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Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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?
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.
Noch Weathering Creams Reviewed
Review of Noch weathering creams.
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.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
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.
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
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
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.
Introduction to HO Trains
Introduction to HO and OO 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.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Troubleshooting Model Train Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Designing and Building Staging Yards
Staging Yards have many uses, espescially if you choose to operate like the prototype.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
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 L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
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.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
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.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
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.
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
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.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Remote Control for Manual Turnouts
Remote installations for ground throws for convenient and 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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
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.
Train Detection for Model Railroads
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.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
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.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Install a Working Railroad Crossing Signal
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Modern Railroad Tie Replacement
A contemporary railroad tie replacement gang and their equipment step-by-step.
Model a Stump Load
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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?
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.
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.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
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.
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.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP49 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP49 represents the first model of a very rare prototype.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Curve Templates
Using curve templates to translate track plans from paper to platform.
Paint a Night Backdrop
Like a sunlit backdrop, night scenes can be improved by studying the prototype first.
Making Rocks from Ceiling Tiles
Making rock outcroppings and cuts for model trains using broken ceiling tiles.
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.
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.
N Scale Double Track 2x5 Model Railroad Track...
Track plan for a 2x5' N scale model railroad with double track ovals and two industries.
HO Scale Model Railroad Track Plans
Trackplans for HO scale model railroads.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Wheels of Time PC-90 Piggy Packer Reviewed
Manufacturer's Site Modelers have been blessed with a large number of excellent intermodal offerings
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier.
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
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 Railroad Crossing for Model Trains
Step-by-step instructions to pave a railroad crossing on your model railroad.
GE U18B - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's U18B diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Powering a Switch Frog
Most model train turnouts feature non-powered frogs that can cause a train to stall. Power must be added in a way that will not create a short circuit.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Hot Box
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Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Applying Static Grass Scenery
Create realistic scenery for your model railroad, diorama or other project using static grass floc.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
O Gauge Set Expansion Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' O Gauge model railroad which builds on the oval of track found in most sets with added sidings for operation.
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.
Build Your Own Baled Scrap Loads for Gondolas
Build your own inexpensive baled scrap loads for your model train gondolas in any scale.
Tangent 8k Gal Tank Car Review
Product Review of the Tangent Scale Models 8000 gallon acid tank car.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
BLMA HO Scale F89J Pipe Flatcar Review
The new HO scale BLMA F89J pipe service flatcar is a well detailed model of a distinctive prototype.
Choosing a Model Railroad Scale
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Guide to Model Railroad Track Pieces
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
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.
Choosing a DCC Decoder
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.
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.
"Cumberland Mines RR" HO Scale Model Railroad...
Track plan for a HO scale model railroad based on the Cumberland Mines Railroad in southwestern Pennsylvania. The prototype carries coal from mine to dock and has no connection to the rest of the rail network.
Oiling and Cleaning a Model Steam Locomotive
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
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.
Model Trains Toolbox
Essential tools for working with model trains.
Guide to Train Toys
A guide to train toys for children from 18 months to young adults.
Changing Road Numbers
Materials needed to change the numbers on a model train.
Building Wood Model Kits - A Sherriff's Office...
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
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.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Wiring with Kato Connectors
Kato Connectors: How to make extensions and adapters for Kato wiring using mini tamiya and koyosho connectors.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Installing a Power Bus for the Rio Grande Layout
Installing the bus wires for the Rio Grande Project Layout.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
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.
Setting Up Model Railroad Track
How to lay model railroad track and connect its power supply.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Designing and Building Moveable and Removeable...
When you need to put railroad where it might get in the way, moveable or removeable layout access sections are the answer. Lift or swing bridges, duck-unders and lift-outs can give you the railroad you want while conserving the space you need.
Model Trains Toolbox - Track
Tools for laying model train track.
Modeling Chain Link Fencing
Modeling chain link fencing - tips on enhancing kits.

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