For today's model railroader, the world is their stage. There are so many options and products to chose from, and model train layouts have become very sophisticated. Scales range from briefcase sized z scale to the Garden Railway G scale outdoor railroader scales all the way up to live steam scales you can ride on yourself.
With the selection of scales increasing, the range of products have also increased. A model railroader could focus on the trains themselves or concentrate more on the buildings, structures and landscaping options that make up the modern day railroad layout.
When deciding what type of model you would like to create, the biggest consideration for many is the amount of space available to dedicate to your train model. If your layout space limited to say a 2 foot by 8 foot area, you may want to consider one of the small scales like z or n scale. If you are fortunate enough to have a large space like half a basement or more, then the scales of HO and O scale would do nicely. If your space is outdoors, then you should probably stick to the larger scales like G or live steam size.
The next consideration is your budget. Many a railroaders dreams have been sidetracked by the price tag that goes along with the hobby. If you experience sticker shock, then scaling down your project is often the best option. Generally speaking, the HO model train is the least expensive railroad scale. As you move to either side of the HO scale, the more expensive railroading models become. Within any scale there are differences in the quality and level of detail or realism you can get, which will also effect the price.
Next on the list to consider is which Era you intend to model. Today's model railroader again is in luck as manufacturers of trains and accessories offer a wide range of time periods to model your railroad empire. Many modelers tend to model their youth, choosing to reminisce of times past. After all, model railroad trains has a way of bringing out the inner child in all of us.
Model railroad trains is a way to recreate a place which holds fond memories or a period of time which you find fascinating. Just keep in mind a little research in the beginning will save many dollars and many headaches down the road. So take time to explore you options and then get started on one of the best hobbies around, model railroad trains.