Model Trains & Railroads Tips

Model trains tips, tricks and secrets
Saturday, July 13th, 2013

I’ve been thinking of starting a model railroad of any real size gauge. I have been having problems figuring out what region I should do so I can be accurate with my purchases of engines, cars, etc. I live in N.W.I outside of Chicago. We normally see CSX, Union Pacific, and BNSF. Any suggestions on this???

As first layout you’ll gain the expertise to build it.First things first.What era do you want to model? Myself and others have opted for “transition” era because it allows for steam and diesels to share the same point in time, adding a great deal of variety in equipment collection alone.Your railroad is your own. What will it be hauling, primarily is the next question, and has to do with region.Mid-west has a huge variety in scenery and differing freight commodities. Coal, grain, farming equipment, fertilizer, natural gas, etc.As far as a first go round in the scenery department, desert southwest is a good jumping off point.Steel is big in your neck of the woods, if you want to go that way.But others still create their own fictional railroad, where anything goes.If you want a wide variety of regions in contemporary operations, UP will offer the greatest variety.And out in left field are logging railroads. I have incorporated the McCloud River railroad into my predominately SP layout. The McCRR interchanges with the SP in Mt Shasta, about four miles from my house.Don’t get hung up on one aspect… carpentry, electrical wiring, model building, painting… learn to enjoy it all. There are good publications out there that will teach you basic benchwork, layout design, etc. Read a couple. Not too dificult. If I can do it, so can a moron. Or something…On the other hand, as I have gone over time, the lion’s share of the budget was in procuring rolling stock and power. If the layout doesn’t get done before I croak, the collection is still complete.The beauty is, you can do whatever you want and still be true to railroading in general and in miniature.

A model railroad layout should always include mountains & the north west region of the US has some of the best. So I would recommend the N W Region of the US for most diverse terrain.

CSX doesn’t go out towards the Northwestern United States. I suggest the Midwest, specifically Illinois or Indiana.

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