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Building Your Model Railroad

Leadville, CO train station serving Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad

This is the sitemap containing a listing of all the pages on Building Your Model Railroad in a clickable format so you can easily travel to anywhere on this site with one click...

General Information

Building Your Model Railroad - A Comprehensive Guide All the information, tools and techniques you need to design and build your own realistic, artistic and fully operational model railroad.

The Basics of Model Railroading: Getting Started

Model Railroad Layout: Overview - Overview on how to plan and build your model railroad layout - Step by step guide.

Model Railroad Terms Definitions of model railroad terms

NMRA 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.

Narrow Gauge - Narrow gauge model railroading is becoming increasingly popular in the hobby. This page will give you some basic information about this gauge and why it's catching on.

Model Train Displays Model train displays: various ways of showing off and operating your trains.

Garden Trains - How to get started in garden railroading.

Traction/Trolley Layouts - A primer for setting up a trolley layout.

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 Railroading Blog New site pages, additions, pictures, comments, article reviews and new techniques relating to building model railroads.

Blog-It! - Make your own contribution to this website. You can write a Web Page or a Blog Entry here...

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.

Search Page Search page to find anything on or off this site about model railroading.

Model Trains and Railroads: Resources and References Where to find more information about model trains and model railroad supplies – the best resources and references.

The Track Stop! - Railroading gifts, memorabilia, hats, shirts, mugs, train sounds, model train graphics, software, books, DVD's, etc.

Building a Website Describes the basic process of building a website and what's required.

Model Train Supplies - Many of the model train supplies that you will need to build your model railroad can be found on this page.

About the Author - A brief autobiography

BYMR-Zine - An email newsletter dedicated to collecting and presenting small tips and techniques to make your railroad modeling easier and more enjoyable.

Building a Model Train Layout with Your Children"> - Engaging your children in building a model train layout can teach them many basic skills, enhance their imaginations and creativity, and bring your family together.

Creating a Small N Scale Train Layout - Step-by-step creation of a small 24" x 48" N scale layout.

Model Railroad Club: How To Get Started - Want to start your own model railroad club? Here are some tips.


Model Railroad Layout Design Model railroad layout design: establishing a theme and purpose for your railroad

Train Layout Design Elements for Track Planning - How to use train layout design elements (LDE's) to develop your own model railroad trackplan

Using Google Earth to Discover Prototype Track Plans - How to use Google Earth to help you find prototypical train layout design elements to use in model railroad track planning

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 basic types of model railroad track plans that could be incorporated into your layout.

Grades and Clearances - Planning for proper grades and clearances prior to laying track is critical to avoiding disappointment later.

Model Railroad Yard - All the ins and outs about designing and building a basic model railroad yard.

Building the Layout

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 Train Track Codes - Description of track codes and tips on laying model train track for the most realistic, prototypical appearance.

Train Derailments Troubleshooting model train derailments

Wiring and Lighting

Model Railroad Wiring Overview of different types of model railroad wiring

Model Railroad Lighting Various aspects of model railroad lighting, including overhead lighting, sunset lighting, illuminating buildings, street lamps, etc.

All About Turnouts Everything you need to know about model railroad track turnouts for your layout.

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.

Train Control Panel How to make an electric train control panel with remote turnout switches, accessory switches, turntable controls, etc. for your model railroad layout.

Common Electrical Switches Used in Model Railroad Wiring Descriptions and comparisons of different types of electrical switches commonly used in wiring model railroads.

Wiring a Remote Turnout Solenoid Switch - How to use a momentary SPDT toggle switch to activate a solenoid remote turnout.

Automatic turnout control using Reed switches is an interesting and fun way to control turnouts and prevent derailments.

DCC Decoder Installation - written by Daryl Clayton Kennedy - A quick guide to DCC decoder installation.

Managing Layout Wiring - How do you manage all that layout wiring for your model railroad? Here's how I did it for the Blue Ridge and Southern.

Basic Electronics - A brief tutorial on basic electronics that every model railroader should know.


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 Train Scenery: Terrain Model train scenery: How to create land forms, terrain, mountains and valleys – various model railroad scenery tips.

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 Tunnels How to create model railroad tunnels for your layout.

Painting Rocks Tips on painting rocks and coloring the foundation for 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.

Building Model Scenery Roads How to build model scenery roads for your train layout.

Model Scenery Ground Cover The best methods for applying ground cover to your model train scenery.

Ground Goop - A concoction of ingredients that you can use as a first step for ground cover - after the plaster and before the grass.

Model Trees Favorite ways to model trees for your model railroad 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.

Model Train Bridges A description of various types of model train bridges that could be used on your model railroad layout.

Lift-Out Model Scenery How to make a removable lift-out section of model scenery for your train layout to access hidden tracks.

Model Railroad Ballast Tips and techniques on how to apply model railroad ballast to your model train track.

Modeling a Winter Scene - Best techniques for modeling winter scenery, including realistic snow, ice, icicles, snow-covered trees and structures, etc.

