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Model trains and railroading
Model railway : layout, construction, and design techniques
Nigel Burkin.
Ramsbury, Wiltshire : Crowood Press, 2010.
Layout building is perhaps the most exciting, rewarding and challenging aspect of creating a model railway. Making the right design decisions and choosing good construction techniques are vital to ensure success. This book takes you through basic baseboard construction, shelf layout themes and how to link multi-deck designs together, enabling you to make the most of a given space. With different concepts covered, from simple portable layouts to helix construction techniques, Nigel Burkin mixes the best of British layouts with those used routinely overseas and shows you how you too can achieve success and satisfaction in executing your layout design.
     
The Hornby book of scenic railway modelling
by Chris Ellis.
London : Conway, 2010.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the model railway hobby is creating a world in miniature for your trains to run in. Whether your layout represents a setting that is real or imagined, The Hornby Book of Scenic Railway Modelling details a range of simple but effective techniques and useful tips and tricks for making scenic landscapes from the Age of Steam through to the modern day. Detailed colour photographs of Hornby layouts demonstrate the remarkable realism that can be achieved and the book also includes some practical projects to get you started. It is the complete guide to constructing a realistic setting for your locomotives and rolling stock to give the impression of an authentic working railway, providing hours of fun and enjoyment.
     
The professional approach to model railways
John Wylie.
Sparkford : Haynes, 2009.
Written by a professional model-maker, this is a fascinating insight into high-end railway modeling and a great source of inspiration for beginners and experts alike. The second edition has been significantly updated with new material and photographs, and covers the many technological developments since the previous edition, such as digital command control. This book is an essential addition to the bookshelves of all serious railway modelers. The first edition of this book was first published in 1987.
     
Standard catalog of Lionel trains : 1900-1942
David Doyle.
Iola, Wis. : Krause Pub., c2008.
Originally used by shopkeepers as an animated window display to promote other products, Lionel trains are still on display, but now as a main attraction in the collectibles world. You can confidently turn to this updated guide for more than 1,400 color photos, current pricing in three categories, information on all known variations, and extensive identifying details for 2,000 prewar Lionel trains. This comprehensive toy train reference captures the essence of this American icon, and equips you with the tools to make the most of this lucrative market. It is the only full-size guide on the market with a rarity scale, a valuable tool for determining value.
     

Model railroading is a hobby that can last a life-time.  For many it is a hobby they started as a kid and still enjoy as an adult.  Fond memories may include setting up new layouts, attending model train parties, or collecting and painting scenery. Few forget the enjoyment of driving freight trains through tunnels, or making sure the switches are turned in time to avoid train derailments. 

What do you need to begin model railroading? First, and most important, is enthusiasm.

Secondly, a basic understanding of how a railway works.  Basic train knowledge includes knowing the names of different types of railcars and locomotives. Hopper, gondola, and boxcar are a few railcar types. Track planning, signals, roadbeds are also involved with the operation of your model railroad. To create realistic scenery, a knowledge of painting and design can be helpful.

Fictional model railroaders

Gomez Adams (The Adams Family) had a Lionel layout. He was noted for setting trains on a collision course, then blowing them up with explosives.

Reverend Timothy Lovejoy (The Simpsons) has been portrayed in several episodes running model trains in his basement.

John Patterson (For Better or For Worse) has a garden railroad.

When deciding what type of model railroading you want to get into, consider your own interests. Historic model train railroaders may prefer to buy a Louis Stevenson "Rocket" train. A military enthusiast might enjoy collecting different military railcars. Passenger trains may excite others.

Railroads are part of the histories of most of the world's countries.  Some model railroaders may collect passenger trains from around the world.  It is an exciting way to experience the history, geography, and culture of other parts of the world.

Whether Lionel, American Eagle, Hornby Railways, or Tri-ang Railways are collected, an avid model train person can enjoy this hobby for hours.  Associations and model train clubs are places where model train appreciation can be shared.

Model trains are fun for both young and old--men and women. The hobby bridges the generation gap and can be a great way to bring the family together!  Neither age, nor gender, will prevent, nor slow down, the true model railroader.

More about model railroading

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff