Model Railway Features

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MAKING A SCENE: Building a low relief Bus Depot

Low relief buildings are an excellent means of suggesting depth to a model railway where space is at a premium. DAN EVASON creates a unique bus depot scene in ‘OO’ gauge.

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Development of the ‘Pacific’ steam locomotive

For enthusiasts and modellers one of the best-known types of steam locomotive is the ‘Pacific’, a design that once dominated express services in Britain and produced the fastest steam locomotives ever to run on our tracks. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES investigates how the 4-6-2 developed and why it was to prove so successful. 

Heljan Class 58 sound installation guide Feature Premium

Heljan Class 58 digital sound installation guide

The range of speakers available to sound installers is far greater than ever before. MIKE WILD investigates the use of Smart Phone speakers in a Heljan Class 58 using a LokSound decoder.

Hornby Mk 3 Maglight installation guide. Feature Premium

Installing Hornby’s Mk 3 Maglights

Hornby’s latest generation Mk 3 carriages have been designed with the manufacturer’s new magnetic switched lighting strips in mind. MIKE WILD adds a full set to a Blue Pullman HST set in ‘OO’ gauge.

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TransPennine Express Mk 5 weathering guide

With the deftest of touches, TIM SHACKLETON breathes fresh life into some of the most outstanding models yet released in ’OO’ gauge.

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Model railway planning: A Fresh Look

Rather than building a new layout to replace one you're happy with, PAUL LUNN argues that changing the scene can be just as enjoyable - and much cheaper.

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Great Central Railway ‘A5’ 4-6-2T

Built originally for heavy suburban traffic out of London Marylebone station, the ‘A5’ 4-6-2Ts spread their wings to all corners of the London and North Eastern Railway’s system. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks into the history of this long extinct class.

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Beeching – reshaping the railway

While the Beeching report of 60 years ago is best remembered for the closure of a third of our railway network, it proposed investment and improvement in some areas, particularly freight and long-distance passenger services. Some of these proposals were then seen as radical, but were they as original as generally thought? EVAN GREEN-HUGHES set out to find out.

ZIMO sound chip updates Feature Premium


Technology is always on the move and specialist model railway decoder manufacturer ZIMO is no exception. MIKE WILD discovers what this Austrian brand’s latest MS series sound decoders have to offer.

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iTRAIN software for model railways

Digital Command Control systems are available in many forms, including the ability for full automation of a layout. One such system is iTrain Layout Control, as MARK CHIVERS explains.

DCC Concepts Zen decoder family Feature Premium

DCC Concepts Zen Decoder family

DCC Concepts’ Zen decoder collection offers a comprehensive and flexible system with the option to add plug-and-play stay alives. MIKE WILD reviews the range.

Yamorc DCC accessory decoders Feature Premium


A new name to the Digital Command Control market is YaMoRC. MARK CHIVERS looks at this fledgling brand’s newly-released accessory decoders.

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In the second part of our series on construction of Natford TMD, MIKE WILD explains how Key Publishing’s exclusive laser-cut four-road sheds were built and painted to create a centrepiece for the scene.

Making Track 3 March update. Feature Freemium

VIDEO: Making Tracks 3 - March Update

Peter Waterman's Making Tracks 3 ambitious project continues to make progress in preparation for its six week display starting at Chester Cathedral this summer. CHRIS CLENTON brings the story up to date with the latest update and exclusive video from the Making Tracks 3 workshop.

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Staff Projects: Hornby Malcolm Class 90 makeover

Hornby’s Class 90 Bo-Bo electric may have started life in the late 1980s, but it still holds potential today. MIKE WILD shows how he enhanced Hornby’s latest version – the uniquely liveried DB Cargo operated 90024 which carries Malcolm Rail’s photographic livery.

HM189 Double Fairlie sound demonstration Feature Premium

Installing digital sound in the Bachmann Double Fairlie

The stunning Bachmann narrow gauge Double Fairlie has been a catalyst for new ‘OO9’ layout projects. JOHN GAY explains how you can upgrade the model to feature both sound and a stay alive for uninterrupted running.

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Scotland’s last steam locomotive: the LNER ‘J36’ 0-6-0

Throughout the Victorian era there was a requirement for sturdy goods locomotives of the 0-6-0 wheel arrangement, with one of the most successful and long-lived designs being the North British ‘J36’, a type which gave no less than 79 years continuous main line service, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES discovers.

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Making Buildings from Scratch – part 2

Having established why structures are built in the way they are, MALCOLM BRIGGS puts theory into practice by scratchbuilding a weighbridge hut in 'OO' scale for the second part of our building construction series.

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Weathering LNER J27 0-6-0s in OO gauge

It’s back to maths class as TIM SHACKLETON explains how, as far as weathering is concerned, what you take off can be just as important as what you put on.

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The Class 90 electrics

One of the most successful locomotives to have operated on Britain’s railways in recent years has been the Class 90, a second-generation electric design that has racked up millions of service miles. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES reviews its story.

ViTrains Class 47 overhaul Feature Premium

ViTrains Class 47

Looking back at photographs from the early 2000s, MIKE WILD was inspired to find and revive a ViTrains Freightliner triple grey Class 47 to provide an alternative container train locomotive.

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MAKING A SCENE: How to model a scrap yard

Every town once had a scrap yard full of hidden treasures. DAN EVASON recreates a typical 1970s scheme in 4mm:1ft scale.

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The Collett GWR '1366' 0-6-0PTs

The Great Western looked far back to its past in 1934 when it needed new lightweight shunting engines, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES discovers.

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Reality Check: The Gresley 'A3' class 'Pacifics'

One of the most famous locomotive designs ever produced was the LNER’s ‘A1’ (later ‘A3’) ‘Pacific’. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at the story of these iconic 4-6-2s which changed the face of rail travel on the East Coast Main Line.

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The Mk 5 carriage story

Although locomotive-hauled coaches are largely a thing of the past, there has been one fleet of new-builds in recent years - the Mk 5s operated by Caledonian Sleeper and TransPennine Express. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks into the background of these interesting vehicles.

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The Beeching Report - 60 years on

Many people speak as if Dr Beeching was the man who single-handedly destroyed our railway system. In reality, he was merely the culmination of a process that had been under way for more than half a century. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES delves into the background of route closures.

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LNWR Webb ‘Coal Tanks’

One of the longest-lived products from Crewe works was the remarkable ‘Coal Tank’ of the London & North Western Railway. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks at the history of these Victorian locomotives, which could be handled everything from heavy coal trains to lightweight push-pull passenger services in their long careers.

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How to build a return loop storage yard

A storage yard isn’t always just a place to store trains off scene, and no more so than on Hornby Magazine’s latest ‘OO’ layout Grosvenor Square. Mike Wild explains how the off-scene area for this large terminus layout went from a cassette yard to something more adventurous for the benefit of its operation.

Flying Scotsman sound installation guide and demonstration Feature Premium

Locoman’s ‘Scotsman’ sound

Using the latest Hornby model of the Gresley ‘A3’ and a Locoman Sounds profile loaded onto an ESU LokSound chip, MIKE WILD explains how sound can be added to a ‘OO’ gauge model.

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Flying Scotsman at 100

Billed as the world’s most famous steam locomotive, how has Flying Scotsman captured the public’s imagination in a way nothing else has? Author ANDREW RODEN explains why it is so important.