How to Start a Model Train Set

By Kim Blakesley
The first step in collecting model trains is to determine the desired scale to collect.

Model trains are sold in six different scales. The scales include G, O, S, HO, N, and Z. The most common model train scale in the United States is HO scale. It is also the most popular scale in Europe, the United Kingdom and Asia. The HO scale is 1:87 which is smaller than the G, O and S scale but larger than the N and Z scale. HO model train pieces are readily available at most hobby and craft stores.

Decide the scale size of model train to collect.

Decide the type of model train to collect. Three main types exist: steam; diesel; and catenary, which is an electric train.

Decide the category of model train to collect. Categories include Passengers, Steamliners, Amtrak, Freight, Switchers, Cable cars, Trolleys, Shay, Heisler and Climax.

Decide the manufacturer and prototypical type of model train to purchase. These include USRA, Alco, GM/EMD, GE, Lima, Berkshire, Baldwin, Mikado, Consolidation, Articulated, Mogul, Mallet and Tank.

Begin by purchasing a locomotive in the desired scale, type of model, category of model, manufacturer and prototypical style. Add additional cars, as desired.

Purchase model train track in accordance to the scale of the chosen collection. Add landscape, people and decorations as the model grows.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."