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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.
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.
6 Things You Should Check When Your Model Train...
Steps to take to troubleshoot and repair a model train that will not run.
Appraising Model Trains
What's my old train worth? Learn where to find the answers to this common question.
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?
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.
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.
Scales and Gauges in the UK
Millimetre Based Model Railroading Scales and Gauges in the UK
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.
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.
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.
Assembling Your First Train Set
Introduction for basic train set assembly instructions.
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.
NCE Power Cab DCC System Review
Product review of the NCE Power Cab DCC system.
Introduction to G Gauge Model Trains
Introduction to G gauge model trains.
Fixing Poor Model Train Operations
Troublshooting tips for correcting poor or sporadic operation of model trains
Steam Locomotive Classes
A list of steam locomotive classes
Introduction to HO / OO Scale Model Trains
Introduction to HO and OO scale model trains.
Lay Flex Track
Explains flex track and how it is used.
Introduction to N Scale Model Trains
Introduction to N scale model trains.
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!
4x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts
Trackplans for a 4x8' sized model railroad.
Introduction to Z Scale Model Trains
Introduction to Z scale model trains.
Mogul (2-6-0) - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the Mogul type of steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Wiring a Model Railroad for Block Operation
Wiring a model railroad for multiple train operations with blocks.
Modeling a Steam Locomotive Service Area
For all of their power, speed and emotional appeal, if the steam locomotive has one fundimental flaw
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.
Paint a Night Backdrop
There's more to making a night sky than black paint.
Introduction to Model Train Switches
Beginners guide to understanding model train switches, terminology and uses.
Weathering Techniques
Hub of articles for various weathering techniques to age model trains.
Introduction to O Scale Model Trains
Introduction to O scale model trains.
Model Trains Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions about model trains and railroads.
Troubleshooting Model Trains Problems
Introduction to troubleshooting tips for model trains.
Minimum Vertical Clearances for Model Trains by...
Minimum vertical clearances for different model train scales
Model Train Gift Guide
Tips and ideas for good gifts for model railroaders and toy train collectors.
Better Curves with Easements and Super Elevation
Simple techiniques to improve model train operation by easing the transition from straight to curve tracks with easements and superelevation. Page 2.
Index of Model Train Set Manufacturers
List of model train manufacturers offering complete sets in various scales.
Building Foam Scenery
Building model railroad scenery from foam insulation boards.
Reverse Loops
A special toggle switch is all you need to add a reversing loop to your DC control model railroad.
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.
Locating Your Layout - Where's the Best Place...
Tips for finding the best place for your model railroad.
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.
Soldering Tips for Model Trains Track and Wiring
Tools needed for soldering on model trains.
Adding Lights to Model Buildings
Choosing the right bulb is essential to getting the most out of any lighting project.
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.
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.
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 Railroad Planning Introduction and Advice
No matter what scale you choose, what railroad you model, or how large your railroad, these design tips will never steer you wrong. Page 5 of 6.
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.
Making Miniture Cornstalks
Starting with inexpensive Christmas garland,cut the cornstalks to length.
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.
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.
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.
AEM-7 - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of EMD's AEM7 diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
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.
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.
Simple Signal Circuit for Model Trains
A simple signal circuit for bi-diectional signals for model trains.
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.
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.
Wire Gauge Standards for Model Train Layouts
Standards and guidelines for selecting the right wire for your model railroad.
Building L-Girder Benchwork
L-girder benchwork can be built with a variety of common building materials.
Installing DCC on the Project Layout
Choosing the right DCC system for your layout.
Standard Gauge
: As with prototype trains, gauge is the measure of the distance between the rails. Standard Gauge has
What is On30 Scale?
O scale trains and HO gauge track make a great combination for a variety of users.
Install a DCC Decoder
Simple instructions for installing a DCC decoder.
Gluing Scenery for Model Train Layouts and...
Materials and tools to add scenery to model train layouts and dioramas.
Comparison of G-Gauge Model Train Scales
G Gauge trains are actually made in different scales. See how each manufacturer sizes up.
Weathering Diesel Locomotives with an Airbrush
Tips for weathering diesel locomotives with an airbrush.
Laying Cork Roadbed for a Narrow Gauge Railroad
Materials needed and reasons for laying cork roadbed beneath model trains track.
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.
Selling Model Trains
Tips for selling used model trains.
Making Paved Roads for Your Model Railroad Layout
Introduction and materials lists for modeling paved roads.
Weathering Pre-Painted and Assembled Model...
Tips on improving the look of pre-painted or even pre-assembled model buildings.
GE 44 Tonner - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of GE's 44 ton diesel locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Model Railroad Track Types
An overview of model railroad track types and codes including an explanation of track code numbers and rail metal types.
Weathering Models with Chalk
Techniques for aging models with powdered chalks.
Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding
Modeling common corrugated metal roofs and sidings in any condition using plastic and aluminum foil.
Switching with Thumbtacks: A Quick Tip for...
An easy tip for speeding your yard switching operations on a model railroad by using pushpins.
Planning a Classification Yard for Your Model...
Advice for planning a more efficient and prototypical freight classification yard for a model railroad.
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for...
Three Reasons I Don't Recommend O Scale for Children's toy train sets.
