Home » Model Trains » Detailed Start-to-Finish Process of a Model Train Layout

Detailed Start-to-Finish Process of a Model Train Layout

Here, you can see how a model railroad is constructed from start to finish. Each step is shown with insightful details that may be helpful for you as you build your own. We get to see the building of the bare tracks and how structures like the bridge are put together. Then, we also see how mountain scenery is created starting from the basic materials. Finally, we get a glimpse of how a model railroad layout’s mountains are painted

Early Stage of the Model Railroad

unpainted and unfinished model railroad on a work table

Seen on top of the wooden work tables are the model railroad in its early stages. These are just the bare tracks that are unpainted. With this, it shows just how much work and detail is put into creating a model railroad.

A Print of the Bridge’s Foundation for the Railroad Tracks

man holding canvas with print of bridge support for model railroad

Here, Frank shows us a print on white canvas. It’s the pattern of the wooden foundation that will support the bridge for the railroad tracks. You’ll get to see the finished product later on.

Model Train Sitting on the Unfinished Track

model train on an unfinished train track

On a smaller table at the front of the camera, you’ll find a piece of the wooden foundation that has been carved with the pattern of the print we saw earlier. Behind this is the model railroad, still unfinished but with the train sitting on it.

Three of the Wooden Foundations for the Bridge

three wooden structures for the bridge of the model railroad

Here are three pieces of the bridge’s wooden foundation from the pattern on the print. Additional pieces of wood have been added in criss-cross fashion for more support. These are just the first few pieces of the finished product.

Black Model Train on Black Rails

black model train sitting on a curved track of the model railroad

Here, we get a glimpse of what the railroad will look like in action. Its black model train sits motionless on a curved section of the track. Running around the track’s foundation are multiple wires.

The Basic Structure of the Model Railroad Layout

bare skeleton of the model railroad

The model railroad is starting to take shape here. We can see the entrances of the tunnel and the inside of it as well. However, there are still parts of the layout’s landscape to include.

Inside the Tunnel for the Model TrailView of the tunnel's insides on the model railroad layout

This is just another angle of the previous photo. From here, the inside of the tunnel is seen more clearly. From this, we can get a clear idea of the path that the train will be taking.

Entrance of the Tunnel

view of the railroad layout's tunnel entrance from the side.

Next to the entrance, we can see the tools that were used to craft the model railroad. There’s a saw, a marker, and a measuring tape. We can see more details of the tunnel entrance from this angle.

More Details of the Tunnel

entrance of the tunnel on the model railroad layout

The tunnel’s entrance will not have a smooth surface, but a jagged one. With the way it slopes unevenly down the right side, we can assume that it’s a tunnel carved into a mountain. The narrow entrance into the dark tunnel can only fit one train at a time.

A View of the Whole Railroad Layout

view of the model railroad layout from afar

The main attraction of this layout is the tunnel. That is why it is being given plenty of detail and time to construct. More tools are gathered on the table right in front of the camera, showing just how much equipment is needed to complete the tunnel.

Details of the Black Model Train

black model train sitting on the track

Take a look at this image of the model train’s black locomotive. By looking at this, you can get a clear look at each part of it. Once the railroad is ready, you can expect this to run smoothly through its course.

Colors of the Layout’s Tunnel

tunnel with paint of the model railroad layout

The tunnel has been painted on, so we finally have a glimpse of the finished product. Carved into a mountain, the outside has patches of grass. Tiny details like this make the layout even more realistic.

Second Level of the Tunnel

The second level of the railroad tunnel

The track extends to the level above the tunnel’s entrances. On the first level, we get to see the inside of the tunnel again. The ground next to the tunnel’s entrance has yet to be painted.

A New Wall for the Tunnel

Model railroad tunnel with newly constructed wall

The opening that provides a view of the tunnel’s interior has been covered up. The surface of this covered section has the same texture as the section of the tunnel that has been painted on.

The Other Side of the Model Railroad

walls of the railroad layout's other side

More walls for the tunnel have been constructed on the other side of the layout. Although still in its rough early stages, we can begin to see what it will look like once the entire railroad is completed.

A Section of the Track Outside the Tunnel

blue and pink slabs stacked on top of each other to form the railroad model's tunnel

To give you a better look at how this layout will eventually look, here is a photo taken from a few paces back. On the first level, we only get to see a section of the track before it snakes into the tunnel. We’ll mostly see the model train again when it reaches the second level.

Sculpting the Tunnel’s Exteriors

Model railroad tunnel's exteriors, unpainted

Some of the pink and blue slabs have been sculpted to blend in with the layout’s overall landscape. The uneven manner of the sculpting adds to the illusion that these mountains were naturally formed through time and weather.

The Tall Mountains of the Railroad

Unpainted mountains of the model railroad layout

Some sections of this layout’s mountains reach from table to ceiling. The height of it is quite imposing, and that adds to the overall grandeur of this layout. Later on, we’ll see the slabs that are stacked on the left side sculpted to form the mountain’s surface.

The Railroad’s Mountains Nearly Completed

mountains of the model railroad with color

Details and color have been added to the mountains on the right. The section of the mountain at the center remains unpainted, but its jagged surface has already been sculpted.

Mountains of the Model Railroad in Color

model railroad's mountains in full color

The world of this layout is starting to show itself. The mountains have been painted. Now what’s left are the colors for the other sections of the layout as well as additional pieces to populate it and bring it to life.

View of the Layout’s Painted Mountains from a Distance

Painted mountains of the model railroad from a distance

Right in front of the layout, we see the table holding pieces of the wooden bridge’s foundation. Later on, we will see where the bridge will be placed, giving us an idea of the bridge’s purpose in the layout.

