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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We get hundreds of visitors every day from all over the world (100,000 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.
Enjoy life - you only get one!
Take a brief survey . Tell us how we're doing.
N Scale Double curve multilevel scene (BR&S RR) with 3 tunnels, a way station - all in a very small area - approx 2 square feet.
N scale Multilevel scene from BR&S RR with mountains, lumber yard, turntable and loco servicing area.
Another multilevel N scale scene from the BR&S model railroad with brick wall (textured plastic sheet), rocks and mountains made with plaster-cloth and Sculptamold. Distant scene from the east wing of the layout creating some forced perspective.
* This site was last updated on January 15, 2020. *
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 Displays Model train displays: various ways of showing off and operating your trains
Model Railroad Layout: Overview Overview of how to build a model railroad layout - step by step.
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
Model Railroad Wiring Overview of different types of model railroad wiring
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.
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.
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.
Model Train Bridges A description of various types of model train bridges that could be used on your model railroad 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 Buildings from Scratch Tips on the best methods of creating model buildings from scratch.
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.
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.
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.
Your Model Railroading Tips and Comments Share your own model railroading tips and comments to help other model railroaders improve.
Model Railroading Tips / Newsletter Sign up for our newsletter! - Tracks
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.
Model Railroad Classifieds Have model railroad items to sell? List them here on Model Railroad Classifieds!
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
Transportation Safety Real life information about how to use technology to create safety for transportation workers sponsored by Netradyne.
Link to Model Railway Books and other Items for Our Overseas Friends: United Kingdom Canada Australia
Sign up for our
Get the latest tips and updates in the world of model railroading!
Contact Me | Blog | Photos | References | Supplies | GiftShop | Sitemap | Search | Comment | Privacy Statement | Disclosures
Back to Top of the Page