Creating A Polar Express Layout From Scratch
Few things say Christmas and the holidays like the Polar Express.
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced model railroader or are looking at ways to introduce your child to model railroading, the Polar Express layout is a great theme to explore, especially at this time of year.
While many railroaders old and new are happy to introduce Polar Express themed pieces into their existing layout and collection, sometimes there’s nothing better than starting a new layout 100% from scratch.
In this blog, we’re sharing how you can do just that with the Polar Express model.
And if you’re a total beginner to model railroading, we recommend reading this guide to model railroad scales before you buy!
1. Start With A Set
If you’re starting your model railroad collection from scratch, let alone your Polar Express layout, then the logical place to start is with a train set.
When you opt for a train set, you’ll get a locomotive, carriages, and enough track for a basic layout.
We have a range of sets in differing scales to suit the space you have and your budget:
- Lionel HO Scale Polar Express Set
- Lionel American Flyer S Scale Polar Express Set
- Lionel O Scale Polar Express Legacy Set – if you aren’t restrained by budget!
- Lionel O Scale LionChief Polar Express Set
- Lionel O Scale LionChief Polar Express Elf Work Set
- Lionel O Scale LionChief Polar Express Freight Set
The beauty of these sets is that you have options for children as well as adults. Pick your set accordingly, and look forward to starting your Polar Express model train set!
2. Add Your Favorite Carriages
When you get started with a model train set, you don’t need to buy any more rolling stock if you don’t want to or you’re on a tight budget.
However, depending on the train set you’ve opted for, you may have a bunch of carriages that are all alike.
That’s where adding to your collection with single carriages can make all the difference. Doing so can be especially worthwhile if you’ve bought a set that comes with passenger cars but want to add flat cars or vice versa. This is a great way to add variety to your Polar Express layout, and remember, you can pair your carriages up with other locomotives in your collection, too!
As well as having various traditional-looking cars in several scales, we also have many individual “working” cars that will enhance your Polar Express layout and overall model train collection. These include:
- Lionel O Scale Box Car with Hero Boy as Walking Brakeman
- Lionel O Scale Elf Bobbing Car
- Lionel S Scale American Flyer Stock Car
- Lionel O Scale Skiing Hobo Observation Car
3. Think About Polar Express Train Model Accessories
Your accessories and scenery have the potential to bring your Polar Express layout to life.
Even if you add nothing else to your Polar Express layout when starting, we highly recommend the Illuminated Station Platform as the one product to buy. If you want to go a little further, the Passenger Station is another great option, too.
After that, have as much fun as you wish!
If you’re planning on creating a full-on winter scene (more on that shortly), then our Caribou Set and Wolves and Rabbit Set are worth buying to roam your landscape. Alternatively, our Polar Express Elves Pack is perfect if you’re looking to fully embrace the Christmas spirit and want a less “serious” tone to your layout.
Of course, you might want to add extra building structures. You can have a lot of fun building these yourself, but if you’d prefer to buy ready-made structures, we have you covered.
Other popular Polar Express buildings available from Model Train Stuff include:
4. Consider Making A Start On A Scene
You can create an incredible Polar Express model theme simply by taking a train set or buying a locomotive and adding your favorite cars and accessories to your collection. A Polar Express layout will look amazing even if you have everything on a table in the corner of a room.
However, if you’re feeling creative, or you and your child really want to immerse yourselves in the Polar Express theme, you should start to think about turning your layout into a full-on winter scene.
If you’re buying Polar Express products as a holiday gift, this might be a project that you do to get yourself in the Christmas spirit for next year, but what’s stopping you from creating a winter layout in January or February?
For guidance on creating a winter layout, check out these innovative scenes and our winter model railroading landscaping guide.
5. Don’t Forget Your Conductor’s Hat!
If you’re creating a Polar Express layout in your home, don’t hesitate to get into the spirit of the theme yourself!
While you’ll need to shop elsewhere for Polar Express pajamas, this Polar Express conductor hat will leave you or your child looking like they’re just the right person to be taking charge of the iconic locomotive and its carriages.
Just make sure your train doesn’t lead to any derailments!
Creating Your Polar Express Layout With Model Train Stuff
Model Train Stuff has everything you need to create a Polar Express layout from scratch.
Whether you’re buying a Polar Express model train set as your child’s first step into model railroading or are buying something for yourself, you’re choosing a fantastic theme for the holiday season that you can still enjoy throughout the rest of the year.
Once your Polar Express layout is up and running, remember to tag us in your Instagram photos so we can see what you’ve put together.