Why Your Model Railroad Needs a Classification Yard

Why Your Model Railroad Needs a Classification Yard

In the real world, classification yards are the heart of any train yard. They’re crucial for reorganizing trains into new blocks depending on their destination and purpose. Some arrival and departure depots are combined with the classification yards to create a central location for their trains. So, to make an accurate model railroad, shouldn’t your own design have a similar area? Here’s why your model railroad needs a classification yard.


First and foremost, many hobbyists strive to create the greatest sense of authenticity in their model railroads, mimicking the real-world operations of trains and emulating their various functions. As the heart of a train yard, the classification yard is a necessity if accuracy and authenticity are your goal. Furthermore, because of how complex they can be, putting together an effective and functional classification is a wonderful achievement and a great challenge for an experienced hobbyist. Nothing is more enjoyable than replicating the frenetic energy of a bustling train yard.


Another reason why your model railroad needs a classification yard is that it gives your setup more variety without having to physically change the track’s design or the trains on it. With a classification yard, an experienced hobbyist can coordinate the trains to switch lines, change destinations, and more to create a more visually interesting model railroad.

Designing the Yard

Classification yards have a degree of customization to make them work for your setup. You’ll find HO scale rolling stock kits to be the most common source of train car variety because of that scale’s popularity, so keep that in mind if you’re starting from scratch and need to select a scale. Next, you’ll need to choose how many classification tracks there should be. Many assume there should be one for each train, but that’s not necessarily true. Only destinations that are expecting a large number of cars need their own track. Instead, you need to account for length, as the tracks need to be as long as the number of cars you intend to place on them. This can consume a lot of space if not planned accordingly, so ensure you establish early on how long your trains should be.

8th Jun 2022 Stephen Atwell

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