Tips for Setting Up a Model Train in the Basement

If you are planning to build a model train, the first task that you need to accomplish is to determine the best place to build it. There are lots of possible options for this, such as in lofts, garages, spare rooms, and basements. The most ideal location for you will depend on your personal preference, what is available to you, and any restrictions when it comes to space.

A model train track

When choosing a location for your model train, there are some general requirements for it to be successful. One is that the area needs to be somewhere that has suitable temperature and humidity. This is essential as layouts can be ruined by cold, humidity, and extreme heat. Also, mains electricity should be available in the area that you choose, and it should be somewhat practical and easily accessible.

Among the many rooms in your home, one of the ideal locations is in the basement. It’s is because basements are out of the way and do not take up living space. Most of the time, basements are spare rooms where some things are kept. There are also homes that have a home office in the basement. But if your basement is vacant and available for your hobby, it is a good option to set up a model train. However, while basements are at a relatively constant temperature throughout the year, they usually suffer from the same issue of humidity. But this should not be an issue as it can be solved by using a dehumidifier.

a model railway for a model train

If you want to learn more about this, read on as we’re giving you tips for setting up a model train in the basement. 

1. Consider the size of the model train that you are going to set up.

The size of your basement matters to be able to determine the size of the model train that you are going to set up. Some people start with a small railway. However, as time pass, you will want to add more things to your layouts, such as landscape features, buildings, and track configurations. With this, from the start, it is better to allocate more space for the railway of your model train. Therefore, before you start building and setting up your model train, make sure that you have a plan for more space in the future. If your basement is big, then it is a good space where you can expand.

2. Create a plan before you build.

Planning is a very important part of setting up a model train. It is not a good idea to go out and buy lots of different tracks, as these can only go to waste as not all of them will fit the layout that you will make. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you design the layout of the track first. After that, run the model train in your head to see if it works how you want. Then you can start working out the track parts that you need. When you design a track plan, you will be able to determine what tracks you need, such as straights, curves, right, and left-hand points.

3. Set up a base for your model train.

If you are thinking about what your track will sit on, a sheet of readily available plywood will work well. Then, you can build a base to attach your sheet to, hence creating a table for your model train. The degree to which you do this depends on your woodworking skills. After you’ve built a table or base for your model train, you can choose a base color for your layout. You can pick colors like brown or gray, which can easily blend in when the scenery is added. You can also add roads and areas of concrete by painting them on the base. 

4. Lay and secure the track.

Many beginner model railroaders make a common mistake of not securing their track. Tracks were laid traditionally using tacks and nails. But you can also use clear silicone caulk to do this. It is a glue-like material that is available in many hardware stores. You can lay the track directly on the table, but you can also use a roadbed as a base. These may come in cork or foam materials. You can shape these to whichever design you want. In addition to positioning your track at a realistic height off the ground, it also reduces the sound of the trains that run on the board. 

5. Add some scenery and structures.

If you are looking to build a more substantial scene for your model train, you need to try running your trains on different track configurations before making something more permanent on your table. When you are satisfied with your track plan and all is working well, then adding more scenery and structures is your next step. You have the option to buy readily built structures or create your own. Try to buy simple anchor structures while you decide where features like lakes and rivers will go or as you create your landscape to add some depth to the scene.

6. Improve your model trains and update your layout.

When you begin the construction of your model railroad, you will soon realize how much enjoyment you are getting out of it. Soon, you will begin to think about other ways to improve your collection and update the layout. This is what makes building model trains and railways a fun hobby.

7. Don’t forget to put a dehumidifier in the room.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, when you choose to set up a model train in the basement, one of the issues that you have to face is humidity. It’s because your layout can be ruined by humidity issues. With this, putting a dehumidifier in the basement is a must. You also need to ensure that your basement is not too hot or too cold. When choosing a dehumidifier, pick one that is energy efficient. Most modern models today have technologies that help save energy so that your electricity bill will not increase too much.

These are some of the best tips that we can give on setting up a model train in the basement. We hope that these tips will help you enjoy and have fun with your hobby.