Welcome to Model Railroad Academy


Welcome rail enthusiasts! My name is Douglas Hodgdon and along with Steve Doyle, we’re developing educational and thought-provoking material for the NEW Model Railroad Academy – a website dedicated entirely to educating you in the art of model railroad craftsmanship through video and online tutorials.

We want to develop – and encourage – a conversation that grows along with the website and we’re looking for your input regarding all topics and scales. We’re excited about the possibilities of helping the novice all the way through to the expert and will be producing helpful information and tutorials on model building, layout design, engineering, and theatrics.

As for myself, I’ve been in the business of designing and building scale model railroads as Douglas Designs for almost fifty years now, and have been published in Great Model Railroads, Model Railroader, and Railroad Model Craftsman. I think I can truthfully say that I’ve pretty much done it all in all scales and have had many customers who became great friends. And, I’ve done extensive railfanning across the US to see how the real railroads were built and operate.


I’m particularly fond of the US Southwest. I model in S scale and my layout depicts the Southern Pacific Railway serving southern California produce warehouses. It’s a 2’ by 18’ Proto64 switching layout with a single staging track, and is switched using a waybill system. I’ve had lots of fun designing, building, and operating it. Included here are some recent photos. There still is much detail work to be done of course. I’ve recently installed 6000 LEDs worth of lighting strips for my overhead lighting. In the future I hope to include some more detail photos of my layout.


Make sure to keep an eye out for more blogs by me and my fellow contributors in the coming weeks. We’re looking forward to getting to know this lively community of enthusiasts – feel free to leave comments on the pages so we can get the conversation started.

– Doug

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