Tips to Help You Get Started With On Your First Train Layout
Seeing the large layouts in the different model railroad magazines may make you want to build your own train empire. The point I really want to stress is to start small if you are just getting started in model railroading. A small layout will give you a taste of the different aspects of putting a layout together like carpentry skills to build the benchwork, laying the track down, wiring the track and other tasks like track maintenance. Starting out with a large layout can be too overwhelming and a sure way to end in failure and not finish the layout. A small layout will give you experience in the different skills of model railroading. It is much easier to complete a small layout and you will be able to add scenery and details to tell the stories you want. You can always add onto the train layout later if you decide to. You could also build a larger layout one section at a time and add them together.
The larger the model railroad layout is the more money it will require to build and maintain it. So a small layout fits a small budget much better. A layout does not need to be big to have fun. A small shelf layout can take up very little space. It could be setup as a switching puzzle that can be very entertaining for a long time and provide the possibility to do some scenery work too!
There are some disadvantages of a small layout that you should keep it mind. You’re limited to running short trains. Larger locomotives do not run well or look good on the tighter curve radius of a small layout. The rolling stock is limited to shorter lengths.
The smaller scales of model railroading like Z scale and N scale take up a lot less room for a train layout but also require more patience. Because of the small size of the locomotives and rolling stock, good hand coordination and dexterity are needed to place the small wheels back on the tracks and to work with small details. So the HO scale or larger maybe a better way for some people to go.
Many of the newer model railroad layouts are wired for Digital Command Control (DCC) which has many more options available than an older Direct Current (DC) setup. All those different options of DCC do add up to more expenses. I use the old DC wiring system which keeps things simple and the cost down. I can still run two or three locomotives at once on my layout. There are more slide switches to operate on a DC setup but that can keep things interesting when running more than one train at the same time.
Another way I kept the cost of the layout down was to use the older track switches or turnouts that have the solenoid switch mounted on top of them. They are not as pretty, but the cost is lower than buying the prototype looking turnouts and also having to buy the under the layout switch motor too. I had to make some sacrifices but also have kept the overall expense of building the layout down for our small budget.
For good information on building the benchwork, wiring the layout and other good information to help build your model railroad layout, check out the following link; build your model railroad.
Model railroading can be an expensive hobby with all the new exciting technology and gadgets available nowadays but it is possible to enjoy model railroading on a small budget. Keep the layout small and simple at first and just get a feel for the hobby. Model railroading is a great escape from a hard days work or the stresses of life. Escape into a world of your imagination.
Until later, keep it simple, relaxed and happy N scale modeling!