For beginners

What to Model?

To help you in your deliberations of when to model, let us consider some ideas on 'what' to model.

The Main Line
Can be a busy section of railway, perhaps even with four running lines and a mainline station. Looks great when modelled but because they need more rolling stock and trackwork to run them than other types of railway, they can be expensive to build. There are some great exhibition layouts that model a section of double track mainline with no sidings and no stations which are simply means for 'watching the trains go by' and excellent they are too, but even in N scale they take up a lot of room.

The Branch Line
Smaller, quieter railway, which requires a lot less rolling stock than a mainline. Depending on the period you decide to model, a branchline could have quite a complicated trackplan, or be nothing more than a single track ending at a buffer stop. You could model a through station or perhaps a terminus with loco and coach facilities, or you could model the interchange with the mainline, the mainline itself being 'suggested' rather than modelled.

The Industrial Line
A railway that operates entirely within one industry. An example would be a steelworks, dockyard or a colliery. Plenty of scope for unusual wagons and scenery and further interest can be added by modelling the interchange with the mainline railway, or a platform for worker trains. If space really is at a premium then a small industrial railway could be the answer.

These categories overlap somewhat. Some industrial railways are larger than some mainline stations, and some branchline stations could see heavy traffic, especially of the seasonal freight variety, but they serve to illustrate the types of ideas you should be asking yourself while you try to decide what your model railway is going to be, and how you are going to fit it into the space available.