Getting started on a model railroad is exciting but it can also be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re getting inspiration from images of highly detailed layouts. You can certainly get a train running by simply setting up the track on the floor, but if you plan on building upon the railroad to construct an entire layout, you’ll want to plan for it. We’ve put together this beginner’s guide to help you build the foundation for a strong railroad layout, from the base to the details.
Building the Base
Before you start laying the tracks, you’ll need to determine where the layout is going to live. When we say building the “base,” we’re referring to the train table for your model railroad. Having a large enough space to expand your track will allow you to build upon your layout and design something beyond the ordinary. You can choose to purchase a train table or make one on your own if you have access to the necessary supplies. All you’ll need is 4-6 strong pieces of wood, some screws, and a large sheet of plywood that your track will sit on. Once the structure is built, you can also paint the surface to add roads, dirt, concrete, and other colors to start making it look realistic!
Laying and Securing the Track
Many beginners make the mistake of not securing their track. We understand that you don’t want to ruin the table you’ve built or bought, but keeping the railroad secured to the table is very important. Luckily, there are now alternatives to the traditional nails or tacks that railroaders would normally use. Today, most modelers are using a clear silicone caulk, which is a glue-like substance that can easily be taken up after months or years once it’s set. This is especially useful if you eventually decide to change your track layout.
Scenery & Structures
Once you’re happy with your track layout and you’ve tested it out, now’s the time to add some scenery! Adding structures and detailing will take your railroad to the next level. Again, you can either choose to purchase additional structures or create your own! We provide a variety of accessories to create a realistic terrain, including rocks, grass, water, and beyond. Try adding buildings, trees, or any other landscape features that’ll enhance your layout. This is your chance to get creative and make your railroad unique!
Upgrading Your Model Trains & Layout
Now that you understand some of the basics, it’s time to start building your layout! At Charles Ro Supply Company, we carry a wide selection of model trains and accessories and can help you to upgrade your collection. As America’s largest train store, we can help you with all your model train needs and guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for! Our train selection includes O Gauge, S Gauge, G Scale, HO Scale, and N scale trains. Stop by our store in Malden, MA, or browse our online store to get started!