How to Buy Model Train Parts and Accessories on eBay

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Buy Model Train Parts and Accessories on eBay

eBay is a great place to buy model trains,, parts and accessories. No matter the type or manufacturer of train, eBay stocks a wealth of model train parts and accessories to suit everyone regardless of their age or experience level. From spare parts for a beginner train set to luxurious customisable components and accessories for the real model train enthusiast, eBay is a one-stop shop for anyone who owns a model train.

The purpose of this guide is to inform the reader about how to purchase model train parts and accessories on eBay.

The purchasing formats that eBay offers caters for all shoppers, whether they wish to bid in an auction attempting to get the best price for the product or they want to purchase the item immediately eBay offers the buyer the choice that suits them best.

Rail Transport Hobbying

Rail transport hobbying is the official term which describes owning rail transport systems that are modelled at a reduced scale as a hobby activity. The scale model sets include locomotives, rolling stock,, street cars, signalling, tracks and general items of scenery (roads, buildings, people, vehicles, rivers, mountains etc.).

Model trains have always been popular since their birth and thanks to this healthy demand there is a large range of model trains, parts and accessories available on today’s market. The purpose of this guide is to inform potential buyers about how to purchase model train parts and accessories from eBay.

The history of this hobby dates back to the 1840s when ‘carpet railways’ powered by wind-up clockwork were first made. The first electric models however first appeared in the early twentieth century and were the starting point for today’s models. Modern day model train sets are lot more efficient, detailed and versatile than their predecessors.

Model trains come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. There are four main methods of powering model train sets:

  • Clockwork
  • Electricity
  • Live Steam
  • Internal Combustion

Model train sets range from small and simple oval track setups to large windy tracks that resemble real train routes around real locations. Model trains come in a variety of different sizes and are based on the scaled-down size of real trains. Typically there are six different size scale-model trains available:

  • Z scale (1:220)
  • N scale (1:160)
  • HO scale (1:87)
  • S scale (1:64)
  • O scale (1:48)
  • G scale (1:22.5)

A locomotive scale of 1:22.5 means that the model is 22.5 times smaller than its life-size counterpart.

Essential Model Train Parts and Accessories

As rail transport hobbying is one of the most comprehensive hobby activities, there are many parts and accessories to add to model train set and even more to add to the layout (the area surrounding the train track). With this in mind there are some essential parts and accessories to compliment any model train set regardless of its size or style:


Besides the track and the locomotives on it, a large part of rail transport hobbying is landscaping the layout. This is usually either creating a fantasy world or modelling a background of an actual location. Building model train sceneries involves using many building and craft materials such as polystyrene, plaster of Paris,, fibreglass, foam, screen wire and cardboard.

Usually most train sets come without any scenery or landscaping components but a model train set does not look complete without complimenting scenery. Buildings can be purchased as part of a kit or built from scratch using cardboard, balsa wood or plastic.

Trees, plants, cars, people, level crossings, fences and the likes can all be bought or can be made using a variety of materials. Any model train owner should have a good strong adhesive and assorted craft paints to build and modify the layout to make it their own.

Reverse Loop Module

The next must-have accessory for any model train owner is a reverse loop module.. A reverse loop module controls the polarity of the track so that locomotives can run freely around a reverse loop or triangle permanent way section without stopping. The reverse loop module is a must-have model train component because it eradicates the need to perform complicated wiring and does not need switches to control the locomotive direction.

Digital Command Control

Another must-have accessory for any 21st century model train enthusiast is a Digital Command Control (DCC). This relatively new digital component is more advanced than its DC counterpart as the tracks voltage is constant which allows the operator to control several functions of each locomotive (direction of travel, speed, lights, smoke, sound effects and so on). This high-tech piece of kit creates a much more realistic operation of a model train set as the owner can control several locomotives on the same part of the track independently.

Cleaning Products

  • In order to keep model train set clean and working efficiently you must also buy some cleaning products to maintain the train set. The most basic model train cleaning product is a simple track rubber. This rubber removes trapped dirt and debris and occasional use ensures the train set runs as well as it should.
  • There are also track cleaning cars on the market which are just placed onto the track and they clean whilst in motion, free from human interaction. Simply attach the cleaning car to a powerful locomotive and the abrasive pads underneath the train clean the track as it goes along.

Tools & Materials

Every model train owner must have a good set of tools and materials to aid in crafting and maintaining their model train set and its layout. Besides paints to colour and decorate the scenery, every train modeller should have a selection of adhesives..

A bonding or PVA glue will be suitable for most of the gluing involved however it is also advisable to have a spray glue for larger areas. It is also strongly recommended that any train modeller has a syringe to apply the glue on to small and tricky items.

A scalpel or small sharp knife is an essential part of any rail transport enthusiasts toolbox and as such a cutting mat is another must-have.

Rail transport hobbying is one of the most comprehensive hobbies to partake in. Model train owners who wish to have a full layout should have the following tools and materials to aid in crafting an all-encompassing model train set:

  • Pliers (preferably needle nose)
  • Drill (hand-held with a variety of small drill bits)
  • Screwdrivers (small, flat-head and Philips)
  • Glue gun
  • Soldering Iron (and solder)
  • Small-headed hammer
  • Hack Saw (and preferably a vice to hold items that need cutting)
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Electrical wire
  • Paint brushes
  • Glue (PVA or bonding)
  • Glue spreader/ syringe

How to Buy Model Train Parts and Accessories on eBay

  • eBay is a truly fantastic resource for any rail transport enthusiast. Whether the buyer is looking for a new locomotive, wagon, spare part or a whole new train set, eBay stocks a large range of model trains, parts and accessories.
  • Renowned for its popular auction format, competitive pricing and overall good customer service and experience, eBay is the perfect place to buy model train parts and accessories.
  • With flexible payment options, competitive pricing and excellent customer service, eBay is the best place to buy model train parts and accessories.
  • With the help of the search and advanced search functions, finding the sought-after product has never been simpler. Merely type in the desired part or accessory manufacturer or product name (along with any other important terms specific to the required product) and look through the results until the product appears. From here the buyer will be greeted with a page of information relating to the product in question.
  • The information included usually consists of but is not limited to: a detailed product analysis, a detailed specification, photographs and comments about the products condition.
  • As such an authoritative name amongst the online marketplace eBay also provides detailed information about the seller including their location, selling history and ratings to match. With the aid of the seller’s location, the buyer can establish whether they would prefer to meet the seller at their location if it is local to them or to pay for the delivery of the item (listed next to the products price).
  • Once the right model train part or accessory has been found and the buyer is satisfied with the information provided, they can begin purchasing. This can be done in two ways on eBay; by bidding in an auction (click ‘Bid Now’ and enter a bid) or buying immediately (by clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button).
  • All payments on eBay are made safe and secure thanks to third party payment authority PayPal to give the buyer peace of mind.


There are many factors to take into consideration when buying model train parts and accessories. However with the easy user experience and the detailed product information that eBay offers coupled with the information and considerations outlined in this guide, buying model train parts and accessories is easy.

The right model train part or accessory, matched to the buyers train set requirements will really help set off the model train set and will give the owner many hours of enjoyment.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides