Model Train Beginners Need This…

model railroad
Model of the CSXT4346.

Model train beginners need clarity!

Why do model railroaders need clarity?

Because the model train opportunities are endless!

You can build a layout in your basement, attic, shed, garage or garden.

You can run steam or diesel locomotives.

You can have multilevel railways with rivers, dams, mountains, snow… You get the idea!

The opportunities are truly endless in this wonderful hobby.

Some points to consider are:

Where are you going to build your layout?

In my case it’s “Where will my Wife let me?” 🙂

I find that I prefer being in the shed where I am out of the way and can enjoy lots of “me” time. I have a friend who has a large model train layout in his front lounge area.

How much space have you got available?

The entire layout needs to be easily reachable by the operator to correct derailed trains, line faults, etc. “Against the wall” layouts need to be restricted to 3 feet wide.

A layout size of at least 3 feet 6 inches x 4 feet would allow space for a continuous loop railroad in HO scale.

A layout space of at least 6 x 4 feet would be a better option. This would allow room to have a reasonably interesting model railroad.

Which scale are you going to use?

This is largely dependent on the space you have available and how much detail you want. Detail is easier to see and reproduce on larger models.

HO scale is the most common and has the widest variety of accessories available. But if space is at a premium then consider N scale.

You can build an N scale layout in an area about 30% of that area needed to build a similar layout in HO scale.

Will you model a real life layout or create your own?

Most model train enthusiasts will eventually create models of real life systems. It can be challenging to model real life systems, but is very rewarding.

Google Earth provides us with the perfect tool to check layouts, sizes, scenery, buildings and more. Being clear on what you want will make your life so much easier.

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!

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Leave A Reply (61 comments so far)


  1. Steve Yeger
    7 years ago

    I really prefer O gage scales, but space is limited. HO scales give me what I need . However, I am building a suspended system using O gauge that will be my pride and joy.

    I am a beginner but am recieving advice from more expeerienced model railroaders.

  2. Trackrat
    7 years ago

    When I was in my teens I had a simple “O” scale layout. When I was in my mid thirties I had switched to HO and built a modest layout. Now I am in my sixties and am building a rather involved “N” scale layout. How is it that as I get older and my eyesight gardually grows weaker I am gravitating towards smaller and smaller scales. At this rate when I am eighty I will be building “Z” scale layouts. I think not.

    The one thing that I am experiencing now is that as I learn new techniques I am tempted to tear the old stuff out and start over. I have a three foot hight cliff in the back of my “N” scale layout with a modified dogbone running 18 inches off of the main board. I was quite happy with my plaster rock cliff, but am now working in styrofoam on a pair of modules. The styrofoam mountains look so much better and are so much easier to form. No, I am not going to scrap my plaster cliffs, but the thought is in the back of my mind.

    I guess the moral of this story is to learn as much as you can before jumping in and starting to work.

  3. Sam
    7 years ago

    A layout in the shed? Great idea…out of the way, rest of the family has to go out of their way to pester you, sawdust can just remain on the floor, etc. Sounds like a great idea, except…..

    Trying to wrestle the tractor up and down the basement stairs….I think not!

  4. Pauline
    7 years ago

    The greatest advice is to do research before starting

  5. Janet
    7 years ago

    I am fortuneate that husband loves trains too. He built me my own train room above the garage. I have 3 HO layouts in various stages of ” completion”. ( if there is ever such a thing) My advice is to do some reading and ask questions! Just don’t let the reading paralyse you into inaction. Just get used to the idea that you may have to do things more than once.

  6. robert
    7 years ago

    i will put it in the garage, it is 28 by 32 feet. been playing for years i just set it up one way for awhile and change the layout at any time. different trains for different seasons. o gauge is what i perfer but do have some ho sets. i do not have any exspensive trains just a lot of them.

  7. Smyrna Station
    7 years ago

    I have a large layout using HO trains. I have four trains running. I started out using DC with block construction but would like to convert to DCC. I Need some advice on how to proceed. Do I start by taking out all the little plastic rail connectors or what…>? I have my layout on the second floor of a Lowes Storage building.. 21X16. I also need some advice on building mountains,etc. Any help will be appreciated.

