Model Railroading Today and Tomorrow

Discovering the new arts and sciences

The arts of model railroading include:

1. Layout Design - Books, magazine articles and clinics have revolutionized model railroads. No matter your room size and budget, it is possible to sketch a railroad to meet your needs. Look to the LD-SIG ( and your local model railroad friends for help drawing your plan. Always design first and built second.

2. Operations - Once track is in place, the trains start to move. What next? Simulate a main line, local freights, passenger trains, terminal operations, etc. From the very simple to extremely complex, find something that keeps your interest. Check out the OP-SIG ( and the wide variety of books / articles on this topic.

3. Prototype fidelity - The manufacturers are building closer and closer to the prototype. No longer necessary to detail or modify models to get your favorite prototype. Of course, buildings are so varied that scratch building to match real like can challenge your skill.

4. Proto Freelancing - Do you want to model Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard with Southern Pacific equipment? First, shrink the eight mile long yard and then mix in your SP equipment. Instead of creating an entire railroad, borrow from the real ones. Easier to do and simpler to explain.

5. Integrating electronics - Digital Command Control (DCC), JMRI and many new kits have expanded your choices. You may run fewer wires and still have all types of functions. A DCC railroad can be built with two bus wires. A full CTC board with operating signals, track occupancy and interlocked junctions will take much more wire, circuit boards and time. They are all within reach of the modeler today.