What’s the Fuss About Model Trains?

Many of us got started with model railroad trains when we received a small set for Christmas. Can you remember the thrill of that discovery, even to this day? Model railroading has been called “The Worlds Greatest Hobby,” though undoubtedly there are others that would argue for candle making.

Model railroading has captured the imagination of hobbyists for a long time. This is a hobby that has been passed on from father to son (and even daughters). While some enthusiasts are content to collect locomotives, if you desire to go beyond that, you will be engaged in designing and building a world (or at least a part of one) of your own making! I dare you to name one other hobby like that!

Toy trains and model railroad trains have been around since the 1840’s when ‘carpet railways’ came about. Today, model trains are exact scale replicas of locomotives and rolling stock, and you can find them from any era of the Iron Horse.

Model railroad enthusiasts are involved in the hobby in many different ways. While owning one locomotive qualifies you, many have some sort of layout, even if it’s portable and gets put away when they need the space for something else. The most ambitious spend countless hours and money creating large exact scale model railroads, building scenery and buildings from scratch.

The scale models go from super tiny (“T” scale, which is 1:450) up to 1:4. Live steam powered riding models are generally 1:8 scale, these run outdoors. ‘HO’ scale, at 1:87.1 is the most popular of the scales, offering a balance between size and amount of detail.

Creating layouts can be quite creative, where a realistic scene is constructed over the course of a lifetime, or, you can set up your tracks on a piece of plywood, place some buildings you’ve bought or made from kits, and run your railroad around and around! It’s really up to you!

So remember back to when you first saw that model railroad. Perhaps it’s a memory of a real train, during a trip, or in your town. The mystery of movement. The sound of the whistle as it rolls into the station, or through a crossing. What is it that grabs you? Follow that feeling as you build your model railway!