Model Trains and Railroads Made Easy

Don’t make a mistake

 When building or buying your first model train or designing your first layout and scenery make sure you know exactly what you need. The biggest mistakes can happen when first learning about all the in’s and outs of your new hobby.

model trains for beginners

1- Would you like to avoid the six common mistakes of every railroader and save money doing it

2- Would you like straight forward answers about building your first layout on your budget and space

3- Make difficult tasks easy and save time!

4- Learn hundred’s of clever tricks, stop derailments, design scenery and fix problems

 Everybody knows that modern railroading has been described as the “The Worlds Greatest Hobby” and it sure is. However problems do happen, will happen so you need answers to fix and prevent problems. You need the right information to guide your through the learning stages of modern railroading so you can enjoy this great hobby.

 Don’t waste your money or time and learn to enjoy your hobby,  You can get all the information and help you need in the 4th edition of

Model Train Help

Model Train Help ebooksModel Train help takes the guess-work out of setting up your first layout, learn everything wanted to know about setting up your first layout. Your learn how to build a raging waterfall, a fire setting with smoke, natural-looking trees, easy to build roads, rippling stream, historical buildings, an interesting branch line, classification yard, spectacular mountains, fields & fences, curved tunnels…it is all here for you!model railroad scene

“This is by far the most complete and easy to understand book I have ever seen about model railroading. Not only did I learn how to improve my set, but I also learned several new tricks to impress my train club friends!”

Arnold S, Illinois, USA.

  So don’t delay ordering today, not learning the right way to set up and build your modern model train railroad could be costly. So act now to receive your free gifts with your order and your purchase is 100% guaranteed.

Now You Can Save Time And Money In Creating A Model Train Layout
You’ll Be Supremely Proud Of…

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Model Train E book

model train videos

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10 Tips for you Model Train Layout

What do you decide first?

When creating your model train layout for your model train you have some considerations to think of first. The should always start your train layout with the basics, You can always add accessories, trains, scenery and extra care over time. Your next decision is what size of Train gauge your going to use: GO or O27SOOHON, or Z-scale trains. G scale being the largest train, taking up much space and usually used for gardens, museums or large rooms. The HO and N scale are very popular, The Z scale are very small for tiny spaces. Do be careful with Z scales if you have small children, many of the parts are small and can be swallowed.


1-Choose a Theme:
You can choose just about anything for your layout, consider building your layout around one of these themes: a cityscape, a night based landscape, one of the many industry’s (passenger, coal, oil and others), a period theme of the of any era (19th century, World War 1 or 2 for examples), or use a specific rail line (Union, Southern) for your layout. Use your imagination for your layout, there are many themes for you to choose from

2-Decide your rolling stock: You must decide which train engines and cars your wish to run, Passenger, Freight or Inter-model which uses sea and rail. Depending on your theme will help you decide on which type of engine you’ll run depending on what era your train is from. Before 1930′s steam, 1930′s to 50′s diesel or a modern electric train.

3- How much do you want to spend?: This also is key factor in how much can you spend or want to spend in building your model train layout. If your on a budget just by the track, rolling stock and add the scenery as you can.

4- Layout Design: Four of the more common basic patterns are:

* point to point – this is merely a straight line of track with a station at each end, with trains going from the station at one end to the other station;

* continuous loop – in its simplest form this is either a circle or an oval and the trains move around it continuously, but it could be modified into a ‘dogbone’ shape by pulling two opposite sides of the circle or oval together, giving a double track appearance in the middle with a smaller circular shape at either end;

* out and back – where the train leaves the single station, travels around a pear-shaped layout and returns to the original station;

* station yard only – where a single station is surrounded by a number of short, interconnected tracks, providing great opportunities for shunting.

Check Out the Essential Guide to Model Trains

5- Space for Layout: Decide how much space you have to use, this also can be the biggest factor in choosing a train gauge..

6- Layout Base: The layout base or table should be made of 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick plywood, cut to the dimensions of your layout plans. Use two-by-four posts as the supports for the layout. They should be placed about every 4 feet or so and cut the height that you feel you can comfortably work with.

7- Laying Track: The track will vary depending on which train gauge you chose, if you’re doing a continuous loop laying your track isn’t difficult. Lionel O or O27 comes in two styles that snap together with standard lengths and curves. They will need little technical skill with this track because the wiring connections are already in place. It easily snaps together, and it comes with faux ballast base. Other track styles can be cut into custom lengths and shaped into custom curves, for a more complex layout. Homasote or cork roadbeds are recommended, though, in order to keep sound vibrations down. Custom wiring and connectors as well as ballast will also be needed.

8- Wiring: This is very important and if you have little or no experience I recommend you get help. Bad wiring can cause power loss, I will be doing a future post on wiring but its something I have gotten help on in the past. You can always visit a local model train shop if you have one to get questions answered. Do remember to have many connection points at frequent intervals to prevent power drop offs. Transformers, The size of your layout will determine how large your transformer will need to be. You need to have the right size transformer to prevent any power drop off.

9- Accessories: These can added on later, anything else like signals or lights its best to have another small transformer to run these.on smaller layouts. If you are planning something grander than a large transformer would be best for running your entire model. Many of this depends on the track, train and size, so learn everything about what size of train your going to use.

