Getting Started in railway modelling: all stages

Before you make any purchase, you have to start by imagining the network you want to make. Oh, yes

Are you planning to start building a rail network? Small network or large infrastructure? To amuse your child or to satisfy your passion? Whatever the source or purpose of your project, take pleasure in achieving it.

Thought of the real world or inspired by a fiction created by your imagination, to each his inspiration, to each his network... However, the steps remain the same for all.

Start by choosing the location

To establish your plan, you have to determine the place of the network. In a corner of your room or that of your children, in a part of the office, in the attic or even in the garage... Small network or large infrastructure? You do not have to make a round or oval network if space does not allow you to do so. An all-right infrastructure may very well be enjoyable. Add a few intersections with an industrial building, for example, as well as crossings with 3 sorting lanes. On the route of a straight round trip, you have the possibility to do manoeuvres, to slow down against the obstacles and then to regain the rhythm. This already gives the fun side to the game.

Then ask yourself the question: For what purpose you want to make your network? If the goal is to have fun with your family, the floor of your room can do the trick. On the other hand, if you want to reveal your work later in the reduced model exhibitions, consider mounting your network on wooden support that you can move. Also, if you move often, do not opt for a large network. Otherwise, at each move, you will have to disassemble, remove parts and then replace, undo and redo.

Imagine your network

Before you make any purchase, you have to start by imagining the network you want to make. Oh, yes! Miniature trains and rails are not enough. Think of a particular environment. Like in movies, imagine scenarios. You want a train carrying tourists. In this case, plan a pleasant environment, from the desert, a small oasis, mountains. You can also opt for the freight train, electrically operated vicinal or industrial trains. Everyone has their inspiration, their passion and their interests, hence the great diversity of models.

In order not to lose you, refer to a region and a well-determined time. This technique will guide you in your purchases of trains and scenery. It also saves you from buying unnecessary materials.

Refer to standards to be more realistic

Also note that to be on top of tops, you will have to reference the standards. Indeed, in the world of railway modelling, there is the NMRA in the United States and the NEM or European modelling standards. These rules will guide you through the reduction scales, tunnel profiles or the minimum radius of curvature.

In the case of scales, you will have the choice between two options: the HO 1/87 and the N 1/160. If you have a fairly large space, the first one is recommended, it will allow you to have more detail, so more aesthetic. As for HO, it gives the possibility of a large network even in a small space. This is also the case of the Ho electric trains. These scales will be indispensable to you both in the choice of locomotives as well as in the décor in general.

What brand for your railroad?

First, you have to start by determining the type of track: 2 rails or 3 rails. The first system consists of only 2 rails on insulating ties. The second system also includes this pair of rails, but its difference lies in the "pimples" placed between the rails. This scrubber ensures electrical contact. This technique is specific to Märklin. It promotes the simplicity of wiring as an example of flipping loops.

The choice of your railroad is very important from the beginning because once you have decided, you will stay there. Indeed, a 3-rail train can only circulate on a 3-rail system. As well as the two rails. If today you are leaning for the 3 rails of Märklin, you will no longer be able to replace your car with that of Roco during your crossing, and vis-versa.

In the case of Märklin, the brand offers a variety of electric trains. You will find what you need: The passenger train with freight wagons (PmG), the steam Train "live steam", the Train "Service de manoeuvre", the railcar or the freight train with container holder. This German sign is very appreciated for the quality of its materials. If many complain about the problems of false contacts of the rails, Märklin goes from this inconvenience thanks to its connection system and its reliable alternating current. And again, it offers many additional materials to intensify the pleasure: circuit decoration and radio control.

Some impressive creations from Märklin

As one of the pioneers in the low-model train market, Märklin offers the oldest steam trains to the more innovative Électriquela locomotive. The steam locomotive S 2/6 for fast trains is, for example, a model inspired by the locomotive to be in service between 1910 and 1912. It was mainly used on the train circuit of the left bank of the Rhine. The model follows the HO 1:87 scale. This little marvel is offered with a digital decoder MFX + Spielewelt as well as some sound functions. It also has 2 motor axles fixed by bogies of a smoke generator ref. 72270.

The steam locomotive Märklin 39241 is another pride of Märklin. It is inspired by the SNCF model 241 A. The latter appeared at the beginning of 1930. It is a Ho train made with perforated bar frames. Today it is one of the most powerful steam locomotives in Europe. As for its train circuit, its minimum curved radius is 437.5 mm. This model is accompanied by a MFX + Spielewely digital decoder. It also has several sound functions and some lighting systems.

Where to buy your equipment?

To acquire your little treasures, make a few visits to the exchanges or collectors. You'll find good deals there. However, pay attention to the price. Compare well before you buy. In the model reviews, you can also find good deals in the pages dedicated to the classifieds. You can find on Bidtween a whole series of locomotives and wagons for sale 40 to 50% of the new price. These elements come from an enthusiast who now wants to separate from a collection part.

Buying in large areas and toy train shops are also possible. If a model shop is located in your city, do not hesitate to take a little tour also. You will find both new and collectable pieces to illustrate your train circuit.

For some brands like Märklin, you can get their product directly from their site. In addition to the small trains, you will find the necessary equipment to complete your network. It offers bumpers, straight or curved track elements, water tower kits, miniature cars or a railway staff for decoration.

Budget Question, it varies from one sign to another. For example, you can find locomotives at €45 and cars at €15. It may even be that the cost of your wood support is higher than the trains and accessories above. Moreover, when you enter the world of "modelling", prices can quickly climb up to €600 for a single Ho train.