Guide to Lighting Effects for Bachmann Trains or Any Model Railroad

By: Kanooga


Thinking of adding a new dimension to your model railroad? Maybe you've already designed a spectacular scenario, complete with varying lighting effects and are looking for a new idea to incorporate? We have ideas that just might light the way when you're ready to take it to the next level.

Removed or Overhead Lighting - These lights are what you have in your room to showcase your model railroad. These lighting sources, sometimes referred to as track lighting, should showcase the project in its entirety. One idea is the inclusion of strip lighting with adjustable heads that allow you to shine the light on any particular area. Consider adding a dimmer switch to the room's overhead lighting too. It's a great way to define the light - if you're working with small pieces from Bachmann trains, the brighter light will reduce eye strain or if you're showing off your masterpiece, by dimming the lights, you can change the effect of your presentation.

Why Would I Even Want to Modify the Lighting? There are a few reasons for using adjustable lighting sources:
To recreate dawn or dusk scenes - consider using low watt pink or blue bulbs. They can be found in hobby shops or hardware stores. Alternatively, electroluminescent cable lighting can be used with the same effect. This is ideal for placement behind scenery with little height since the cable is easily hidden out of sight.
To light billboards, streetlights and even railroad crossing lights
Small headlights for automobiles

It's all about creativity. You're limited only by your imagination. Few things allow us to "write our own rules", but when it comes to designing Bachmann trains or any model railroad, you, as its owner, are allowed complete creative liberty. Keep in mind too that nothing's permanent. If one method doesn't create the desired effect, it's easily changed or moved around. Too many times, we get tunnel vision and forget the countless other ways to recreate a scene or design a layout for our model railroad.

Lighting that Varies with Your Train's Speed - Sometimes you may notice your locomotive's light varies depending on the speed of its motion. If you've run into this, consider incorporating diodes or resistors to ensure its light is consistent. Although many find a way to insert batteries, keep in mind it can be bulky and awkward trying to fit it into the allocated space. Remember to wear safety goggles and use caution when working with electricity. And finally, don't forget to use your creativity.

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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about Bachmann trains. Click here to download a free model railroad guidebook filled with hobby tips, ideas and information.

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