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5 Unique Tips for Building Your Dream Model Railroad

Model Train Close Up View

1.  It is usually a good idea to solder wires to the undersides of the rails at the time the track is being laid. I know it is tempting to lay the track and worry about the wiring later, but this can lead to unsightly wires and blobs of solder on the sides of track. It is also easy to damage a track tie (sleeper) with a hot soldering iron.

Pull the tie off the track and solder the wire to the underside of the rail. You then file down before replacing the sleepers. You can further conceal the wire by drilling a hole and poking the wire through the benchwork.

I also apply a little non corrosive Plumbers flux (used for copper) to the rail with a cotton bud prior to soldering. It helps the solder stick and leaves a smooth result instead of blobs. You need to wash the flux away when finished so as not to leave it on the rails.

Model Train Details

2.  There is more to running a railroad than just operating trains. There is so many fun things to add onto your own miniature world.

Model Train Angle View

3.  Here’s a tip to share. Try the “Odegard Squint,” which is named after model railroader Gordon Odegard. You just position yourself at one end of your layout, bend down and view the track at eye-level. You then squint your eyes to see if the track looks smooth and straight. This is a good way of spotting kinks and bits of fluff or hairs on or nearby the track. It works every time!

Stadium Packed with Model Train Scenery

4. Adding interest to scene can be a lot of fun and really bring a layout to life. This photo shows a soccer field alongside a suburban train line in Australia. The link has some pics of another sports ground on a different layout. They are just a couple of ideas people have incorporated into their layout. Maybe you could post some of your own photos with ideas.

Model Train Caboose

5.  To prevent derailments make sure all sections are firmly pushed together, and that the joints between sections align smoothly without any kinks.

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