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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized 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.
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.
What Is the Best Model Train Scale?
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
Minimum Curve Radius for Model Trains
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.
Choosing the Right Power Supply for Model Trains
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
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.
Improving Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Troubleshooting Model Train Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for 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.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
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.
HO Scale Model Railroad Track Plans
Trackplans for HO scale model railroads.
Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
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.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Introduction to HO 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.
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.
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.
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.
N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Minimum Clearances for Model Trains
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Assembling a Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, especially if you choose to operate your model railroad like the prototype.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Weathering Model Trains
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Model Train Switch Basics
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Building L Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork is a flexible system of building model train platforms that allows for a variety of configurations.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Easements and Super Elevation for Model Trains
Understanding and adding super-elevation and easements for track curves on model railroads.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
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.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Streetlights for Model Trains
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Streetlights can be an easy improvement.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
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.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
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.
Installing Ground Throws
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
N Scale Track Plans
Trackplans for N scale model railroads.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Building Wood Model Kits
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
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.
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.
Model Railroad Grades
Adding a grade to a model railroad takes a little planning but offers big rewards in operation and appearance when done correctly.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
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.
On30 Model Trains
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Laying Cork Roadbed for Model Trains
Laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Combining Trains from Different Manufacturers
Can you mix model trains from different manufacturers? Yes, but there are some things you need to know.
Model Decals
Materials needed to apply decals to 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.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
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.
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
Scratchbuilding Tunnel Portals for a Curved...
Building portals for curved tunnels requires a little extra planning to keep the clearances right.
Train Detection for Model Railroads
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.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
4x8' HOn3 Rio Grande 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.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Miniature Lighting for Model Trains
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
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.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Aging Decals to Model Faded Signs and Lettering
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
Modeling with Fiber Optics
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
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.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
O Gauge Track Plans
Trackplans for O Gauge 3-Rail model railroads.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Oiling and Cleaning Model Trains
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
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.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
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.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Building Model Buildings
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Covering the basics of using styrene plastic for models.
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.
Simple Model Train Signals
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Oval + Figure 8 O Gauge Layout Track Plan
Track plan for an O Gauge layout with a figure 8 inside an oval.
Make Model Rocks from Ceiling Tile
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
COFC Intermodal Trains
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) intermodal railroad operations.
Paint a Night Backdrop
Like a sunlit backdrop, night scenes can be improved by studying the prototype first.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model railroading more interesting and realistic.
Model Railroad Track Plans
Model railroad track plans for a variety of scales, sizes and interests.
American Flyer Trains
History of American Flyer model trains.
Cardstock Model Kits
Introduction to building paper model kits with a Walthers hotel.
Planning Model Railroad Freight Yards
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.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
How to Find a Quality Model Train
Things to look for when choosing a quality model train set for the first time.
Painting Model Railroad Backdrops
General pointers and best practices for making effective model railroad backdrops.
Model Train Turnouts
An overview of the basic types of model train turnouts - also known as switches or points.
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.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
Stripping Paint from Models
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Curve Templates
Using curve templates to translate track plans from paper to platform.
Choosing a DCC 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.
Guide to Train Toys
A guide to train toys for children from 18 months to young adults.
Installing Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
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.
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.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
Bachmann Spectrum trains
Profile of Bachmann Spectrum's model trains.
Assembling Your First Train Set
five steps to assembling a starter model train set
4x8 HO Model Railroad Trackplan
Track plan for a HO scale model railroad with multiple industrial sidings and a long passing siding on a 4x8' platform.
Electronics Glossary for Model Trains
electronics glossary for 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.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Weathering Model Buildings
Tips on improving the look of painted or assembled model buildings.
Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Cleaning Model Train Wheels
Simple wheel cleaners you can install on your model train layout to keep your wheels clean while you run your trains.
Making Scale Pipe
Making scale model pipe for model railroads and other miniatures.
Bolting the Platform and Support
Clamp the platform and suppport to drill the holes.
Remote Control for Manual Turnouts
Remote installations for ground throws for convenient and reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Scale Speeds for Model Trains
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
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.
Building a Railroad Crossing for Model Trains
Step-by-step instructions to pave a railroad crossing on your model railroad.
Lionel Trains
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
Switch Frogs
Description of Switch Frogs as used on model train layouts.
How DCC Decoders Work
A somewhat technical overview of how a DCC decoder works in a model railroad train locomotive.

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