How To Build A Model Railway - From Model Railway Engineer

Model Trains For Beginner’s

beginners guide

Hi! as you’ve arrived here I’m guessing you want to learn about and get Hornby trains and model railways. If so, this page is for you.

I’m Andy, the Model Railway Engineer, and on this blog I show how to make model railways. From Hornby-style train sets to stunningly realistic model railway layouts this blog is here to help.

On this page you’ll find my favourite tutorials guides and posts to help you get started from the huge collection of unique articles and guides published here over the years and my recommendations for the best train sets to start with.

But before going further, you might be interested to know why I like model railways and why they’re so popular.

Building a model railway is fun, challenging and rewarding.

Fun Fact: The World’s Longest Model Railway
The longest model railway track in the world is Miniature Wunderland in Germany. It has an astonishing  has 13,000 meters of model railway track!

It’s a pastime with something for everyone.

Model trains are great for beginner’s of every age, from young children to way past retirement age. They offer something for lifestyle with enthusiasts from all walks of life including teachers, software engineers, physicists, actors, politicians and even Formula One drivers and pop stars.

Enthusiasts include Tom Hanks, Rod Stewart, Peter Sellers, Pete-Waterman, Johnny Cash, Winston Churchill, David Hasselhoff & Frank Sinatra to name just a few.

It’s no wonder an estimated 17,000 people are expected to attend the National Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC in November this year and over 10million people have visited the world’s largest model railway Miniature Wunderland in Germany.

“every three years Model Railroader magazine puts me on their cover, which is better than Rolling Stone”
Rod Stewart

A little about me

model train beginners guideI’m Andy, founder and owner of this site and for me the best thing about building a model railway is that there’s always something new to learn with all manner of different skills to be mastered.

It’s also a great way of discovering new interests and meeting some incredibly talented new friends and all while developing a hobby that’ll last a life time.

Personally, I’ve been making railways since I was a small lad and set up this site to help others get the most from this unique, fun, hobby. If you want to know more about me read this.

But enough of that.


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Let’s get back to why you’re here, to get you started with your first railway.

model railwayTo start with you’ll first need some trains and track.

Now you could go out and buy the trains, track, controllers and bits yourself and work it out over time and that’s a lot of fun but if you’re in a hurry to get going it’s faster, easier and quicker to get a train set.

These are all-in-one kits that have everything you need and all the instructions – although they’re hardly needed – to quickly get a train running. They’re the recommended path to starting this hobby.

Let’s Get Going – Your First Train Set

There are of course different train sets for different uses so I’ve picked the best ones for the three most common needs below.

Best For Children / Value 

Hornby Starter Kit For Beginners

The low cost Hornby starter set that’s appeals to children and is simple and easy to use. Get it here.

Best For Small Spaces / Adults

small model railway starter set-pp

If you don’t have a lot of room, this N gauge starter kit is ideal.

Best For All-Round / Expansion

Hornby DCC starter model railway train set

The set I recommend most often for uncomplicated model railway fun. It’s also based on the latest digital controls so has the most options for future expansion. Get it here.

One you’ve got one of these you can set it up and dive in.

Of course if you have any questions, feel free to have a look around this site.

I write all my posts and articles in easy, simple to understand and jargon free language and all the guides and tips here are complete free to read.  But if you do come across a word or phrase you’re unfamiliar with try my glossary of model railway terms and if there’s a particular word you’re still stuck with drop me a line via the contact page or head over to Facebook, like my Model Railway Engineer page and ask any questions you have there. I’ll be happy to help.

Amongst the most popular guides are:

Go Beyond The Basics

Once you’ve got one of these starter sets you’ll want to expand it with more track.

There are lots of track kits you can get to expand the length and complexity of the railway, moving beyond the basic oval of the starter set.

With this in mind, I wrote a one of my now most popular guides — how to expand your model train set.

The track expansion options covered there will work with Hornby OO gauge railway sets above, for the N gauge pack (railway in small spaces) other track options exist. Just search for N gauge track on Amazon or Google.

Good luck, have fun and welcome to the the world of model trains!

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Model Railway Engineer



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  1. Ron Cheney - November 14, 2015

    Have had some type of Model Railway for a long time.

    • Thanks Ron, that’s the great thing about model railways – it’s a hobby that lasts a lifetime!