Model train layouts can mean anything from simple ‘found’ pieces like Matchbox cars set up to surround a Lego toy train to amazingly realistic landscape and built-to-scale buildings in elaborate, complex designs. The great thing about model train layouts is that you can make them a little at a time, changing and modifying as you go.
The most popular scale model railroads, O, HO, N, and OO (in the UK) have accessories that are widely available and don’t have to be custom made. In addition, there is a growing cottage industry of software used for designing model train layouts and printing simple fold-together building designs onto card stock. For those who go for the most realism, there are custom model railroad artists who make very realistic, perfectly scaled architectural and landscape features for the most demanding model railway enthusiasts.
This is not to say that Lego model train layouts are in any way inferior. Now that an entire generation of Lego train enthusiasts has grown up and has more disposable income for such pursuits, Lego trains are very popular among adult model train hobbyists. The beauty of Lego train sets is that the bucket of Legos that a child has grown ‘too old for’ is suddenly a source of building materials for model train layouts. The fact that Lego model trains are sturdy enough to stand up to years of use is one real advantage to choosing such a set for a child who is a beginning model train enthusiast.
Whether a model train lover wants perfect scale and realism, or whether he or she wants the fun of running trains, with scenery ranking less importantly, there are plenty of other like-minded train enthusiasts all over the world. Because when you get down to it, one of the most fun things about having model trains is sharing them with other people who appreciate them.