  8. Ed
    7 years ago

    My wife and I are foster parents and I am using model trains as a type of reward for theiir good conduct and good grades. One child wanted a train set for Christmas.I am in N guage my wife allows me to have a layout in the family room. My problem, such a small detail, is that one child destroyed my trains and now I am looking for used trains so any of my good equipment is safe. It was worth the lose because he opend up to some problems and a happier child. SO HERE IS A NEW REASON FOR TRIAINS, AND IT WORKS. MY WIFE VEN SAID SO!!! I JUST WISH THERE WERE SOMEONE IN MY AREA TO TALK TO AND ADVICE ON DOING THINGS RIGHT.

  9. Dan Morgan
    7 years ago

    Wow Ed… If your Wife says so, then she must be obeyed 🙂

    We are here waiting to provide any help you may need. Also we have a forum at:

    There is a huge amount of experience there wanting to help you out.



  10. Dave
    7 years ago

    Yes, I agree wholeheartely. I would have prefered HO, but the space to get started is small. I hve started a layout with my father recently. We started at his home. The space we have available is 40″ x 60″. We have planned it with a seam down the middle. In the future when I move from my current home ( I have no appropriate place in this one ) we wil take it down and move it. But at present it is a good size to start an N gauge layout. It has been good quality time for dad and I. I am sure we will have many hours of enjoyment. Even the problems are fun solving when you have a partner who is a big help, gets along with you, and you enjoy their company,

  11. Jeffrey
    7 years ago

    i started my HO quest by buying a few starter kits… they are all analog but i want to have a dcc layout… what would you suggest for me as a good starter kit for dcc?.. i was thinking about going with the bachman setup as it seems very user friendly but my cousin has told me there are other better setups out there as bachman is limited?… and what type of layout would you suggest i start out with that is not a traditional figure 8 or oval?.. i need something small (for the room) yet will keep my attention… please help!!!

  12. Vince
    7 years ago

    I have been a model railroader for 40 yrs. I have had a layout as large as 225sqft. My space in my current home allows me on the 3rd fl. @ 130sqft. Once my son goes away to school in fall I will be going thru the wall and onto the other side an pick up approx 160sqft. This expansion should take a few yrs to build.

    You have to plan these thing out. I have been in the planning stage for about a year now. I have drawings of what I want where. I also have a list of everything that I want or need for the expansion. I have that list for my kids to purchase gifts from. Gotta go have a great day. ALL A BOARD

  13. Jeffrey
    7 years ago

    @ vince.. it would be nice if you’d take pics of your progress and keep us up to date….

  14. Paul
    7 years ago

    I am a novice would-be railroad hobby person. My problem is that I have to understand what I am doing before I do it which slows progress.

    I am now laying track for my nine year old grandsons train layout. My current problem has to do with the cushion underlayment for the track. I’ve tried the foam material and now would now like to try the cork.

    The cork that I purchased (strips) had some strips with a beveled side and a straight side. Some had both sides beveled. Why the difference?

    Also, space limitations put us into N gauge..I would like to know how wide the underlayment should be on the strips with beveled sides…………….

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  15. Driller
    7 years ago

    In answer to Sam about a layout in a shed, I have a 8 x 15 shed with an around the walls layout. Its heated, lighted and most of all, “MINE!!”

    I go out there early in the morning with my coffee and just watch the trains run. It is built on modules, in case I decide to move someday.

    I have the key to my train room, so the grandkids can’t enter without the trainmaster.

    After all these years, I would never go back to a bedroom or garage layout, both of which I have had. If you can build in a shed, do it, you’ll never be sorry!

  16. Robert
    7 years ago

    How do you make a Helix in HO scale? Been trying with no luck,

  17. Dan Morgan
    7 years ago

    Hi Robert,

    Ask in the forum at

    There are a few members in the forum that will be able to help you out.

