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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.
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.
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.
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
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 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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
Improving Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
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.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
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.
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.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
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.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Troubleshooting Model Train Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Introduction to HO Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
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.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale 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.
Model a Stump Load
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Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
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.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
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.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your 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.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
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?
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Paint a Night Backdrop
Like a sunlit backdrop, night scenes can be improved by studying the prototype first.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Modern Railroad Tie Replacement
A contemporary railroad tie replacement gang and their equipment step-by-step.
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.
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.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
N Scale Double Track 2x5 Model Railroad Track...
Track plan for a 2x5' N scale model railroad with double track ovals and two industries.
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.
Modeling Open Loads - Gondolas
From precast to homemade, there are lots of options for realistic loads for gondola cars.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Noch Weathering Creams Reviewed
Review of Noch weathering creams.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
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.
Model Decals
Materials needed to apply decals to a model train.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
HO Model Railroad Switching Layout Plans
Track plan for a HO scale model railroad with multiple industrial sidings on a 4x10' shelf layout.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Building Model Train Kits - An Introduction
Getting started with simple model train kits
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.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
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.
Modeling Railroad Tie Loads
Modeling tips for new and used railroad tie loads for your gondolas.
Tangent 8k Gal Tank Car Review
Product Review of the Tangent Scale Models 8000 gallon acid tank car.
Hot Box
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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 a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
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.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
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.
Bluford Shops' Caboose Reviewed
Product review of Bluford Shops' HO scale transfer caboose.
O Gauge 6.5x11' Track Plan
Track plan for a 6.5x11' O Gauge model railroad which features multiple loops and reverse loops with diamonds.
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.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
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.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Build Your Own Baled Scrap Loads for Gondolas
Build your own inexpensive baled scrap loads for your model train gondolas in any scale.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
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.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
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.
Aging Decals to Model Faded Signs and Lettering
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Making Rocks from Ceiling Tiles
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
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.
Three Easy Steps to Improve the Operation of...
Improving the operation of any ready-to-run or kit-built model train car is as easy as 1-2-3.
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.
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.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
N&W J Class
Prototype history the Norfolk and Western J class steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Electronics Glossary for Model Trains
electronics glossary for model trains
Adding Graffiti to Model Trains
Three simple methods for adding graffiti to model trains
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Setting Up Model Railroad Track
How to lay model railroad track and connect its power supply.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
DCC Projects
DCC projects and information for model railroaders.
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.
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.
Fixing Derailing Locomotives and Cars
Outlines steps to take to diagnose and fix troubles with derailing model train cars.
Make a Coil Steel Load
Make a coil steel load for a gondola or coil car.
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.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
Track Plans for N Scale Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for N scale model railroads.
Installing a Power Bus for the Rio Grande Layout
Installing the bus wires for the Rio Grande Project Layout.
Changing Road Numbers
Materials needed to change the numbers on a model train.
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.
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!`
Making Scale Pipe
Making scale model pipe for model railroads and other miniatures.
Spring Mills Depot PD-3000 Covered Hopper...
Review of the Spring Mills Depot HO scale PD-3000 covered hopper.
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.
How to Find a Quality Model Train
Things to look for when choosing a quality model train set for the first time.
Guide to Train Toys
A guide to train toys for children from 18 months to young adults.
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Building a Railroad Crossing for Model Trains
Step-by-step instructions to pave a railroad crossing on your model railroad.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
About O Scale
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Build a Trundle Bed Train Platform
Build a train platform that can roll under a bed for storage. This can be used for electric trains or wooden train toys.

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