* All the information you need to build your own Model Railroad *

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Want to Build an Empire? Try a
Model Railroad!

"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! 

Model Train and Railroad Supplies:

Everything you need is right here!

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 have me show on this site, please send them in by email to gjwarth@mac.com.

We get hundreds of visitors every day from all over the world (60,000 page views/month), so if you want your tips or photos to get some exposure, you've come to the right spot.

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.

Happy Railroading!

Enjoy life - you only get one!

Greg Warth

Solo Build It!

                   * This site was last updated on September 15, 2019. *

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Monthly Site Statistics:
26,000 visits
12,000 unique visitors
60,000 page views

Thank You!
Thanks to all my visitors who have made this site a great success!
Model Railroading Blog
New site pages, additions, pictures, comments, article reviews and new techniques relating to building model railroads.
Sitemap for Building Your Model Railroad
Sitemap for Building Your Model Railroad - Navigate to any page on the site with one click.
Search Page
Search page to find anything on or off this site about model railroading.
Model Railroad Terms
Definitions of model railroad terms
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 Railroad Layout: Overview
Overview of how to build a model railroad layout - step by step.
The NMRA ( National Model Railroad Association) establishes standards for model railroading.
Model Train Scales
Description of the most popular model train scales. Helps in deciding which scale to use for your layout.
Model Train Displays
Model train displays: various ways of showing off and operating your trains
Model Railroad Layout Design
Model railroad layout design: establishing a theme and purpose for your railroad
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 Lighting
Various aspects of model railroad lighting, including overhead lighting, sunset lighting, illuminating buildings, street lamps, etc.
Model Railroad Benchwork
Ideas for building model railroad benchwork
Model Railroad Backdrop
How to make a model railroad backdrop.
Model Railroad Track
How to lay model railroad track
Model Railroad Wiring
Overview of different types of model railroad wiring
Model Train Scenery
All aspects of building and developing model train scenery, including creating terrain and rock formations, tunnels, ground cover, trees, roads, water effects, etc.
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.
Weathering Your Model Trains and Structures
Basic weathering techniques for model trains and model railroad buildings.
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. Tips on sound and lighting effects, animation, signal systems, mirrors, fire and smoke, automation and other details.
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.
Garden Trains
Garden trains are a great way to involve your family in model railroading.
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.
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.
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 Trains and Railroads: Resources and References
Where to find more information about model trains and model railroad supplies, the best resources and references.
Your Model Railroading Tips and Comments
Share your own model railroading tips and comments to help other model railroaders improve.
Model Railroad Stories
We all have model railroad stories we could tell - some funny, some not-so-funny, but maybe educational. If you have a story to tell about your model railroad experience, let us know about it here.
Blog- It
Blog-It: Use this page to send in a model train story, picture or event or anything else related to model railroading. It will appear as a blog enty within the next few days.
Model Railroading Tips / Newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter! - Tracks
Building a Website
Describes the basic process of building a website for your model railroad club or to display your own train layout, and what's required to accomplish this.
Model Train Supplies
Many of the model train supplies that you will need to build your model railroad can be found on this page.
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.

New! Comments

What do you think? Do you have anything to add to what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below.

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How to Build a
Model Railroad:

Over 200 pages of information, tips and techniques on this site!

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Getting Started

Model Railroad Layout Overview: Step-By-Step

Model Railroad Terms


Model Train Scales

Narrow Gauge

Model Train Displays

Model Trains - Equipment

Building a Model Train Layout with Your Children


Garden Trains

Resources and References

Model Train Supplies

Railroad Gifts!

Model Railroad Stories

Model Railroad Club: How to Get Started

Beginner's Guide to Model Cars.


Model Railroad Layout Design

Train Layout Design Elements for Track Planning

Using Google Earth to Discover Prototype Track Plans

Model Railroad Software

Model Railroad Track Plans

Grades and Clearances

Model Railroad Yard

Building the Layout

Model Railroad Benchwork

Model Railroad Backdrop

Model Railroad Track

Model Train Track Codes

Train Derailments

Wiring and Lighting

Model Railroad Wiring

Model Railroad Lighting

All About Turnouts

Model Railroad Wiring Tips

Soldering Tips

Train Control Panel

Common Electrical Switches Used in Model Railroad Wiring

Wiring a Remote Turnout Solenoid Switch

Automatic turnout control

DCC Decoder Installation

Managing Layout Wiring

Basic Electronics


Model Train Scenery

Model Train Scenery: Terrain

Model Railroad Scenery Details

Model Railroad Tunnels

Painting Rocks

Making Rocks

Building Model Scenery Roads

Model Scenery Ground Cover

Model Trees

Model Railroad Water

Model Railroad Waterfalls and Rapids

Model Train Bridges

Lift-Out Model Scenery

Model Railroad Ballast

Modeling a Winter Scene

Winter Diorama - Step-By-Step

Retaining Walls

Buildings and Structures

Model Railroad Buildings

Weathering Your Model Trains and Structures


Painting Models

Model Buildings from Scratch

Laser Cutting for ScratchBuilding Projects


Train Photos / Gallery

Model Railroad Photos: Tutorial

O. Winston Link

Special Effects

Advanced Model Railroading: Special Effects and New Ideas

Sound Effects for Model Railroads

Model Train Couplers

Lighting Effects for Your Model Railroad

Railroad Signals for Your Model Railroad Layout

Traffic Signals for Your Model Railroad Layout

Model Railroad Crossing Gates

Computerizing Your Layout

Modeling Fake Fire and Smoke Effects

Animated Train Layout Effects

Model Railroad Wiring for Automated Train Operation

Visual Illusions and Mirror Tricks for Your Model Railroad

A Train Camera for Your Model Railroad

Starting a New Layout


Model Railroad Operation

Article Reviews

"Superelevating Flextrack"


Model Railroad Showcase


NYC Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The Chesapeake Bay and Western Model Railroad

The Seaboard Railroad Station Museum

A computerized, digitized model railroad layout

The Big Meadow Railroad

Building My Empire - A visitor's startup

The Blue Ridge and Southern:

The Blue Ridge and Southern Railroad

Model Railroad Concept for the BR&S

Train Room and Lighting


Model Train Benchwork for the Blue Ridge and Southern

Railroad History

Railroad History

The Virginian Railway

The Norfolk and Western Railroad

The Pennsylvania Railroad

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway

Railroads in Wartime

Small Projects: Step-by-Step

Creating a Small 2'x4' N Scale Layout

Winter Diorama

Sharing Information and Stories

Model Railroading Blog

Share Your Model Railroading Tips and Comments

Model Railroad Stories

Protecting Your Model Railroad