Want to Build an Empire?
Try a Model Railroad!
Whether You're Building a Small Railroad Empire...
Or a Much Larger One...
Everything you need is right here!
How To Get Started...
How to Build Your Terrain...
Wiring and Command Control...
Scenery - Ground Cover, Vegetation, Trees, Rocks...
Structures, Buildings, Bridges
Details - Figures, Signs, Decals...
Yards and Operations...
Special Effects - Lights, Sounds, Signals...
"Wow!" "Amazing!" "Awesome!"
These are always the words that come to mind when I see a model railroad. Always exciting to view, and even more so, to watch them operate - Trains carrying coal, logs, containers, tanks, going in and out of tunnels, weaving through the landscape - trees, mountains, bridges, rivers and waterfalls - interacting with people, industries, activities - while listening to the sounds of mighty locomotives carrying their long and heavy loads through cities and towns - stopping for pickups and deliveries - entering and leaving train yards. The possibilities are endless!
Railroads are about America. They tell us about the history of our country, about how we grew and thrived and about how all of us were brought together from New York to California and Alaska.
If you get as excited about railroads as I am, you are already a model railroader at heart. So you might as well go ahead and build one. It's not hard to do. You just need to know the right techniques. This website will show you how to do it - for free. Everything you need to know is right here - from designing, planning, laying track, building scenery and structures, wiring and operating trains and lots of special effects that make it even more fun and exciting than you ever thought possible.
The educational opportunities of building your own layout abound. It will help you become a master at carpentry - using multiple hand and power tools - electronics, mechanical and architectural techniques, and will enhance your creativity to no end. You may not be able to draw or paint a picture, but you will be able to create a very realistic 3 dimensional scenic diorama of fantastic landscapes and cityscapes that will be the admiration of the best of artists.
It's easy to get started. Just follow the Navigation Bar on the left, beginning with "Getting Started". If you are already an accomplished model railroader, you may want to skip to the "Special Effects" section right away. There's something here for all levels of model railroading.
If you enjoy the site and find it useful, let me know. I'm always happy to hear from you. If you think of something you want me to add to the site or if you have a tip that other model railroaders can use, please send it in and I will add it to the Blog page. I'm always looking for new photos, too. If you have some model railroad, or even rail-fanning, photos that you would like to show on this site, please send them in by email to email@example.com.
Thank you for visiting! Tell all your friends so we can build a great community of model railroaders, all sharing photos and information that will help us become better and better - in lots of ways.
Enjoy life - Build an Empire!
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Winter Scene on the BR&S RR
BYMRR Train Photos on Flickr
This site is listed in the Model Railroads Directory of the
National Model Railroad Association
* BYMRR was last updated on May 4, 2021. *
Table of Contents:
- Building Your Model Railroad Blog
- New or updated pages, additions, pictures, comments, article reviews and new techniques relating to building model railroads.
- Search Page
- Search page to find anything on or off this site about model railroading.
- The Basics of Model Railroading: Getting Started
- The basics of model railroading, including descriptions of model train scales, types of model train displays, and how to get started in the "World's Greatest Hobby".
- Model Train Scales
- Description of the most popular model train scales. Helps in deciding which scale to use for your layout.
- Model Railroad Layout Design
- Model railroad layout design: establishing a theme and purpose for your railroad
- Model Train Displays
- Model train displays: various ways of showing off and operating your trains
- Trolley Layout
- Building a trolley layout is another facet of this wonderful hobby that can provide loads of enjoyment for the young and old alike. Here's how to get started.
- Small N Scale Train Layout
- Step-by-step creation of a small N Scale model train layout - A great way to get started, or if you just want to take a break from the big layout.
- Model Railroad Layout: Overview
- Overview of how to build a model railroad layout - step by step.
- Essential Considerations in Designing a Custom Model Railroad
- Things to consider when designing a custom model railroad
- The NMRA ( National Model Railroad Association) establishes standards for model railroading.
- Railroad History
- Railroad history is an important part of model railroading that helps inspire us to do what we do. It also provides a reference for us whether we freelance or model the prototype.
