Clarity… Why do model railroaders need clarity?
Because the model train opportunities are endless!
You can build a layout in your basement, attic, shed, garage or
garden. You can run steam or diesel locomotives. You can have
multilevel railways with rivers, dams, mountains, snow… You get
The opportunities are truly endless in this wonderful hobby. Some
points to consider are:
Where are you going to build your layout?
In my case it’s “Where will my Wife let me?” I find that I
prefer being in the shed where I am out of the way and can enjoy
lots of “me” time. I have a friend who has a large model train
layout in his front lounge area.
How much space have you got available?
The entire layout needs to be easily reachable by the operator to
correct derailed trains, line faults, etc. “Against the wall”
layouts need to be restricted to 3 feet wide. A layout size of at
least 3 feet 6 inches x 4 feet would allow space for a continuous
loop railroad in HO scale. A layout space of at least 6 x 4 feet
would be a better option. This would allow room to have a
reasonably interesting model railroad.
Which scale you are going to use?
This is largely dependent on the space you have available and how
much detail you want. Detail is easier to see and reproduce on
larger models. HO scale is the most common and has the widest
variety of accessories available. But if space is at a premium then
consider N scale. You can build an N scale layout in an area about
30% of that area needed to build a similar layout in HO scale.
Will you model a real life layout or create your own?
Most model train enthusiasts will eventually create models of real
life systems. It can be challenging to model real life systems, but
is very rewarding. Google Earth provides us with the perfect tool
to check layouts, sizes, scenery, buildings and more.
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