Using Google Earth To Plan Your Model Railways Layout

If you want to build a truly realistic model railway, the introduction of Google’s feature,  ‘Google Earth’ has opened up a whole new way to research what your model railways layout should look like to be true to life.

Google Earth, if you haven’t seen it already, basically allows you to travel the world from the comfort of your chair at home and basically look at anything you want to anywhere around the globe.

So what does this mean as a model railroader?

Well, it means you can travel to virtually any piece of railway anywhere on earth and get detailed information on exactly what it looks like, down to the smallest details.

It allows you to travel to many different places at the touch of a button and search for a model train layout plan that particularly appeals to you for your own model railroad.

This means that you can build a realistic model railway, based on a railroad in the real world that you never actually seen, but get it looking extremely life like by using the help of the satellite images delivered by Google straight to your computer.

This opens up and please excuse the pun, a world of new opportunities for those wanting to create realistic model railways.

Google Earth has some great features too. It not only allows you to zoom in and out, but also to change the angle you are using to view what you are looking at too. This means that you can move the camera angle around and get a very accurate idea of exactly what the lay of the land is.

It allows you to therefore get a very good impression of what the land relief is like in the real world setting and how you should recreate it in your model. For example, you can see where hills are and what they look like when standing in different places and then use this knowledge to build the same shaped hills in your model railroad.

It can also be used to show other features and details in the landscape that you may not see from just looking from a birds eye view.

The great thing is that you can save all of these points on your computer too, so you can go back and refer to it all the way through your build and not have to rely on your memory, which if it’s anything like mine, isn’t always reliable!

Also, by taking a screenshot or captures of a railway you want to use and then printing this image out, you can then begin to work plans for your own model railways layout. This will include working out what scale to use to fit in the space that you have available and from there, you can then calculate what parts you need to buy and get building.

As you can imagine, this is a technique that is meaning the creation of model railways that have never even been thought of before and this is a really great way to find a unique idea to use for your own build. No longer do you have to rely on creating the same railway that hundreds if not thousands of other model train builders have already recreated time and time again. Instead, you can design your own model railways layout, based on the track you choose, anywhere in the world. You really can now build the model railway of your dreams!

I hope that this has inspired you to go and find a railway you want to use for your model railroad design. For more information on model railway trains, visit my website by clicking the link below.

Tim McCarthyAbout the Author: Tim McCarthy is a model railway enthusiast with many years experience in the field of model trains. For further information on model railroads, including more on designing your model railways layout, please feel free to head over to

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