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Building a Model Train Layout from Start to Finish

Are you looking at building a model railroad from start to finish? This immaculate model railway includes buildings such as model engine sheds, industrial railways, model railroad houses, bridges, mines, cranes and even mountains! 

The beautiful scenery also includes dug in railroad tunnels that locomotives can pass through and various details such as rusty engines and people. For any model train beginner looking for ideas for their own layout, this model railroad is a great place to start. 

Are you looking for step-by-step instructions on building your very own model train layout? Learn more. 

Step 1 – Choosing a Layout, Scale and Benchwork

How to Make a Model Railroad

This is the first step of building your model railroad. The enormous model railroad construction is using HO scale that contains model train track by Atlas Trainman. The benchwork consists of solid wood door frames plus plywood. The 4×8 sheets of plywood are connected underneath with brackets.

Step 2 – Choosing a Track Plan

Making a Model Railroad

Majority of model train track plans either consist of a “loop to loop” layout or actually end in a depot, terminal or model railroad station. The photo above shows exactly where each locomotive starts and ends its journey. It’s always more fun to have a track plan that does more than simply loop trains.

Step 3 – Gradients, Subroadbeds and Derailment of Model Trains

Model Railroad Scales

When building a model train layout, you must also take into account the different degrees of gradients within your track plan. This will be very important when constructing the subroadbed of the layout. Here’s a key tip to remember regarding the actual number of degrees of steepness you can make a gradient without stopping or derailing your model trains.

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Model Railroad Scale Close Up

Model Train Scenery of a Rusty Old Engine

Rusty Model Train Engine

Adding small details like this rusted out locomotive engine adds to the overall layout of the model railroad and provides uniqueness and talking points when showing the layout to friends and family. Always try to build small details into the overall scenery if it makes sense to the overall aesthetic.

Model Train Buildings Including Warehouse and Depot

Railroad Warehouse

It also contains one model train warehouse and also a depot for the locomotives. You’ll also notice a water tower and some semi-trucks that help bring supplies and maintenance equipment for the model trains and cabooses. The purple edifice on the warehouse really stands out and gives a visual of a light hitting the building.

Model Railroad Tunnels that Look Extraordinary

Model Railroad Tunnel

Here’s a perfect example of how to construct model railroad tunnels into the scenic hills that actually allow locomotives to pass through smoothly without derailments. This entire scene is very well detailed and contains model train buildings plus extensive track placement.

Flawless Model Railroad Mountain Scenery

Model Railroad Mountain Scene

From the clouds in the backdrop to the realistic looking mountains and model train buildings, the entire scenery almost looks flawless. The depth ratio along with the deep tunnels gives this section of the layout a very realistic look and feel.

Model Railroad Layout Mine Scenery

Model Railroad Mine

This part of the model railroad contains a scene of a drawbridge and an awesome view of the mines. They are directly next to the mountains as they should be and contain freight trains that can carry the coal away from the mine.

Model Train Track Loop

Model Railroad Loop

Another great shot within the layout is of the model train track loop that clearly shows the two tracks intersecting and goes over two different log bridges plus a small model train building of a terminal.

Model Railroad Factory with Engine

Model Railroad Factory Engine

Great shot of a model railroad factory with an engine sitting next to the model train building.

Model Railroad Building

Model Railroad House

Precise view of the model railroad building that is next to the model train track loop. If you look closely, you’ll also see a person standing outside the building along with a fence. This type of detail is strongly suggested as it adds a very strong touch of personalization to the overall layout.

Model Railroad Factory Building

Model Railroad Factory

After showing the coal mines, it only makes sense to also have a factory model railroad building to process all of the pre-condensed coal material into energy sources for the rest of the local municipality to use.

Model Railroad Bridge and Mountain Scenery

Model Railroad Bridge & Mountains

In this shot, you’ll see the model railroad building that was near the track loop along with a beautiful highly detailed bridge, the factory and the mountain scenery in the background.

Model Railroad Bridge

Model Railroad Bridge

Excellent shot of the model railroad bridge that really enhances the overall appeal of the layout. It also directly above the a small water scene that contains a nicely weathered ditch.

Model Railway Industrial Scenery

Model Industrial Ralroad

This is a detailed snapshot of the two model train buildings that form industrial sector of the layout. In the previous photos above, the display shows wider shots of the entire scenery that envelopes the buildings.

Model Railroad House with Locomotive Inside
Model Railroad House

Here’s a model railroad house that contains a locomotive for maintenance work. Throughout this entire series, we’ve seen several different model railway scenes of both buildings and tracks. 

This entire series shows how to build a model train layout from start to finish and provides very detailed examples of different types of scenic views, including all of the different types of scenes that form a high quality layout. 

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