Build a Model Railroad – 4 Tips To Building a Model Train Layout on a Tight Budget

When you go from owning a model train set that you run on the kitchen table to building a model railway in your basement you will probably be concerned about the cost.

Some passionate model railroaders have spent thousands of dollars on building their model railroads.

But, you don’t need to spend that much on building your model train layout. Your model railroading can cost as little or as much as you want.

Here are 4 great tips you can use when building your model railroad:

1) To create tall mountains use the pink styrofoam used for insulation in homes. It’s inexpensive and can easily be sculpted with a knife. You must use the pink rigid styrofoam and not the white extruded beadboard.

2) To create small trees look for flowers and shrubs with small leaves. These can be sprayed with a diluted glue and then dip them into green foliage. The foliage is available at a hobby store and comes in bags. Check out craft stores and look for sprigs of fake pine and display trees.

3) Use kitty litter for ballast. Make sure it is the type that doesn’t clump together. This is so much cheaper than buying a huge amount of ballast from the hobby shop.

4) If you want to model a chain-link fence on your model railroad, use screen wire like they use in security doors or windows. Cut it at a 45 degree angle and use piano wire cut to length for the fence posts.

I have so many other tips and tricks to share with you. They are available in my model train newsletter.

Part of the fun in model trains is creating something from nothing. Buying a kit from a hobby shop is easy but there is nothing better than telling people how you created the trees from twigs or the fence from old screen wire. Model railroading is a great hobby.


Dan B Morgan is the editor of the popular and 100% FREE Model Railroad Newsletter. This is compulsory reading for any model train beginner. It contains valuable information on the right way to build your model railroad and how to achieve this within the time, space and budget you have available.

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