Whether you’re new to the hobby or you’ve collected them for years, it’s important to find a trustworthy and reliable retailer for all your model train needs. The 15 online model train stores below offer an excellent selection, expert advice, and secure checkout.
#1 – TrainLife
Trainlife.com is a subsidiary of ExactRail, which is one of the leading manufacturers of fine-scale model train replicas. ExactRail’s accolades come as the result of decades of expertise in creating molds and products, and many hobbyists consider their models to be the benchmarks for quality. The team at ExactRail purchased the rights to several failing model railroading magazines several years ago, and they hoped to publish them on a social media platform for train lovers known as TrainLife.com. The goal was to create a haven for discussion, research, and simply sharing the love of the hobby that so many people have come to know and love.
ExactRail eventually moved to a direct-to-consumer sales model, and Trainlife.com never truly became the social media hub it was originally intended to be. However, the team saw the opportunity to create something spectacular, and today’s Trainlife.com is one of the most well-known online model train stores in existence today. It’s based on a retail store in Provo, Utah, and aside from shopping, they also offer magazines and expert advice for beginners and experts alike.
#2 – Train World
Trainworld.com is one of the most expansive online model train stores in existence. Not only do they provide direct-to-consumer sales, but they also offer access to full digital catalogs from brands like Lionel Bachmann & Williams, LGB, and others. The store’s concept was born in 1968 when husband and wife Peter and Aileen Bianco opened TrainWorld in Brooklyn, NY and TrainLand in Lynbrook, NY to serve as hubs for hobbyists around the world.
Today’s online experience at Trainworld.com is incredible. From the homepage, you can sort their offerings by brand and scale, and you can also shop specifically for tracks, train sets, and tools. They offer all of the latest model trains as well as old favorites, and with regular sales, it’s possible to score some amazing deals.Trainworld.com also offers pre-orders for the most anticipated releases.
#3 – Model Train Stuff
Modeltrainstuff.com got its start way back in 1913 when a man by the name of Morris Benjamin Klein founded a locksmith service and general hardware store called MB Klein, Inc. Unfortunately, the store’s original location was absorbed by the construction of Interstate 83 through Baltimore in the 1960s, and when the store moved, Morris and his son, Ted, worked together to learn about the model train hobby. They purchased their stock from a warehouse directly across the street and sold them at retail price to their customers at a time when train sets – especially the Lionel brand – were on every child’s (and many adults’) Christmas wish lists.
The Kleins loved the hobby so much that they converted MB Klein, Inc. into a model train store in the 1970s and began to expand upon the products and services they offered. Today, the store is just as popular as it ever was, and the store’s staff built Modeltrainstuff.com to serve as an online model train store for customers in Baltimore and around the world. They offer all the most popular scales, from Z to S and HO, and they carry all the most popular brands, as well. They also provide video reviews that are both informative and fun.
#4 – Spring Creek Model Trains
Springcreekmodeltrains.com is an online store founded and operated by David and Debby Zucker, a couple who have been enamored with model trains for their entire lives. David’s foray into the model train business began with a manufacturing venture when he and a friend developed custom molds for casting lead weights that were designed for a variety of cars without manufacturer-specified weights. You can find these products at Springcreekmodeltrains.com on the Custom Weights page. Later, David and his wife took a chance on opening a bricks-and-mortar store, and from there Springcreekmodeltrains.com was born.
The pair started their business venture in a 5’ x 10’ x 6’ trailer and quickly grew into a fully-fledged store and website. Though they stay quite busy, they travel throughout the Midwest to host popular weekend train shows. The physical location is in Deshler, NE, but their store ships across the United States. If you’re a fan of limited-edition or exclusive model trains, the Zuckers carry coal cars custom-painted by LBF – something you just won’t find anywhere else.
#5 – Trainz
Trainz.com is the brainchild of Scott Griggs, a model train enthusiast since the tender age of eight. His father set up numerous model trains in the basement of his childhood home, and his love of trains grew exponentially from there. As his life progressed, he married the love of his life and bought a townhouse, and the couple decided to turn the spare bedroom into a workshop. Once again, he began buying, fixing, and selling trains and their parts while attending a wide range of train shows before buying and running his first retail store. Though it has since closed, Scott’s foray into eBay led him to build a brand-new online model train store known simply as Trainz.com.
