how to model railroad?

Question by Mark J: how to model railroad?
layout, model, materials, supplies

Best answer:

Answer by mariner31
Yikes, a WIDE open question !! BUT, as one who’s been designing, building, and operating model railroads since 1974 I’ll give you some suggestions:

1) Get yourself a subscription to “Model Railroading” magazine ( )… it’s $ 43 a year and has GREAT sources and articles. Also, there are great books from the track manufacturers as well as Kalmback Publishing dealing with introduction to model railroading; basics of track, wiring, and scenery; designing for realistic operations; and trackside industries.

2) MEASURE the area in your home you have available to build your layout, and put it down on graph-paper.

3) RESEARCH your thoughts, ideas, and dreams for your layout… the complexity, scale, time-era for your layout, and area of the country you wish to model. Take your ideas and some of those basic books and see what is realistic for you to model.

4) Make your decision as to SCALE, ERA, and basic layout and industries.

5) Buy several PADS of graph paper and SKETCH your layout ideas… you make make HUNDREDS of drawings to get things “right”, but it is MUCH cheaper to make errors and changes on paper than in real wood and track.

6) Perhaps, build a relatively small / simple “table” and put down a loop of track… to allow you to practice techniques, test some of your thoughts on a larger scale than paper, AND keep your interest.

7) WHEN you get to building… ALWAYS measure everything THREE times and cut ONCE.

GOOD LUCK, feel free to ask further questions, and here are some general links:

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!