Model Railroad Trains: Most Popular Articles
Prototype history of EMD's F59PH diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
The meaning of the acronym EMD is usually Electro Motive Division, which was a division of General Motors from the 1930s until 2005 when it was sold and became an independent company, Electro Motive Diesel, Inc.
What scale, or size, of model trains is best?
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.
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.
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.
A quick guide to basic electronic components common in model railroading.
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
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.
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
Freight car photos compliled from the weekly Freight Car Friday blog, grouped by car type. Get the inspiration for your next modeling project here!
In recent years, the size of HO scale knuckle couplers has been shrinking. Why does it matter?
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
Prototype history of EMD's BL2 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
Your model derail can be made operational with a manual or motorized turnout control. Page 3.
Flatcars carry a variety of interesting loads that offer special challenges for modelers.
Definition of a run-around track.
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.
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.
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Prototype history of EMD's E6 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
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.
How do you choose the right transformer to power your model train layout? These tips will point you in the right direction.
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Introduction to N scale 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.
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
A list of steam locomotive classes
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Introduction to O scale model trains.
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
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.
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.
Add some extra color and variety to your locomotive roster in a prototypical way with demonstrator, lease and pooled power equipment.
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad.
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
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.
Standards for the steepest grades your model trains can climb.
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?
Planning a helix for a model railroad takes time and patience, but good plans can avoid costly construction mistakes later.
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP49 represents the first model of a very rare prototype.
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Thomas the Tank Engine delights children everywhere. Here are Thomas toy trains that are real electric trains instead of push toys.
Tips for selling used model trains.
Learn how to upgrade an older locomotive with techniques that will work on any model. The distinctive BQ23-7B is a fun project with wide uses.
How to clean model trains. Model Railroad Trains.
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Remote installations for ground throws for convenient and reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches). Page 4.
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
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 model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
An overview of different railroading eras and the advantages and challenges of modeling each. Page 5.
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.
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Prototype history of GE's C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
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.
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.
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Helpful tools for building model trains.
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
Upgrade an old toy train into a detailed scale model. A rare Pittsburgh and Lake Erie gondola serves as the example for a complete model conversion.
Fiber optic lights start with a good light source. Page 2.
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.
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.
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Review of the Athearn HO scale EMD Model 40 locomotive.
Prototype history the Consolidation type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Staging yards can be designed for a number of operating situations. Careful planning can maximize your time, space and fun. Page 2.
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
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.
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Connecting the wires for model trains streetlights. Page 4.
A simple trackplan for a 4 foot by 8 foot model railroad depicting the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western in HO scale.
Product review of Walthers' HO scale Amtrak Amfleet cars, deluxe edition.
Track plan for a 4x8' N scale model railroad featuring a double track mainline, yard and turntable to switch or just display your collection.
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Model railroad switches, just like real-life railroad switches are used to route rail traffic. In model
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
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!`
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
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.
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
A discussion of factors influencing a model railroader's choice of scale.
Manufacturer profile and history of Lionel trains.
Model a realistic cornfield in HO or larger scales.
Regardless of the scale you are working in, individual model railroad track components fall into six
Choosing the right prototype and design for a model railroad as seen in the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge project layout.
Getting started with simple model train kits
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Prototype history of GE's P40 and P42 diesel locomotives and a list of available scale models.
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.
Mount a Tortoise (or other brands) of switch machines in different locations to counter challenging space or access problems
Simple wheel cleaners you can install on your model train layout to keep your wheels clean while you run your trains.
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
An introduction to designing your model railroad.
10 Tips to improve a temporary or seasonal train display.
A marketing debacle in the late 1950s, the Lionel Girls' Model Train Set is a sought-after collectors item today.
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Tips on building a wood model structure kit and adding details to make it unique.
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Modeling a night scene on a model railroad.
Build a train platform that can roll under a bed for storage. This can be used for electric trains or wooden train toys.
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Installing ground throws for more reliable manual operation of turnouts (switches).
Multiple Unit (MU) connections for diesel locomotives - how they work and how to model them.
O Scale in model railroading explained.
Tips and instructions for model buildings - from different types of kits to scratchbuilding and lighting, details and interiors.
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.
A somewhat technical overview of how a DCC decoder works in a model railroad train locomotive. DCC (Digital Command Control) decoders are tiny, complex electronic devices that not only contain computer control systems, but power management as well.