A Guide to Beginning Model Trains

Beginning model trains is a very interesting and fulfilling hobby for anyone who loves history, trains and putting things together. It is a hobby that brings excitement and pleasure, but it calls for a lot of hard work, commitment and certainly a great deal of patience.  You may just like the simple type of model railway layouts, and that is fine and a great way to start model trains, but the real fun only starts when you begin planning every little details of your model.  This obviously requires a lot of designing, planning and research, and can be daunting resulting in some beginners giving up on the hobby, believing they don’t have the expertise required to accomplish the task.

What commonly happens with beginner’s, is that they tend to purchase an electric train, and then try and create something advanced that they may have seen at a model railway show.  This does not normally have a successful ending.  Key to this great hobby is a model plan before you proceed. Planning requires imagination and a fair amount of vision.  This is what will help you to achieve the type of model railroad that you ultimately want.  Do you want a city scene, or do you want desert or even rivers?  This is where research helps greatly, bearing in mind that different scene layouts can vary in price.  Model railway scenery can get expensive.

The scene layout is just one of the many areas you need to consider when planning a design. You need to have a clear picture of what you ultimately want to achieve.  What kind of terrain do you want?  Where do you want to place the hills?  What should the length of the tunnel be and are you going to implement a bridge? One of the most common mistakes and it may seem obvious, is that you settle on a design, and then find you don’t have sufficient space to accommodate the layout.  Bear in mind, you would possibly want to expand the design, and you also need sufficient space to work on cleaning tracks etc.  Another very important consideration is the cost to finance your vision.  Model railroading can be very expensive.

Follow these tips to cut the costs of your model railway layout and still leave it having a very realistic look.


  1. You can use thin paper of fabric scraps for curtains to decorate the inside of some of the structures.
  2. Create billboards and signs that are associated with the era you have settled on.  You can do this by finding images online (google images) or find images in magazines. You can scan magazine images and resize them.  You are then able to paste them to a flat surface and add support to allow them to stand and place them on the railway layout where you choose. Please be aware that images on google can be copyrighted, and if your layout winds up winning at a show, you could be infringing copyrights.
  3. Another great idea is to add animal figurines to the layout.  These animals must also be consistent with the theme, scale and era of the railway model.
  4. You can also change the layout with the season. For example, Christmas could be imitated by using stringed led lights, while you could have a cemetery and pumpkins in front of houses for Halloween.


Artistic talent really lends itself to turning a simple display into an awesome representation of a railroad.  Scenery will make it come to life. Stretch your imagination.  You will be amazed and rewarded by the creativity within.  This is a hobby that provides an almost unparalleled level of satisfaction, and can provide grand children with hours of entertainment as well.  Model train layouts have pulled many a modern child away from the computer or play-station and engage in an activity that stimulates the mind.



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