Creating Nighttime Model Railroad Lighting

Membership Options

Model Railroad Academy Membership with automatic renewal

Please select from the available subscriptions above

  • Choose Your Membership Plan
  • All-Access Video Pass
  • New Videos Every Week
  • View on Computer or Mobile

Select your membership plan and get our best model railroad videos with 24/7 access to tips and ideas from our master modelers, automatic renewal and our ‘cancel anytime’ policy.


Learn More

Model railroad lighting is an important element of a layout and can help depict the movement from day to night during operation. In this video, learn some tips for enhancing your scenes with lighting featuring modeler Jim Eudaly. A lamppost is a great addition to nighttime model railroad lighting. To make a lamppost, start with a plastic tube about six inches long which will be 16 feet scale and an actual four inches.

For the base of the post, drill ⅛ inch diameter holes in a thin sheet of styrene and hole punch around the hole. The hole punch base will be a scale 15 inches in diameter. Punch two bases for each post. Slide the post through the hole in the center of the two bases until they are 16 scale feet down the post. Insert the end of the post in a hole in a block of wood for gluing. Eudaly uses fast setting plastic cement to secure the base to the post. After this the lamppost is painted with polyscale engine black.

Eudaly uses Grant Line lamp reflectors for the lampshades which are painted with white enamel on the inside and black on the outside. He then slides a bulb through the lampshade and super glues it in place. The remaining wire is fed through the lamppost and super glued again. The last step is to install the lamppost on the layout and connect the bulb wires to the model railroad lighting power source.

LED bulbs can be more complicated to install, but are longer lasting and use less current. LED lights do not come attached to wires. 28-30 gauge black wire is used for the minus lead and red wire is used for the plus lead. These must be soldered to the base of the bulb. In just a few steps, a modeler can easily add nighttime model railroad lighting.

Tags: Jim EuDaly, model railroad layouts, Model Railroad Lighting, model railroad scenery tips, model railroad videos