The Top 3 Advantages Of DC Model Trains

DC model trains have a lot of advantages over their digital counterparts. Read the top 3 advantages here.

“DCC model trains are the future”

Hornby Zero 1

“DCC is the future” has been said since digital trains first came out. Commentators were proclaiming the digital future when the Zero 1 (pictured above) – the first widespread digital model train system – was released by Hornby in 1979.

Perhaps, but I and a lot of other experienced modellers still prefer good ‘ol fashioned DC trains for good reason.

DC is easier

For starters, DC is easier to operate. A DC railway is simplicity itself to understand. No programming device IDs or locomotive selection just trains, direction and speed via a switch and knob. Even young children can quickly grasp the concept. And DC controllers are certainly a lot cheaper than their DCC counterparts.

Analogue trains are cheaper

Secondly, good old analogue trains are cheaper. You don’t need fancy digital decoders in the engines so they cost less which means more trains for your money or not spending as much just to get started.

If you’re more interested in the model-making aspects of model railways DC is the easier and cheaper option.

DC can do much that DCC can

Lastly, with a little ingenuity, you can work around the limitations of DC to get many of the features you might have expected were only available with digital train sets. Multiple trains can be operated by splitting the track up into different electrical circuits and steam engines can be fitted with smoke generators for example.

So if you’re building a simple railway for young children to operate, are more interested in model making or working on a tight budget DC is for you.

And of course, if the kids grow up, you want a more advanced railway or you win the lottery… You can always get DCC controllers and upgrade your DC trains.

Obviously, there are advantages of DCC model trains too but the advantages of DC trains, for me,  still make it my preferred choice for smaller layouts.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.


Picture credit: Zero 1 controller by Terminator
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.

Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.

When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here,

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