Written by Paul D. Race for Big Indoor Trains™
|Model Trains come in different sizes, depending on what kind of railroad you want to run. The Big Indoor Trains™ pages focus on the largest trains that most people have room to run indoors. These trains are becoming more popular each year because they also look good circling a Collectible Village, such as those by Dept. 56(tm), Hawthorne Village(tm), or Lemax(tm). So many people who started out collecting "Village" pieces also start getting into model trains when they buy a train to go around their village collection. Other folks have inherited a Lionel or American flyer set and wonder if it's useful today for anything more than setting up at Christmas. The answer is, yes, very useful, and a lot of fun.
The two largest kinds of trains that are most practical for folks to display indoors are also the ones that look best around Collectible Villages. These are:
Three other sizes of big trains are also run indoors, although they require a lot of room to run and display properly:
All of the trains described above are fun, attractive, and useful in certain circumstances. If you have any question about the usefulness of one piece of equipment over another, please contact me.
|A note about the scale of Christmas villages and accessories (You may skip this part if this sort of thing doesn't interest you.) You may notice that the people that come with Christmas villages don't generally look right next to the doorways on the houses. That's because most of the buildings are made in a scale that is about 1/48 the size of the "real thing," the "right" size for O-Gauge trains like the old 3-rail Lionel trains. But most of the people are made to a slightly larger scale, between 1/40 and 1/30 the size of the real thing. The manufacturers do this because they want the figures large enough to be seen properly and the buildings small enough so that customers can fit more than a couple of structures into their "village." (The exception to this rule is Hawthorne Village, whose people are the "right size" for their houses and for the O gauge and On30 trains running around them.) Many of the accessories and small animals are even larger in scale, since it would be pretty easy to overlook - or to lose - a chicken or a milk bottle that was "really" the "right" size to go with the Holiday Village houses. Most people don't notice, anyway. If your Christmas village winds up with a few figures or models that don't look quite right next to each other, don't stand them quite next to each other. Please don't let this "scare" you, as almost nobody ever notices this sort of thing. In fact, I use my many of my "Holiday Village People" on my garden railroad in the summer and on my Holiday Village in the winter. I just don't set them in the doorways of buildings on either railroad.|