Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
A kingpin is defined as the pin used to mount railroad cars to their trucks or bogies. The kingpin is the pivot which allows the trucks to turn freely beneath their railcar.
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's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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.
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 for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Tips for choosing and installing electrical wiring busses and feeders for all types of model trains.
Assembly instructions, materials and tools lists for building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot model train table with storage shelf.
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Prototype history of GE's C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) 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.
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
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.
Introduction to N scale model trains.
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
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.
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model 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.
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
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.
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
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.
Tips for selling used model trains.
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?
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.
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring an over-under return loop, grade, and staging track.
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
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.
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.
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan that starts with track found in most starter sets.
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
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.
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.
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
A list of steam locomotive classes
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.
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
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.
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
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.
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
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.
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring mountain scenery and industrial switching around a paper mill.
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
Model Train Basics Model Train Basics Model railroad trains are what it's all about. Here you'll find
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
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 common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
Choosing the right prototype and design for a model railroad as seen in the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge project layout.
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.
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
Specific things parents need to think about when buying electric trains and other toy trains for children.
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
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 improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
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.
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Profile of Athearn model trains.
A guide to train toys for children from 18 months to young adults.
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Installing a DCC decoder in a compact HO scale EMD Model 40 Locomotive - lessons that can be applied to other small models.
Profile of Bachmann Spectrum's model trains.
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
How to submit your images for Modeltrains.About.com's Inspirational Images Blog and Gallery.
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Multiple Unit (MU) connections for diesel locomotives - how they work and how to model them.
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Manufacturer profile of MTH Trains.
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
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Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on model train layouts.
Product review of Walthers HO scale model of the Pullman Standard coal gondolas.
Points determine the direction the train will travel at a track switch.
Choosing the best decoder for a specific locomotive or other project can be intimidating with all the choices available today. Get some basic tips to help narrow your search. Page 2.
Using curve templates to translate track plans from paper to platform.
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Information for model train collectors and those who want to become model train collectors.