    Regards Dan

  18. bob
    7 years ago

    As I said before I’m coming back into the hobby. I had an area of 7’x3′. Had to take it down . Now my wife is asking if 4’x3′ is enough. I guess I could use it but possibly need a turntable and elevate some area .I would like a point to point with some switching. Most ly same steam switchers this area will have a tight curve or possibly switchbacks.


  19. Railnut
    7 years ago

    Model railroading does not have to be real expensive. Sure you may have to spend a little on quality locos but the rest can be had with a little imagination. Look around there are lots of things that can be used to get the dream layout you want. When searching about be mindful of scale and then make people wonder how did he do that.


  20. ilovetrains
    7 years ago

    I have to disagree with Dan Morgan when it comes to where to put the layout and which scale to use if you only have a small space. When he only has a small space, he uses N scale. But N scale isn’t very popular and it’s too hard to find, so I think I’ll use O-27 instead. Mum doesn’t want her living room turned into a full-on model railway, so I might have to put it in the tractor-shed. The problem is, the tractor-shed is very small and dusty, trains and dust don’t go together, and I have an allergic reaction to dust that can temporarily impair my vision, so I think I’ll use the coffee table instead.

  21. Daniel
    7 years ago

    hi everybody im daniel new to modelrailroading i only have 1 train set. its a santa fe flyer.

  22. Leona, re: Ward
    7 years ago

    Ward, my companion off 33 years (age 75) just started his first HO train. He has chosen a Bachmann Spectrum Explorer, New York Central railroad. But he has added a red, Santa Fe caboose! We understand in the real world, these cars would probably never meet. But in Ward’s train world, he is happy to have them together, and that is what matters most!

    As for space…he built a plywood platform 4’x6′, painted it, and reinforced it. Now he is attatching steel legs screwed into a flange on the platform’s underside. He will position it above the bed in the guest room. On the rare occasions that we have overnight guests, he can easily unscrew the legs and remove the platform, since nothing is fastened to the platform yet. He has a 16’x16′ shed, but in the Florida heat, it is too hot to work outside, even for fun!

    We are getting A LOT of valuable ifo from various web sites. Thanks to all.

  23. espeelover
    7 years ago

    Something else to consider about layout size, how much of a layout can one maintain? Make sure you can take care of what you build; it is good to have younger and more limber hands in the neighborhood as we age…just a thought. Besides the rails and wheels, you’ll need to remover dust and the occasional cobweb from the scenery; replace light bulbs and such that burnout, and fix details that some heavy handed guest (or the pet cat) might mash. Think access, access…..access.

    Enjoy your trains!

  24. Dave
    7 years ago

    Subject: Helix Loops in HO

    If anyone wants discussion about, or to see in person, helix loops built in HO scale, they are welcome to contact me. I have built two on my present layout and they operate flawlessly. Patience is required to construct them well. My location is northeast Ohio.


  25. Daniel
    7 years ago

    how can you cave the mountains carefully in those photos. the hill side too?

  26. norm
    7 years ago

    I was intrigued by my cousin’s HO scale Tyco layout back in the mid 50s or something like that. I wanted one, and I ended up getting an American Flyer, much too big, and I think I insulted my parents when I told them.

    I’ve thought about HO scale for years. Everywhere my wife and kids went, I’d claim a particular room, usually where I thought no one else wanted to be, and say, “OK, this is where the train layout will be” … well, then my blankety-blank wife would commandeer the room before I could even get anything started: so I’ve never built a layout before. ever.

    Yesterday I talked to a guy who ran a hobby shop here in MD northwest of DC, and he said that a LIONEL ready to roll set (shake ‘n’ bake type) would be best for my grandson of almost 3 years, since little kids aren’t that good with details yet.

    So, here I am: I’ll be 63 this October, and still don’t have a train layout.

    The only “toy” a grown man could want has slipped out of his hands for the last 50 years or so.

  27. Jack in Greenville, SC
    7 years ago

    I have been in the hobby nearly all my life starting out with a Marx clockwork train set. I still have it and it still works.

    I moved up to Lionel 0-27 which I sold to get into slot cars when I was 15. My father bought a Lionel HO set complete with rocket launcher and exploding boxcar.