10- Buildings and Scenery: These can be added over time, you can find all these items at local hobby train shops or on the web. Most buildings can be created as is from kits, can be purchased already made, or can be custom-made if you’re artistic and feel so inclined to build these yourself. There are also special order companies and model shops online that usually carry a more extensive supply and range of model train layouts. You can everything from people to highway signs, trucks, a school-house or an entire city. The scope of you layout usually comes down to two factors: size and budget.

My suggestion is start small but think big, starting small mean you won’t get overwhelmed by cost or scope. Just like any hobby it takes time, you will grow into needing less and less help but never be afraid to seek help. You may even decide to build your own buildings and etc, just make sure to enjoy this fabulous hobby of model trains

 

Some suggested books at Amazon for beginners in model trains.

Check Out the Essential Guide to Model Trains

 

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Model Train Scales

Choose your model train scale carefully

 There are many scales of model trains out there, so make sure that your choice fits your space available along with size of model train you’re looking for. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for before buying anything, here is the list of the most popular scales available.

G scale: (1:22.5) is very common for garden layouts, It’s also called the LGB scale. This for people who like doing real landscaping or gardening and like the outdoors.

O Scale: (1:48) The very popular version has large locomotives they are favorites of both young and old alike. This 2-rail version runs on DC current. The drawback to the O scale is their size compared to the scenery and you will need a large room for a layout. These however are very fun to run for all who love model trains.

O27 Scale: This also is 1:48 scale, the difference being tighter curves. O27 track will make a 27″ circle compared to the standard 31″ circle from the standard O scale track sections. One other thing is O27 rail is shorter and thinner than standard O scale. Lionel being the primary, manufacturer of O27 today. Nearly all that are manufactured running a three-rail version using AC current. You can find many accessories with working parts for this scale.

S Scale (1:64) This isn’t as popular as with the others scales but has a growing home from many, this offspring of the American Flyer era.

OO Scale (1:74) For British railroad train modelers this what they run their trains on. Many manufacturers of OO will mislead on the gauge so locomotives and rolling stock can run on HO track.

HO Scale: (1:87) or 1/87th the actual size of a train. This scale isn’t too big or little and fits nicely on a 4×8 foot piece of plywood for an excellent small layout. Being very popular you’ll find more supplies, equipment and accessories made for this model train scale than for all the others.

N Scale: (1:160) or 1/160th the size of an actual train. This is also a very popular for being able to have a greater model train empire in smaller space than with HO. You can create long trains with them curving around your landscape, than this the model railroad scale you’re a deferentially looking for.

Z Scale:(1:220) is even smaller than the N Scale and works with even smaller spaces. The Z scale can be beneficial when you need very compact train layouts for novelty setups in small spaces. These can be built in briefcases, guitar cases or other small spaces and many museums use Z Scale. This can also be used as background in a larger model train landscape, you can use Z Scale with a HO or N scale layout.

There are several more model railroad scales in use, these however are the most popular and best ones for most model train enthusiasts. You can find many tools and different techniques for any of the above scales to do modifications.

Lionel Model Trains and Accessories

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History of Model Trains

There has been model train sets and toy trains for as long as there has been real trains. The early models  of locomotives were used as sale promotional tools before becoming playthings for children and adults.

They have remained to this day a Christmas gift for both young and old, from the simple model trains of the 1800′s to the sophisticated railroad sets of today.

Steam engines and trains were not invented until the 1800′s, the countryside was soon full of railroad tracks, bridging the United States to grow and prosper into a great nation. Until the late 1800′s most model or toy trains were made in Germany, France and England and the idea of collecting model trains didn’t come from America.

England was the birthplace of the Industrial revolution and they took making trains very seriously. One of the first steam-powered toys called the Dribblers and the Piddler were invented by Sir Henry Wood. The got those nicknames from the trail of water left from their cylinders.

The real change began in 1891 when a company named Marklin offered the first wind up train with cars on a expandable track. They offered people the opportunity to add more track, to enhance and expand with more accessories to expand its boxed sets. Märklin defined gauges 1-5 as standards for toy trains and presented them at the Leipzig Toy Fair. They soon became international standards. Märklin followed with O gauge (by some accounts as early as 1895 or as late as 1901), H0 scale in 1935, and the diminutive Z scale, 1:220, in 1972  — smallest in the world for decades.

The late 1890′s and early 1900′s produced the three legendary toy train makers in America. Ives, Lionel and American Flyer made some of the most popular and collected trains in American History. The Ives company was known for building quality trains and was known for having excellent replacement service.

Lionel which started building trains in the early 1900′s was founded by Joshua Lionel Cohen and they produced the fabled trains of all. When they started out Lionel built their trains bigger than most of the current sizes today, the started building them for displays originally. By the end of World War I Lionel had become one of the three big manufacturers and grew rapidly through its marketing strategy’s. The became the American standard for toy trains, painting their cars bright colors to attract both children and collectors alike.

American Flyer came into the train market with bigger and cheaper trains during the 1920′s. Their unique designed passenger cars made them a huge success. Lionel eventually in 1967 had out dueled American and Lionel bought the company in 1967. Lionel was also sold in 1969 to General Mills, who sold the trade mark again to a real estate developer in 1986.

Today the collectible market for model trains has changed much since World War II. The designs are more detailed and functional, collectors along with children still love to run their trains. It seems no matte how old you are, there is something fun about setting up and running your model train sets.

Model Train Layout Guide

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