Model train and railroad is a great pastime for beginners, children and adults from all walks of life. Since most people engage in this hobby when they are kids, the hobby can last a lifetime. The most famous model railroad enthusiasts include Winston Churchill, Tom Hanks, Frank Sinatra and David Hasselhoff. The whole process of designing and creating a model railroad requires critical skills such as logical thought, artistic and modeling skills, 3D and spatial visualization and basic engineering skills. Woodworking and electrical skills also play an important part when laying down the track and installing the wiring system. An investment in model railroad requires energy, time and money. The trains and model buildings can be purchased at the local hobby shop or via mail order delivery.
Engaging in the Model Railroad Hobby
The popularity of model railroad stems from a number of aspects. The social aspects include the membership at the railroad clubs and associations; opportunity to meet new people; participating in model building competitions and wide appeal across different generations. Model trains also promise instant gratification because they allow participants to get things up and running in no time. Since the model railroad is a constantly changing activity, it constantly requires an infusion of new ideas. For this reason, it provides a great learning opportunity to those keen on learning about the railroad history and the marvels of engineering. To most adults, the railroad reminds them about their childhood because it provides a perfect opportunity for them to relieve the days when steam engines and modern diesel trains dominated the countryside and the cities. However, for most people, the greatest reason for engaging in this hobby is because it is fun.
Constructing a Railroad
- Pick your scale – the size of the model train ranges from the larger G-Scale that is most suitable for outdoor garden to the micro-sized Z-scale that can fit into a small space. The other scales include O (1:48), S (1:64). HO (1:87) and N (1:160). The size and layout of the model selected largely depends on the amount of space and budget that is available. The other item that requires consideration includes the landscaping accessories you want to include. It is interesting to note that the Miniature Wunderland in Germany is the world’s longest model railway track; it measures an astonishing 13,000 meters.
- Get educated – To get more informed about the processes of building a railroad, you need to take your time and read various railroad magazines and online resources. You can also contact an experienced railroad expert or visit the hobby shops to speak to the attendant to get more insights and find pertinent answers regarding this hobby.
- Get started – The next stage is selecting your starting point. During this stage, you can select a permanent layout that replicates some of the famous railroads. For example, you can model your railroad based on the 1920’s Nevada logging railroads.
- Chose the right scales – Once you have chosen your layout, you need to sketch and draw your plan on a plain piece of paper using an erasable pencil in case you need to make adjustments. If you have a computer, you can, you can use dedicated computer programs that will help you create a great layout design and final assembly.