Today, Trainz.com is a hub for hobbyists and enthusiasts, and it offers one of the most well-stocked and easy to navigate online model train store experiences in existence. It’s one of the few online shops where you can sell your own trains for real cash or buy used collectibles at fair and competitive prices. There’s even a Trainz Rewards program where you can earn points for every purchase, a very popular and informative Trainz Community, and a Private Car Membership option that provides extended return windows, more points for every dollar spent, and more.
#6 – Midwest Model RR
The team at Midwestmodelrr.com runs a fantastic online model train store that contains everything a beginner needs and things that experienced hobbyists crave. While they focus primarily on HO and N scale trains, they do offer others in smaller selections. You can find a massive stock of scenery and tools, as well as DCC and DC accessories. There are more than just model trains, too; you can find books, games, puzzles, slot cars, and PineCar accessories on their incredibly well-stocked site. For the true enthusiasts, the Railroadiana section of the site offers whistles, heavy gauge aluminum signs, and much, much more.
Midwestmodelrr.com was founded in 2011 with the hope of making the railroading hobby accessible to everyone from an availability and a financial standpoint. More than a decade later, the team works hard to keep their operating costs as low as humanly possible to pass the savings onto their beloved customers. They are one of the few online model train stores offering real-time inventory and a single-day turnaround between purchase and shipping, as well.
#7 – Yankee Dabbler
Yankeedabbler.com is the digital offshoot of the Yankee Dabbler retail store located in Bellmawr, NJ. They offer a massive selection of model trains in every popular scale, and they also provide all the accessories required to build a working train. From Athearn Locomotives to Atlas Engines, there’s nothing you won’t find. They even provide custom weathered rolling stock at surprisingly affordable prices for the true collectors out there. Though they once hosted some of the biggest and best model train shows in the Northeastern United States, the latest show schedule information is from 2021. Nevertheless, the online model train store continues to offer an exceptional selection at a great value.
#8 – Blue Ridge Hobbies
While the website at Blueridgehobbies.com may look a little dated on the outside, this online model train store continues to offer an exceptional selection of trains in every scale. The team at Blue Ridge Hobbies aims to offer the lowest retail prices for model railroading supplies with a base discount of 25% off most manufacturers’ suggested prices. They ship at actual cost and go to great lengths to ensure a secure online shopping experience.
The extraordinarily transparent team updates the site regularly with the latest information about the happenings. The team notes that sales are quite slow, but that new releases from popular brands are selling out through wholesalers very quickly. As such, they encourage their shoppers to purchase items listed as “In Stock” quickly because stock levels are generally quite low. You’ll find a massive list of brands on offer, and these range from Accurail and Atlas to Wiking, Williams & Bachmann, and more.
#9 – Tony’s Train Exchange
Tony’s Train Exchange can be found online at Tonystrains.com, and it offers one of the biggest and best selections for products and services on the internet. The extensive selection includes full sets as well as individual cars, such as locomotives, freight cars, couplers, wheelsets, and trucks. You can also find all the layout materials you need to build the model set of your dreams, and if you live in the Essex Junction, Vermont area – or you don’t mind shipping your equipment – they even provide DCC decoder and sound decoder installation, custom large-scale electronics installations, and KeepAlive, Current Keeper, and Stay Alive installation.
Tony’s Train Exchange is very well known for its news, tips, and videos. They provide updates on new releases, tips for getting the most out of your equipment, and lots of inspiration for creating incredible layouts from start to finish. Whether you’re just getting started on your model train journey or looking to take your setup to the next level, the selection and advice at Tonystrains.com is invaluable.
#10 – Charles Ro Supply Company
Charles Ro Supply Company is the world’s largest Lionel dealer and the largest train store in the United States. You can find their massive 5000 square foot retail location in Malden, Massachusetts if you want an experience you’ll never forget; the 32’ x 16’ operating layout is a remarkable sight. Locals can also take advantage of their service and repair center, which is touted to be one of the best in the country.
If you live elsewhere in the country, you can shop their massive selection at CharlesRo.com. They ship daily via FedEx, and they offer an incredible selection of G, O, S, HO, and N-scale trains from which to choose. Of course, all the latest and greatest from Lionel can be found within the digital pages, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Charles Ro offers building blocks train kits, children’s toys from Melissa & Doug, Thomas the Tank Engine sets in every gauge, wooden train sets, and a vast selection of woodland scenic items, locomotive maintenance supplies, wire, hobby tools, and die-cast vehicles. The website provides up-to-date listing information in terms of availability and price, and the team works hard to provide one of the best online model train shopping experiences in the world.