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!`
prototype
: A model's prototype is the real-world locomotive, railcar or other object that it is a model of. The
Weathering Wash
Applying the weathering wash to model trains.
Master Airbrush Paint Booth Reviewed
Review of the Master Airbrush paint booth.
Model Railroad Space Planning
An overview of space planning for model railroad train layouts and types of space allocation for model train layouts.
Simple Wheel Cleaners for Model Trains
Simple wheel cleaners you can install on your model train layout to keep your wheels clean while you run your trains.
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.
Before You Buy Model Railroad Trains
How to make informed choices when buying your first model railroad equipment.
Making a Miniature Forests
Making miniature forests - building the trunks
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.
City of Industry Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 4x8' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Miniature Layout Lighting Projects for Scenery...
Miniature lighting projects for model railroad layouts.
Modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) Trains
Ideas for modeling TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar) trains, equipment and operations.
Finishing Your Track.
Make your track as realistic as the trains you run on it.
HO Scale Knuckle Coupler Guide
Listing of HO knuckle coupler manufacturers and products.
Scale
definition of scale. Model Railroad Trains.
Knuckle Couplers
Description of knuckle couplers available for model trains, including brief prototype history.
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.
Model Railroad Waybills
Understanding waybills and how they make model rsilroading more interesting and realistic.
Rercreating Faded Paint Weathering with an...
How to apply paint with an airbrush to fade the paint on model trains. Page 2.
How to Tell if You're a Model Train Addict
A list of ways to identify Model Train Addiction
4-4-0 American - A Steam Locomotive Profile
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Drybrushing Weathering Technique
Make subtle additions to a model with this simple paint technique.
Hooking Up Your Train Set Power Supply
Outlines steps to hook up power supplies for model train sets.
0-8-0 Switcher - A Steam Locomotive Profile
Prototype history the 0-8-0 switcher steam locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Narrow Gauges
A guide to model railroading narrow gauges.
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Instructions for replacing wheels on model trains.
Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout
Diagram for a basic open grid train platform.
Installing Switch Motors
What is a switch motor and what can it do?
HO and OO Scale Model Trains
Definition of HO and OO Scale Model 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
Narrowing Woodland Scenics Incline Foam
How to narrow Woodland Scenics incline foam for N and TT scale grading
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.
Athearn Genesis' HO Scale GP50 Review
Athearn's brand new HO scale GP50 is a stellar model of a rarely reproduced locomotive.
Building a Wye for a Model Railroad
How to build and wire a wye to turn locomotives or trains on a model railroad.
Scale Speed for Model Trains
Tables for determining the scale speed of your model trains for various scales in both miles and kilometers per hour.
Gauge
Definition of Gauge. Model Railroad Trains.
Model Railroading 101
What every beginner needs to know about model railroading.
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.
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.
Scratchbuilding Tarped Loads for Model Train Cars
Easy to make tarp-covered loads for model train cars in any scale. Page 3.
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.
What to Do when Your Model Train Derails
Troubleshooting tips for derailing model trains.
Wikipedia on Railroading
Using Wikipedia, a vital resource for railroad historians, railfans, and model railroaders.
Two Rail Vs. Three Rail O Gauge
Understand the subsets of O Gauge.
E60C - A Locomotive Profile
Prototype history of the E60C electric locomotive and a list of available scale models.
Model Railroad Scenery - Add a River and Bridge...
Add the excitement of a river and bridge to your model railroad layout step-by-step.
spur
: A spur is a railroad track on which cars are left for loading and unloading. Spurs are also used sometimes
Lionel Girls' Model Train Set
A marketing debacle in the late 1950s, the Lionel Girls' Model Train Set is a sought-after collectors item today.
How to Find a Quality Model Train
Things to look for when choosing a quality model train set for the first time.
South Street Model Railroad Track Plan
Track plan for a 2x12' HO scale model railroad featuring multiple industries and a challenging track plan.
Modeling a Diesel Locomotive Service Area
Understanding the steps involved in servicing diesel locomotives makes modeling the process and facilities much easier. Page 3.
Lift / Drop Bridges
Lift bridges are one method of providing layout access while preserving operations.
Modeling Freight Car Data Paint-Outs
Masking models to replicate data paint-outs. Page 2.
Modeling Water
Adding Water begins with preparing the surface below. Page 6.
Mixing Model Trains from Different Manufacturers
Can you mix model trains from different manufacturers? Yes, but there are some things you need to know.
Understanding Model Railroad Switches
A guide to model railroad switch (turnout) basics and sizes.
Fiber Optic Lighting for Model Trains
Potential uses for fiber optic lighting effects on model train layout layouts.
Installing Streetlights
There are many varieties of lighting accessories available for model trains. Choose the right one for your layout.
Fixing Derailing Locomotives and Cars
Outlines steps to take to diagnose and fix troubles with derailing model train cars.
Cutting Styrene Plastic
Measuring and Marking styrene for cuts.
Couplers
List of coupler types and tips for modeling, operating and converting different couplers in multiple scales.
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.
Building a Helix for Your Model Railroad
A helix can be a heavy construction. A strong foundation is critical for alignment and support.
Simple Track Projects
Simple track projects to enhance a model railroad
About O Scale
O Scale in model railroading explained.
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