I need some advice please

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Good morning.

I have an idea, taken from some friends, that I'd like to work on. Here's the gist of whats up.

As it is now, looks like G scale is the largest commercial scale for model railroading.

In setting up our christmas display every year, the G scale is fun to work with, but just a tad on the small side.

There are a few people with Christmas displays who have built home made trains with wood, lawnmower wheels and casters for guide wheels inside the wood railings.

If it comes to it, I'd emulate their build style, but being the "fan" of railroading that I am, I'd like to construct a set that is a little more "realistic" rather than just a "working" set.

With that said, I'd like to twist as many of your brains as possible for suggestions, ideas, possibilities....in the following areas.

I'd like to "build" this train to be approximately 3-4 feet in length (the engine) and around 2 feet high, according to scale and look. The basic concept right now is to use gears and motors from "power wheels" play cars to turn the wheels, and marine batteries to power the motors and gears.

I'd like to build the trains "wheels" to emulate those of an actual train riding on rails, instead of the lawnmower tires with the guide wheels underneath and inside the railings.

Wood most certainly would be the best product to construct the rails out of price wise, but what about using aluminum? Would there be some type of metal product available in rail type strips that would bend easily without kinking to make the corners of the railroad?

So put your thinking caps on and help me out here, if you can..........!!!!! :D


A couple more basics...

To get this railroad to encompass my front yard, will take about 175 feet in all...for the first year will be just a basic rectangle setup.

The engine and cars will be built out of light wood and coroplast, along with some pvc and styrene or thin aluminum for enhancements and details.

The marine batteries to power the gears and motors will sit inside the engine, once I get the basic engine shape built, I'll plan the shelves for the batteries.

Electrical wiring will also feed from the batteries to supply lighting in the engine, tender, caboose, and adjoining cars for appeal.


Ballhog24 said:
whoo...some of that stuff is VERY NICE...but has a very nice price tags on it as well.

Well yes, as I said, some of it has some very nice prices. But... Look beyond the ready to run 4-8-4's and check into some of the smaller stuff. Battery powered switchers etc.

There's somebody, I can't recall who, that had some kind of setup, I think it was 5 inch gauge, with an oval of track and small loco and cars, all for about $1,000 or less.


Appreciate it Bob...I did check some of the switches and power controllers, even some of the trucks and wheels...

A few of the sites sure do give me some reason to spend that kind of money...but I'm looking at getting something going in the $250-300 range...

Maybe I can mix and match some of the readily available stuff with some scratch built stuff.


Here is a picture of the train that has gotten me interested in this...

It's on a wooden track, the drive wheels are lawnmower wheels, and underneath are guide wheels that are caster wheels just to keep the train on the track.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.