    Funny how a slot car would hit the exploding boxcar at the railroad crossing by “accident”. After getting out of the Navy I went to an open house at a train club in NJ and I was hooked again.

    That was 35 years ago. I am still hooked on Erie, Lackawanna, and Erie Lackawanna. In that time I aquired about 80+ engines and 400+ cars. I messed around in my NY basement for 22 years and never really got anywhere with my “dream layout”.

    5 Years ago I moved the benchwork and all my stuff to SC. My new layout is in a 2 car garage.

    I sat there pondering my first step and had an epiphany. Make a plan! Sounds simple! I sat down and I wrote a history and a concept for the Empire Lines.

    The basic plan sports a PORT – YARDS – ENGINE FACILITY – PASSENGER STATION – CITY on the top level. Next a helix to the lower level with towns and independent industries that ship to the port.

    I have reduced the number of buildings (didn’t actually want a Jersey City), engines (can’t run 80 at a time), and cars (400 cars looks like rush hour in LA) to a more realistic level. I decided to model the late 70’s so many my cars are 50″ or less.

    I have narrowed my focus and the results are promising. Piggy backs, box cars, coal cars, gondollas, and some tanks cars all fit in. Log cars etc did not. I’ll justfy a couple steam engines for a tourist line.

    More focus! I’ll let you know how it works out.

  28. Charlie
    7 years ago

    Hi I’ve been playing with trains for over 50 yrs now. My favorite scale is HO. A couple of years ago I decide I wanted to model my home town from back in the late 40’s to early 50’s. This would be Sidney, NY where the D&H and O&W crossed paths. I’m limited to a 4′ by 8′ area. I tried doing it in HO but it just wasn’t looking right. Now I’m working in N scale and it is looking better. The problem I’m having is I’m doing from memory of when I was a little kid. I don’t have very many pictures as a guide. At age 61 my eyesight is failing and I have big hands. Oh well I’m still having fun and that’s what it’s all about.

  29. russell
    7 years ago

    Hello, m question is,iam doing a farm scene,ruaral. how do you make small and large hills??
    thank you

  30. Steve
    7 years ago

    Dan, tell me when mantua stopped making metal cars. i’m interested in purchasing them instead of plastic ones. bought a nice crescent loco on ebay. 4-6-2. runs great. also bought a super heavy caboose it’s ok but would like to stick with metal. am i going to find it hard to get them. thanks, Steve

  31. mike
    7 years ago

    i still say its the cost of stuff

  32. Kevin
    7 years ago

    I am in the process of building a new shed to house the model railroad. I model in HO as I find this is of a size that suits me best. I have about 40 meters of track so far with about 25 turnouts and with 4 steam engines from an 0-6-0 tank engine to a tenshado brass Hudson 4-6-4 and 11 diesel engines and heaps of rolling stock that I have collected over the years. I am still purchasing track and accessories. I have already collected 4 very large cartons of buildings etc. I suppose that i am lucky as my wife shares an interest in the hobby along with my son who is training to become an airline pilot at present. The best part of the hobby that I like is scratch building and getting the scale right along with making the scenery. this new layout will be on three levels and running a point to point layout. as you say it is expensive but by saving to get that special piece is really worth while. The local hobby shop in Christchurch is really helpful as they will put things aside for me until i can pay for it.

  33. Ian
    7 years ago

    Have now got my railway (railroad) in the shed, and then it goes into the garden. Great on a good day to watch trains running around the half completed garden circuit, and if its raining can run a limited service just around in the shed. The beauty of running in the garden is that you can run full length trains as apposed to a normal of 5 to 6 coaches, or goods trains to the same length. You can of course also run them at a more realistic speed if you run modern stock.


  34. "Bug"
    6 years ago

    After 16 years in storage, my wife and son dug my “N” scale equipment out of the the shed and my grandsons and I have started building a layout based on the Atlas N9 design.

    My joy is modeling the trains I’ve grown up with (i.e, MoPac, Cotton Belt, Southern Pacific, L&NW, etc.) I have a lot of fun looking for rolling stock and have plans to customize some equipment to fill in the gaps of equipment that’s not readily available.

