Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Freight car photos compliled from the weekly Freight Car Friday blog, grouped by car type. Get the inspiration for your next modeling project here!
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.
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of model trains.
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.
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP50 is a stellar model of a rarely reproduced locomotive.
Explanation of Mallet type steam locomotives.
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Assembly instructions, materials and tools lists for building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot model train table with storage shelf.
Description of knuckle couplers available for model trains, including brief prototype history.
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.
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
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.
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Introduction to O scale model trains.
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.
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
The meaning of the acronym EMD is usually Electro Motive Division, which was a division of General Motors from the 1930s until 2005 when it was sold and became an independent company, Electro Motive Diesel, Inc.
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Prototype history of GE's C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Tips for selling used model 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.
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.
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
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.
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 EMD's E6 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation 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.
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
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.
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
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?
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Trimming the corstalks is an easy but messy task.
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
Connecting the wires for model trains streetlights. Page 4.
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
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.
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
A list of steam locomotive classes
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
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.
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!`
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
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.
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
In recent years, the size of HO scale knuckle couplers has been shrinking. Why does it matter?
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Painting tips for model train track. Page 2.
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
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.
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Review of the new Bowser HO Scale H30 Covered Hopper - a distinctive Pennsylvania Railroad car.
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Track plan for a 4x8' N scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Definition of HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Track plan for an O Gauge layout with a four-loop cloverleaf inside an oval.
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Getting started with simple model train kits
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Prototype history the Consolidation type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
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.
It's amazing what you can accomplish in just an hour - here are a few projects you can complete in 60 minutes or less.
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
The building used for this project is a feed store kit marketed by Walthers. The kit was built previously
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP49 represents the first model of a very rare prototype.
Essential tools for working with model trains.
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
preparing for gluing ballast with a bath in alcohol. Page 5.
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
definition of scale. Model Railroad Trains.
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Add proper supports for your bridge with abutments and piers. Page 5.
Helpful tools for building model trains.