Recording Your Rolling Stock

Quick question: How much would it hurt if you lost all your trains?

What if you had a fire? Or a flood? How much would it hurt if all your rolling stock was destroyed?

I don’t mean emotionally, although it would hurt too, but financially?

How much have you spent on all your locomotives, wagons, passenger carriages over the years?

I don’t want to think about that figure!

Or maybe stolen? Take this collection stolen from a model railway in a shed in Bournemouth. £1000 gone! It’s the same result. All your wonderful trains gone. *Shudder*

It was while playing with my latest acquisition, the Märklin 81701 Z gauge train set, that cost approx. £150 that I wondered how much my entire collection would cost to replace.


But worse, I had no real idea of what that figure would be. Lots. Tripple lots in-fact. But I couldn’t put a price on how much.

And even worse, I had no record of what I had that I could even take to an insurer.

One of my New Year Resolutions is to get my workbench and trains more organise. Considering this and the realisation I don’t know how much my collection is worth, I’ve now created Google Docs spreadsheet (MS Excel would work just as well) where I can record my rolling stock.

This has columns for:

  • Make
  • Manufacturers Part Number
  • Type: Locomotive, Rolling Stock
  • Gauge
  • DCC, DC, N/A
  • Railway Company (GWR, DB NSE, etc)
  • Whyte Notation
  • Alterations (Weathered/Adapted To EM Gauge, etc)
  • Purchase Date
  • Purchase Price

The last column is a bit scary as you suddenly realise how much you’ve spent on this hobby but it’s useful/needed for insurance purposes.

I use Google Docs as it’s cloud-based. Anything resulting in the loss of my rolling stock in my house could also conceivably result in the loss of my computers (fire, etc) so having this document in the cloud rather than on the disk of a local computer means I’ll still have it for an insurance claim.  This is also why I chose not to use a dedicated application such as Yard Office and cheaper than the online

I’m now slowly cataloguing my fleet although it’s taking longer than expected as I naturally have to test each loco 😉

Do you keep a record of your trains? What do you use? What details do you record? Have I missed anything?

> 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.
  1. Hi Andy
    I’ve just got back into modelling after a long time and following what you said about loss of the rolling stock/ locomotives etc, I decided to log all the track parts and buildings as well, because in the event of a total loss(due to fire/ flood etc) the cost of the track and buildings is a significant part of the financial outlay for any layout.

  2. Happy new year Andy. Your question on how much would it hurt if I lost my layout. I started modelling again 18 months ago after a 40 year lay off, you know how wives, kids and work can interfere with the serious business of modelling. So this time around I made sure I kept every receipt and put the layout on the house insurance. As for the lost work involved in making the layout, well look at all the fun I’d have doing it again, only without the 1001 mistakes.

    • Hi Steve, likewise! Hope you had a good New Year’s Eve celebration? I do like your positive spin on what having fun if needing to build it again! Hope you’re hiding the receipts 🙂 Andy

  3. As someone without a lot of experience, I am creating a similar tracking tool.  I figured it might be worthwhile to keep the maintenance notes as well (adjustments, cleaning, replacement parts).  I would love to hear of other suggestions before getting too far down this path.

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