Building a Model Railroad

When you decide you want to build your own model railroad it is a lot of fun. You are creating a miniature world of your own. The options are almost endless. Your railroad can be modern, western or even futuristic. You are in complete control. What you need before you begin is a plan.

The Basics

You have to decide how much money you are able to spend, where you will set up your railroad and how much space you have available. You then need to decide what scale you will be using for your empire. Now you start having fun because you get to decide what you theme will be. This includes what type of train you will use, what kind of service your train will be used for and finding appropriate model railroad buildings.

They Type Of Train

A good example is a coal train. For this theme your train will probably run through the mountains as it takes the coal from the miners to the steel mills, power companies or residential areas. Your environment can be mountains, towns or even states like Kansas. This is where the era comes into effect. If you want your era to be the 1920’s your train will have a steam engine and no modern cars. Whatever season you choose will have a large influence on your railroad. Winter requires snow or ice where fall requires red and gold foliage.

The Scale

Next you must determine what scale you will use. The easiest scale is a ratio of one inch per each foot. Using grid paper to draw out your ideas gives you an excellent visual as to what the appearance of your railroad will be. Deciding your grid must incorporate how much cash you are willing to invest because the larger the model the higher the cost. The amount of space you have available is another important factor. You also need to decide if your railroad will focus more on the train or the scenery.

The Display

You need to figure out what kind of a display you want to build. A display in the building of a railroad is classified as the way you present your model. You can place your lights from above to shine down on your railroad, or make your lighting more direct with the use of floor lamps. If you are building your railroad for your own pleasure, you might not want to spend quite as much time and money on your railroad.

The Track

Planning your track is incredibly important. There are numerous styles to choose from. The type of tracks most commonly used are ovals, figure eights or in the shape of a barbell. You have to decide which shape you are going to use for your railroad. Plan for any clearances you will need or areas you want to have graded for steepness. Now you purchase your train, track and begin working on the scenery and buildings you want to be a part of your railroad. This is where your adventure begins.