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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
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.
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.
What Is the Best Model Train Scale?
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
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.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Reverse Loops
Reverse loops allow engines or trains to change direction without reversing. On two-rail tracks however, this causes a short circuit without some simple modifications.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
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.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
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.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation 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.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
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.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Popular Modeling Eras
An overview of different railroading eras and the advantages and challenges of modeling each.
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.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
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.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on 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.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Setting Up Model Railroad Track
How to lay model railroad track and connect its power supply.
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!`
Paint a Night Backdrop
Like a sunlit backdrop, night scenes can be improved by studying the prototype first.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
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.
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
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.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Making Rocks from Ceiling Tiles
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Working with Cardstock Models - Building a...
Introduction to building paper model kits with a Walthers hotel.
Building a Railroad Crossing for Model Trains
Step-by-step instructions to pave a railroad crossing on your model railroad.
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 Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Building a Helix for Your Model Railroad
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Planning Passing Sidings
Planning the length of passing sidings and blocks on a model railroad.
Oiling and Cleaning a Model Steam Locomotive
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Changing Road Numbers
Materials needed to change the numbers on a model train.
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.
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?
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.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
Aging Decals to Model Faded Signs and Lettering
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
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.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model 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.
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.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Painting Model Trains with an Airbrush
An airbrush may be one of the most useful, and intimidating tools in model railroading. Learning how to use one properly will allow you to make the most of your models.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Making Scale Pipe
Making scale model pipe for model railroads and other miniatures.
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.
Rercreating Faded Paint Weathering with an...
Prepare a model for weathering with an airbrush first by masking off areas not to be painted that can't be removed
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.
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.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
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.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Model Train Kit Assembly Basics
Kit Assembly Basics. Model Railroad Trains.
Model Decals
Materials needed to apply decals to a model train.
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.
Electronics Glossary for Model Trains
electronics glossary for model trains
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Scratchbuilding Tunnel Portals for a Curved...
Building portals for curved tunnels requires a little extra planning to keep the clearances right.
Model Railroad Waybills in Operation
The best way to understand how model waybills work is to see one in action. Follow along with car CBRY 2132 as it makes its way across a layout.
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.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
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.
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
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.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
HO Model Railroad Switching Layout Plans
Track plan for a HO scale model railroad with multiple industrial sidings on a 4x10' shelf layout.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Planning from the Prototype
Modeling from the prototype can be a rewarding challenge. Learn how to capture the character of any scene for your layout.
Modeling Chain Link Fencing
Modeling chain link fencing - tips on enhancing kits.
Scratchbuilding a Coal Shed - Building the Main...
Materials and measurements for scratchbuilding a coal unloading shed in HO scale.
COFC (Container on Flatcar) History and Modeling
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) railroad operations.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
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.
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.
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.
Invisible Track Feeder Wires
Making the feeder wires to attach to model railroad tracks without being seen.
DCC Projects
DCC projects and information for model railroaders.
Three Easy Steps to Improve the Operation of...
Improving the operation of any ready-to-run or kit-built model train car is as easy as 1-2-3.
Customizing Model Trains: An Introduction
A model of a CSX covered hopper represents a good case study in the various ways a commmercial model can be customized to represent a specific prototype.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Noch Weathering Creams Reviewed
Review of Noch weathering creams.
Modern Railroad Tie Replacement
A contemporary railroad tie replacement gang and their equipment step-by-step.
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
International Hobby Corporation (IHC)
A profile of International Hobby Corporation, an American manufacturer of HO scale model railroad trains and accessories.
Mixing Model Trains from Different Manufacturers
Can you mix model trains from different manufacturers? Yes, but there are some things you need to know.
Track Plans for N Scale Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for N scale model railroads.
Fading Lettering on Model Trains
Materials needed to fade lettering on model trains.
Switch Frog
Description of Switch Frogs as used on model train layouts.
DCC Made Easy
A DCC primer and buyer's guide from Kalmbach Books.

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