Not just trains: cars, vans and boats for model railways

scale car for model railwayWant a car for your OO gauge level crossing? A fishing boat for your N scale harbour? A cycle outside the signal box? Who wouldn’t.

Many layouts have a level crossing but what about cars and vans waiting at the gates for the train to pass? Or perhaps a car parked alongside a railway line with children and parents waving at the passing train?

Such small touches add realism to your layout but in the past good quality cars, vans and lorries for railways haven’t been that easy to get.

Thankfully like trains, the quality of Die-cast vehicles — to name just one manufacturing technique — has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and there are now some wonderful OO and N scale model cars, lorries and boats available.

Here are my favourites.

OO & N Scale Cars, Vans and Lorries

If your idea of model cars is the smashed up Matchbox toys we had as kids think again.

Take a look at Oxford Diecast, the detailing on their N and OO scale models are simply stunning.

Just take a closer look at the photo above of Network Rail Land Rover Defender that I picked up recently. Windscreen wipers, tread on the tires and even the indicators and license plate and all at N scale!


They’re a perfect complement to the locomotives we have running around our track.

The Oxford Diecast range is available from most model railway dealers or here for OO 1:76 scale or here for N 1:148 scale.

Model Boats & Water Craft

rowing boatsIf you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know I have a thing about rivers and canals. So I was more than a little pleased then when I found the Langley Models range of N scale boats and the Craftline Models OO scale collection of narrow boats.

Langley Models also do a delightful range of OO 1/76th scale rowing boats, fishing trawlers (ideal for a harbour scene), sailing yachts and ferries.


Cycles bring an extra touch of realism to a layout. A a cycle parking facility at a busy station or the signalman’s bike leaning against a wall of a signal box add a delightful touch to your layout. 

And luckily Hornby do a nice OO scale model while Langley Models have a nice range of N scale bikes ( scroll down the page on the Langley site).

Anything else?

What have I missed? Are there any other types vehicles you want for your model railway but can’t find. Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to find them.

> 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.

Affiliate notice: If you plan to buy the products on this page or similiar, please use the links here. These will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you does not change I receive a small commission on the orders you place which helps me maintain this site and allows me to create more articles like this. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thank you for your support, Andy.

  1. I’ve recently seen a link to a site showing multiple videos of motorised vehicles, cranes, JCB etc. Unfortunately I never kept the link and cannot find it, any ideas what it might be? It will ty in with Neil’s e mail.

  2. I am currently working on my clubs kids layout and am animating a number of road vehicles. So far we have a fire engine and police cars with flashing blue lights, a helicopter with roating blades and some construction vehicles which will move back and forth. One item that I have not yet been able to source is a tipper truck that actually tips. I can make the mechanism to make it operate but need the basic model in HO scale. Any ideas?

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