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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized 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.
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
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.
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.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
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.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation 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.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
Essential decisions to make to begin planning a model railroad.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Reverse Loops
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
DCC Manufacturers Index
List of manufacturers for DCC systems and components for model trains.
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.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
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.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
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.
Oiling and Cleaning a Model Steam Locomotive
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Modern Railroad Tie Replacement
A contemporary railroad tie replacement gang and their equipment step-by-step.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
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.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Lay Flex Track
Outlines the importance of a strong support for reliable track.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Bachmann Spectrum Model Trains
Profile of Bachmann Spectrum's model 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.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Rercreating Faded Paint Weathering with an...
How to apply paint with an airbrush to fade the paint on model trains. Page 2.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
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.
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!
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Trundle Bed Train Platform Plans
Diagram and materials for a basic open grid trundle bed train platform.
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.
Making Rocks from Ceiling Tiles
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Basic techniques for better soldering.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
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.
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
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.
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.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Electronics Glossary for Model Trains
electronics glossary for model trains
Assembling Etched Metal Model Kits
Introduction to building model kits from etched metal parts.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
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.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Modeling Track Maintenance
Like modeling a service facility for your locomotives, signs of track work can add to your scenery and operations.
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.
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.
Building the Small Bridge for the Rio Grande
Basic Micro Engineering kit tips and materials and tools needed.
Installing a Switch Decoder
Introduction to stationary (switch) decoders.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Working with Cardstock Models - Building a...
Introduction to building paper model kits with a Walthers hotel.
Track Plans for N Scale Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for N scale model railroads.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
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.
Making Model Loads from Household Junk
Hidden modeling treasures abound in broken household goods.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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?
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
BNSF Bulkhead Flatcar with Steel I-beam Load
A BNSF bulkhead flatcar carries a load of steel beams. Page 4.
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.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
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.
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.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
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.
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.
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.
DCC Projects
DCC projects and information for model railroaders.
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.
Changing Road Numbers
Materials needed to change the numbers on a model train.
O Gauge 8x8 Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' O Gauge model railroad which includes an add-on shelf for a branch line with industry or storage.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Modeling Railroad Tie Loads
Modeling tips for new and used railroad tie loads for your gondolas.
GE's Dash 8 Locomotives
Prototypes and Models for General Electrics Dash 8 series diesel locomotives
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Installing Streetlights
Preparing the layout to install a streetlight. Page 2.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches). Page 2.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Modeling Realistic Building Foundations
Modeling building foundations - choosing appropriate materials.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Assemble the outer frame of the platform first. Page 2.
A Station for the Rio Grande - Working with a...
Choosing the right model station for your layout.
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.
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.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Invisible Track Feeder Wires
Soldering feeder wires to the bottom of model train track. Page 2.
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
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.
Model Trains Toolbox - Track
Tools for laying model train track.
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
Model Trains Toolbox
Essential tools for working with model trains.
Aging Decals to Model Faded Signs and Lettering
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
Noch Weathering Creams Reviewed
Review of Noch weathering creams.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
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!`
Installing a Power Bus for the Rio Grande Layout
Installing the bus wires for the Rio Grande Project Layout.
Modeling Night
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Model a Company Service Gondola
Paint, letter, weather and detail a gondola for company service on your railroad.
International Hobby Corporation (IHC)
A profile of International Hobby Corporation, an American manufacturer of HO scale model railroad trains and accessories.
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
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.
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.
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.
MU (Multiple Unit) Connections for Locomotives
Multiple Unit (MU) connections for diesel locomotives - how they work and how to model them.
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.
Modeling Open Loads - Gondolas
From precast to homemade, there are lots of options for realistic loads for gondola cars.
COFC (Container on Flatcar) History and Modeling
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) railroad operations.
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.
Railroad Whistle Signals
Railroads used the whistle as both a warning and communications device. Learn the proper signals so you can incorporate them into your model railroad operations.

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