The Ultimate Model Trains for Beginners Starter Guide

Ready to get started working on the “worlds greatest hobby!?” The beginners guide is designed to help you avoid wasting precious time, money and space. Remember, constructing your first model railroad is an adventure, so get ready for the ride.

In this guide you will learn the THREE major CONCEPTS that beginners must know to get their goals accomplished first time at building a model train layout.

This three part “Model Trains for Beginners Starter Guide was created to be followed in order. Read each part of the series and remember to answer the important questions before spending a dime on layout benches, supplies and scenery. At the end of the three part series, you can download a more detailed version of the entire guide by clicking the PDF download button below.

Answer the Following Questions

Once you have decided on a theme for your model railroad, including the era and time period, for example the Chicago Union Station theme based in the era of the 1930’s, your next CONCEPT to figure out is the type of scale to use.

Scales refer to the ratio between the measurement of a model compared to that of the prototype. In other words, what size trains do you want to run? For example, a Lionel locomotive that is 1/48th the size of the real thing is called 1/48th or 1:48 scale. (As it happens, O gauge trains are 1/48th scale.) Sometimes the terms “gauge” and “scale” are used interchangeably even though, technically, they’re different. Gauge is the term used to describe the distance between the 2 rails of track. Usually 2 inches is (“standard gauge”). “Narrow gauge” is a term used for rails that are closer together than standard gauge – usually around 0.75 inches.

Model Train Scales

After deciding on what scale and gauge to use for your model railroad. The next CONCEPT to figure out is the display of your model railroad layout.

The third CONCEPT to figure out for your model railroading layout adventure is the display. In other words, how will you show off your work? where will you show off your layout? And more importantly to who?

Model Train Display

Every model train enthusiast has personal inspirations for creating their very own model railroad. For some, it is to remind them of their childhood, such as myself included. For others it is simply to enjoy this magical world of miniature worlds and spend time with their children and grandchildren.

learn how build your model train layout

Next, learn detailed step by step directions on the following:

  • How to pick and build the perfect layout to suit your budget and the space you have available? One that will provide loads of fun for years to come
  • A full glossary to explain the model train language
  • All the track cleaning methods explained and what not to do. Easy ways to maintain and keep your layout clean… easily keep your trees and scenery free from dust and cobwebs
  • The 4 different track options explained and compared to allow you to make an informed decision on what you should be using
  • The best way to create grassed meadows and fields and fire scenes!
  • What repairs you should do yourself and when you should use an experienced repairer
  • The secrets to creating realism and an aged look… how to create rust, mud and tire marks on your rolling stock
  • Handling common track features – turnouts, reversing loops
  • How do you convert your analog layout to a DCC system and should you even consider DCC?
  • How to avoid those frustrating electrical shorts on your turnouts?

The most important part to building a model railroad is knowing exact step-by-step directions for planning, designing and building ahead of time. To avoid endless frustration due to limited space, derailment/wiring issues and wasted time trying to figure out, understanding the fundamental steps is crucial. The best feeling in the world as a model railroader is enjoying a fully operational layout with all the bells and whistles.

To master model railroad building will take countless hours trying to figure out the exact process for each part.

You must know each of the bullet points above to ensure your locomotives do not have erratic stops, derailments or lack of speed on gradients. and is a fully functional realistic model train layout.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hours and money with trial and error, here’s everything you need to know packaged into one resource.


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model trains for beginners book
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In this book you will learn how to:

  • Repair model trains so you don’t have to waste money and time at a hobby shop
  • Maintain model trains to look as stunning as when you first acquired them
  • Wire the perfect current flow so all of your trains run smoothly at different speed. This is one of the secrets for creating the most realistic model train layout possible
  • Convert DC to DCC and have intricate layouts with numerous trains on it, following their daily routes at varying speeds with no power issues
  • Create terrain and buildings from scratch , this will help you to build the layout of your dreams and save you tons of money on buildings, which are some of the most expensive accessories of a model railroad
  • Avoid common mistakes that every beginner makes that costs time, money and lots of frustration
  • Find cheap model train stuff, so you can free up your budget to spend on additional details for your model railroad
  • Build model train layout plans that will have your railroad looking display ready very quickly
  • And a ton of other valuable information that would take 10 to 15 different books, sitting on forums threads filtering the amateur hour content from the real deal content from experts. Get all of the information you need to build a model train layout all in one place

I can honestly say that this information guide is the best investment for model train beginners and past railroaders.

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James “Jim” Reynolds
Model Train Expert