The rhythmic clickety-clack of wheels on tracks, the miniature world bustling with life, the intricate details of a gleaming locomotive – these are the echoes of a timeless passion, the call of the model train hobby. A hobby steeped in history, engineering, and creativity, it attracts enthusiasts of all ages, inspiring them to embark on a journey of miniature railways.


an old photograph of a man standing and a woman sitting at a table covered with a model train set


A History of Captivation

Model trains and model railroading has chugged along through centuries, their origins tracing back to the 1800s. In fact, the roots of model train collecting can be traced back to the mid-19th century, with the advent of the first mass-produced model trains in the early 20th century. 

Initially, these replicas served as educational tools, but their intricate detailing and evolving technology soon transformed them into sought-after collectibles. Eventually, hobby collecting became a viable trade, as well. 

From early wind-up toys to the sophisticated electric and battery-powered marvels of today, these miniature marvels have long captivated hearts and minds. The appeal is multifaceted: the intricate mechanics, the meticulous detail, the ability to create your own miniature world, and the sheer joy of watching it come alive.

Model trains and train sets have captivated hobbyists for generations, weaving a rich tapestry of history, nostalgia, and craftsmanship. The allure of these miniature locomotives lies in their ability to transport enthusiasts to a bygone era, sparking a fascination that transcends age and time.


A Rich History and Ongoing Allure

Today, model trains stand as more than mere toys—they embody a passion for railroads and a commitment to preserving a piece of locomotive history. Model Railroading and the building of miniature railways continues to attract new enthusiasts to this day. 


Different Types of Model Trains

Diversity reigns supreme in the world of model trains, offering enthusiasts a broad spectrum of choices of model train scales. From the classic charm of steam engines to the sleek modernity of diesel locomotives, each type carries its own unique appeal. Electric trains, known for their efficiency and ease of use, cater to those seeking a contemporary touch. The beauty of this hobby lies in its inclusivity, accommodating varied tastes and preferences.


Trains for Every Track

Understanding the dimensions and scales of model trains is crucial for enthusiasts venturing into this captivating realm. Whether it’s the popular HO scale, the compact N scale, or the larger-than-life O scale, each scale brings its own charm and challenges. Exploring these differences allows hobbyists to tailor their collections to specific preferences and available space.


Exploring Train Scales and Types

The world of model trains is a diverse landscape, offering something for every taste and skill level. Here is a quick look at the most common scales available:

  • HO Scale: The most popular choice, HO trains are compact and versatile, offering a vast array of locomotives, rolling stock, and scenery.
  • N Scale: Even smaller than HO, N scale trains are perfect for limited space or those who prefer a more expansive layout.
  • O Scale: Larger and more imposing, O scale trains are ideal for showpieces and intricate detailing.

Each scale has its own unique charm, offering a different perspective on the model train world. Whether you’re drawn to the nostalgic steam locomotives of the past or the sleek bullet trains of tomorrow, there’s a train scale waiting to take you on an adventure.

When shopping for Fundemonium hobbies supplies, you can be sure to find a wide selection of model train accessories for your “dream” model railroad set up. One of the first things you’ll want to pick up is your very own model train! And a great “starter” train is the Pennsylvania Keystone Special.

The newly upgraded Pennsylvania Keystone Special is a Ready-to-Run set favorite that is now elevated to new heights! Adorned in authentic Brunswick green, this set boasts the advanced LionChief® system and innovative Bluetooth 5.0 technology, providing an unparalleled model train experience.

Featuring the iconic Pennsylvania name and markings on all cars, this set includes a captivating searchlight car for added excitement.

Train set includes:

  • Pennsylvania 0-8-0 Steam Locomotive and tender
  • Pennsylvania boxcar
  • Pennsylvania searchlight car
  • Pennsylvania Caboose
  • Eight pieces of O36 curved FasTrack®
  • Two FasTrack® 10″ straight track sections
  • One LionChief FasTrack® Terminal section
  • One Plug-Expand-Play® Power Lock-on section
  • Wall-pack power supply
  • LionChief® remote for locomotive

Unleash the power of this exceptional train set, bringing the charm of miniature railroads to life with style and technology.


a model train speeding through a model city


Planning and Building Your Model Train Setup

The potential of a custom model train layout is an invitation to unleash your creativity. Start by choosing your scale and track configuration, and gather the essential components, such as tracks, locomotives, and cars. then embark on the exciting journey of building your miniature world.

Lush, realistic landscapes for detailed railroad scenery can be crafted with WOOT1349 Blended Turf and WOOS192 Scenic Sprayer, while miniature buildings and figures add a touch of bustling life. As your layout grows, so does the satisfaction of seeing your vision come to life.

Your Dream Model Train Setup Tools and Materials

If this is your first foray into creating and building your own model railway setup, it can be a bit bewildering as to what you may need to accomplish the task. Here is a suggested list of tools and materials to help you make a stunning layout complete with scenery:

The (miniature) world is your canvas when it comes to what you can add to your model train setup. 


Enhancing Your Model Train Experience 

The beauty of model trains lies in the endless possibilities for customization. Lubricating your locomotive with lightweight oil, adding various types of clump foliage for realistic greenery, or installing artificial water for a magical river scene – these are just a few ways to personalize your miniature world. The options are as limitless as your imagination.

Small Scale, Big Fun!

The magic is in the details, and when it comes to model trains, attention to these elevates the experience. Whether it’s adding weathering effects to rolling stock or incorporating realistic signage, these touches breathe life into the miniature world. Elements like flower beds for color and rock outcroppings for scenery enhancements add to the joy of model train hobbyists.


Model Train Community and Learning

Beyond the solitary joy of crafting miniature landscapes, the model train hobby boasts a vibrant community. Enthusiasts gather to share insights, swap stories, and collaborate on expansive layouts. And learning from fellow hobbyists enriches the experience.

Workshops, clubs, and online forums offer platforms for both beginners and seasoned collectors to connect, ensuring that the passion for model trains continues to thrive.

Fall Train Shows at Fundemonium

We recently hosted the Coastal Valley Lines (CVL) here at Fundemonium for a Train Show on November 18th and 19th, 2023. In addition to a large 28′ x 35′ HO scale layout assembled by the CVL club, we also featured a kid themed G scale layout by Terry Strom as well as a Sonoma County themed O scale layout by Wayne Padd.

Our smaller visitors also had the opportunity to play with Brio wooden trains and color train themed pictures.


All Aboard the Fundemonium Hobby Train in Rohnert Park!

The journey into this hobby promises not only a fulfilling pastime but also a community of like-minded individuals eager to share their knowledge. So, whether you’re drawn to the nostalgic allure or the meticulous craftsmanship, it’s time to embark on your model train journey. 

Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. So, all aboard! Let your model train dreams come to life.

Visit Fundemonium today and discover the endless possibilities of model trains. Our friendly staff is always happy to guide you through the exciting world of miniature railroads.

You’ll also find the biggest selection of quality toys, games, kits, and hobby items, and there are many fun things to do at Fundemonium. That’s because we are a safe and friendly place where adults and children of all ages can meet, enjoy creative fun, and participate in a wide variety of local events.

You can be sure that our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Fundemonium are quite serious about fun. And that’s because our primary mission is to put the “Fun” in Fundemonium!

We always respond quickly to website inquiries about any of our products and events. And you can also find answers to your questions by calling us at (707) 540-0701. Just give us a call during our business hours to speak directly with one of our Fundemoniacs.