N Scale Model Railroad Resources

My son and I are building an N scale model railroad featuring some of his favorite places in Boulder and the foothills.

Here are some of the model railroading resources we have found most useful:

Caboose – formerly Caboose Hobbies, the world’s largest (and greatest) model train store, located in Denver. Moved to Lakewood in 2016 and renamed Caboose.

Track Planning for Realistic Operation: Prototype Railroad Concepts for Your Model Railroad (3rd Edition) by John Armstrong – the bible for track layout and a very interesting read on how railroads are built and operated.

Norms of European Model Railroads – Easements – one of the better descriptions of how to design and lay out easements (the transition between a radial curve and straight track or a reverse curve). This is a relatively simple concept, but most literature on the topic is impossible to follow.

National Model Railroad Association standards – standards for model railroad trains including scale, trains, track, and digital command control (DCC).

AnyRail – model railway design tool.

Woodland Scenics – manufacturer of SubTerrain lightweight layout system, and scenery products.

Wiring for DCC – excellent site by Allan Gartner on all electrical and wiring aspects of model railroads, particularly DCC.

Technical Aspects of Model Railroading – lots of excellent pictures; very useful as a reference while reading Wiring for DCC as it follows many of Allan Gartner’s guidelines and practices.

Atlas Model Railroad Co. – manufacturer of track and switches being used.

Lunde Studios – manufacturer of highly detailed buildings in HO and N scale.

Small Model Railroads – site with useful content on all aspects of model railroads.

Martin & Rose – another site with useful content on model railroad construction.


Here are some interesting histories of railroads:

Brief History of New York City Transportation by Steven Thomas – from horse to steam to electric power, from ground-level to elevated to submerged, New York’s massive public transportation system has evolved dramatically over the years.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad – 12 miles of this fabled route through the Royal Gorge in Colorado are still in operation; the Santa Express operates here from mid-November through the end of December.