What books would you recommend for a absolute noobie model railroader?

Question by Jeffrey P: What books would you recommend for a absolute noobie model railroader?
I have never built a model railroad, but it is something my daughter seems to be interested in doing. Can you recommend 4 or 5 books that might get us started?
Will with be building it in a basement room, roughly 13′ x 14′. I plan to start out with a standard 4×8 set up. We think we are going to do a Civil War era model.

Best answer:

Answer by mariner31
My FIRST suggestion is a subscription to “Model Railroader” magazine by Kalmbach Publishing : http://www.trains.com/mrr/ It’s a nice inexpensive introduction to the hobby.

NEXT I would look at these books:

“Introduction to N Scale Model Railroading” by Atlas. Also in HO scale.
“Track Planning for Realistic Operation” published by Kalmbach
“Scenery for Your Model Railroad” published by Kalmbach
“Trackwork and Lineside Detail” published by Kalmbach
“Guide to Freight Yards” published by Kalmbach
“Realistic Model Railroad Operations” published by Kalmbach

Another recommendation is to buy a tablet or TWO of graph paper, sketch out your “area” where you would build a Railroad, and make THOUSANDS of drafts of what you might do… it’s always easier and CHEAPER to make errors on paper instead of plywood.

I’d be curious as to your daughter’s, and Your, interests regarding a railroad: 1) Modeling a RR near your home ? 2) Modeling a specific time period / era ? 3) Operating a simple toy LOOP, or having a realistic operation ?

One EARLY choice you need to make is the scale… HO is the most popular (1ft = 87 ft) and N is next (1ft = 160ft). With kids 7-12 (and those of us with eyes over 40), HO is the easiest to work with, BUT N scale allows you to have almost TWICE the railroad in the same space.


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