Welcome to Cool Model Trains

The goal of this website is to create a knowledge hub for everyone who is interested in model trains, to provide information and facilitate collaboration among members.
  • As a guest you are welcome to browse and savor the information;
  • As a member you can add new pages with information about layouts or other cool models you encountered, and also participate in the Forum(external link).

The World's Greatest Hobby - model trains - is a very complex and complete activity. Building a layout can keep you busy for years and is never finished, so you can always go back and improve or change things. It is truly a great journey: it can start at any age and lasts a lifetime. The area of expertise spans over many fields: physics, electronics, hand crafting, paint work, plaster work, carpentry.

The first model trains appeared in the middle of the 19th century, shortly after the real ones were built. They were "carpet trains" running on "carpet railroads" and essentially were little brass steam boilers on wheels running on the floor as there were no tracks. Having fire and water under pressure these were extremely dangerous. At around the turn of the 20th Century the electric trains on tracks appeared and gained quickly popularity. At first they were running on batteries because few homes had electricity. As manufacturing technology progressed and new materials came available, the model trains evolved from crude models to true replicas with huge detail.

The design of the real life trains changed over time usually each 40 years or so and therefore we have several eras:
  • Era I - circa: 1870 - 1920 - Country and Private Railways
  • Era II - circa: 1920 - 1945 - The period after the formation of large state railways
  • Era III - circa: 1945 - 1970 - The new organisation of European railroads
  • Era IV - circa: 1968 - 1985 - Standardised computer lettering on all rolling stock and locomotives
  • Era V - circa: 1985 - 2000 - The modern era of railroading

For modeling there are a few standards that were introduced to allow the development of the hobby. The distance between tracks ( called gauge) and the scale to the original size are commonly used to classify model trains and accessories.

Here are the few scales we have material on this site:

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