My Useful Links

Here is a collection of some of my favourite links for building LEGO® trains. Some of these links point to resources about real and scale model trains–these sites are used for performing research, getting inspiration, and keeping in touch with the scale model train world–a community which I still enjoy being part of. Some of these sites are non-specific to trains and broadly relate to the LEGO® hobby in general. Since I primarily build UK based model trains, its not surprising that many of these resources are UK focused. Lastly, these links are by no means comprehensive or definitive, they are merely my own curated links of sites which I use most often for this hobby. If you have suggestions for other links that you think I've "missed" then please feel free to let me know.

LEGO® Train Theme Sites

L-Gauge - a new site created by me in May 2015 in support of the LEGO® train hobby community. Its intent is to share practical LEGO® train information and wisdom for both new-comers and experts alike.
flickr LEGO® Train MOCs - a showcase of some of the finest LEGO® train MOCs from builders around the world
flickr LEGO® Train Layouts - a companion group of Train MOCs showcasing layouts and dioramas
flickr LEGO® Train Ideas - another companion group highlighting build techniques and ideas–an excellent place to learn and be humbled!
flickr LEGO® Train MOCs: Top Notch Photos and Layouts - the latest addition to the Train MOCs group is a curated showcase of some of the best LEGO® train creations and layouts.
Eurobricks LEGO® Train Tech Forum - an excellent resource for train theme information, MOCs, techniques, TLG sets, and more
Railbricks magazine - a specialist, high quality publication covering all topics related to LEGO® trains–even more remarkable is the fact that it's produced by volunteer fan content

Useful LEGO® Brick Suppliers

The LEGO® Group - the core supplier of our hobby!
Bricklink - the indispensable way to acquire bricks for any project, including those rare, out-of-production elements!
ME Models - a specialist store with custom sets and, most importantly, an alternative supplier of compatible LEGO® track elements (in the near future)
altBricks - a specialist supplier of complementary brick elements. In particular, I like their stunning range of foliage elements available in a wide variety of colours.
Big Ben Bricks LLC - a specialist supplier of train wheels in different sizes and colour. - a useful source for over 50 railway lettering, alphabets, symbols, etc. Founded by long-time Lego train fan Benn Coifman.
Benn Coifman Steam Loco Parts - Benn Coifman manufactures and sells custom 3D-printed connecting rods, valve gear, piston rods, etc. for steam locomotives. In addition to standard length parts, he can custom make parts for you in any length or spacing.

LEGO® Fan Sites, Blogs, etc.

Brickfête - Canada's only LEGO®-focused AFOL (Adult Fan Of LEGO®) convention. I exhibited at Brickfête 2013 in Toronto as my first AFOL event.
ParLUGment - my own local LUG (LEGO® Users Group) based in Ottawa, Canada
Brickset - the indispensable site to catalog your LEGO® collection and research sets
Rebrickable - a clever site which not only itemizes your parts inventory, but can also match your inventory to either sets or fan contributed creations
New Elementary - an excellent fan blog about LEGO® elements themselves
Blocks Magazine - a relatively new UK-based print magazine on all topics LEGO®. Available in print in the UK and US (through Barnes and Noble) as well as digitally via the iTunes Newsstand.
JK Brickworks - my friend Jason Alleman's excellent site showcasing his gifted creations and entertaining YouTube channel
Bricktrix - my friend Carl Greatrix's flickr site showcasing his sublime building prowess and creativity. Carl is a LEGO® model designer for TT Games and is lucky to do this for a living! I link to Carl's flickr page as a homage to my own personal inspiration and for the fact that I would not likely be in this LEGO® train hobby if it weren't for seeing Carl's creations.

Prototype Train Resources

Paul Bartlett's Photographs - an indispensable site for prototype research of British prototype rolling stock
British Rail Corporate Identity - a site catering to my love for graphic design as well as trains! I absolutely love the British Rail corporate identity as applied from 1969 to about 1986 (sectorization).
Wikipedia - not surprisingly, an excellent resource for prototype research of railways around the world

Model Train Resources

New Railway Modellers Forums - model railway advice for beginners and experts alike
RMWeb - British model railway forums
Chris Nevard - a gifted British model railway photographer and builder–no shortage of inspiration to be found here
P4NewStreet - Jim Smith-Wright's epic model railway project is a worth a visit. It is a highly detailed, fine-scale model of Birmingham New Street station.
Sumida Crossing - a thoughtful and content rich site documenting the trials and tribulations of building an N-gauge Japanese model railway. The "Musings" blog section is quite insightful.

Model Train Suppliers

Hornby - British model trains
Bachmann - British model trains and other international models
Rapido Trains - a specialist Canadian manufacturer with a fanatical attention to detail and a good sense of humour. Rapido is now entering the UK market with British models.
Scalescenes - a specialist supplier of photo-texture based kits of buildings, infrastructure and scenic resources
Fox Transfers - a specialist supplier of transfers/decals for British model trains

Model Train Electronics

In addition to building LEGO® trains, I am also an electronics hobbyist (a consequence of being an electrical engineer!). My large LEGO® train layout, which I bring to events/conventions, is completely computer controlled and operated. The trains are converted to operate using the NMRA DCC standard. The signals, switches, and block occupancy are controlled by a laptop computer using a combination of JMRI software and the MERG C-Bus control interface. Here are some of my favourite electronics links and resources:

MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group) - a UK based organization promoting the use of electronics and computers for model trains
JMRI (Java Model Railroad Interface) - an open source software project offering a range of flexible tools to control a model railway
Rocrail - a similar open source project to JMRI, offering tools to help automate the control of a model railway
Rob Paisley's Model Railroad Electronics - an excellent electronics resource for building practical circuits to assist in model railway control
MERG C-Bus Group - a Yahoo group focused on MERG's C-Bus control interface standard
ESU Loksound - European manufacturer of DCC decoders with sound effects (I have fitted most of my LEGO® trains to operate with ESU DCC decoders)

Electronics and Other Related Topics

Making Electronic Circuits References - if you're new to electronics, there are many terrific internet resources to help you learn the basics. This site based Widespread Electrical has a nice collection of beginner's resources.
How to Make A Battery - interesting article for DIY batteries!