A casual hobby to some, but close to an obsession for others, the art of model train creation, building and general working with isn’t as simple as it may seem. In fact, there are many aspects that make up this hobby, one important one being model train layouts.

Whether you enjoying playing with model trains, making them, or simply collecting them; you’d know that the layout of your model railroad is very important. Creating your own model railroad layout isn’t a matter of putting random bits and pieces together and hoping it all works out, rather it involves a huge amount of creativity, planning, skill and competency. In a way it can definitely be seen as an art.

Firstly comes the planning of the model train layout. Just like you would when in the process of creating model trains themselves, you have to plan out how large or small you want your layout to be, as well as any particular features you would like in include, like buildings, models, or special electronic functions. It’s best to do this stage on some sort of paper and/or create basic blueprints for future reference. This will allow you to edit your plans in the future and add in or take away particular parts of your ideal train layout.

Once planned, you need to gather the materials and required tools to create the model train layout. This stage really depends on how in depth you planned your project and what features you incorporated in the project. For example, you may have to sculpt and make buildings for your model railroad.

A common feature is a bridge, and although you can purchase them pre-made, if you create your own, not only does it mean you can have your own customizations, but it means you can make use of some electronic engineering and essentially create a more advanced and “fun” model railroad.

If you’re the sort of hobbyist who likes to replicate real locations or real train stations, then it would require some detailed photographs of the location you intend on replicating. Whether this means you grab your own camera and go out to the scene to take the pictures yourself, or simply use Google to find some images, they would likely be required. It definitely helps to take pictures of signs and decals that you’d like to use in the model railroad, shrink them down to model size, and use them in your project.

Finally, the best tip that can be given to any individual who is looking to create their own model train layout is to make use of some sort of CAD (computer aided design) program. By using computer graphics, you can visually create your model railroad from the plans without physically building or creating anything tangible. Computer graphics will still allow you to keep everything in the real life proportions and scales, effectively helping you find any potential mistakes before they even happen.

Remember to plan your project out before you begin, ensuring it’s detailed, and if you can, use some computer graphics to “create” your project without physically creating it!