Interested in model railroads?
Did you know that model railroading became more popular after store owners used them for their display windows? After that children almost always included a train set on their list to Santa. What may have begun as a childhood toy has become a hobby of many. The following ten websites are great resources for those that are either vintage model train collectors or those working on creating realistic towns to scale. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.
1. Collectors Weekly: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/model-trains/overview
Global Alexa Rating: 43,117
Collectors Weekly is a marvelous site useful for collectors of all types, and their section on model trains is a great resource. There is an overview section explaining model trains which is helpful for those new to the hobby. There is an articles section that currently has two articles available. There is a show & tell section for readers to look at what others have accomplished or purchased as well as share their own. The EBay Auctions section is a great way to pick up trains for your collection. Down the left hand side is a menu for the various scales, makers, types and other information.
2. Trains.com: http://trc.trains.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 122,933
Kalmach Publishing has five railroading-related magazines and this site is a jumping off point for getting to the site for each of those magazines. It is also the place to sign up for a free e-mail newsletter from any or all of them. Each of the websites you can get to from here are great sources for information including stories, videos and more. The user-shared layouts can be great for getting ideas for your next model railroading project.
3. Model Train Stuff: http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 196,079
This is one of the most known and trusted sources for model trains, train sets, scenery, painting & decals, electrical, books, videos and more. They have been in business since 1913 making them over 100 years old! They have a staff of 77 with a combined total of over 1325 years of model railroading experience. The site is very easy to navigate to get right to the products you are looking for, or browse around to get ideas for your next project.
4. RR Picture Archives: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/default.aspx
Global Alexa Rating: 228,212
This site contains a large collection of railroad pictures that are perfect for the enthusiast looking to create an authentic reproduction in their projects. There are currently more than 3.5 million photos on the site. The search abilities on the site are pretty decent even allowing you to search for heritage locomotives. Become a member and you can contribute photos also.
5. Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine: http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/ezine
Global Alexa Rating: 275,596
This is a free model railroading e-zine – you can download the magazine and even burn copies to CD if you want. You can print out articles and share them. You can even post things from it as long as you link back to the site. The reason they are able to do all this free is that the magazine is completely paid for by advertisers. The site is very useful with discussion forums and tons of posts. A fun way to connect with other enthusiasts.
6. Woodland Scenics: http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 716,934
This is a great source for products needed to make very realistic terrains for your project. They have layout systems and everything you will need and they do have items that are scale specific for those that desire N scale, HO scale, O scale or G scale results. The videos are excellent at giving instructions on techniques and using the products and kits. This would be a great source for those students needing to create dioramas as well.
7. Model Shop Directory:
U.S. http://modelshopsusa.com/ and UK http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/
Global Alexa Rating: U.S. 6,458,943; UK 1,010,330
These two websites are a directory for model shops, suppliers, events, clubs, eLayouts, news and more regarding models. Both serve as an excellent way to locate even the most unique and hard to find items. Both are easy to navigate with model stores listed by area and alphabetically. Model stores are classified by these types: Model railroad stores, plastic kit stores, slot car stores, radio control stores and die cast stores. A great source for model railroading enthusiasts and those interested in other types of models as well.
8. NMRA.Org (National Model Railroad Association): http://www.nmra.org/
Global Alexa Rating: 1,027,298
The NMRA is an organization of model railroaders involved in advancing the worldwide scale model railroading community through education and standards as well as advocacy and fellowship. A great resource for beginners can be found here, “Introduction to Model Railroading” that can get you started by avoiding all the common pitfalls that new enthusiasts are prone to make. The site is full of publications and an online store as well as plenty of educational aids. Some features do require membership, however, which is available in 1 year and 2 year options with a 6-month trial membership for those that want to test it out first.
9. Rail Express: http://www.railexpress.co.uk/
Global Alexa Rating: 4,006,962
You can use this website to subscribe to their magazine or to purchase back issues. The site also includes news, videos, galleries and other information. Although this is more about regular rails than it is about model railroading, enthusiasts will likely find it quite entertaining just the same. It does have some modelling involved so it should fit the bill nicely for those that really want to immerse themselves into the world of trains.
10. National Association of S Gaugers (NASG): http://www.nasg.org/
Global Alexa Rating: 4,990,595
This is an excellent website for those looking into the S modeling ratio of 1:64 which is also referred to as 3/16th scale. It is larger than HO scale and smaller than O scale. The site includes information about events, clubs and membership as well as a product gallery and resources. You’ll also want to check out the NASG store and featured S Video on the main page.
One last site that gets an honorable mention is the Lionel Collectors Club of America (LLCA) found at http://www.lionelcollectors.org which will keep you abreast of events you might want to attend. There are so many ways in which you can enjoy model railroading and these sites will help you on your journey, making it a hobby you can enjoy through your entire lifetime. Instead of a circle rail going around the Christmas tree, as you may have had in your youth, you can create entire rooms if you want! You are only limited by your space, your budget and your imagination!