Model railroading has existed as a hobby for over a century. It combines radio-controlled technology with novelty railway cars to form a dynamic hobby. Model train enthusiasts take pleasure in constructing train layouts, buildings, and scenery.
No two hobbyists perceive model railroading in the same light. Therefore, beginners should become familiar with the basics before pursuing more advanced concepts. Understanding the history of the hobby and its founders will help put into perspective the appreciation people have for it.
In addition, some basic understanding about the scale of a model train and the gauge of a train track helps when it comes time to lay down the track.
Below are some helpful links for any range, from the beginner to the experienced hobbyist. Enjoy!
The History of Model Trains as a Hobby
The history of model trains traces back as far as actual railroads themselves. The earliest model trains were made from metal and powered by steam or clockwork components. The average home did not have electricity to power model trains in the same way that modern homes do.
As a result, the earliest model trains had high price tags that only the wealthy could afford. As the prices began to drop in conjunction with the improvements involved with model railroading, more enthusiasts started to get involved with the hobby.
Model railroads started to become more common from the 1920s as they were mass-produced for the general public.
Hundreds of model train manufacturers provide scores of products for enthusiasts. Bachmann Industries, one of the oldest model train manufacturers, have remained as one of the leaders in the industry since 1833. Lionel developed and maintained its legacy as a leading model train producer since 1900.
Other recognizable manufacturers include USA Trains, Atlas O Trains, Model Rectifier Corporation (MRC), and the Rokenbok Toy Company. Over the years, enthusiasts have formed organizations, museums, and exhibits to help support the hobby of model railroading. This has kept the hobby alive, while also keeping the model railroading market rejuvenated for future generations.
Lionel Trains: Official website of Lionel featuring product catalogs, and additional support for new and seasoned hobbyists.
Bachmann Trains: Bachmann has produced model trains for hobbyists since 1833.
Model Rectifier Corporation: As a leader in quality hobby products, MRC continues its stride in excellence while producing some of the best model train materials on the market.
USA Trains: USA Trains was established in 1987 as a manufacturer of G-Scale model railroad products.
Amherst Railway Society: A non-profit organization consisting of over 450 members who love model trains as a hobby.
Beginners getting started in model railroading will need to seek out several sources to understand the basics of the hobby. Model railroading involves more than piecing together a train track and powering a locomotive. In fact, it requires a great deal of cleaning and maintenance to preserve the life of the train. These resources will help the beginning and avid model train hobbyist perfect what they love to do!