Model Train Maintenance

The Key To Keeping Trains In Mint Condition Protected From Dirt, Dust And Grime

Model railway locomotives and rolling stock all need to be kept clean and well-maintained, as does the track-work and layout in general. It can be a constant job to keep things operating efficiently and protecting trains and structures from dirt, grime and dust build up. Some veterans in the hobby give the scenery and track a light spray with distilled water as one method of maintaining it in good condition. There are various other tasks including track cleaning and locomotive lubrication that need to be done periodically. When the tracks are dirty the trains will pick up the dirt and dust and this can potentially cause big problems. Leaving locomotives sitting on track for days, weeks, or months on end can also be problematic.

One of the most important accessories in the model train hobby has to be model train storage boxes. These boxes are a must in order to keep your train in mint condition.

There are various options, the first being to make your own storage system. It depends how fussy you want to be whether you make them out of wood, cardboard, or buy ready-made plastic containers. The important thing is to protect your trains from damage and dust.

You can also buy customized storage boxes equipped to fit various railroad scales whether it is: N scale, HO Scale, O Scale, S scale, On30 or G scale. There is a storage box made particularly to store almost any size of locomotives and cars.

The importance of storing your railroad cars:

  • Most importantly you want your railroad cars to be in the best condition that they can be every time that you use them. The only way you can maintain that condition is if you store them after each use. Each box comes equipped with proper foam padding that keeps all dust and oil from reaching the train and causing any destruction to the paint or construction of the model.
  • Organization of your train can be difficult, especially if you do not have enough space to leave the train on display for long periods of time. You will need proper forms of storage to keep the train until you can leave it on display. The best way to organize all of the different cars is in tightly packed foam boxes that can be cut to the specific dimensions of each car. This insures the protection of each model train and keeps them all in an organized area.

There are several companies that make parts for model trains along with boxes to store them in. Axian is one of these companies that make specific model train storage boxes. When you purchase ready-made storage boxes here’s what you should consider:

  • Quick and easy delivery with quality packing of the boxes. It may seem strange to be particular about boxes and how they are packed for mailing, but since these storage boxes are to store your valuable model trains, they should be in good condition when you get them.
  • Each box should come with foam strips to lay your train on and keep organized. There should be additional foam pieces included that will keep your railroad cars from touching and scratching each other within the box.
  • Decide how many trains or cars you want to store in each box. Some will take 20 cars within each box, but most train hobbyists have found this to be difficult with cars of different shape and style. You may be able to store 20 to a box if they are only coal or iron ore hoppers.
  • Are the boxes suited for passenger cars? You may not be able to store many cars over 50′ in one of these boxes.
  • Will the boxes fit on any storage shelf neatly and in a tidy fashion? Will they take up much room?
  • Make certain you do not experience any rattling or movement of the cars when lifting the cases from one place to another. The cars will need to be tightly packed within the boxes and the box does a sufficient job of keeping the cars safe.
  • You might also consider placing some paper between the cars and the foam for long periods of storage, because certain paints can stick to foam.

Many model train hobbyists recommend that you find model train storage boxes that fit the dimensions of your cars. It depends on the era of model trains you have, because the more modern they are the larger they usually are. If you have larger cars then you will not be able to pack as many into a box, so you need to check the dimensions of the box and the size of your cars before you purchase a good model train storage box.

Remember, you don’t need to buy everything ready-made; you may prefer to improvise by using containers made for other uses, or to make your own. Doing this might save you some money and provide you with storage boxes that are more suited to your particular trains.



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