For most people, their first introduction to model railways is with a small circle track fixed to a sheet of plywood. My first track was more than 30 years ago and I still see it being done this way even today. No scenery, no landscaping and maybe not even any buildings or vehicles.
Why? Because that’s all you tend to get in most starter kits…
That said, it really doesn’t take very long for your naturally inquisitive and imaginative child to get the urge to start adding accessories to his railway to make it more realistic. Even adults coming into our hobby have similar urges sooner or later, and for many people of all ages, this develops into a lifelong hobby, and you would be surprised just how big an endeavour this can become!
Model Railway Accessories
Every railway layout is different and everyone has their own preferences and favorite accessories, but these 5 items are some of the most common accessories that add a level of realism and interest to your model railway layout.
1. The Train Station
Without a doubt, this is always one of the first buildings people tend to add to their layout. Not only does it gives the railway start and end points, but it also serves as the beginning of an entire village or town that gets built up around it over time.
2. Lighting Effects
Model railway lighting can come in several forms from background lighting to give your backdrop a touch of realism, to street lights to add a touch of ambiance in your village streets. These may be purely decorative, or they may actually light up at night to give a realistic glow. Lighting can be that final touch of detail that just takes the layout from looking flat to bringing it to life.
3. Railway Carriages
Your engine typically gets the Lion’s share of attention when you are setting up a model railway for the first time, but sooner or later you are going to want that engine pulling along some cars, and depending on other factors in your layout you will have a lot of options for what may be being pulled along – everything from passaenger cars, to freight or mail cars.
4. Living Things: People and Animals
Having a beautifully crafted landscape to nestle your tracks in, flanked by a Station and some other buildings is a great start, but when you want a feeling of realism you need living things like people and animals. A city street or busy rail yard isn’t fully complete without people doing their jobs. Also, if your railway track travels through any amount of countryside, or maybes through some hills or mountains, then animals add a touch of realism to the layout design.
5. Landscape & Terrain
My personal favorite part of model railways is designing the landscape and features. There are many countless amounts of options for landscaping a railroad – You can add things like mountains, hills, gorges, rivers, bridges, houses, grass, trees, lakes or rivers alongside the track.through, and tunnels through the mountains. In fact, if you’ve seen it on your own travels you can add it to a model railway layout too – just make sure these features are in keeping with your overall layout plan – the age it’s set in, and the country.
Choosing The Right Model Railway Accessories
Which of these you choose to incorporate into your model railway layouts is dependent on a number of factors, but over time you will probably end up using them all on one train layout or another. If you aren’t certain how to get started designing your first railway layout, check out this other post we wrote about getting started with model railway layouts.
Building model railways often becomes a lifelong hobby, there is so much variety in what you can do in this hobby that most people never get bored with it. Best of all, this can be an entire family activity, something for you to share with your kids and grand kids, or even parents and grand parents.