A model railway is a miniature replica of parts of a big railway. In addition to tracks and vehicles, buildings (e.g. station buildings), people, other vehicles (e.g. cars) and landscapes are often reproduced. In this article, we will help you to understand the basics so that you can purchase your own set. The first thing to decide is to determine where your train will run i.e. route.
Determine Which Scale You’ll Use
If your route of the train is mainly outdoors then you’ll need to use G Scale or O Scale models. If your route is mainly indoors and you prefer props then you’ll need to use O Scale or HO Scale models. The g scale is slightly bigger than the 1:24 scale of diecast car models. HO scale is equivalent to the 1:87 scale of diecast car models. HO probably means half of O. Although it will appear that the G scale is superior, in the real world it is the HO scale which is more popular. G scale and O scale are towards the professional grade, costlier and not everything is easily available to purchase. You have a lot of options for the HO scale and hence we suggest you do research around the scale.
Things of the HO scale things are relatively smaller. But you can add helicopters, ships, aeroplanes, and cars to whatever is around your setup of railroading. G scale (1:22 scale) is not fully equivalent even with 1:24 scale diecast cars. O scale is 1:48 and actually, this scale lacks wider accessories. HO scale has limitations (obviously the detailing can not be as great as with the G scale).
I will suggest building your world with an HO scale (1:87 scale). Run the training room to room through unique scenes.
Determine Your Budget and Plan Before Purchasing Your Train
Only for the train and mandatory accessories, you’ll need around $2000 budget for the HO scale. For the G scale, the expenditure can touch the sky. Also, you may need to send your train to the manufacturers via post for repair. The difficult part is finding the rest of the props at 1:87 scale. So you need a plan.
As there is a need for compatibility (although many parts are cross-compatible) and repair, only a few brands are practical to consider. If you purchase a locomotive from an odd, rare brand then you’ll be in a difficult situation to find guides online. Bachmann is a brand which is old, and reliable and you can research it.
How These Model Trains Work
Most of these model trains run on DC voltage supplied via rail (common) or overhead wire (uncommon). There are model trains which run on live steam or gasoline. More will be current, more will the speed of the motor. This was the basic control in old days. A packaged train set will usually come with a transformer or power pack.
Today, most of the model trains are Digital Command Control (DCC) compatible. This is a standard for powering and controlling model railroad trains using a microcontroller. The digital command may go via a third rail or overhead wire or wirelessly via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Probably you’ll need to separately purchase a Digitrax Zephyr all-in-one DCC starter unit. This unit will control the finer things such as honking, lights, sound effect controls etc.
Minimum Equipment Required to Operate a Model Train
There are ready-to-run kits which anyone can buy to easily get started. If you purchase separately, then you’ll need to purchase:
- The locomotive. Usually, the manufactures supply a power pack/transformer with it.
- Rail line
- All-in-one DCC starter unit