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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.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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!
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Scales and Gauges in the UK
Millimetre Based Model Railroading Scales and Gauges in the UK
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.
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.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
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.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
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.
GE 44 Tonner - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
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.
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.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Knuckle Couplers
Description of knuckle couplers available for model trains, including brief prototype history.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Mallet Steam Locomotives
Explanation of Mallet type steam locomotives.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP50 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP50 is a stellar model of a rarely reproduced locomotive.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Intalling Fascia Panels on the Rio Grande...
Finishing the fascia panels for a model railroad. Page 4.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
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.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Railroad Switching Made Easy
Any railroad switching arrangement comes down to just three track combinations - trailing point switches, facing point switches and run around tracks. See how all three can be combined in your track plans to get the most out of your operations.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
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.
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.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
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.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Reverse Loops
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad.
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.
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.
Tangent Models PS4000 Covered Hopper Reviewed
Product Review of the Tangent Scale Models PS4000 covered hopper.
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.
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.
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.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad 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.
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.
Mogul (2-6-0) - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the Mogul type of steam 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.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
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!`
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
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.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model 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.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
0-8-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
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.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
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.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Building Model Buildings
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
0-4-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-4-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
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
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
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?
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of 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.
Adding Loads to Open Freight Cars
Add loads of interest and excitement to your models by adding loads.
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.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
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.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Modeling an Interchange
Modeling a railroad interchage and its operation.
How to Tell if You're a Model Train Addict
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
prototype
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to 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.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
E60C - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
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.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP15 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP15 sets a new bar for detail and performance for models of this popular road switcher locomotive.
Hump Yard
A hump puts gravity to work, switching cars on the side of a hill.
AEM-7 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Improving Holiday Train Displays
10 Tips to improve a temporary or seasonal train display.
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
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.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
The final appearance of your cornstalks can be tailored to the season with a little paint.
Locomotive Class Lights and Their Function
Locomotive class lights and flags; what they mean and how you can use them on your model railroad.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Popular Modeling Eras
An overview of different railroading eras and the advantages and challenges of modeling each. Page 2.
Fixing Low Coupler Height
Adjust coupler height with washers. Page 2.
Adding Graffiti to Model Trains
Three simple methods for adding graffiti to model trains. Page 5.
Woodland Scenics Dust Monkeys
Manufacturer's Site Cleaning track is one of those never-ending and never-enjoyable projects that come
About O Scale
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
American Flyer Model Trains
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Definition of HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Model Railroad Scenery - Add a River and Bridge...
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
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.
Modeling Night
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
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.
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