Here are some questions commonly asked.

F.A.Q. for Stephan Lamb Associates
  • Where are you located?
    Our office and main shop are in Lowell Massachusetts USA.

  • Do you only build for clients in your area?
    Most of our clients are not local, so our railroads are made in modular sections and can be delivered to your location. We have a crew ready to travel anywhere in the continental United States, if need be we can work on your railroad at your location. Travel time, airfare, vehicle rentals, food expense and lodging would be required. But if at all possible have your railroad built at our shop then shipped to your location, this will save you thousands of dollars!

    Map locations of installations of SLA custom model railroads
  • What scales and types of railroads do you build?
    We can build "G"-"Z" scales, even narrow gauge, American or European prototypes in any season. We can build a simple toy train layout or a realistic model railroad modeled after the prototype. They include scale details of structures and scenery. We have a professional landscape designer who works with us on outdoor garden railroads.

  • Can you give a ballpark estimate cost for the railroad?
    The cost of the railroad really comes down to the size, scale and how much scenery details are involved, which will determine how many Man hours and supplies to be purchased (we've had supplies cost over six figures). The costs can range anywhere from several thousand dollars for smaller projects up into six or seven figures for larger, more elaborate, railroads. Custom built model railroads do involve a significant cash investment, but we can plan a budget for you that will suit your needs. The most important part of budgeting your railroad will be the size, theme and railroad design. From the design plans we can develop the budget and labor time estimate for the railroad.

  • How long does it take to build a railroad?
    It depends on the complexity of the railroad. A simple oval on a sheet of plywood wired to a power pack with no scenery would be up and running in a few days, while a multi-train operation, with freight yards, a turntable, animation, custom structures, signals, lights and other details could take several months, even years to complete. Most of our railroads are completed in 4-7 months.

  • How do we start the project?
    You can email us your railroad design plans, which can be based on your own drawings, or any previously published designs. Your plans should include room size, bench work size, and scale, plus any ideas for landscaping, roads, and rural and industrial areas. Also include any cabinetry, electrical, control panels, fascia or finishing work to be done. We can draw you a railroad design plan if don’t have one.

  • What types of payments do you accept?
    Checks or money orders are preferred. Credit cards are also accepted, however, any credit card processing fees will be added. Please no cash.

  • What is the best way to contact you?
    The best way of contacting us is a phone call 9:00am-6:00pm E.S.T. Monday-Friday.
    We get so many emails, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But we use email for sending contracts, updated information and photos of your project progress.