Erected Foundation of the Model Railroad’s Bridge

erected foundation of the model railroad's bridge

The bridge of the layout is now being constructed. Only a few pieces of the foundation have been erected, but soon plenty of them will be up to hold the bridge itself. With all them up, they can hold the model train safely as it pass through.

Finished Foundation of the Bridge

the foundation of the bridge on a wooden plank that extends from the table.

Now all the foundations are up. They rest on a plank that extends from the table that holds the layout.

A Different Angle of the Bridge’s Foundation

Foundation of the bridge from a different angle

This is the foundation shown from a different angle. We can see clearly the colors of the wood from here, adding to the entire layout’s natural character and authenticity. The criss-cross of wood is what keeps them sturdy.

Wires on the Bridge’s Foundation

wires running along the model railroad bridge's foundation

Wires run all around the foundation. These keep it up before the bridge is placed on the section of the layout where it’s supposed to be.

Bridge Between Two Mountains of the Model Railroad

Bridge between two mountains of the model railroad

The bridge has been placed on the section where it’s meant to be. It helps the model train cross two sections of the mountain. It briefly exist one section of it before entering the other immediately.

The Route of the Model Train Through the Layout

path of the entire model railroad's layout

At this point in the layout’s construction, we get a clear view of the route that the train will be travelling through. We also see where the train will be coming from on the second level of the layout.

Materials Used for the Railroad Layout

materials for the railroad layout on the table

Here, you can see the materials that were used to construct the layout on the table. From this angle, we also get a view of the entire layout which is half completed. There’s just a bit more work to be done now before it can start running.

Close Up of the Bridge Foundation

close up view of the wooden bridge foundation

This is another close up photo of the bridge foundation. Pink slabs under and in between the wooden pieces are used to keep them upright and steady. The bridge itself will be laid on top of them soon.

Body of Water in a Valley

body of water in the valley of the model railroad

Scenery like this adds more character to the layout. Here’s a body of water surrounded by patches of greenery. This section exudes a peaceful vibe, contrasting to the rest of the layout.

The Valley in a Different Light

valley with body of water on model railroad layout

This photo once again shows the body of water, but with different lighting. The mountain wall to the left has more shadows this time. That emphasizes the details of its rocky texture.

The Mountain’s Rocky Texture

details of mountain wall on model railroad

Upclose, you can see just how much detail is put into painting and sculpting the mountain. Its uneven surface gives the illusion that it was made of real rock. However, you can still almost see the horizontal lines of the slabs we saw earlier.

A Waterfall at the End of the Railroad Layout

waterfall on the model train track layout

This waterfall flows all the way from the top of the mountain. Once again, natural scenery is added to make this layout visually stand out.

The Model Railroad Layout so Far

view of the model railroad with bridge, waterfall, mountains, and tunnels

So far, this is what the layout looks like now. The tunnels and mountains are complete, the waterfall has been added, and the bridge has been erected. Not visible in this photo is the body of water in the valley behind the bridge.

The Waterfall Beside the Bridge

bridge, waterfall, and valley on the railroad model layout

From this angle, we see the waterfall which is right beside a tunnel entrance. Leading into the entrance is the bridge with the tracks laid down on top of the foundation. Behind the bridge is the valley with the body of water.

Another Waterfall Beside the Tunnel Entrance

The layout’s second waterfall is also located next to the entrance of a tunnel. However, compared to the first one, this is simpler and is less striking. No patches of greenery here, it’s just water flowing from the top of the mountain.

Model Train Exiting the Mountain Tunnel

model train moving across the tracks near the mountain tunnel entrance

Here is the model train just coming around the curve. We see another train moving on the second level where a church has also been added.

A Church in the Valley

Church in the valley beside the tracks

Another train exits the tunnel entrance, this time on the second level of the layout. Beside the tracks is a blue-and-white church located in a valley. Surrounding scenery for the church is yet to be added.

Model Train Crossing the Bridge

The bridge can now cross the bridge that we saw being constructed earlier. The bridge can only accommodate a single train at a time. Its track extends to the tunnel entrance to the photo’s left side, by the waterfall.

Close Up of Model Train Crossing the Bridge

close up view of the model train crossing the wooden bridge

Here is the model train just beginning to cross the bridge. From here, we get a view of the valley as well as the train that runs through behind the body of water in it. We also get to see the intricate design of the bridge’s wooden foundation.

Panoramic View of the Model Layout

panoramic view of the model railroad with mountains, church, and waterfalls

From this distance, we can see the church on the second level valley. We see the mouth of the tunnel to the left, and to the right we can spot the waterfall and the wooden bridge. The layout is taking shape, and only a little more needs to be added.

Model Train in the Middle of the Bridge

Model train in the middle of the bridge

We see just how sturdy the bridge is as the model train reaches the middle of it. From here, we can get a glimpse of what the passengers of the train would see. To their left, they would find a view of the mountains, and to their left the pristine body of water in the valley.

More Detail for the Train Tracks

train tracks built on rock on model railroad

Another building now stands on the first level beside the tracks. The tracks are also given more detail with painted sides that match the landscape of the entire layout.

Tunnel by the Falls

bridge, waterfall, and tunnel entrance on model railroad

On the first level to the right, we see where the train enters and exits the tunnel. With the waterfall, the valley, and the bridge, this part of the layout certainly has more interesting visuals than the rest.

Body of Water Under the Waterfall

body of water under the waterfalls on the model railroad

To add more natural scenery, there is now a body of water onto which the waterfall flows. There’s grass surrounding the cool blue waters, presumably where people can rest on after a swim. Adding this really gives the layout more realism.

Free Track PlansClick Here