If you’ve ever wanted to build your own town with flashing lights, cars, and a railroad station, then building model train layouts is the perfect hobby for you. Not only do you get to build your own town, but you’ll be able to control everything.
Before you go out and begin gathering supplies to start building model train layouts, there are a few things you should do. First, ask yourself how big you want it to be. If you are pressed for space in your home and don’t have much room to dedicate to model train layouts, you might want to start with a layout for a smaller scale train. Are you going to expand the layout or keep it permanent? Model train layouts can get pretty involved and you might want to expand your layout later. Make sure that you plan ahead for this and allow for future adjustments.
Another important step is to plan your layout before you begin building. It’s always easier to move a mountain on paper than it is on the actual layout. People who skip this step and jump right into building usually do not end up with the model train layouts that they had hoped to create. Think about what you like. Do you want to create model train layouts that capture an era from the past? Or do modern trains fascinate you? If you are interested in an era from the past, you may have to do some research to learn more about that time period. If you are not sure which time frame you like, consider building model train layouts from the 1940s – 1960s. This is a popular choice, with options of steam or diesel power.
Once you have a design you’re satisfied with, start to gather information and make changes to your plans accordingly. Ask questions at hobby shops. The employees there are generally knowledgeable and can be a great help to you in your endeavor. If you can, visit a model train club and look at the displays of other railroaders. You are sure to get new inspiration from the model train layouts of more experienced builders.
One helpful idea for beginners is to start with a published track plan. Find a book or magazine that shows plans for model train layouts and use it to help you get started. Remember to keep it simple until you know more about model train layouts and the kind of operation that you like.
When all preparations are complete and you know exactly what you want to do, start gathering materials and creating your layout. The process is a never ending one; after you’ve finished your original plan, you’ll want to add more and more to your display.
For more information regarding model train layouts, please check out our resources below. Also, be sure to check out our pages about Model Train Sets, Bachman Model Trains, Ho Model Trains, Lionel Model Trains, and Live Steam Model Trains elsewhere on this site.