- Model Trains and Railroads: Resources and References
- Where to find more information about model trains and model railroad supplies, the best resources and references.
- Train Layout Design Elements
- How to use train layout design elements (LDE's) to develop your own model railroad trackplan
- Model Railroad Software
- Various types of model railroad software are available which may be helpful for developing actual or virtual layouts.
- Model Railroad Track Plans
- Various types of model railroad track plans that could be incorporated into your layout.
- Model Railroad Yard
- This page contains all the ins and outs about building a basic model railroad yard for your train layout.
- Model Railroad Benchwork
- Ideas for building model railroad benchwork
- Model Railroad Backdrop
- How to make a model railroad backdrop.
- Model Railroad Lighting
- Various aspects of model railroad lighting, including overhead lighting, sunset lighting, illuminating buildings, street lamps, etc.
- Model Railroad Track
- How to lay model railroad track
- Tips on Model Railroad Tracks
- Tips on types of model railroad track to use, layout design, and how to lay the track
- Model Railroad Wiring
- Overview of different types of model railroad wiring
- Layout Command Control
- First there was DC-Analog. Then there was DCC. And now there's LCC, which may be the future of layout command control.
- Basic Electronics
- A brief tutorial on basic electronics that every model railroader should know.
- Common Electrical Switches Used in Model Railroading
- A description and comparison of some of the more common electrical switches used in model railroad wiring.
- Layout Wiring Management
- How do you manage all that layout wiring for your model railroad? Here's how I did it for the Blue Ridge and Southern.
- Model Railroad Wiring Tips
- Tips and techniques for model railroad wiring – gauges, making connections, buses, terminal strips, etc.
- Soldering Tips
- Soldering tips for model train track rail joints, adding feeder wires to tracks and soldering wires together.
- Wiring a Solenoid Switch Machine
- How to wire a solenoid switch (turnout) machine using a momentary SPDT toggle switch.
- All About Turnouts
- Everything you need to know about model railroad track turnouts for your layout.
- Turnout Control
- Automatic turnout control using Reed switches is a great way to control turnouts and prevent derailments.
- Wiring Railroad Signals
- Wiring railroad signals is a somewhat mysterious aspect of model railroading. A simple wiring method is described here for manual operation. References provided for automatic operation.
- Model Railroad Control Panel
- How to make a model railroad control panel with remote turnout switches, accessory switches, turntable controls, etc. for your model railroad layout.
- DCC Decoder Installation
- DCC decoder installation is relatively easy these days with many locomotives being sold as DCC ready. Here are a few tips for installation.
- Model Train Scenery
- All aspects of building and developing model train scenery - terrain and rock formations, tunnels, ground cover, trees, roads, water effects, etc.
- Model Train Scenery: Terrain
- Model train scenery_terrain: How to create land forms, terrain, mountains and valleys – various model railroad scenery tips.
- Lift-Out Model Scenery
- How to make a removable lift-out section of model scenery for your train layout to access hidden tracks.
- Ground Cover 1: Ground Goop
- Ground Cover 1: Using a layer of "ground goop" on the surface of the model railroad scenery base is a great way to add texture and color before adding the turf, etc. Here's how to make it.
- Model Scenery Ground Cover
- The best methods for applying ground cover to your model train scenery.
- Making Rocks
- Making rocks for model train scenery is an art form all to itself and easy to do following this guide.
- Painting Rocks
- Tips on painting rocks and coloring the foundation for model train scenery.
- Model Trees
- Favorite ways to model trees for your model railroad layout.
- Model Railroad Tunnels
- How to create model railroad tunnels for your layout.
- Retaining Walls for Your Train Layout
- How to make retaining walls for your model railroad layout
- Model Railroad Ballast
- Tips and techniques on how to apply model railroad ballast to your model train track.
- Building Model Scenery Roads
- How to build model scenery roads for your train layout.
- Model Railroad Water
- Favorite ways of making model railroad water and creating water scenes for your train layout or diorama.