    Now that we’re retired, it’s great to get back in the hobby, especially with the support of the “Wife of My Youth.” We’re setting up our layout in the corner of our living room.

  35. Sushil
    6 years ago

    I have made my D.H.R. model (scratch built) in 1:16 scale,which runs on O gauge (32mm) tracks. This is a bit large to fit in my room, which takes up some space to make it turn around in an oval layout.I therefore,seek some advice for making an interesting layout in sections.

    Dan can you help me?


  36. Gary
    6 years ago

    Hello all,

    I just read all of your posts. What a great group of model train enthusiasts. I’m still in the planning stages of doing a model train layout. It will probably be in HO. I will be seeking your advise and expertise when I start building. I can’t wait. Have a great day all!

  37. kev baz
    6 years ago

    I have just began building a 00 layout in my daughters old bedroom . And building the layout which is a shelf railway runing around the room . I hope to keep adding to my layout ie the station, scenery etc. This has being a great hobby for me on these dark winnter days. It would be great to hear of any one modeling a british 00 in the 80s and 90s. I find great joy seeing my layout grow a little at a time. I would like to thank dan for his newsletters.

    Kev baz

  38. Brian
    6 years ago

    My Wife Ann and I have been building model railway for exhibiting at shows for something like 25 years. At Present we have 9 layouts but Ann is building a Swiss one in Z gauge as with her others I lay the track and do the electrics and Ann does the rest.We have exhibited in The Nederlands and Belgium and we exhibit at around 26 shows in the UK every year

  39. Larry
    6 years ago

    I would love to put a railroad in the shed except that the old one fell apart and had to be removed and has yet to be replaced. Oh, well, I can dream, can’t I?

  40. Lincoln Penn
    6 years ago

    I’m a model railroader with a historical bent. After being involved with this hobby for more years than I care to remember, and making all the most common mistakes, and then some, I finally figured out that since I’m a historian that enjoys trains of all eras, I was going to combine the two and build a railroad that grows. Starting with the mid-eighteen hundreds, and a small layout, it will grow in increments of time (10 years) and size (5 or 6 feet). As one era is completed, I’ll photograph it and move on to the next. I know that this entails a lot of work, which I enjoy, and in all probabillity I’ll not live long enough to bring it up to the present, but I plan to enjoy the trip as far as my ticket will take me.

  41. Ray Howard
    6 years ago

    I started late after retiring from work, but was unsure about the whole hobby. My main interest was always model making and I was really interested in the construction. To that end I built an ‘N’ scale layout into a coffee table with a glass top. I so enjoyed the making of it, card buildings, sculpted landscapes and the ancillary works, electrification etc. However I did find the scale somewhat limiting.
    As such I have now started to assemble the track and components to build an ’00’ scale. The plan is getting out of hand and I am having to wait until we move house next year and add to the cost a log cabin in the back garden to house the 22ft x 11ft plan.
    The cost is high, but as I am collecting the components on a month by month basis it is spreading the cost. I now have virtually all of the track, coming to around £400, 7 loco’s and most of the rolling stock. I spend my ‘construction’ time building the card buildings and storing them away until the layout is started.
    I would say that at the end, excluding the cost of the cabin, the layout will cost in excess of £2000. Probably around $3000.
    Anyway I don’t smoke or drink so I don’t waste much money on that.

  42. Chris Butlin
    6 years ago

    My wife Andrea has been constructing the scenery (ponds, hedges, fields, gardens etc) for our N gauge system for which the station, loco shed, houses etc are commercial card models with some added features, plus commercial metal animals, post and telephone boxes, street lights, signals, people, cars, lorries, buses, AA man and motorcycle/sidecar etc.. She normally makes things for her dolls houses but dealing with a model railway needed similar skills. We saw a superb system at the Gainsborough Model Railway exhibition which is the largest we’ve seen spreading through a number of rooms in a former school. Our system fits nicely under a bed when not in use.

