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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.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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.
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.
Assembling Your First 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.
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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Scales and Gauges in the UK
Millimetre Based Model Railroading Scales and Gauges in the UK
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
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.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale 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.
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 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.
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.
Mogul (2-6-0) - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the Mogul type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
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.
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.
Reverse Loops
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Leasers, Demonstrators and Pools - Add Color to...
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
AEM-7 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Build a Working Derail
Railroad use derails to prevent more serious accidents.
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.
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.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
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.
GE 44 Tonner - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Scale vs. Standard Knuckle Couplers
In recent years, the size of HO scale knuckle couplers has been shrinking. Why does it matter?
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
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.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
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.
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.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
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.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Starting with inexpensive Christmas garland,cut the cornstalks to length.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
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.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
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.
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.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
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.
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.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Modeling Night
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
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.
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.
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?
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
0-8-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Wiring the NCE Power Cab to the layout. Page 3.
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.
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.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Centerline Products Rail Cleaning Cars
Review of the Centerline Products rail cleaning car.
Make Your Own Fallen Leaves Groundcover
Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on model train layouts.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
0-4-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-4-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
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.
Scale
definition of scale. Model Railroad Trains.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Simple Track Projects
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Woodland Scenics Dust Monkeys
Manufacturer's Site Cleaning track is one of those never-ending and never-enjoyable projects that come
Building a Helix for Your Model Railroad
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Building Model Buildings
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
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.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Powering a Switch Frog
Powering a switch frog requires a very simple circuit that uses either an electrical switch or relay. Page 2.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
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.
Scale Speed for Model Trains
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
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!`
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout 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.
Walthers Mainline Coal Gondolas - HO Scale...
Product review of Walthers HO scale model of the Pullman Standard coal gondolas.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Electronics Glossary for Model Trains
A quick guide to basic electronic components common in model railroading.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
COFC (Container on Flatcar) History and Modeling
History and modeling advice on container on flatcar (COFC) railroad operations.
Model Trains Toolbox
Essential tools for working with model trains.
How to Tell if You're a Model Train Addict
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
Laying Track for the Rio Grande
Tips for laying flex track on the Rio Grande narrow gauge layout.
Building Lift-Outs, or Removeable Sections of...
Removeable or lift-out benchwork sections allow access to portions of a model railroad without bending over.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
American Flyer Model Trains
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
GE's P40 and P42 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
Improving Holiday Train Displays
10 Tips to improve a temporary or seasonal train display.
prototype
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Adding Loads to Open Freight Cars
Add loads of interest and excitement to your models by adding loads.
0-6-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-6-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Modeling Water with Plexiglas
A sheet of Plexiglass makes modeling water easy. Page 7.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
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