Beginners Guide to Model Trains

Scale model electric trains are a great hobby! They can be as simple as a single circle under a Christmas tree to a complex mix of model building, dioramas, engineering and imagination!

Here at Hobby and Toy Central we have everything you need to make the model railway of your dreams and the experts to help you along the way.  Specializing in HO, 1:87 scale or N, 1:160 scale model railway systems from companies such as Bachmann and Atlas you are sure to find the perfect set to get you started.

But what do N and HO mean?

That’s simple; It’s all about the space you require!

HO and N model trains

If you can dedicate at least 8’x6’ of space to your new hobby we recommend that you stick with HO scale.  If you find that space is limited then N scale is for you.  OK, that might be a little simplistic but if you really want to know what it all means just drop by and ask one of our knowledgeable staff members.

What about the track?

I always say it comes down to your specific needs. 

train track“Snap” Track requires a permanent home.  It needs to be nailed down to a flat sheet of wood.  In return for your dedication, it rewards you with the greatest flexibility in terms of track types and for those “purists” allows for the option of “code 100” and “code 83” rail heights. 

Easy Track from Bachmann is perfect if your model railway needs to be taken down when you are finished with your fun.  It has its own roadbed attached and can be snapped together in any number of configurations.  But because of its ease of use you are limited to the tracks you can buy.  Choose wisely, or have us help you choose!

What’s all this talk about digital trains?HO model train

So you have your train set picked out and set up and now you want to go digital?  In the old days if you wanted to have a couple trains running on a single track they would play “follow the leader” all day long.  But now, in the world of electric trains, DCC is the standard for the new breed of digital trains.  A microchip in each of your trains lets you control them independently of each other.  Ideal if you want the ultimate control of your Model Railway!

And how can you set the scene?

With products from Woodland Scenics your model railways will be transformed from simple metal and plastic on a piece of plywood into a virtual world of grass carpeted river valleys, rocky hills and dense forests.  Or perhaps you want something a little more urban.  With products from Walthers, Bachmann, and Model Power the city of your dreams can have a train arriving at the station on time every 2 minutes! The choice is yours to make… or do a little of both with the Woodland Scenics “Mountain Valley Scenery Kit”.

We look forward to seeing you at Hobby and Toy Central soon to lend you a hand picking out the perfect hobby for you and your family!  Perhaps you’ll discover that Model Railroads are the perfect option!