  43. Jezza
    6 years ago

    Currently building a loft layout in OO – have about 14ft x 16ft to play with, and have gone through several designs with Hornby Virtual railway, and AnyRail to get a design I think will give me what I want – of course there are ongoing design changes as the track goes down – but hey, that’s part of the fun

  44. Dave Robbins
    5 years ago

    Hi dan, I am very new to all this Model Train stuff I have your book Model Tains for Beginners. All your emails are great I am thinking of building my layout in he garage (I havent told her yet) I think I will go for HO as I have plenty of room, I would like some for advice I would like to make it U shape, may be you or some of the members could help me with this.

  45. Dan Morgan
    5 years ago

    Hi Dave, the best way to discuss this is in the forum at – that way the other members can chime in as well and you can filter out the good stuff. Cheers Dan

  46. Gary Fields
    5 years ago

    I enjoy a sprawling layout but with cutouts for access. The distant views can be dramatic if scaled properly and painted correctly. The largest I have worked on was about 30′ X 50′ and it was a blast. Took up the entire living room. (The owner was a bachlor of course) Many of the challenges of just keeping the trains on the track took time to overcome and we eventually corrected all our track errors before starting the scenery. Once we got several trains to run without derailments we felt we were ready to run on schedule and it normally worked out good that way. We took care to protect the track while applying the scenery but other than that it was nor a problem and the track stayed the way it was supposed to and derailments were at a minimum, even after installing the scenery. Good luck to all of you.

  47. Curtis H. Graham
    5 years ago

    I find the article very interesting, because I am just making the venture into model railroad.
    I never in my wildest dreams thought this as an expensive hobby. Boy did I get my eyes open
    to the truth. I am going to scale down my ambitions very fast and do the hobby a little bit at a time.

  48. Marty Brath
    5 years ago

    This was very helpful for me! I’m designing a shelf layout for my HO train and wondering how to make a loop. The 4×4 shelf will be on the end of the 2 shelf I’m designing. Also, google earth is a fantastic idea!!

  49. Milton White
    5 years ago

    Thanks for that advice. My reaserch as a new comer had come up with those very aspects

  50. Gord Taylor
    5 years ago

    My layout is on an 8′ x5’2″ platform which i put wheels on. It is parked in a corner of my basement and it rolls very smoothly if i need to get behind it for any reason.

  51. Phil Wunderlich
    5 years ago

    I am just starting out and doing research. I have a couple of areas that I could use and each has it draw backs and good points. I am looking at O gauge depends on the space that I choose.

  52. Michael Beatty
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan, I don’t know if my approach to model trains is common or not. I began building a platform at Christmas with AF S gauge when I was 10 yrs old 60 years ago. I still build a platform for Christmas and take it down in January. I still have my original American Flyers and they work just fine. I believe I build an elaborate 2 level display with 3 trains + an N gauge (part of my amusement park) and a trolley. I moved away from plasticville to all ceramic buildings. I begin to build the last week of October and try to be finished by Thanksgiving. It is always a winter scene with loads of animation. It is 12′ x 16′. Upkeep, once established, is not expensive. Just take care of what you have.

    Do many others just build for Christmas? It is now part of my Family lure,



  53. Don of GA
    4 years ago

    Dan, I enjoy the HO trains I own. I work with and on them every chance I get. I hope to be able to work on my layout soon. It will be 5 X 9. The hobby is a little expensive, but worth it. lots of great enjoyment.

  54. Bob
    4 years ago

    I like the O gauge and my grandson wanted it to match my 1950 Lionel set. Our layout is approx 10′ X 12′ with an additional 4′ section coming off one end making it “L” shaped. If I ever had it to do over again I would seriously consider HO. One thing I could never replace is the memorable times we are having together! This truly is a multi-generational hobby that can be educational, fun, and a great experience for all. We did a considerable amount of research together and some of our worst mistakes turned into our most memorable moments!!

