Starting model train hobby

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve thought about Starting model train hobby.

Of course, I’m biased, but it’s a wonderful hobby.

All you need do is pick a theme, pick a track layout, and get going.

Start small. Start simple. And then it all falls into place.

Jeff’s a man of few words but look what he’s put together in such a small space:

“Here are some pictures of my layout.

As you can see I don’t have a lot of space to work with, but I made the best out of what I have.


Starting model train hobby

Starting model train hobby

Starting model train hobby

Jeff might not have a lot to say, and there’s only a handful of pics of his layout, but he’s made a start, and that’s what it’s all about.

Over the years there has been quite a few posts now on how to make a start – and I really enjoy seeing them in my inbox and I take great delight in posting them.

Here’s a few of them:

How to start your HO scale

How to start a model train layout

Starting your train layout

Jim starts his HO scale

You get the idea… it’s all about the start.

In fact, it’s the start that stops most people.

And if you want a little bit of help in making that start, just pick a theme. It can be anything you like – an old holiday destination perhaps, or where you grew up. Or maybe it’s the era that interests you? The 1940s?

Once you have them that you know you’ll enjoy the rest will slot in to place and you’ll be laying track in no time at all.

Now on to Dangerous Dave.

He sent me this, which I have to say, did make me smile:

“After been challenged by a fellow Youtube Modeller in Germany to try and see how many cars and trucks could be pulled by one Locomotive ..(and to compete with American Rakes)

I did a quick video yesterday showing I got 45 on the back of one Locomotive, and not a problem, think I could manage another 5.

On the description it shows the lead to Andy`s Trains who sent the challenge.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Nice one Dave! A big thanks to you and Jeff.

And if you’re still thinking about starting model train hobby, jump on the newsletter and you’ll be laying track in no time.

That’s all for now – until tomorrow – when I have a cracking HO scale for you.

Please do keep ’em coming.



14 Responses to Starting model train hobby

  1. Dan says:

    What is the white stuff used to elevate the tracks in Jeff’s layout? What do you recommend for elevating track? I’m just putting the frame together for my N scale layout. I will soon be laying the track and I wanted to elevate the track for a a hill or mountain scene. This is my first train layout.

  2. James in Washington, USA says:

    Jeff, I like the direction you are going to getting the most out of your limited space. Good job!

    Dan: That’s a product of Woodland Scenics called “Subterrain, lightweight layout system.” It works really well on my layout. You don’t have to cut out plywood or mess with wooden risers. Just put it together with hot glue too. If you are like me you have to see the physical track positions instead of discovering your paper plan won’t work in the real world. Give it a try.

  3. Richard Board says:

    Only one question to Dangerous Dave: WHY?

  4. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Dangerous Dave……… Your videos of your layout and trains never cease to amaze me and inspire me. That was one heck of train.

  5. george zaky says:

    Good job. I crave more info. Nosey kind of guy but I think every body would like to know what you have.

    You are awesome. 45 cars. WOW. More than that you have many of the same kind. You raise the bar even higher.
    Please stay well
    George from LI, NY

  6. Scott J says:

    The “White Stuff” is Woodland Scenics grade risers, which you can get in sets of various steepness. I also model N scale, and I’ve gone with their most gradual gradient of 2 percent. The only caveat is that they’re 2.5 inches wide. However, I also have their foam cutting/sculpting tool, which uses a length of heated Ni-chrome wire to slice off about 3/8″ on both sides using 2 sets of home-brew custom cardboard guides (one set is 2 1/8″ and the other 1 3/4″), which will leave a width of only 1.75 inches. There’s a video on Woodland’s site that shows how to do this, although the system I use is rather more refined than what the video demonstrates. If you’ve the room for it, that’s of no consequence, and, in fact, if you leave the risers at their full width of 2.5″, you can actually have parallel runs of N-scale track on them. Any scale larger won’t work, particularly around curves, as they should be set at a minimum of 1 5/16″ separation, center-to-center, which will accommodate any length of N-scale stock around an 11″ radius or larger curve.

  7. Jim Moran says:

    Dan’s question is a great one! What is that stuff?

  8. james hunter says:

    years ago i was a beer salesman in lafayette, indiana (usa)………… true hobby shop in town that dealt with trains only and specialized in ho………a big man, probably 6′ plus 4 inches or more……….snowy white hair………i think his name was jack and that his last name started with an H……..whenever i could, i would stop by for a few minutes, sit down and just listen to him answer questions about modeling railroading from customers……………the man was brilliant with his knowledge…………….along the north wall of the shop was a huge ho bare bones layout……………..the transformer was the size of a 1/4 barrel of draught beer………….and the total distance for just one lap was probably 40′ or more of track………….he had seven ho dielsels pulling a 170 ho cars…………..he would first slowly back the engines up to “condense” the cars? and then would so very slowly start the engines forward………each car would “click” as they were pulled forward……………a work of art and love for the hobby………we all miss ol’ jack…………

  9. Curt says:

    I am an old-timer model railroader from the 50s and 60s and have been away from the hobby for that long, I look at the building materials and simply shake my head at how many time-saving building techniques have been developed.

    Back then I worked on a club layout that had over 13 actual miles of track laid down. It took us almost 2 1/2 years to do it, and it filled an entire 10 stall stable. That time was not counting the buildings and scenery.

    Can you give me a reference source or sources for new techniques, supplies, and methodology that would help a returning modeler?

  10. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Jef Nice layout plan Have you left enough space between your track risers and the lower level track to get your scenery in without your coaches etc. hitting the scenery. It looks very close on the curves.
    Dave Ti answer Richard- Why Not !!!

  11. Hi Colin , yes thats the best answer ..Why Not ? …..its a great hobby so we can also have fun with it …and after seung those long rakes over there in America , maybe we can do the same .. and Jeff thats a nice compact layout …Dangerous Dave

  12. Robert Brady says:

    DAN, They are risers from Woodland Scenics,All sizes and lengths
    The Critic

  13. Robert Brady says:

    Jeff Are you building a railroad or a roller coaster, That’s going to be a load on your engines. One would be sufficient. You’ll end up changing it.
    The Critic

  14. Rod Mackay says:

    An exhibition OO layout called ‘Long Suffren’, built by Newport club years ago now, used to run a hundred wagon coal train, but of course they were all 12 or 16 tonners, the loco was a specially weighted eight-coupled GWR type but the wagons were quite normal, no clever tricks, just good maintenance. One of the heaviest trains we had round here was the iron ore from Port Talbot Docks to Llanwern steelworks east of Newport, that had 30 bogie open 100-tonners – 76 ton load and 24 ton tare weight, so 3,000 tons gross. That began running with three 1,750hp English Electric class 37 engines in multiple, but when class 56 Brush engines arrived, only two of those were needed, and when 3,000hp Ruston-engined class 60 locos arrived just one was sufficient as they had a Doppler radar creep control function that allowed the wheels to turn fractionally faster tan they were moving, heating the rail and increasing traction, very impressive. Sadly Llanwern stopped steelmaking some years back and now only receives coil for galvanising, I believe.

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