AUG 22, 2013

A beginner’s guide to model trains

Are you a railway enthusiast looking to start your very own model train set? If so, then you’re probably at a slight loss as to where to begin.

In this blog I aim to give a brief overview and create a starting point for those of you who are new to model trains and hopefully you’ll be able to  create the railway you’ve always dreamt of.

Let’s begin...

Finding the space

A model railway is going to take up quite a bit of space, so before you do anything you have to make sure you have the room. Yes, it may start small but trust me when I say that once you’ve got the bug your railway won’t stop growing in size and scale. Maybe you have a room in your house that’s sitting unused, collecting junk?

If not, you may have to compromise and separate a room. For example you could turn your office, into office/model train room.

Make sure that you let any other tenants now about your new hobby. Otherwise they’re going to be in for a surprise when they find you’ve turned their bedroom into a railway!

The theme and era

Most model train enthusiasts like to keep their railway to a certain era. It’s really down to you. Perhaps you want to capture early steam trains of the 19th century in your railway, or maybe you’d like to go for something more modern?

You could even evolve your railway over time bringing it right up into the now. The theme and era will play a huge part in the preparation. You’ll need to buy the trains, buildings, scenery and so on from that time period.

Sketch out a design

Don’t worry; you don’t have to be the world’s best artist to do this. Just grab a piece of graph paper, a pen and start to sketch out the plan of your track. This sketch will be your reference point when it comes to actually building the model railway. It will also mean that you’ll be able to pick out any flaws in your track plan before you actually start to put everything together.


It’s all very well and good creating a railway, but if it doesn’t run, it’s a fairly pointless exercise. The type of electronics you can buy vary in complexity. Some for examples, can run several locomotives at once, and power accessories such as level crossings and lights.

As I said, once you’ve started to build your first model railway, you won’t be able to stop. Over the years you may choose to expand in scale and size and it could end up turning into a lifelong endeavour.

It’s a big job to get started so consider everything carefully and you’ll soon be living your childhood dream. 

Created on 22nd August 2013
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