- Model Railroad Waterfalls and Rapids
- Favorite ways to create realistic water effects including rapids and waterfalls on a model railroad.
- Modeling a Winter Scene
- How to create a complete winter scene for your model railroad, including methods of making snow, ice and icicles.
- Model Railroad Scenery Details
- The addition of multiple details to your model railroad scenery will greatly enhance the interest and dimension of your layout and its theme.
- Model Railroad Buildings
- All about model railroad buildings – planning for them, kits, kitbashing, scratchbuilding, materials required, lighting your structures, interior details, how to install them onto your layout.
- Model Train Bridges
- A description of various types of model train bridges that could be used on your model railroad layout.
- Scratchbuilding Your Model Railroad Structures
- Scratchbuilding Tips for creating your own model railroad buildings
- Laser Cutting Service
- Design your own structure and then use a laser cutting service to create the parts according to their specifications. Here's how it works.
- Painting Models
- Various tips for painting models, especially model buildings for a very realistic appearance on your model railroad layout.
- Weathering Your Model Trains and Structures
- Basic weathering techniques for model trains and model railroad buildings.
- Model Trains
- Information and resources to help you in choosing appropriate model trains, including different types of locomotives and rail cars, for your model railroad layout.
- Maintenance of Way (MOW) Railroad Equipment
- MOW, or maintenance of way, equipment is an important part of any prototypical railroad, and can be incorporated into any model railroad layout to enhance realism and operations.
- Model Railroad Operation: A New Adventure!
- How to conduct sessions for model railroad operation.
- Advanced Model Railroading: Special Effects and New Ideas
- How to create special effects for model railroading and other new ideas - Sound / lighting effects, animation, signals, mirrors, fire / smoke, automation. etc.
- Model Railroad Decals
- How to find and use model railroad decals for a more realistic train layout.
- Lighting Effects for Your Model Railroad
- Special lighting effects for your model railroad - signs, billboards, street lamps, emergency vehicles, neon signs, theatre marquees, fiber optics, etc.
- Model Railroad Crossing Gates
- How to model operating railroad crossing gates and lighted crossbucks, including bell sounds, all occurring automatically as your train approaches.
- Railroad Signals
- How to set up a system of railroad signals on your model railroad layout.
- Traffic Signals for Your Model Railroad Layout
- How to install traffic signals on your model railroad layout.
- Sound Effects for Model Railroads
- All about sound effects for model railroads, including various sound systems available, and tips on creating your own railroad sound system.
- Model Train Couplers
- All about model train couplers – different types of couplers and uncouplers, and installation tips.
- Modeling Fake Fire and Smoke Effects
- How to create simulated or fake fire effects, arc welding and smoke effects for your model railroad. Using electronics to enhance your train layout.
- Train Brain: Computerizing Your Layout
- Using the Train Brain modules from CTI Electronics to achieve state-of-the-art computerized train, signal, turnout and lighting control.
- Animated Train Layout Effects
- Includes a discussion of ready-made animated train layout effects and various types of animation parts that you can use to create your own animated effects.
- Drive-In Theater
- How to build an actual working drive-in theater for your model railroad layout.
- Visual Illusions and Mirror Tricks for Your Model Railroad
- Tips on how to use illusions to enhance your model railroad layout.
- Model Railroad Wiring for Automated Train Operation
- Automated electronics are very useful in advanced model railroad wiring applications - automatic train stops, train delay, slowdown or reversing operations.
- Train Camera for Your Model Trains
- Using a Train Camera System to enhance your model railroad layout - a way to view your train layout from a different perspective.
- Model Railroad Photos: Tutorial
- All about how to take great model railroad photos – the best tools and techniques.
- 3D Printing
- 3D printing is a great way to create unique 3D models or parts for your miniature model railroad in any scale.
- Using Servos on Your Train Layout
- How to use servos for automation on your train layout
- Train Photos / Gallery
- Gallery of prototypical and/or model train photos and model railroad layout photos
- Model Railroad Showcase
- This is a chance for you to showcase YOUR model railroad with a whole webpage on the internet dedicated to your layout, diorama, structure-building, kitbashing or other projects.
