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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?
kingpin
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.
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.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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.
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 Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
GE's Dash 9-44CW (C44-9W) - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
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.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale 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.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
EMD F59PH - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
E60C - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
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.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age 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.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
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.
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.
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.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used 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?
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.
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.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
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.
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.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Line's End Model Railroad Track Plan
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 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.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Reverse Loops
With DCC, wiring and operating a reverse section is even easier.
Railroad Whistle Signals
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.
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.
What Is the Maximum Grade My Train Can Climb?
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
Cleaning Model Trains
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
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.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
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.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Model Railroad Scenery - Add a River and Bridge...
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
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.
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
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.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
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.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
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.
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.
prototype
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
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.
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Model Train Basics Model Train Basics Model railroad trains are what it's all about. Here you'll find
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
American Flyer Model Trains
Profile of American Flyer model trains.
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 Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Installing Ground Throws for Manual Turnouts
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Model Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
Simple Track Projects
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Walthers Amfleet Passenger Cars Reviewed
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Lionel Trains
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
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.
O Gauge Loops and Yard Model Railroad Track Plan
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
Install a working railroad crossing signal with flashing lights to protect a road on your layout.
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.
Electric Train Do's and Don'ts For Parents
Specific things parents need to think about when buying electric trains and other toy trains for children.
How to Tell if You're a Model Train Addict
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Understanding superelevation and easements for track curves.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
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.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Installing Model Railroad Backdrops
Backdrops greatly improve the look of a model railroad. The first step is installing a smooth vertical surface for painting.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
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.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Athearn Model Trains
Profile of Athearn model trains.
Guide to Train Toys
A guide to train toys for children from 18 months to young adults.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Installing DCC in an HO Scale EMD Model 40...
Installing a DCC decoder in a compact HO scale EMD Model 40 Locomotive - lessons that can be applied to other small models.
Bachmann Spectrum Model Trains
Profile of Bachmann Spectrum's model trains.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
AEM-7 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
How to Submit Your Photos for Inspirational...
How to submit your images for Modeltrains.About.com's Inspirational Images Blog and Gallery.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
MU (Multiple Unit) Connections for Locomotives
Multiple Unit (MU) connections for diesel locomotives - how they work and how to model them.
Making Hardshell Scenery
Tools and materials needed to get started making hardshell scenery for your model railroad or project.
Alternate Instalation for Switch Machines
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Aging Decals to Model Faded Signs and Lettering
Aging decals to model faded paint or signs.
Modeling Water
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
MTH Trains
Manufacturer profile of MTH Trains.
Stripping Paint from Model Trains
Want to change the paint on a model? Stripping old paint can be easier than you think.
4-4-0 American - A Steam Locomotive Profile
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Make Your Own Fallen Leaves Groundcover
Make your own groundcover of fallen leaves for forest floors or autumn scenes on model train layouts.
Walthers Mainline Coal Gondolas - HO Scale...
Product review of Walthers HO scale model of the Pullman Standard coal gondolas.
Points (Switches / Turnouts)
Points determine the direction the train will travel at a track switch.
Choosing a 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. Page 2.
Curve Templates
Using curve templates to translate track plans from paper to platform.
Narrow Gauges
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
Oiling and Cleaning a Model Steam Locomotive
Basic steps to cleaning and lubricating a model steam locomotive.
Collecting Model Railroad Trains
Information for model train collectors and those who want to become model train collectors.
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