Just because the holiday season is winding down, doesn’t mean the train season has to! Lionel trains are fun all year-long.
Maybe you’ve just received your first train set, or maybe you’ve been collecting for years but have never found the time or the space to build a year-round platform. Throughout the coming year we’ll be posting regular tips and ideas for developing your own layout. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of building a model railroad, here are a few things to consider before you get started:
Model Railroading is the Hobby of a Lifetime
A model railroad doesn’t happen over night. In fact, most modelers agree, a model railroad is never really finished. Our train sets, FasTrack and accessories make it easy to get started and take care of a lot of the hard work, but there is still plenty to do.
Don’t let the long road ahead scare you – the journey is the destination. Take your time and have fun with each step. And don’t be afraid to go back later to make changes because your talents improve or your dreams change.
It’s a Family Affair
This is a hobby that can be enjoyed by all generations and people with many interests. A model railroad is more than just trains. If you have kids, let them get involved. In addition to wonderful family bonding, building a layout is a great learning opportunity.
It’s not just about learning practical skills like carpentry and wiring, a model railroad becomes a great classroom for the world around us. Just think about adding a tunnel or a bridge to the layout – you’ve got Earth Sciences, Engineering, Math, Architecture and more all wrapped up in one project alone. The best way to foster an appreciation of the world around us is to try to recreate it!
There Is Always Room for Trains
One of the most common hurdles to building a layout is the idea that we just don’t have enough room to build one. It’s true, most of us would like a few more square feet no matter how much we already have, but some of the best layouts aren’t the biggest.
A 4×8 layout is the typical starter size, if for no other reason than it is an easy purchase at the hardware store. But great layouts come in all shapes and sizes. Narrow shelves around the room – or even around the ceiling, modular layouts that come apart, trains in coffee tables or sliding under beds – there are options if you forget about that 4×8 rectangle.
Perhaps most important, there are no rules when it comes to building your model railroad. We’ll offer lots of tips and ideas to help you along, but ultimately it is up to you to decide what works and what looks best. Maybe you want to recreate your hometown in exacting detail. Maybe you’d rather create a magical world that is pure fantasy. No two layouts are the same – and each is wonderful in its own right.
So before you pack up those trains for the season, sit back in the easy-chair for a while and dream. If you could leave the trains up all year-long, what would you do? How could you do it? What are you waiting for?