Personally, I like many things about this hobby and one of those is watching trains run, even if it’s a short train on a simple oval. If I can’t get something running quickly I lose interest. When you read my history, you can see that I’ve spent 50 years claiming the hobby of model railroading, yet with the exception of one bookshelf switching layout in college, never completing a layout to the point of operating trains.
Here’s the quick start approach: buy a decent quality train set in the scale of your choice and enough track to build an oval. Set it up and run a train for a while. If you enjoy watching the train run and feel like you want more, buy a switch and some more track, add it to your oval, and switch some cars into it. If you’re starting to have fun and find yourself craving more, you may have been bitten by the model railroading bug! So, here’s another baby step. Build a module in your chosen scale or a different one if you want to experiment.
Still interested? Even more interested? Spend a little more money and try building a mini-modular layout using a standard like T-Trak. Here’s an example:
That’s the approach I used with my switch to N Scale back in 2014. I ended up with an operating layout in my winter home, one that the grandkids can operate, and that can grow according to a long term plan. When I migrate for the winter I can be running trains inside five minutes of my arrival and unpacking. Get the full story here.
With that idea in mind, here’s my Deep Dive Approach to enjoying this hobby.