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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
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.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
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.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
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.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for 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.
Reverse Loops
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
Essential decisions to make to begin planning a model railroad.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
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.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
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.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
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.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Making a Miniature Forests
Adding branches to create a canopy for a miniature forest. Page 2.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Build a Classification Yard
If you're modeling the operations of the yard as well as the appearance, you'll want to take care of the operator's needs as well. Page 6.
Expanded HO Scale Train Set Model Railroad...
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad which builds on the oval of track found in most sets with added sidings for operation.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Track Plans for N Scale Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for N scale model railroads.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
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.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
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.
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.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
Backdrops and fascia panels help to finsish a layout and are easy to add to L-Girder benchwork. Page 5.
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.
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.
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.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
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?
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.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
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.
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.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
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.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Model Railroad Backdrops
Learn how to add effective backdrops to any model railroad scene.
HO Scale Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for HO scale model railroads.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
O Scale Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for O Gauge 3-Rail model railroads.
Making Rocks from Ceiling Tiles
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
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.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
The final appearance of your cornstalks can be tailored to the season with a little paint.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
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.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Installing Model Railroad Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
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.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
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.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
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!
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.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Installing Streetlights
Connecting the wires for model trains streetlights. Page 4.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
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.
Hardshell Scenery for Riverbanks
Plaster and papertowels put a skin on the riverbanks and tie the scene together. Page 9.
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.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Applying Decals to Models
Materials needed to apply decals to a model train.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
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
Modeling Water
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
A Station for the Rio Grande - Working with a...
Painting a model station kit. Model Railroad Trains. Page 2.
Finishing Your Track.
Painting tips for model train track. Page 2.
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.
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.
Make Your Own Fallen Leaves Groundcover
Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on model train layouts.
Modeling Water with Plexiglas
A sheet of Plexiglass makes modeling water easy. Page 7.
Expanded N Scale Train Set Model Railroad Track...
Track plan for a 2x4' N scale model railroad which builds on the oval of track found in most sets with added sidings for operation.
HO Scale Oval + Figure 8 Model Railroad Track...
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring a connected oval and figure 8 track loop.
Mixing Model Trains from Different Manufacturers
Can you mix model trains from different manufacturers? Yes, but there are some things you need to know.
HO Scale Locomotive Showcase Model Railroad...
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.
DCC Projects
DCC projects and information for model railroaders.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Invisible Track Feeder Wires
Making the feeder wires to attach to model railroad tracks without being seen.
Remote Control for Manual Turnouts
Remote installations for ground throws for convenient and reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Adding Riverbanks - Framing the Scenery
Add river banks and scenery to the water's edge and plant the bridge in the scene. Page 8.
General Tips for Painting Backdrops for Model...
No matter what scene you choose, there are some universal tips to better backdrops.
Choosing a Decoder
Choosing the best decoder for a specific locomotive or other project can be intimidating with all the choices available today. Get some basic tips to help narrow your search. Page 2.
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.
Getting Started in Model Railroading
Essential tips for getting started in the hobby of model railroading.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Rercreating Faded Paint Weathering with an...
How to apply paint with an airbrush to fade the paint on model trains. Page 2.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Modeling Chain Link Fencing
Assembling model chain link fencing - preparing the mesh. Page 2.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Powering a Switch Frog
Most model train turnouts feature non-powered frogs that can cause a train to stall. Power must be added in a way that will not create a short circuit.
Switch Frog
Description of Switch Frogs as used on model train layouts.
Fixing Derailing Locomotives and Cars
Outlines steps to take to diagnose and fix troubles with derailing model train cars.
Oiling and Cleaning a Model Steam Locomotive
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.

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