Where To Get Model Train Stuff

model train stuff

When looking to find model train stuff for your layout, there are many different options that are available to you to find everything that you require in creating your model railway layout. The following methods are ones that I regularly use when buying more bits and pieces for my layout.

Obviously the best way to get hold of the bits you need is to be able to see them first hand and handle them.

Hobby shops

My preferred method to buy model train stuff is to go to a hobby shop that specializes in model railway equipment. Model train shops are an extremely useful resource for any model railroader. Depending on the size of the shop, most will have a good selection of everything that you need from trains to scenery available in all scales.

From my experience you will receive a better level of customer support from a hobby shop. The majority of people that work in them (particularly the owners in the case of independent hobby shops) are model train enthusiasts so will be very helpful to your needs.

As well as the help that you can receive from a model train shop, remember that you are also helping them (particularly the smaller independent shops) in staying in business during the current financial climate.

Model Train Shows and Exhibitions

Going to a model train show is not only another great place in which to pick up goodies for your layout, but it also makes for a good day out. Many model train shows will not only have great exhibition standard layouts on show, but there will also be many vendors of model train stuff there.

There are some great opportunities to be had to not only get your hands on some new items, but also to ask some questions about the layouts on show from the modellers that made them.

Second Hand Shops, Yard Sales and Boot Fairs

You can find some absolute bargains, particularly if the person selling doesn’t know how much they are worth and they are just having a clear out. However the chances of finding anything in mint condition is extremely rare. This is because anyone who would have kept their trains in good condition and is then planning on selling them will most likely go down an alternative route of selling them (on eBay, asking/advertising in model shops or a local model train club, etc.)

While trains and track are rare to find, these places are brilliant for finding bits and pieces for scenery on your layout. The main problem with finding model train stuff second hand is that you won’t have access to any after sales care and support.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to live near a hobby shop, and model train shows and exhibitions aren’t on all the time. however you can always get model train stuff on the internet. The main benefit here is that through buying online you have access to pretty much every single model train related product that is available (also you don’t need to leave your house!)


Amazon is one of the better places online to purchase items for your layout. You have access to a huge selection of products (not just model train related obviously), and in most cases you have the choice of whether to buy your items “new” or “used”. Most products will include reviews from people who have already purchased the product, so you can get an idea from other people as to what to expect from the model train stuff.

While Amazon have country specific sites/stores, it is possible to purchase items and have them delivered to a country outside of the Amazon country store that you order from.


While eBay is most often thought of as a place to buy items second hand, there are eBay stores from suppliers who send out brand new items. When searching through products you have a choice to set the condition for the product that you are after. Like Amazon, there are eBay sites that are country specific.

You can find some great bargains (usually a good idea is to find out how much the product you are looking at costs on amazon so you don’t end up paying more for a second hand train on eBay than you would if you were to order it new).

You may find that a seller has put a false description for the product (i.e. condition, scale, etc.), either through dishonesty (although you can check the sellers profile to see their ratings with other eBay users) or by them not knowing much about the product they are selling (this can be the case if you are dealing with a seller who has inherited model train stuff from someone, but has no interest in pursuing the hobby).

*you can use the eBay cheat sheets I’ve made to find some model train stuff bargains

Model Train/Hobby Forums

A lot of the model train forums will have a buy/sell/swap section where members can advertise and browse for things that they need for their layout. The members that use the forum will be model train enthusiasts/collectors and will know what they are talking about. Depending on the forum, you may find that forum users can be from all over the globe, which can cause problems with postage and packaging.

Please feel free to leave a comment to tell me about any other places that you can find model train stuff, or of your experiences using the above methods.

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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!

Leave A Reply (4 comments So Far)

  1. Jeremy Hall
    5 years ago

    Excellent kist of sources – I would add

    Pound/Dollar Stores – good sources of cheap tools – for example cutting mats at £1 ($1.60), clamps (I bought a pair for a £1.00 – exactly same clamps £4.50 at a hobby shop.

    Hobby Shops – like Michaels and Hobby Lobby in the USA. They often have discount coupons a some have model rail stuff (eg $36 N gauge engine with 40% off coupon $22) plus things like beads and buttons that can be used as “clutter” – eg. barrel shaped beads and styrene letter beads (for large signs).

  2. Conrad
    5 years ago

    Hi Dan I’m lucky now I have a relative that is an Auctioneer and has model railroad articles pretty often and although I have to bid just like everyone else, I always know when he has items and I can look them over and decide if I need them for my collection.
    I’m lucky in another way. I live pretty close to “Big Four Hobbies” which has been in business for quite a few years and has about anything for model railroading I need. They have quality items and keep a good supply of everything. All of the staff there are very helpful and patient. They are located at 1005 east Main St. (US 41) Plainfield, In. Sounds like I am an ad man for them and I am wanting them to stay in business for selfish reasons. It is hard to find a place like this and I want them to stay in business.

  3. Charles
    3 years ago

    Hi, I’m building a styrene model steam loco and would like to find a shop that can sell me parts like gauges, valves, taps pipe connectors and just any other steam locomotive accessories. Could you please help me to find such a shop. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

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model trains for beginners