  55. Terry Helmrichs
    4 years ago

    Things to take into consideration, amount of room, age of wannabe engineers, skill levels of individuals, cash flow for this project, and eye sight are all determining factors for your layout. Also take pictures of actual sights you want to model as this helps with the detail work. The big mistake most people make is just a big oval on a sheet of plywood. This promotes the attitude of how fast can it go around a curve. Do sidings and yards for delivery of products, as this wakes up the creativity as to what can be done next. HO is the smallest to scratch build for all ages, O gauge can be more detailed, where N gauge takes up lot less room. Our club layout was HO gauge (1988-2005) due to cost of track, engines and consists with 1190 feet of track with about 4700 feet of wire operating with the DCC system. I have a Lionel and Marks O27 gauge on static display (they do run), but trying to find time to work on my HO layout.

  56. builder Kim
    3 years ago

    Hi everyone.Merry Christmas.I started model railroad when I was a child.I lost all that in a house fire.Now at a older age has gone back into it a few years ago.I make my own scenery stuff as it saves tons of cash.These days with the economy.I find pay more for shipping than the item.Last year I changed out all my Ho locomotives.Gave 15 rebuilt and serviced engines to needy kids.And have gone to DCC.I won a brand new Kato CN DCC and when I ran it for the first time.I noticed something very fast.Holly cow my layout is way to small for such a huge pulling monster.So it went from 4×8 to 5×12 .Anyways I show other’s what they can build with what you have around your garbage bin,junk pile and such.What do you do with the posts you snip off led’s? make a bike with it.How about an old credit card,black twist tie,coffee stir stick? make realistic looking street traffic lights.Got you thinking already on making your own stuff.

  57. Robert Jaco
    3 years ago

    I like looking at other’s layouts but I am going to create my own. I have been buying HO scale train cars and tracks from EBay all winter and need to wait for warmer weather as my set will be in my pole barn. My engines are in the house because I don’t want internal parts to get moisture and rust. I enjoy the tips on here on how to make things out of items one has around their house. I am soooo confused on the electrical aspects but I will be happy just building a layout.

  58. Vaughan Miller
    3 years ago

    Age something to do with it. I’ve had about all the scale from 1 1/2 scale to N scale. I now have a layout 12 ft x 42 ft, HO. I started when I was about 35 years old. My oldest son now has a large G scale in his yard.( garden RR ) Kennth Miller. back to my HO, this is first time for DCC. the young people of today will have a great time in the years to come. Just wished I would be around to enjoy, there is all the information anyone could want on the computer..

  59. Jim Richards
    2 years ago

    I am working on a 4×8 train layout. Haven’t found the right one yet. I desire to have a line for the Southern Pacific Daylight passenger train and the Santa Fe passenger set as well. Inside I need space to run my 4-8-4 steam engine with freight cars and a yard for my switchers. At this time I do not see DCC due to the cost up front. Attempting to figure out what size transformers I will require. I am looking at MRC 2400, two of them. Use the Tyco kit one for the passenger trains as I have two of those already. Not sure if this is the correct way to go. I have lots of 36″ flex track and the normal 9″ straight and curves. Add to this two Lionel HO train sets, 40 plus Atheran rolling stock still in the boxes (over 30 years old) and more steam engines. Figured a round table would help keep all the engines on the table. If all works well I can add two more 4×8’s to form a U shape. Well I need HELP on what transformers to use , how many all without spending a ton of money. Any Ideas as I have read all the material here and it appears I missed something. Cueless in Arizona!

  60. Joe
    3 months ago

    I am looking for a model railroader magazine. January 1978

  61. Hussein Khattab
    3 months ago

    I have not startred model trains yet. I am about to start. .i am an electrical engineer. my main interest in model trains would be mainly in controlling speeds of different trains running on the same rail road by changing type and value of different electrical elements e.g resistors , inductances, and capacitors and induce them in th electrical circuit of AC motors driving the train(s) so that I obtain different current and hence torque, and speed for the same motor each time or for different motors on the railroad. This is is basic electrical engineering I studied when I was young. Is that possible in model trains ? and what will be the parts I will need to start with and books I need to read about that ? I believe that the challenge would be to maximize the nuber of trains using the same railroad in both directions by selecting appropriate timing and speed for each trip. Am I dreaming or this could be attained in model training. ??

model trains for beginners