How To Create A Perfect Model Railroad Without Making Too Many Bad Mistakes

We all make mistakes when making a model railroad layout, but the big thing is to learn from your mistakes or steer clear of making mistakes at all (although that’s not always possible).

One of the most usual mistakes is choosing the wrong scale when starting off in the hobby. Talk with other people in the hobby – we all have our preferences on scales.

You ought to do a lot of research and measure how much room you’ve got available. Lots of beginners start collecting one scale only to discover that there are more parts and accessories available for another scale. They either start again or start mixing scales. A bad choice.

Plenty of people start off in the hobby by buying a model railroad starter set. Although these beginner sets can be a great way to get underway, they’re designed for beginners. The sets usually have trains, tracks and a power pack. They are somewhat basic and not for spreading out into a larger layout configuration. If you try to expand the track you could be unhappy when the locomotive quickly stops for no apparent reason. A starter set is really to get you going and isn’t right for the serious railroad modeler who wants to double his or her train setup.

Before you begin expanding your starter set (if that’s what you want to do), read my Model Train Help ebook as it includes lots of mistakes to avoid.

Have a picture in your mind before you start. Choose what you want the model railroad to represent before you race out and buy something. Would you enjoy steam or diesel locomotives, DCC or DC? What about a one level or multi level layout, or possibly a shelf design? There are numerous questions to ask, and it’s best to answer them now rather than later.

Another frequent mistake for those starting off involves building the hills or tracks too steep. A locomotive will run smoothly down a track and then begin climbing a steep slope and pause. If this happens to you, it is most likely because the track is too steep. The maximum slope is approximately two degrees to keep the locomotive from stopping.

Yet another common problem is to make the track curves too tight. The shorter locomotives and freight cars can operate tight curves, but your longer passenger trains could derail on these tighter curves. Do plenty of planning and test everything before you fix down the tracks.

A lot of railroad modelers get underway with a shelf layout which is normally built around the wall and will typically protrude roughly 12 inches out from the wall. A background can provide depth and interest to the scene. Adding mirrors in strategic locations is a good idea too.

Some talented railroad modelers have designed foldaway layouts where the table is joined to a line and pulley mechanism lowered from the wall or roof. The roof structure must be able to support the hefty weight of lifting the layout up and down. If constructed strong enough, this could be a smart space saving solution.

As a general rule, things can be picked up from observing others and applying some trial and error. I have written a couple of very useful ebooks that encompass lots of clever ideas on the subject.

The key is to enjoy your hobby and use your time to achieve things how you want them. No two model railroad layouts are exactly the same so you can improvise and insert your own unique look to your layout.

2 Responses to “How To Create A Perfect Model Railroad Without Making Too Many Bad Mistakes”

  • abby756:

    yeh I mixed scales when i got started. big mistake.

    i just got my password for the club and am bout to have a good look round. thanx

  • Kevin:

    Congratulations Robert on your club. I have your e-books and I’ll be a starter with this also. Very excited to see the members section.

Leave a Reply