A model railway can be more than a hobby; it can be a work of art. The average model railway owner spends dozens of hours, planning railway designs, searching for the perfect parts, painstakingly building the railway in great detail, and play with their creation. It is a creative endeavour where the participant feels like he or she has created a tiny world that can be customized and marvelled at and enjoyed. Many people are extremely passionate about the art of model railway construction, and there are countless forums, clubs, and organizations for such enthusiasts. There are shops exclusively devoted to the sale of miniature railway supplies, so whatever you are looking for, you can be sure that someone out there supplies it. If you are new to the hobby and want to learn a bit about it first, there are several magazines and books out there that you can use to educate yourself.
After looking at the pictures on the books and on the website of beautiful model railways, you might become excited to build your own. Before you begin, make yourself a plan and decide what type of railway you want to build. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you begin:
1. Where will you build your railway?
Once you start constructing your railway, it will become quite elaborate and difficult to move, so make sure that you set it up somewhere initially that it can stay permanently without getting in anyone's way. Railways can be on display inside the house, and also they can be set up outdoors in a garden. These are called 'Garden Railways'. When choosing a location, consider the practical aspects such as how big the space is, how safe it is from being damaged by weather conditions, animals, and other people, and how comfortable it is for you because you will be spending a lot of time there fine-tuning the details on your little world.
2. What scale do you want to build in?
The most popular scale for garden railroads is 16mm, but there are other sizes as well. The advantage to having a garden railway is that its outdoor location can accommodate larger sizes that would be impractical to use indoors.
3. What design will your railway be?
If you are a beginner, you might want to start off with a simple oval track layout, with a tiny bit of as many different landscape features as you can. This is so that you don't get overwhelmed by a complex track design, and you can gain experience doing a wide variety of landscape features. Look at other designs on the internet or in books for inspiration. You might consider joining a local model building enthusiasts club so that they can offer you ideas, guidance, and support with your project. These clubs also make an often solitary pursuit into a sociable hobby.
Have fun as you get 'on board' with your new hobby, and good luck finding the people and supplies that will get you started 'on the right track'!