AUG 8, 2014

Mistakes to avoid when you build a new track layout

A model railway provides many years of pleasure. Start off small. Gradually increase the size of the track layout and you’ll have endless hours of fun watching your locos speeding their way around your specialist scenery.

Be realistic though. In the early days of modelling you are likely to make a few mistakes, to minimise these errors we thought we’d highlight a few of the problems you might face.

 Error number # 1

Trying to rush the project

The best model train layouts take many hours of dedication, the people that bring them to life devote much of their free time to designing and building the ultimate railway and this shows in the finished product.

There’s nothing to prevent you from achieving the same result but you need to have a fair amount of patience along the way. This is a project that shouldn’t be rushed, take your time and be patient, it’ll be worth it when you see the finished results.

Error number # 2

Getting scales wrong

Model trains come in different scales and gauges. They are basically scaled-down versions of full-size locos so learn a little about scales and gauges before you invest in equipment for your new track layout, it’ll save confusion if you do.

The gauge relates to the distance between the rails on the track, whereas the scale refers to the size of the loco in relation to a real life train.  

Common model railway scales include:

  • O scale:   1:48
  • S scale:    1:64
  • OO scale: 1:76
  • HO scale: 1:87
  • N scale:   1:160
  • Z scale:    1:220

Mixing up scales is a common mistake, check your layout is the same size throughout to make it look more authentic, that goes for scenery and accessories as well.

Error number # 3

Setting the layout too low

Ideally your track should be at a comfortable height to prevent you bending too much during the construction phase.  

Set the track at a decent height, it should be clearly visible without being too high or too low, think of comfort and how easy it’s going to be to work on the track from above or below.   

Error number # 4

Too much track

Want to cram as much track as possible into the space you have available? That’s fine but where are you going to put all that lovely scenery?

When working on the track design, make sure you leave plenty of room for trackside features without the design looking too congested.  

Don’t be too disheartened if you make the odd mistake whilst constructing a model railway. Learning from past mistakes helps you overcome problems in the future and you’ll become a seasoned enthusiast as a result!  


Created on 8th August 2014
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