Building your Model Railroad
New or updated pages, additions, pictures, comments, article reviews and new techniques relating to building model railroads.
Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago
Mar 6, How to Handlay Model Railroad Track
If you're a model train enthusiast, you may be interested in learning how to handlay HO scale track. Handlaying track allows you to create a more realistic and customized layout than using pre-made track pieces. Here are some steps to get you started: Gather your materials. You'll need HO scale track (ties, rails, and spikes), a track gauge, rail cutters, pliers, a soldering iron, flux, solder, a track template or plan, and a work surface. Cut the ties. Lay out the ties in the correct spacing and cut them to the correct length using rail cutters. Lay the rails. Using the track gauge, lay the rails on the ties in the correct position. Make sure the rails are straight and level. Spike the rails. Using a small hammer and spikes, secure the rails to the ties. Be sure to space the spikes evenly along the rails. Solder the rails. Apply flux to the joint where the rails meet and solder them together with a soldering iron. Be careful not to let the solder run onto the rails or ties. Test the track. Once you've completed a section of track, test it with a locomotive and some rolling stock to make sure everything runs smoothly. Repeat. Continue laying and soldering sections of track until you've completed your layout. The same instructions would also apply to any gauge. You would just have to use different-sized materials that would be appropriate for your gauge. Handlaying track takes time and patience, but the result is a realistic and customized layout that you can be proud of. Don't be afraid to experiment with different track configurations and details to make your layout unique. The following link provides purchasing options for the materials you need to handlay tracks and turnouts.
Mar 4, Tracks: February 2023
Model railroading newsletter with lots of tips and tricks to improve your skills and help you enjoy the hobby.
Mar 2, Tracks March 2023
The official newsletter of Building Your Model Railroad with tips, tricks, videos and how-to information that you can apply to your own railroad modeling.
Feb 4, Mountainous Layout Without Grades
One way to create a mountainous layout without requiring steep grades is to lay your track flat on 4-inch risers. You could even have one mainline on the layout surface and a second mainline on the 4-inch risers. This would give you the opportunity to easily create bridges, cliffs, and river gorges. You could build mountains above the risers and valleys below.
Feb 3, Make a Pond for Your Model Railroad
Choose the right material: A popular choice for creating water effects is clear silicone rubber, which can be tinted with food coloring to create different water hues. Prepare the surface: Clean the area where you want to place the water and apply a layer of white glue to create a smooth surface. Tint the silicone: If desired, add food coloring to the silicone to create the desired water hue. You can also add a drop of blue or green food coloring to simulate depth. Pour the silicone: Pour the silicone rubber onto the surface, using a palette knife or similar tool to spread it evenly. Create surface texture: To add realism to the water, use a toothbrush or similar tool to create ripples and waves on the surface of the silicone. Allow to cure: Allow the silicone to cure completely, following the manufacturer's instructions. Finish the edge: Once the silicone has cured, use a hobby knife or similar tool to trim the edge to create a natural-looking shoreline. Apply any final touches: For added realism, you can add foam to simulate whitecaps. Add rocks, tall grass, and other scenery elements to the shoreline.
Jan 29, How to Install a DCC Decoder in an N Scale Locomotive
Installing a DCC decoder in an N Scale locomotive can open up a world of possibilities when it comes to customizing your model railway. With a Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder, you’ll be able to control the speed, direction, and lighting of your locomotives with precision accuracy. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how to install a DCC decoder in an N Scale locomotive. Before you begin installing the decoder, it’s important to make sure that you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. You will need: an insulated Phillips-head screwdriver; tools for removing screws from the locomotive shell; needle nose pliers; soldering equipment including wire clippers and solder; flathead screwdrivers in various sizes; and Model Railroading DCC Decoder Installation instructions. Once you have all the necessary tools and materials ready to go, the next step is to remove the body shell from your N Scale locomotive. This can typically be done by unscrewing four or five screws around the perimeter of the body shell. Once this is done, locate the motor as well as any existing wiring harnesses that are connected to it. Carefully disconnect any wires by using needle nose pliers to release them from their connectors. Now that everything is disconnected, it’s time to install the DCC decoder into your N Scale locomotive. Begin by connecting one end of your new wiring harness into place on top of the motor. Then connect the other end of your new wiring harness onto your chosen DCC decoder - making sure all connections are secure before proceeding further. Use soldering equipment to attach each wire from both ends of your wiring harness onto specific terminal points on each side of your DCC decoder - making sure that you refer back to Model Railroading DCC Decoder Installation instructions if needed for exact details on where each connection should go. When everything has been connected properly and securely, use flathead screwdrivers in various sizes depending on which type of mounting option you wish to use when reattaching your body shell - ensuring that all screws are tightened securely before proceeding further with testing out how well everything works! Finally, once everything is installed correctly and securely, refer back to Model Railroading DCC Decoder Installation instructions one last time so as to program any desired settings into memory such as speeds and lighting effects etc., in order for these settings now being programmed into memory actually take effect once powered up via track power later on! With that said, installing a Digital Command Control (DCC)decoder in an N Scale locomotive can greatly expand upon what kind of customizations are now possible - allowing for maximum control over speed & direction along with lighting effects etc., offering many more possibilities when it comes customizing your locomotive operation.
Jan 4, Model Railroading as a Community Service
Improving the world, one community at a time.
Dec 31, Tracks: January 2023
2023 New Year's Edition of Tracks, a favorite newsletter for beginners and experts.
Dec 24, Merry Christmas!!
To all who love Christmas and Trains and to all their families and friends, Merry Christmas, and may the Joy and the Spirit of the Season be upon you all, now and throughout the New Year!
Dec 22, Troubleshooting Your Model Railroad
Troubleshooting your model railroad is just as much a part of model railroading as building the train layout. There will always be something that needs fixing.
Dec 11, New RSS Board for Model Railroading
If you like to use RSS feeds to keep up to date on all topics related to model railroading, here is a link to one that we set up... https://feedly.com/i/board/content/user/b7c7041f-162d-4163-b076-9b28c946d42f/tag/899f3df5-ddc4-41fe-96ac-5582c5ef6746 Just copy this link into your favorite RSS reader and enjoy the updates.
Dec 11, Looking for MTH service or repair?
Check out the website at https://coltrains.com/ (Central Operating Lines Model Railroad Club)
Dec 5, Model Railroading Questions and Answers
Answers to questions about model railroading submitted by our readers
Dec 3, Tracks: December 2022
Tracks is a free model railroad newsletter containing lots of tips, tricks and techniques to help you in building your model railroad.