Getting Started With Building Your Model Railroad – The Must Know Basics

If you’ve decided to build your dream model railroad there are a few basics you need to know.

These basics will help you in the decisions you make with your model railroad planning and design.

There are 3 major areas you need to think about in the planning stage of your model railroad.

This is the theme of your model train layout, the scale and the operation.

Let’s look at these 3 areas in more detail:

The Theme of Your Model Railroad

This is where you need to decide what your model railway’s purpose is.

Will your train be transporting freight or passengers?

Where is it going to and coming from?

What service will your train provide and for who?

What towns or industries will your model train be carrying goods, or people, to and from?

What is the location and the era?

What type of train and equipment are you wanting to run on your model train layout?

These decisions will lay the foundation for how you will design and build your model railroad.

The Scale of Your Model Railroad

Now you need to decide on what model train scale you will model.

Scale is the ratio between the measurement of a model compared to that of the real thing.

To decide on the scale you will need to consider the space you have available, your budget, how good your eyesight is and if you prefer handling the larger models rather than the smaller ones.

The Operation of Your Model Train Layout

The third decision you need to make is how you intend to show and operate your model trains.

Are you wanting a huge masterpiece that takes up a whole basement or a small switching model railway on a shelf. Maybe something in between?

Will your family and friends help you build the model railroad and participate in the operation? Then you will need to consider access to various parts of the railroad and standing room.

There will be some limiting factors in your planning process like space, time and budget, but there is always a way around them. Don’t get hung up on some of the decisions, just get started. I see so many beginners get stuck in the planning process and never get any further. They end up missing out on the greatest adventure of their lives.

Liked this and want more information?

Dan B Morgan is the editor of the popular and 100% FREE Model Train 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. For a FREE subscription to the popular “Model Train Newsletter” go to =>>

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One Response to “Getting Started With Building Your Model Railroad – The Must Know Basics”

  1. Anand says:

    This is great stuff. The layout is sesnational. I’m just getting back into HO after a 40 year absence. I have always been a fan of the L&N. I now live in Tennessee just north of Etowah where there was a L&N yard.. I am gathering info on this part of the L&N trackage. It seems to be slow going. I know I want to model the roundhouse in Loyisville but can’t seem to find any good photos of it. The roundhouse in Etowah, which was not round but rectangular, was torn down years ago. I believe it was when CSX took over.I am always looking for info and have ordered some of Ron Flanery’s books.Enough for now,Ken

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