How to Store Your Model Trains Correctly

If you have model train sets or any kind of model train, they can make excellent snacks and gifts for adults and children alike. However, if you want to keep the models in good condition, you have to be meticulous in how you store them.

As a child and even after that, most boys have that one model train that they love. Some of us still have it today. So, how do you store your model trains? Here is a guide to storing your model trains in a way that will ensure their long life.

Model trains are one of the most loved hobbies of all time. But, as with any hobby, there are always things you can do to optimize your collection. If you’ve ever been curious about how to store your trains correctly, then this blog is for you.

Collecting model trains is one of the purest kinds of pleasure, and can provide hundreds of hours of enjoyment if well cared for. So let’s look at how to properly keep your model trains.

As model railroaders, enthusiasts are likely to devote a significant amount of time, effort, and money to creating something unique. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent years putting up a collection of buildings, scenery, and, of course, rolling stock to suit your layout’s unique requirements.

And if you’ve played the game long enough, you’ll know that plans may alter, you may desire a different layout, or certain scenic objects may become obsolete. And, of course, we often end up with more model trains than any one layout can accommodate!

So, what do you do when you have more trains than you can handle? Well, having a secure location to keep your model trains is a good start.

Although some collectors are fortunate enough to have enough space to incorporate a huge station where they can store and change out their whole rolling stock collection, the most of us will need some exterior model train storage.

However, storage requires a significant amount of room and resources. Furthermore, you cannot have a smudge or dent on any of your valuable items, so you must treat them with care. 

Storage suggestions for model trains

Putting up a fight: 

The simplest method to keep them safe is to keep them in a box, ideally the one they arrived in!

Choose a place that is dry and dark, away from fluorescent lights and bright sunshine. A package or two of silica gel may be placed in the box to keep humidity and moisture low, avoiding mustiness and corrosion of metal components.

To prevent paint from being rubbed off, make sure they’re kept firmly and securely, and aren’t in danger of rolling into the edge of the box or into other model trains!

Wrapping the train with newspaper is not a good idea:

Newspapers may seem to be a handy choice, but recycled newspaper on the train’s body may create black smudges or stains. As a result, avoid using newspapers as wraps. 

Plastic wrap should not be used on model trains: 

It actually depends on the kind of plastic you’re going to use and how exact you’re going to wrap it up, but it’s most likely a no once again. Certain polymers, like as bubble wrap, create circular marks on the model when pressed firmly against the train body. Also, if the plastic bag is pushed against a tinplate or plastic object too firmly, it may tear off old decals as they come off, so make sure your decals are securely in place before wrapping them.

Do not wrap your model railway in old clothes: 

When residual soap, detergents, and fabric colors adhere to the tinplate or plastic, they may take color and details with them. They may create mild rusting and abrasions, making surfaces feel harsh in the worst-case situation.

If you do decide to use a cloth as the first wrap, it’s best to remove any remaining colors and chemicals by putting it through a normal washing machine a couple of times with two or three rinses.

Each flatcar cargo should be wrapped separately:

On a flatcar, a tie-tap or elastic band should not be used to secure goods. With time, elastic and rubber bands will degrade and stick to the load’s surface. Instead, if possible, turn vehicle cargoes upside down to alleviate the weight on their tires.

Dry wood blocks that elevate the weight above the flatcar’s surface may be used to install other types of loads. This is also a great way to display the loads on a shelf!

Wrap sheet metal and plastic objects with tissue paper:

Two or three sheets of acid-free tissue paper may and should be used to help keep your model railway.

Cover the component firmly with the first tissue, then fold it in layers for a thick covering that will assist block any impact force on your models.

You may also use a note or a mark on the exterior to assist you identify a stored item. You may also have one or two silica gel packets handy to keep the humidity down.

Avoid trees that emit acidic fumes:

While acidic woods like these may keep moths away, they may be harmful to model trains over time.

You may find that acidic vapour or other moisture condenses on your train over time, which may possibly damage your paint work or decals. If you wait long enough, it may even rust!

Staples in boxes should be covered:

Any metal that the components come into touch with while in the box may damage and corrode them. Staples in boxes or storage boxes, for example, may harm items that aren’t properly wrapped.

As a result, you must use extreme caution. Cover nails with heavy-duty tape or create a thick plastic foam liner for the cardboard box to prevent scratches.

Maintain a 50-60% humidity level:

It is recommended that you verify the humidity of the storage area before keeping the trains. It’s best to strive for a humidity level of 50-60%.

Maintain a constant, moderate temperature of 55-72 degrees Fahrenheit (12-22 degrees Celsius) throughout the area.

Low humidity is also not a good choice since moisture and condensation may develop, damaging your models.

In addition, storing your trains in an uninsulated attic during the summer may be just as bad for them as storing them in a wet basement. Paint may dissolve and decals can crack when things are dried out. You should also be mindful that plastics may deform or melt when exposed to extreme heat.

Carefully handle polyethylene bags:

If you are a bit careful, you can use polythene bags to store the parts. These are useful, but they can retain moisture and cause rust on metal models. Bags can also leak chemicals that harm any plastic objects that are stored within.

So, what are our suggestions for properly storing your model trains?

There are many things to consider when it comes to storing your trains. Maintaining your collection will be easy if you have a solid method in place, an adequate storage space, and a way to keep track of what you’ve preserved!

Early on, establishing proper storage habits may save you a lot of problems later on.


For as long as he can remember, Peter has been constructing model trains. This site is a creative avenue for him to go further into various sizes and elements of the model train community and hobby. He is an ardent lover of HO and O scale.

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Model trains are complex pieces of machinery. A single train track can require different parts to function properly. But before you can assemble and operate your trains, you need to take care of the pieces that make up each mechanism. Here are some tips to help you organize and store your model trains for the best possible performance.. Read more about storage containers for model trains and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my model train derail?

This is a difficult question to answer. Its possible that your model train has been damaged, or its possible that youre not following the instructions for how to properly operate it.

How do I store my Lionel trains?

You can store your Lionel trains in a box, or you can put them on the shelf.

Are model trains a dying hobby?

Model trains are a dying hobby.

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