Model Train Information – Basics You Need to Know to Get Started in Model Trains

If you are interested in collecting and building model train displays, read this article to learn about this relaxing and creative outlet.

What Are Some of Model Train Collecting Basics?

Before you make your first purchase there are a few decisions to be made which will save you time, money and frustration in the future.

You must decide on the train scale and railroad you would like to use for your display.

Let’s look at these concepts further.

Model Train Scale

What exactly is “model train scale”?

In the simplest of terms, train scale is a ratio based on the size of a model train as compared to the size of a real train.

Scales are identified by a letter, with HO and N being the most popular scales.

You can create a nice HO or N scale train display in a 5 feet by 9 feet space.

O scale and Z scale are third and fourth respectively and are smaller than HO or N scale.

Z is the smallest scale.

If you have very large hands, you might find it very frustrating trying to work with such a compact model, so before making any purchases, it’s a good idea to visit a local hobby store to get a better idea of the size of the scales.

Selecting A Railroad

If you are new to model trains, it is usually best to recreate an existing railroad versus creating your very own unique railroad.

The purpose of choosing a specific railroad before you make your first purchase is it is much easier to stay focused and not be overwhelmed with decisions when first starting out.

There are many exquisite, detailed engines and scenery, so without a starting point, it’s just too easy to get side tracked and purchase items which will not work with your design.

So scale and railroad are the first big decisions.

Next we look at designing the layout.

Tips on Designing Your Layout

First, how much space do you have available to commit to your train display?

Once you have figured out exactly how much space is available, take a little time and look at layout designs produced my model railroad manufacturers.

Next on the list is the track.

Most train sets usually includes an oval track, which is not that exciting.

The good news is track is inexpensive; but the actual connections can be a bit pricey.

Also, not all track brands are compatible, so make sure to check your specs before buying track or connections.

For almost all model railroad hobbyist, designing a layout and creating scenery is pure joy. It’s easy to spend countless hours focused on creating the details for your model train world. In fact, the deep relaxation and pleasure involved in the design and creation of a miniature world is one of the main reasons people are drawn to the world of model trains.

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