Building Removable Modules for Model Railroads

Duration: 1:51

When it comes to building the benchwork and structure for model railroads, there are a variety of options you can choose depending on the type of layout you want to create. Some experts will tell you that a certain technique is preferable over all others, but the fact is that each has its upsides and downsides.

One of the structural methods for constructing model railroads that picked up popularity in recent decades is the use of modules. Modules are small sections of a layout that are built from simple materials and allow modelers to remove and replace portions of their scene. By utilizing removable modules on model railroads, if you don’t like the way a certain element of your layout looks, you can easily take it out and rework it. In this lesson, master modeler David Barrow demonstrates why he implemented module architecture on his innovative layout of Cat Mountain & Santa Fe Railway, and teaches you how to build basic modules for your own model railroads.

Creating modules for model railroads

One of the coolest things about David’s HO scale recreation of Cat Mountain & Santa Fe Railway is the evolution it’s experienced over the years. If you were to have visited his workshop on two separate occasions over the last few decades, chances are you would’ve seen two different model railroads. That’s because it wasn’t until long after the model railroad’s initial inception that David decided to change his architecture from open-grid benchwork to individual modules.

David explains why he made this choice, and then talks about how he likes to build modules for his model railroads using simple materials. You’ll learn the expert technique for creating removable modules to be used on a range of model railroads, as well as how to properly wire a module with switches and controls. With David’s technique for designing and building modules, you can open up new possibilities for the structure and layout of your model railroads!

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