- My Train Layout
- My train layout represents an example of what you can do with the modeling techniques described on this site.
- Model Train Supplies
- Many of the model train supplies that you will need to build your model railroad can be found on this page.
- BYMRR Hobby Center
- This is our online general hobby store owned by BYMRR - starting with trains and expanding to other hobbies over time.
- The Track Stop
- Track Stop: an online store for train and railroad-related items, railroadiana, books, DVD's, videos, art, software, etc.
- Model Railroad Books
- How did I learn so much about model railroading? From other hobbyists, of course, and from BOOKS. Here's a list of some of my favorites.
- Model Railroad DVDs
- Lots of great model railroad DVDs and Blue-Rays for watching your favorite train videos.
- Train Art: The Art of Model Railroading
- Train Art: photos, paintings and posters to inspire you as you build your empire.
- Model Railroading Product Reviews
- This page, Model Railroading Product Reviews, serves as a conduit for visitors to explore the pros and cons of tools and other products commonly used by model railroaders and other hobbyists.
- Store Policies
- Store policies for Building Your Model Railroad Train Store
- Shipping and Returns
- Store policies related to shipping and returns
- Store Policy relating to customer privacy.
- Terms and Conditions
- Store policy relating to terms and conditions
- Disclosure for BUILDING YOUR MODEL RAILROAD
- This page is to inform visitors that many of the links on this site connect to other sites where related and helpful items or services can be purchased, which may result in a small commision paid to the author of the site.
- Your Model Railroading Tips and Comments
- Share your own model railroading tips and comments to help other model railroaders improve.
- Future Trends in Transportation and Logistics
- How new technology is changing the landscape of transportation and logistics in industry
- Create A Website: Getting Started
- If you would like to know more about how to create a website for profit like the one you're looking at now, this page will help you get started.
- About the Author
- A brief biography of the author
- Model Railroading Tips / Newsletter
- Sign up for our newsletter! - Tracks
- Tracks Issue #7 April, 2020
- Tracks #7 - The BYMRR newsletter for model railroaders - news, tips, techniques, pics and vids, and more
- Tracks May, 2020
- Extra scale modeling tips and techniques to help with building your own railroad!
- Tracks June 2020
- Tracks is a newsletter published monthly by Building Your Model Railroad containing tips, techniques, news, photos and videos of interest to model railroaders.
- Tracks Issue #10 - July 2020
- Model Railroad News: Lots of information, updates, tips, techniques, layout videos, photos and supply links for serious model railroaders.
- Tracks: August 2020
- A monthly model railroad newsletter that's full of tips, photos and videos to keep model railroaders inspired.
- Tracks: September 2020
- Another great issue of Tracks, the newsletter for model railroaders of all ages and all scales.
- Tracks: October 2020
- Tracks: A model railroad newsletter bringing new tips, techniques and interesting information to model railroaders of all ages and all gauges.
- Tracks: November 2020
- Tracks: a model railroad newsletter with lots of information on modeling tips and techniques, article and product reviews, layout tours and other great videos.
- Tracks December 2020
- Tracks is a monthly newsletter containing short articles, videos, tips and techniques of interest to model railroaders of all ages and all scales.
- Tracks: January 2021
- Tracks - a model railroad newsletter with lots of great tips and tricks on how to build your own model railroad.
- Tracks Model Railroad Newsletter
- The February 2021 issue of Tracks contains a ton of useful information all about building and managing your model railroad.
- Tracks: March 2021
- This issue of Tracks is once again chock full of news, information, tips and videos all about model railroading and railfanning.
- Tracks: April 2021
- The April issue of Tracks is once again full of model railroading information, pictures and videos for all ages and all scales.
- Tracks: May 2021
- Tracks Newsletter with information, photos and videos for model railroaders of all ages and all scales
- Tracks: July-Aug 2021
- Now a bimonthly newsletter for all those who enjoy the art and craft of model railroading with new tips, techniques and videos
- Model Railroading Questions and Answers
- Answers to questions about model railroading submitted by our readers
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