Have you ever wanted a train tunnel for your model railroad but didn’t want to spend the money?
Or maybe you’ve tried to make one out of cardboard or wood and it just didn’t turn out right.
Well, I have the perfect solution for you: a train tunnel made out of Styrofoam!
This tutorial will show you how to make a realistic-looking train tunnel using only a few basic tools and supplies.
Let’s get started!
Ok, What About Materials?
Typically, for this project, you will need:
- Styrofoam board (1/2 inch thick)
- Ruler or compass
- X-ACTO knife or box cutter
- Sandpaper (220 grit)
- Spray paint (optional)
- Elmer’s Glue or hot glue gun
- Clamps (optional)
- Model trains (optional)
If this has already got you feeling lazy because of the effort ahead. We’ll give you fair warning, this takes a bit of time and effort. This is not for the impatient!
For the lazy ones, we have a quick hotfix solution at the end of this article.
No shame in either approach. We won’t tell anyone (we promise).
How to make a train tunnel out of styrofoam
If you want to make a train tunnel, but you don’t have enough money to build one, you can make your own by using Styrofoam. You can also use rock castings or Sculptamold to line the inside of the tunnel. You can paint them and decorate them like real rocks.
Styrofoam is inexpensive, and you can get large blocks and sheets of it at the hardware store. Once you get a couple of sheets, you can cut them to fit your model train. Make sure to cut them wide enough to fit your train through. You can also paint the Styrofoam or spray it with gray paint to enhance the crevices.
First, cut a tube that is twice the height of the train track. You should also cut it half way down each side. After you’ve cut it out, place the tube over the track. You can then build up the sides and top with papier-mache or plaster. This will keep the track safe, and you can decorate the inside easily.
How do you make a train tunnel portal?
- WOODLAND SCENICS C1153 Cut Stone Single Portals (2) N
To make a train tunnel portal out of a styrofoam sheet, first draw the tunnel and cut it out. You’ll need a couple of inches of styrofoam, but it doesn’t have to be very thick. You can even use thin sheets if you prefer. Once you’ve cut the styrofoam, you’ll want to sand away the fibers.
You can also cut wadded construction paper or brown cardstock to fit the space inside the tunnel. You’ll need to make sure the track is wide enough to accommodate all the train equipment, and you’ll also need to make sure the tunnel portal can be viewed from all sides. Once the portal is done, you can paint it with gray, black, or concrete washes to give it the look of smokestack soot. There are many ways to paint the inside of your tunnel, so you’ll want to experiment to find the best one for your model railroad layout.
If you’re working on a larger scale, you can use insulating foam sheets or polystyrene sheets. You can also use a wooden frame, but you need to take into consideration the curvature of your track.
How do you make a HO scale tunnel?
First, you’ll need a large sheet of Styrofoam. You’ll need this for the inside walls of your tunnel. This will help you create smoother walls and allow you to place larger pieces of Styrofoam inside for walls. If you don’t have a large sheet of Styrofoam, you can always buy premade tunnel walls in OO or N scale.
Next, you’ll need to cut a piece of Styrofoam two inches thick. You can find the material in big blocks or two-inch sheets. Use a cutting tool to cut the piece into the desired size and shape, and then glue together the pieces. If you want a larger train tunnel, you can stack several two-inch pieces together.
You’ll need to create a gradient. Depending on the scale, a steeper slope can be more difficult. In HO scale, a single locomotive can pull up to nine Overton passenger cars, but if you need to pull more than that, you can add a second locomotive to pull the entire train.
How to make straight tunnels?
If you’re a beginner and want to make a straight tunnel for your model train, there are a few simple steps you can take. First, you’ll need to cut a piece of cardboard about five feet long. You can use a hobby knife or box cutter to cut it into three pieces. Next, cut out a small square from the top piece to make a window. Then, duct tape these pieces together. You’ll also need a small piece to make the door.
You’ll also need to cut the tube twice as long as it is tall so you have plenty of vertical clearance for trains. Cut the tube about half-way around on both sides. Once this is done, place it over the track. Once you’ve got it in place, you can build up the sides and top with papier-mache or plaster. You can also decorate the inside of the tube.