Lionel Trains, Model Trains, Model Railroads, Toy Trains

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rail Transport Modelling

Model railroading (US) or Railway modelling (UK) is the hobby in which rail transport systems are modelled at a reduced scale, including rail vehicles, tracks, scenery (roads and buildings, natural features such as streams, hills, canyons, etc.), and rail operations. The earliest forms of model railways are the 'Carpet Railways' which first appeared in the 1840s.

Model railways are a popular hobby, and involvement in it can range from the simple possession of a train set (especially by children), to spending many hours and large sums of money on custom layouts and scenery.

An HO scale model railroadLayouts vary from the very stylistic (sometimes just a simple circle of track) through to the 'absolutely realistic', where scale models of real places are modelled in extreme detail. One of the largest of these is in the Pendon Museum in Oxfordshire, UK, where a OO model of the Vale of The White Horse as it appeared in the 1930s is under construction. The museum also houses one of the earliest scenic models ever made - the 'Madder Valley' layout built by John Ahern. This layout was built in the 1930s and brought in the era of realistic modelling. Bekonscot in Buckinghamshire is the oldest model village, and also includes a model railway.

Model railway clubs exist for model railway enthusiasts to meet. Clubs sometimes put on displays of models for the general public. One rather specialist branch of railway modellers concentrates on larger scales and gauges, most commonly using track gauges of 3.5 or 5 inches. Models in these scales are usually hand-built and are powered by live steam, and the engines are often powerful enough to haul humans as passengers.

One particularly famous model railway club is the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) at MIT.

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