Step-by-Step Model Railroad Construction

Step-by-Step Model Railroad Construction

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Watch how a model railroad gets constructed step-by-step up to the completed layout. It starts with a bare bones track plan and each photo takes you through every development phase including benchwork, scenery, tracks, structures and lighting.

The best photo in my opinion is the benchwork that contains only the track laid out and the woodwork for the mountains. That photo encapsulates the basic foundation that’s needed to build a model railroad that is both beautiful and functional.

A Diagram of a Model Train Track

model railroad diagram

This shows you each step of the construction of a model railroad. You can see here a rough diagram of the layout of the tracks. Try to imagine how the train will travel through it once it’s done.

Foundation of the Model Railroad

railroad tracks and frame of tunnel of unfinished railroad model

Here is the beginning of the finished layout. The tracks have been laid down and the frame of a tunnel has also been constructed. Three separate tracks run in and out of it with ample space for the train to move with obstructions.

Adding the Scenery of the Railroad Model

bridge of unfinished railroad model layout

To the side, you can see a bridge that can take the train to the other side of the layout. You can also see the railroad tracks neatly placed as shown in the previous diagram.

Tracks Where the Train Can Safely Travel On

Train on unfinished railroad model

Now the train has been added to the tracks. There are multiple tracks that it can follow. This will make for quite an interesting journey to watch once the layout is finished and the train is good to go.

Structures Surrounding the Train Tracks

bridge and entrance of tunnel of model railroad

The surroundings of the layout are just as important as the tracks. A layout wouldn’t be too interesting without them. Here, there’s the aforementioned bridge and a tunnel that’s just begging to take shape.

The Setting of the Model Train Track

mountains and cloudy sky backdrop of model railroad

A backdrop can do wonders with your model railroad. This one has mountains and a cloudy sky as well as a waterfall and a stream below. These give a clear image of where the railroad is set in.

Paint a Picture of the Railroad’s World

railroad model with mountain backdrop and unpainted bridge

Use your creativity and match the atmosphere that you want with the colors that you choose. The colors don’t seem too bright in this model’s backdrop but it makes it clear that this railroad exists in a natural setting.

Add Life to the Train Track’s Layout

trains and houses near train station of model railroad

Populate the layout with different types of locomotives and vehicles. Add in some houses as well to make it feel as if people actually live in this imagined location.

Find the Perfect Space for your Tracks

If you don’t have a customized table for your model railroad, find one that can fit it comfortably. This layout takes full advantage of this table’s shape. The curves of the table accommodate the curved tracks nicely, and they also provide space for the people who are viewing it.

Set the Mood of your Model Railroad with Lighting

trains coming out of tunnel of model railroad

Just like the colors, the lighting can also dictate the mood and atmosphere of your model railroad. It can look gloomy or bright and sunny. Make sure you light it well depending on your preferences.

Make The Model Railroad Feel Reel

Hide signs of construction well with the backdrops and other elements. Here, you can see that the frame for the tunnel is completely invisible by the paint of the entrance and the backdrop of mountains.

Expand the World of Your Railroad

backdrop of houses and buildings of a model railroad

Try to make each section unique. This section of the model railroad looks different from the previous photos. Instead of mountains, the backdrop contains houses and buildings. This makes the layout more real and a place that you can actually visit in real life.

Make Your Model Railroad Look Real with Your Backdrop

backdrop and station of model railroad

The backdrop of your model railroad can make or break how well it looks when photographed. With the walls showing, the picture above breaks the illusion that the railroad is just a model. But if taken at the right angle, it can look like the real thing.

Details on Vehicles of Model Railroad

airedale carts on tracks of model railroad

Don’t forget to have fun when designing your trains. If you can, spend extra time in adding the details of each vehicle, even if it’s not the train itself. This helps make the world of your model railroad more real.

Signs of Wear and Tear on the Model Tracks

When designing tracks and its surroundings, it’s also ideal to make them look a bit worn out. This layout shows tracks that look as if they’ve been used for years. The trees and thinning grass also give it that authentic look.

The Model Train Track with Houses in the Distance

close up image of the train station with the backdrop of the town

Here is a photo of the model taken at a certain angle so that it almost looks like a real railroad. It may not seem completely realistic, but with a little bit of imagination you can hear sounds of life in the town. You can hear the trains coming through the tracks and the breeze blowing against the trees.

A Look into the Tunnel of the Model Railroad

tunnel, train station, and train models sitting on tracks of model railroad

From this angle, you can get a little peek of what the inside of the tunnel looks like. Right next to it is the train station and the various train models just sitting on the tracks and waiting to go on their journey.

A View of the Model Trains from Above

Platform and houses next to trains coming out of the tunnel of model railroad

From this angle, you get a clear view of the platform between the two trains. You can add figurines of people there as if they were waiting to board the trains. You can also add some of them next to the houses to add a sense of realism to this section.

Scenes of Nature in the Layout

trees and body of water next to model trains

Scenes of nature definitely add a bit of character to model railroad. It prevents the layout from becoming too repetitive. Here, we find the trains moving next to a body of water. There are also small trees on the other side.

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