Bus and Feeder Wires for Your Layout
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of 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.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
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.
Fixing Model Trains that Won't Run
steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run
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.
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.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
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.
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.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Reverse Loops
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad. Page 2.
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.
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.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
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.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
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?
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.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
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.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
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.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Protecting Hidden Track on Model Railroads
Protect your trains when they go out of sight with these low-cost solutions to a potentially expensive derailment.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint. Page 2.
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
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
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.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
These best practices will improve any design. Page 5.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Easy Lighting for Model Railroad Staging Yards...
Lighting model train layout levels with holiday lights.
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.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
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.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
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.
Building Model Buildings
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
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.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
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.
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.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
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.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to 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.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Installing a Power Bus for the Rio Grande Layout
Installing the bus wires for the Rio Grande Project Layout.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Modeling Chain Link Fencing
Modeling chain link fencing - tips on enhancing kits.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
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.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Lionel Trains
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Laying Train Set Tracks
Describes proper steps to assemble track in model train set
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
Fixing Derailing Locomotives and Cars
Outlines steps to take to diagnose and fix troubles with derailing model train cars.
Drybrushing Weathering Technique
Make subtle additions to a model with this simple paint technique.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Designing and Building Moveable and Removeable...
When you need to put railroad where it might get in the way, moveable or removeable layout access sections are the answer. Lift or swing bridges, duck-unders and lift-outs can give you the railroad you want while conserving the space you need.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Rust with a Makeup Brush
Adding the base coat of lighter rust.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Modeling Open Loads - Gondolas
From precast to homemade, there are lots of options for realistic loads for gondola cars.
Athearn Model Trains
Profile of Athearn model trains.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Build a Trundle Bed Train Platform
Build a train platform that can roll under a bed for storage. This can be used for electric trains or wooden train toys.
DCC Made Easy
A DCC primer and buyer's guide from Kalmbach Books.
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
How to Find a Quality Model Train
Things to look for when choosing a quality model train set for the first time.
Model Train Maintenance
Model train maintenance proceedures
Make Your Own Fallen Leaves Groundcover
Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on 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.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
General Tips for Painting Backdrops for Model...
No matter what scene you choose, there are some universal tips to better backdrops.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Common Rail
Defines common rail as used in model trains for multiple train control wiring.
Laying Track for the Rio Grande
Tips for laying flex track on the Rio Grande narrow gauge layout.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Building Lift-Outs, or Removeable Sections of...
Removeable or lift-out benchwork sections allow access to portions of a model railroad without bending over.
Installing Model Railroad Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Buying and Selling
How to buy and sell model railroad trains.
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.
Lionel Girls' Model Train Set
A marketing debacle in the late 1950s, the Lionel Girls' Model Train Set is a sought-after collectors item today.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Rercreating Faded Paint Weathering with an...
How to apply paint with an airbrush to fade the paint on model trains. Page 2.
The Helix - A Prototype for Everything
Even an extreme construction like a helix is not without a prototype in railroading. Get inspiration for your model grades.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
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.
Simple Wheel Cleaners for Model Trains
Simple wheel cleaners you can install on your model train layout to keep your wheels clean while you run your trains.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
About O Scale
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Modeling Roadrailers
A brief history and modeling advice for adding Roadrailer trains to your model railroad.
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.
Building a Helix for Your Model Railroad
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
COFC (Container on Flatcar) History and Modeling
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) railroad operations.
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.

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