10 Things That Make A Model Train Geek (Me!) Happy

It’s been a long week and it’s not over yet! I need to cheer myself up so here’s a quick little post about what makes me happiest with my model railways.

Feel free to jump in and add what makes you happy — about model trains of course.


  • Slaying A Track Troll
    The trains run around your layout perfectly except at THAT one point. It’s where locos judder to a halt or carriages slide off the rails. And isn’t it always in the hardest to reach spot! All layouts have them.Agghhh!

    But the moment you figure out what’s wrong and fixe it makes up for all the frustration! It’s truly satisfying — you’ve taken on the track troll and won! Happy model train geek.



  • Spotting A Prototype
    The joy of finding the real train or building of those on my layout, extra points if spotted by accident.Is that? Really? It is!! Grab camera and take ten-squillion pictures.



  • You’ve Got Mail
    Seeing that telltale oblong shaped parcel waiting for you at the foot of the front door.It can be only one thing: the new loco you ordered has arrived!



  • This….

    This HO scale spiral train is gloriously, strangely, hypnotic. I can watch it for hours.



  • Power Up
    That moment when you fit new electrics to the layout and operate them for the first time. Whether it’s a point motor, animation or just a few LED lights in buildings there’s joy seeing something you’ve wired and soldered burst into life.



  • Tunnel Time
    Watching trains disappear into a tunnel. It’s there, it’s gone. Will it reappear or will it disappear, perhaps becoming stuck or derailing out of sight. And then it’s back, emerging from the tunnel to hurry on its little way. Wonderful.



  • Holding your latest train – for the first time
    rp_train-in-hand-300x300.jpgYou’ve ordered in and know it’s coming but opening the packing and holding your new treasure for the first time is still some kind of wonderful. Savour the moment studying the intricate detailing for the first time.


  • Simple Scatter 
    Okay, this is perhaps just a personal like and may be shared by other modellers but it’s my blog so I’m allowed a little indulgence.Going into a model shop – Antics Bristol or AC Models in Eastleigh are my two preferred destinations – and looking at the bags of scatter and flock lined up on the shelves.Is it because all the bags are lined up and arranged by colour or size? Or because it takes me back to fond childhood memories when I’d visit my local model railway store in Wimbledon Broadway and dream about the railways I’d build with different materials on display.I have no idea but if left alone I can spend hours looking at scatter and flock in a model railway store! (I did say this is for model railway geeks!)



  • The First Run
    If unwrapping a new locomotive sends a tiny shiver down my spine, then delicately placing it on the rails, turning up the dial and watching it set off for the first time around my layout is a special warm place.(Now is not the moment for track trolls to emerge if they know what’s good for them!)



  • Miniature Lives
    Sneaking up on my layout late at night and watching the little people as they come to life, drive the trains and live their lives in the magical world of my model railway.

    Okay, maybe that’s just my imagination.



> 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.


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. 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, eBay 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. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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