#11 – Lombard Hobbies
The Lombard Hobbies newsletter is the 2020 Model Railroader Reader’s Choice winner, which is a testament to the experience and passion behind the online model train store at Lombardhobby.com. This digital venue makes it possible to build virtually any layout you can imagine with its impressive stock and competitive prices. They offer HO and N-scale trains, and for beginners, they offer exceptional advice over the phone to ensure that you get exactly what you have in mind. From individual cars to full train sets of all sizes, if you can imagine it, you can find it at Lombard Hobbies.
Located in Lombard, Illinois, the team of modelers is focused on helping other modelers in every aspect of the hobby. From layout inspiration to building custom electronics, they offer all the help, tools, and accessories you will ever need. There are even Lombard exclusives to peruse, including sound files, HO-scale freight cars from Athearn, and more. Be sure to check out their books for collectors and researchers, and don’t forget the adhesives and paints for your build-your-own models.
#12 – White Rose Hobbies
Located in York, Pennsylvania, White Rose Hobbies got its start in 2008 as a DCC installation service company working out of a single room and has since grown to include their online model train store, Whiterosehobbies.com. Their first store opened in 2009, but they quickly outgrew the 700 square foot space and moved to a far more spacious location in 2017. In fact, they are now one of the largest full train hobby shops in all of Pennsylvania and Maryland. They offer HO, N, O, and G-scale trains from every major manufacturer, and for those who have multiple hobbies, you can also find the hottest RC cars, stock model kits, and toys including kites, wooden models, and Metal Earth 3D model kits.
White Rose Hobbies is well suited for beginners and expert collectors and hobbyists alike, and they offer both American-made and European-made brands. If you’re just getting started, you can shop their selection of complete train sets in every scale. Some of their most popular offerings include the Marklin American Museum Passenger Starter Set and the Marklin American Christmas Starter Sets, among others.
#13 – Hiawatha Hobbies
Hiawathahobbies.com is the online model train store associated with a family-owned and operated hobby store in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. While they have a wide selection of trains, including individual cars and sets alike, they also carry plastic models, slot cars, dollhouses, rockets, rock tumblers, and much more. They carry all model railroading scales from Z through G, and they are authorized dealers for all of the best brands in the hobby, including LGB, Lionel, Marklin, Walthers, and many others.
The railroading hobby selection is quite substantial and includes everything from individual locomotives and freight cars to complete sets of all sizes. They also offer scenery, decals, DCC systems, weathering powders, and other accessories designed to help the creative hobbyists out there create their own living, breathing railroads. You’ll find clearance events and holiday sets, and you can even purchase Hiawatha Hobbies gift certificates for the train enthusiasts in your life.
#14 – Overland Hobbies
The Overlandhobbies.com website is one of the most beautiful online model train stores on the web. In fact, it’s more than just another online store – it’s an experience. They’ve been in the business since 1976, and they serve an incredible number of retail customers in the United States, Canada, and all over the globe. Their goal is to provide a wide selection of all the most popular brand at competitive prices with fast shipping and exceptional service.
Overland Hobbies offers a massive selection of model trains, including full sets, partial sets, and individual cars that you can sort by manufacturer or railroad. The Accessories section of the site features track, freight car load items, figurines, and more, and they have an entire section of the website dedicated to structures, as well. Overland Hobbies is well known for its consignment shop; they purchase your unwanted trains, refurbish them, and then resell them to collectors at highly competitive prices. Be sure to check out their pre-orders across all categories, too.
#15 – Factory Direct Hobbies
Factorydirecthobbies.com is one of the biggest and best go-to websites for model train hobbyists. They offer every scale, every manufacturer, and every accessory you need to put together virtually any setup you can imagine. However, unlike many of their competitors, they offer a unique shopping experience that includes installment payment plans and a unique cashback Rewards Program for customer loyalty that provides 5% cashback as store credit for every purchase. The Factory Direct Hobbies preorder list is absolutely incredible, and they allow their customers to preorder the hottest new additions in the railroading hobby for free.
Factory Direct Hobbies offers trains in HO, N, O, S, and G-scale options, and they have an entire section dedicated to the littlest collectors, too. You can also find accessories, DC, DCC, and sound parts, and a ton of tools and maintenance supplies. They offer hundreds of books and videos, with some designed to be collectors’ pieces and others intended to serve as reference manuals. It’s one of the best hobby stores in the country, and it continues to grow with every passing year.
If you’re interested in getting started in model trains, looking to add to your collection, or trying to find the perfect gift for family or friends who love railroading, these 15 online model train stores offer some of the best selections and value on the internet.