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Mixed Model Railroads & Trains

Model railroading has been considered a hobby since the 1880s. Prior to 1935, there were no standard gauges or scales, and often, trains made by one manufacturer would not run on tracks made by another. In 1935, the National Model Railroad Association was formed. The NMRA established the standard gauges and scales used in model railroading today so that hobbyists could mix products from different companies when building model railroad layouts.

Model railroad hobbyists are often classified as operators or collectors. Operators focus on the operation of a model railroad layout, including complete trains with scenery and miniatures. These hobbyists usually build their layouts in one scale. Operators often mix brands and alter the models they purchase to suit their own needs. Collectors focus on the quality and realism of the models. Collectors may also focus on one scale, or may collect by railroad line or brand of model train products. They display their collections and run their cars very little to avoid wear or damage to their models.

Many model railroad enthusiasts have both operating model trains and display collections. These hobbyists own many different types of model trains of many different brands. They will often purchase used model railroad lots at auctions or estate sales to round out their own collections, or may build their own models from scratch.


Quick Facts

  • Some model railroad hobbyists collect model train cars from one specific railroad and recreate historically-accurate layouts representing that railroad
  • The National Model Railroad Association, or NMRA, helps railroad enthusiasts build their hobby and connect with other model railroaders. The organization holds a national convention and national train show every year
  • America's largest operating model train show is Trainfest, held every November in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The event offers 230,000 square feet of model train layouts, seminars, and products for sale

Recommended Items at Auction

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Voltamp 2" gauge prewar No. 2120 United Trailer trolley
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Voltamp 2" gauge prewar No. 2120 United Trailer trolley
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $1,200
$1,25012 Bids
Ives wide gauge 3243R orange locomotive
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Ives wide gauge 3243R orange locomotive
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $325
$1407 Bids
Ives prewar wide gauge 190, 191, 196, 192, 194, 193, 195 freight cars
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Ives prewar wide gauge 190, 191, 196, 192, 194, 193, 195 freight cars
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $400
$804 Bids
Ives prewar wide gauge red passenger set no. 704 in set box with original dividers and an original insert
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Ives prewar wide gauge red passenger set no. 704 in set box with original dividers and an original insert
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $600
$303 Bids
Voltamp 2" gauge No. 2106 Pullman car Hansaned
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Voltamp 2" gauge No. 2106 Pullman car Hansaned
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $400
$102 Bids
Ives prewar wide gauge maroon passenger cars 185, 185 and 184
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Ives prewar wide gauge maroon passenger cars 185, 185 and 184
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $120
$101 Bid
Ives prewar wide gauge 3242 dark olive green rubber-stamped N.Y.C. and H.R. electric locomotive
Apr 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Ives prewar wide gauge 3242 dark olive green rubber-stamped N.Y.C. and H.R. electric locomotive
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $250
$101 Bid
2- DORFAN STANDARD GAUGE FREIGHT CARS
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
2- DORFAN STANDARD GAUGE FREIGHT CARS
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
A 3½" Gauge LMS 8F Class 2-8-0 No.48305 Locomotive & Tender,
May 01, 1:00 PM BST
A 3½" Gauge LMS 8F Class 2-8-0 No.48305 Locomotive & Tender,
by Flints Auctions Ltd
Est: £1,500- £2,500
£1,2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Mixed Model Railroads & Trains


Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Flints Auctions Ltd

Flints Auctions Ltd