Model Railroading Terms <- Railroading Basics <- Home Model Railroading Terms
- Miniature paint sprayer. Uses
compressed air to spray thinned paint.
- Painted or photographic back ground
for a layout.
- Crushed rock placed between the ties on real railroads to keep the ties from moving. Also drains water off.
- A very lightweight wood that is
- Frame that makes up the foundation
of a train layout.
- Electrically isolated section of track, used for multi train operation, signaling systems, or to avoid short circuits.
- Part of a railroad car body
underneath that connects the truck's pivot to the body. Also
refers to the cross members. On trucks, the piece between
the side frames.
- A short section of track that
diverges from the mainline to serve a town or industry.
- At the end of a spur or branch line
to keep cars from running over the edge.
- CA (Cyanoacrylate)
- "Super Glue." Bonds metal and plastic.
- Cab control
- One power pack per train, running on blocks, so each train is controlled individually.
- Process for duplicating parts.
- Overhead wires for electrical
- Height of rail in thousandths of an inch. Code 83 rail is .083" tall.
- Command control
- Sends signals through the rails,
decoded by locomotives. On the same tracks, but running
independent of one another.
- List of cars that make up a train.
- When glues ruin the surface of
- Two parallel turnouts that allow a
train to move from one track to the other.
- A string of cars, OR a chunk taken
out of a hillside. (see 'fill')
- Dry brushing
- Very little paint of the tip of a
brush used to highlight details when weathering.
- Bend down under some benchwork to
get to another area of the layout.
- A two part glue.
- Boards for decoration on the front
of a layout.
- Fiddle yard
- Hidden tracks where you can move
cars around, often by hand.
- Add in dirt or 'fill' to bring a
grade up to level.
- Thin pieces of plastic or metal left
on a casting.
- Flexible, when you lay them, pieces
of track. Rigid when nailed down.
- Make up your own design.
- The point where the track's rails
cross the turnout's rails in a switch.
- Distance between the rails. Prototype in America is 4' 8.5"
- Long, short open topped car for
hauling steel and scrap metals.
- Grab iron (Grab)
- Handles on the sides of cars or
- Angle or rise or fall of tracks as
they follow the land.
- The direction in wood of the fibers.
- Ground Foam
- Synthetic rubber ground and dyed to
resemble ground cover.
- Making scenery, like mountains and hills, using plaster dipped paper towels. Laid over a light frame.
- A spiral of tracks, raising or
lowering. Used on multilevel layouts.
- Additional locomotive used to help a
train get over a difficult or steep spot.
- Person that moves locomotives around.
- Paperboard often used for roadbed.
- Hopper car
- Open top car, tall sides. Coal and
gravel, emptied through chutes at the base.
- Shipments combining more than one
method of transportation, such as carrying tracter-trailers
on the rails, and then switching them to ships, and then
back to the trucks.
- Self-propelled trains in cities,
such as a trolley.
- Load bearing part of an axle that
rides in the support bearing or sideframe.
- Pivot point of a truck that connects
it to the bolster.
- Kitbashing (Kitmingling)
- Mixing parts of kits to make your
- Main line
- Portion where travel is heaviest.
- A section built to dimensions and
standards, to be included with other modules in a large
layout. N-Trak is one.
- MOW Maintenance of Way
- Used by railroads to maintain the
- National Model Railroad Association NMRA.ORG
- Narrow gauge
- Rails spaced smaller than standard
gauge; often used in mines and logging areas.
- Running model trains to simulate the prototype.
- Portions of a turnout or switch that
- The actual, real life, full-sized
object that is modeled.
- Rail joiner
- A part of folded metal used to
connect a butt joint between two rails.
- Refrigerator box car used to haul
foods. No air conditioner or ice.
- Material used for casting.
- Foundations of tracks.
- Rolling stock
- The cars on a train.
- Proportion to the prototype a model is built.
- Not using kits to build models.
- Score a cut, not all the way
- Metal that melts at low
temperatures. Joins brass model pieces, and electrical
- Styrene (Polystyrene)
- Versatile plastic used in modeling.
Many sizes and shapes. Metallic sound when struck.
- Banking tracks on a curve to allow
for higher speeds.
- A track that allows trains to swap routes.
- Talgo trucks
- Often on toy trains, couplers
attached on the trucks. Allows for tighter curves, but prone
to derailments when backed up.
- Carries fuel and water for steam
- Point in a yard where all the tracks
converge or diverge.
- Electrically run trains in cities.
- Wheel assembly a train car rides on.
- Allows movement from one track to
another. Modeler's term for switch, so as not to confuse it
with an electrical switch.
- Simulating years of abuse on models by washing them in chalks, etc.
- A turnout or switch track that
curves both left and right.
- A group of tracks where trains are
sorted out, staged, and then recombined.