Sometimes it can be hard to know how to get started in the world of railway modelling. There are so many aspects to it. Some people like the history, some like to make models of their favourite locos, some enjoy the layout building, scenery etc while others just like to run trains. The hobby is very broad, which is one of its main appeals. In our club, our members have all the above interests so in building our club layouts we can draw on their expertise to make the best model we can.
These notes are aimed at those people, new or returnees to the hobby, who are considering building a layout of their own.
A lot of the time, newcomers to the hobby will ask “what scale should I model?”. This is probably not the best question to ask as you should select a scale depending on the answers to a lot of other questions. So below we have tried to take you through the steps you might consider before you start.
John Hipwell's O gauge small branch terminus under construction
A major area that covers all aspects of building a layout is “Research”. An interesting facet of the hobby in its own right it is essential, even on a freelance layout, to ensure you get what you want from your layout. We have a guide to show how to go about Research
But first a word of warning. You can plan forever. Planning is often interesting in itself but if you want a model railway you do need to start! And a word of advice. Join a club, preferably our club of course, but join a club. You will find many like minded people, from experts to novices, from fantastic artists to electrical geniuses, there will be someone who has practical experience who can help. Please look at the the links below which cover the major questions you should consider when deciding what to build for a layout.
If you have any questions about the information at Virtual Railex 2021 or about our club, please email firstname.lastname@example.org which will be manned all day. Someone will help with your enquiry.
Deciding what you want. How to decide what you want and what you can fit in your space.
Building your Layout. Questions to consider when building your layout.
Designing It Yourself. A brief introduction of techniques for 3D printing, laser cutting and PCB design using computer technology in our hobby.
A few articles aimed primarily at the newcomer or returnee to the hobby or, indeed, anyone embarking on building a layout.
Research. How to go about researching the background and setting of your model railway.
Scale & Gauge. An overview of the scales and gauges common in the hobby.
Summary of Popular Scales. Potted histories of the various standard gauge scales.
Narrow Gauge. An explanation of the main narrow gauge options in the hobby.
Garden Railways A brief introduction to garden railways.
How Much Room Do I Need? A short summary of some of the main train dimensions you may need to accommodate on your layout.
Introduction to DCC. An introduction to DCC, explaining the basics of What and Why.
Baseboard Construction. An overview of the different types of baseboard construction you may want to consider.
An Overview of Point Motors. A brief overview of the types of point motor available and some of the pros, cons and costs of the various types.
A Summary of Couplings. Choice of couplings for your layout stock can be a tricky decision, this brief article looks at some of the options and what they offer.
Finally please take a look at the Techniques & Demos section where many of the subjects here are covered in more detail.