‘Tis the season of goodwill and festive cheer, so let me brighten up your railway with this quick and cheap way of adding lights to your layout.
In the past I’ve written about wiring up LEDs. As discussed, these little lights are normally powered by a suitable DC supply and with appropriate circuitry (such asTrain Tech’s marvellous mini LED controllers mentioned in the article) can create a pleasing glow or flicker in your buildings.
They do require a power supply and wiring however and while I use them in various places on my layout I’m always on the look out for easier and cheaper options.
It was while admiring the festive decorations Mrs. MRE was putting out, and some imitation candles she’d picked up in a local shop in particular, that a thought dawned on me.
Basically, these are just an LED, battery and perhaps a few other bits and wires encased in a tea-light style package dressed up to look like a candle.
Discarding the outer casing and bury the contents inside the buildings on a layout and they produce an effective illumination for a fraction of the price it would otherwise cost. (Pending the candles you get, some have a built-in flicker effect, such as the ones I used. If you’ve got these, they make ideal bonfire flame effects).
They probably don’t have a long life and need turning on individually* but if you’re looking for a quick, simple and above all cheap way of bringing lights to your model railway buildings nothing can hold a candle to Christmas decorations.
Update: Thanks for @ for the following extra tip:
@modelrailwayeng hook up a pair of AA to them though and they run for an absolute age!
— Passenger Action (@passengeraction) December 21, 2016
Now to explain to my wife why we don’t have as many Christmas decorations as before…
* You can get remote control versions but these cost more which defeats the point of this tip.
PS, If you liked these tips, you might enjoy my newsletter, Footplate. Over 12,000 model railway fans get my tips direct to their inbox with this. It's completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time and I promise to never spam you. Sign up now.