Want to post a reply to this topic?
Login or register for an acount to join our online community today!

i'm new to model trains, any ideas for my layout.

  • i'm new to model trains, and before i do any thing, i want some good ideas. anything to do with model trains in ho scale from scenry ideas to track plans is good THANKS FOR LOOKING , HAPPY RAILROADING [:D][:)][8D]
    Replies to this thread are ordered from "oldest to newest".   To reverse this order, click here.
    To learn about more about sorting options, visit our FAQ page.
  • Hi
    welcome to the forums.The only thing I would say is start slow.I would get an Atlas wiring guide book from the hobby store.It shows different track plans and how to wire track into blocks.make sure your layout is level too and for better contact sader your trak connections too.great layouts take time to make.
    stay safe have fun

    Deshler Ohio-crossroads of the B&O Matt eats your fries.YUM! Clinton st viaduct undefeated against too tall trucks!!!(voted to be called the "Clinton St. can opener").


  • The Atlas wiring guide is a excellent book it shows you the best ways to run wiring and its made simple. Atlas makes alot of good products too. You can start with a starter set,a starter set has every thing you need. Bachmann is a good way to start. My first set was a bachmann. That was 14 years ago. and the same engine is still working today. Later on you might try other brands I like Athearns ,Atlas and Life Like's Proto 2000 engines are good .Later on ,after you are up and running good , you might buy a good power pack .Stater set power packs over the years wear down ,MRC makes fine power packs ,like theTech 4 is good. The landscape starting out ,I used staro-foam board for mountains cut to the contour with razor knife , but now I have a permanate bench layout so I use ply-wood ,screen wire and plaster.I like the plaster methiod , because when its wet you can take a puddyknife and shape it the way you like ,also you can add sawdust ,litchen and spray paint .When it dries sometime you get cracks but thats o.k. spray it again add more saw dust , the cracks in the plaster add a more realistic look.The main thing is to TAKE YOUR TIME AND HAVE FUN
  • yeah, read up on what the previous posts have said...all good stuff. Athearn blue box can be run into the ground, very reliable.
  • We have two layouts in our home - one for Dad and one for Dad and sons (ages 7 amd 10)...the family layout is a "bent waterwings" or "dogbone" design (think oval with the middle pinched tight and bent to form two ballons)...our layout is all Thomas the Tank Engine themed, but can easily turn into a scale layout by changing out the rolling stock and engines. We've posted photos on the net to inspire others. And we are open to suggestions. The layout is constantly being repaired as they love to operate and often accidentally tear up the scenery. We all have a ton of fun with is a link to our photos.
  • try to set up negative space (open aryas) in your lay out. every thing helps as long as it looks good and is corecked. what time peryod.
  • [8D] Hey Paulsafety that is a great Thomas layout. How did you find or make a Gordon in HO ? Also the tidwel Milk did you make that ? You have items I have never seen. Nice pictures thanks for sharing.

  • Dear TurboOne,

    Sorry for the delayed response, but I don't check this forum frequently.

    Our "Gordon" is a Hornby model ( that we bought off of EBAY. There are many other "Thomas" models currently in production at Hornby.

    The Milk van is also from Hornby.

    Thanks for the compliments on the layout - it is very much a work in progress and that is the point - it is for me and my sons to "play with"!

  • I agree with the posts here on starting slow, and read, read, read. I got interested in this hobby last Oct. I started with a couple of Model RailRoader mags and before I knew it, I was looking on the net and buying more mags on layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC etc. etc. etc. The hobby is really big. Only within the last two weeks (this is now almost Feb) did I invest any dough in real hardware. Start slow and above all have fun. Last, try to find a model show in your area. These are great if you are new, like me, and ask lots of questions.



  • you know the company that does all this (kalmbach publishing) has a few awsome books and magezines.i bought this one at barnes and nobel it is titled model thrains step-by-step, it comes with a free dvd that shows the full deal[:D]
  • Welcome to model railroading! :-)
    While I am kind of in the arm chair in the hobby right now, I do have some advice from past experiences.

    1. Quality track and equipment is a MUST. Athearn and Walthers make excellent-quality locomotives and rolling stock. True, lots of Athearn's cars are kits and the loco's need handrails added, but recently Athearn has begun offering ready-to-run cars.
    Walther's marvelous Trainline brand has terrific quality locomotives and cars all ready to rock and roll on your layout, and they're decently priced, so I would reccomend them to start up with.

    2. Keep the first layout simple but have operational interest.
    A simple first layout based around a loop of track is great for beginners but by all means try to have one or two industries along the line to switch at as well as being able to just let 'em roll on the high iron. Plus, a small layout lets you get your feet wet and cut your teeth in the hobby with a minimum of frustration and tons of fun and learning the tricks of the hobby.

    Enjoy, and love those trains! :-)

    Richard Krebes
    Temporarily high and dry model rail but by the prototype in Long Lake, Minnesota, USA
  • Start with a set (Don't get life like's DC sets, they are too cheap) then build off of that.
    As for the controllers the tech-4 Mrc 200-400 transformer series are good & powerful.
    To not blow your buget, the athrean blue box freight cars are good runners &
    are kadee compatible. Kadee couplers are the #1 coupler on the market and are
    recomended by almost everyone. I recromend that the locomotives you buy are from
    one of the following conpany's (STEAM): Browser, Bachmann, Rivrossi, Athrean(DCC),
    International hobby corp, MTH(DCC), Broadway limited, & Lionel(DCC).(DIESELS):
    Athrean, Walthers, Atlas, KATO(Mostly DCC), International hobby corp, Lionel(DCC),
    Rivriossi, Lifelike Proto, & Bachmann.(Electric's, Rotary's &other rail vehicles):
    Bachmann, International hobby corp, Walthers, & Broadway imports. Have Fun !
  • i have a cool link for kids
  • Buy a copy of the atlas,layout book......I just built the Great Northern and western......IT
  • Sorry I hit the wrong key on the key board,so i don't know if you rec. My goes again I just started a few months ago ...from the atlas lay out book...The Great Northern and western>>>It needs a a five by 9 >.>>>>.5X 9 foot ply wood board...So i bought two sheets of 4X8 X3/8 thick and framed it out using 2/3..s>>.put a seem in the middle........It came out perfect....because I'm limited for space in my apartment I raised it up and down by means of a pully system ......I devised >>>> and by means of crank handel...>>>>>.any other info, be glad to>>>>>>fla