Model Railroading History

This post was written by Scott
Posted Under: Model Train Layouts
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Model railway design, or rail transport modelling as it is called in the united kingdom, is an excellent hobby for those of us who have an avid interest in railways, but either do not work with, or do not have trains nearby.

Model railroading has a very long history. The first recorded model railroad was built by a man named Josef Ritter von Baader in 1825 as a proposal for an actual railway that he wanted built.

1862 is the next important date in the history. In 1862 a company by the name of Joseph, Myers & Co became the first company to sell model trains. These trains were likely made of brass and were powered by steam.

In 1935, an organization called NMRA is formed to standardize gauges (The size of the track which in turn determines the scale). This allowed hobbyists to buy kits with the confidence that they would be compatible with their current models. The earliest recorded club was the “Model Railway Club” which was founded in 1910, in London, England.

Clubs like the Model Railway Club allowed model railroaders to share their passion with other hobbyists, as well as to be able to share ideas and plans. These clubs soon spread across the country. As clubs began to form and the hobby began to grow, magazines and reading material began to spring up. These clubs grew to server another purpose, as a place where hobbyists could share reading material and meet authors.

By now the hobby had begun to spread around the world. In the 1950′s a model railroad group called the “Tech Model Railway Club” formed at MIT and pioneered the use of automated track switches. This lead the way from a rudimentary hobby, using hand actuated switches to a modern, cutting edge hobby which employed electronics to switch tracks and automate many tasks.

The next big step in the hobby was the introduction of modelling kits. Up to this point, most modelling had been done by hand, called scratch modelling. Modelling kits were of low quality and could not match scratch modelling.

The introduction of high quality, modelling kits that could be mass produced changed the hobby. Models could now be set up in a fraction of the time that it took to model from scratch!

Today, model railroading is still a very widely enjoyed hobby. Not only has the hobby embraced modern technology, it has expanded and diversified to encompass miniature railroads and different scales. As well it now incorporates digital track switching and computerized control. With the advent of the internet, model railroading has flourished.

With the ability for anyone to pass ideas freely, the hobby has continued to develop. Although model railroading has had a long history, it continues to innovate. As new train technologies and even technology in general moves ever onward, the hobby matches it pace by pace. The creativity and innovation that go into model railroading make it an exciting hobby for thousands of people. A hobby that is almost certainly going to continue well into the future!

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