Winter Diorama - Step by Step - Learn how to create a winter diorama -step by step. Follow along as I demonstrate how I did one.

Retaining Walls - How to build retaining walls - both natural and man-made - for your layout.

Trees Made with Juniper Snips and Balsa Trunks

Buildings and Structures

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.

Weathering Your Model Trains and Structures Basic weathering techniques for model trains and model railroad buildings.

Airbrushing Tips and techniques on airbrushing for model railroad applications.

Painting Models Various tips for painting models, especially model buildings for a very realistic appearance on your model railroad layout.

Model Buildings from Scratch Tips on the best methods of creating model buildings from scratch.

Laser Cutting for ScratchBuilding Projects, by R.J. DiMaggio - Many model railroaders like to design their own buildings on computer and then use a laser cutting service to create the parts according to their specifications. Here's how it works.


Train Photos / Gallery Gallery of prototypical and/or model train photos and model railroad layout photos

Model Railroad Photos: Tutorial All about how to take great model railroad photos – the best tools and techniques.

O. Winston Link - Classic photographs from the steam era are a great inspiration for modeling railroad scenes.

Special Effects

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.

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.

Lighting Effects for Your Model Railroad Special lighting effects for your model railroad layout, including lighted building signs, billboard lights, street lamps, emergency vehicles, neon signs, theatre marquees, fiber optics, etc.

Railroad Signals for Your Model Railroad Layout How to install automated railroad signals for your model railroad.

Traffic Signals for Your Model Railroad Layout How to install automated traffic signals for your road system.

Model Railroad Crossing Gates How to model operating railroad crossing gates and lighted crossbucks, including bell sounds, all occurring automatically as your train approaches.

Computerizing Your Layout How to get started in model railroad computer control using the Train Brain modules from CTI Electronics. An interesting and exciting way to really optimize your layout control with state-of-the-art electronics.

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.

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.

Model Railroad Wiring for Automated Train Operation Automated electronics prove to be very useful in advanced model railroad wiring applications, including automatic train stops, train delay, slowdown or reversing operations.

Visual Illusions and Mirror Tricks for Your Model Railroad - Tips on how to use illusions to enhance your model railroad layout.

A Train Camera for Your Model Railroad - Installing a train camera can greatly enhance the enjoyment of your model railroad layout and provide a unique perspective on model train operation.

Starting a New Layout - Ideas and musings about starting another small layout or module in addition to the one you've already built.


Model Railroad Operation - How to conduct sessions for model railroad operation.

Article Reviews

"Superelevating Flextrack", by Andy Schnur, Model Railroader, Oct., 2008, pp.44-45


Model Railroad Showcase - This is a chance for you to showcase YOUR model railroad with a whole web page on the internet dedicated to YOUR layout, diorama, structure-building, kit-bashing or other projects.

Northlandz - Impressive, awe-inspiring model railroading on a grand scale.

NYC Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show - A very inspirational garden railroad. You won't want to miss these pictures.

The Chesapeake Bay and Western Model Railroad - One of the largest HO scale model railroads in Virginia, nicely detailed and well-operated by a great club.

The Seaboard Railroad Station Museum - This restored railroad station in Suffolk is now a museum containing a large 2-room model railroad accurately depicting the area and the time when the station was at its peak.

Bob Fahrney's computerized, digitized model railroad layout

The Big Meadow Railroad - The Big Meadow Railroad represents a fantastic way for model railroaders to share their hobby with other family members. It also exemplifies how you can make the most use of your existing space.

Building My Empire - Building My Empire is a great article written to explain the step-by-step process that one of my visitors went through in building his railroad.

Horace and William Creek Railroad

Northern Hills Railway Society

Articles Sent In by Fellow Model Railroaders

Protecting Your Model Railroad - A great story about what we have to do sometimes to protect our model railroads.

Time for a Sound System! -- A great, very inventive article by John Thompson on how to use sound loops from old railroad clocks to add a variety of railroad sounds to your S-scale trains for only 25 cents.

The Blue Ridge and Southern:

The Blue Ridge and Southern Railroad - My layout represents an example of what you can do with the modeling techniques described on this site.

Model Railroad Concept for the BR&S - Developing a model railroad concept isn't always easy. You have to think about it for a while and it eventually grows on you. Here's how I put it together for my railroad.

Train Room and Lighting - Having a nice air conditioned, heated, finished train room with adequate lighting has greatly enhanced the pleasure and process of building my model railroad.

Backdrop - Using extruded foam sheets to make the BR&S model railroad backdrop.

Model Train Benchwork for the Blue Ridge and Southern - BR&S model railroad benchwork history and construction shows one example of how it can be done and what to keep in mind while you're building it.

Railroad History

Railroad History

The Virginian Railway

The Norfolk and Western Railroad

The Pennsylvania Railroad

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway

Railroads in Wartime

Thank You for Visiting!

Solo Build It!

How to build your own model railroad website!

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