Model Railroading Links

This page contains my favorite links to other model railroading sites. I will include a brief description with each link. I also intend to break the links down into categories. Rather than 're-inventing the wheel', I will link to other sites that have numerous links within a category, rather than relisting all of the individual links here. In each category, I will include the links that I like the best, even if they are included in another site's listing.

If know of a link to an interesting model railroading site that you would like me to include, e-mail it to me I will be more than happy to take a look at

One thing that I am really looking for is links to other private or club layout sites. I am not aware of a compilation of these in one location, although I am sure that at least one exists.

If you find a broken link, please e-mail it to me so that I can make the necessary correction on my page.


Tony's Train Exchange - specializes in DCC and related electronics. Web site contains a wealth of information, both on DCC in general, and about specific products. Merchandise sold at a discount price. Links to all of the manufacturers the represent are included. They provide professional installation of DCC decoders. They are located in New Jersey. I have done business with them and have been very pleased.

Loy's Toys - specializes in DCC and other model railroad accessories. From time to time they put on multiple day workshops that address various aspects of DCC. They are located in Arkansas

Caboose Hobbies - This model railroad hobby shop, located in Denver, Co., bills itself as "world's largest train store." They carry a full inventory of model railroad equipment, not just accessories. They also provide professional installation of decoders in locomotives. When investigating the various DCC 'starter' sets from the different manufacturers, I was invited to 'come out to Denver' and actually get a chance to try out the different products. Road trip anyone?

John's Hobbies - Specializes in DCC equipment and accessories. Also offers decoder installations.

Aztec, Inc. - This company has products from Z to G. They have a line of track-cleaning cars in various scales. Of special interest to n-scale hobbiests are the specially milled replacement frames for n-scale locomotives. These specially milled frames are modified to accept DCC decoders.

Southern Digital - Offers DCC - ready replacement frames for Atlas, Kato, LifeLike, and ConCor. These include frames for many of the older 1-piece fame/weight used in the LifeLife locomotives, as well as the ConCor 4-8-4. Each frame/weight is accopanied by a choice of recommended DCC decoders from Digitrax and Lenz for that particular unit. Southern Digital has very attractive prices on the replacement frame/weights, as well as DCC decoders from Lenz and Digritax, and complete Digitrax DCC systems.

'Full Line' Hobby Shops

Caboose Hobbies - See description under DCC

The N-Scale Division - A virtual hobby shop on-line that specializes in n-scale equipment and accessories from most manufacturers. Also provides links to those manufacturers web sites. Products are broken down by manufacturer. - Virtual hobby shop featuring a full line of N-scale equipment and accessories

Internet Trains - Another virtual hobby shop that supports multiple scales. Site loads very SLOWLY over a dial-in connection.

JnJ Trains - A source of custom painted locomotive shells, freight cars, passenger cars, and special run cars for N-scale. Also carries a multitude of detailing parts for both locomotive shells and cars.


Sites featuring model railroad layouts

Ellieton Junction Railroad - by Ed Oates. This site provides a pictoral progress of the construction of Ed's layout.

N Scale Layout - "Protolance" Southern RY circa 1960's - This site shows an overview of Mike's railroad which is under construction. There are several pages devoted to using plaster cloth for Woodlands for scenery.

The Credit Valley Railroad in N-Scale - contains not only information about Will's layout, but also information about the prototype he is modeling.

Bill's Railroad Empire - Contains all kinds of information and pictures about his railroad empire, plus a multitude of links to other sites.


Layout Design Software

This section is more for convenience than anything else, since I have only used two of the products listed, one on the PC and one on the Mac. The other links are to software sites I have visited, and perhaps even downloaded demos from. However, I have no real experience using those software packages and can't make any evaluative comments about them.

Mac Software

Empire Express - I downloaded the demo copy of this program and liked it immediately. Felt for $34.95, I couldn't go wrong. Software supports both N and HO and has track libraries from Atlas and Peco in N-scale, as well as Atlas, Peco and Shinohara in HO. The feature I like best about this program is the way it handles flex track. After defining what you want the ruling radius on your layout to be, you simply pick a starting point and draw. If drawing from one point, you can generate straight track or curved track with a fixed radius. If connecting to pieces of existing track, the program even appears to generate easements, although it doesn't give the details of such. Unlike some other programs, a drawn segment of flex track can be of any length. Clicking on the segment of flex track gives you the minimum radius of the piece and the total length, in inches, of the piece. You aren't forced to use full sections of flex track, or predetermine the length if less than a full section before drawing. Perhaps the major drawback of the program is that is does not allow the generation of layers. The demo program is a full working version with the SAVE and PRINT function disabled. Runs on Mac OS 8.1 - OS X. (I used it on a flat screen i-Mac running 10.0.2)

PC Software

3D PlanIt - This looked like a great program, but I suspect that it has a steep learning curve unless you already have some CAD background. The package costs $104.95 for a full version shipped ground mail, or $84.95 for an internet download (no CD and no printed manual). A demo is available for download (7.5 Mb). Extended object libraries, help files, tutorials, and examples are also available for download. File sizes range from a few megabytes to over 30 megabytes. I did not try to download any of the files since I do not have access to a broadband connection. Likewise, I wasn't willing to spend over $100 and hope that I liked the product.

CadRail 8 - I did download the demo for this program, but did not really take time to learn how to use it. The demo is fully functional, but limits the number of objects you can create. I used the demo to create the diagram of the layout room, plus the diagrams of the three different bench arrangements that I considered for that room.

RR Track - This was actually the first place I went looking for software after reading their ads in Model Railroader. Their website indicated that a demo was available for download, but it wasn't there when I looked in April. Modules are available for Z - G. Individual modules cost from $79 - $129. With the exception of N and HO, no module covers more than one scale. Likewise, there are several different modules available within most scales. I wasn't willing to shell out full price for a module without the opportunity to download a demo and try it out, so I passed on this one.

WinRail - I am not sure why I did not try this one out. Perhaps because of the size of the downloadable demo (7.5 meg). Could also be that I had already committed to Empire Express when I discovered their website.

Miscellaneous Links

An Onlinr Guide to Model Railroading - There is a little story that goes with this link. I received an email from Ms. Hayes, a fourth grade teacher and after school mentor in a school district that shall remain unamed. She recently had her students (in spring of 2012) do show and tell projects on hobbies of interest to them. One young man did his project on model railroading. In the course of his research he found my website. He also found this link. He and Ms. Hayes felt that I might like to add this link to my site. So here it is, with a big thank-you to Ms. Hayes and her fourth grade class


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This page last update 7/23/2004