Model Railroad Planning 2014

Build Your Best Model Railroad layout with proven track plans, design ideas and expert advice. Model Railroad Planning 2019 is back with more small and mid-size layouts along with doable how-to projects. Featured stories include: • A compact HO layout depicting the Delaware & Hudson in the Alco Century era greets guests at a New York state B&B. • An HO tribute to the Akron, Canton & Youngstown, which provided a bridge route from the East to Midwest. • A superbly crafted multi-deck layout in O scale of the Louisville & Nashville during the steam era. • An L-shape N and HO switching railroad showcases the Southern Pacific in Oregon. • And much more!

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5 min
a perfect viewing height – somewhere!

Model Railroad Planning tries hard to reflect the trends and aspirations of our broad-shouldered hobby. That means our coverage of multi-deck layouts will continue unabated as many modelers adopt this approach to layout design, which essentially doubles or even triples the amount of railroad they can ft into a given footprint. One attribute of a multi-deck railroad is some section of it will most likely be an ideal height for viewing by everyone from a child to a basketball player. The downside is everywhere else will be somewhat less than ideal. That’s true of my HO railroad, which ranges in height from 43 to 68½ inches. I enjoy the higher parts, which allow me to view the scenery and rolling stock from the vantage point of a scale-height railfan photographer. But…

13 min
operating a busy passenger terminal

I love passenger trains. That became the driving force in designing my Mississippi, Alabama & Gulf HO railroad. I knew that it would be set in the deep South of the 1950s, but I needed to find a large city to serve as a focal point. Ideally, it would host passenger traffic from such favorite roads as the Southern, Louisville & Nashville, Illinois Central, Southern Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Kansas City Southern, and the Texas & Pacific – clearly a tall order! It was therefore no accident that I ultimately chose New Orleans. Not only did the Crescent City serve as a terminus for each of these railroads, but it also provided the opportunity to model the newly opened (1954) New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT), where varnish from the West and…

10 min
southern pacific’s siskiyou line in n scale

The origin of my N scale Southern Pacific Siskiyou Line layout dates to my childhood. I’m a native Oregonian who grew up on the SP’s Toledo branch. Since I was old enough to remember, I’ve seen SP’s long and heavy Toledo Hauler come into town. It was often pulled by solid sets huge six-axle engines like EMD SD9s and, for a time, SD45s. There was always a GP9 or SD9 stationed in Toledo to work the many lumber mills and the large paper mill, as well as some other industries. My father often took me down to the yard to look at the locomotives. This firmly established that the SP and its six-axle (C-C) locomotives became part of my childhood as I developed a sincere interest in both prototype railroads and…

12 min
alice street in 4x8 feet

The Santa Fe’s First & Alice Street Yard was a compact industrial area along the waterfront in Oakland, Calif. It had no direct rail connection with the rest of the far-flung Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. The yard did have a little-used interchange track connecting with the Southern Pacific, but most of its traffic came and went by way of the “Santa Fe Navy,” railroad-owned car-float barges and tugboats that plied San Francisco Bay and connected with five other rail-marine terminals. I first became aware of Alice Street when I operated an HO scale shelf layout based on this prototype built by my friend Bill Childers in Fort Worth, Texas. It featured industrial switching concentrated in a small area along a narrow shelf, and it used the car floats both…

15 min
a moving experience

A new layout fit for a retirement home My HO scale model railroad depicting Moscow, Idaho, was featured in Model Railroad Planning 2008. I described the planning and design process I used to capture my memories of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific operations in the fall of 1965 when I had just arrived as a graduate student at the University of Idaho. I enjoyed all aspects of that layout for seven years: the initial planning and design, renovation of the building to house it, backdrop painting, benchwork, wiring, tracklaying, scratchbuilding and kitbashing of the many distinctive structures, and most of all running HO scale versions of trains I remember seeing in person. In September 2011, my wife and I moved from our country home of 24 years to Denton, Texas, just north…

16 min
switching for breakfast

Imagine a one-industry model railroad that would provide an excuse to run most types of freight cars, offer hours of challenging switching enjoyment, and highlight the operations of two Class 1 railroads. That’s exactly what was once found in the Post Cereals manufacturing complex, located on the east side of Battle Creek, Mich., along the major railway crossing of the Grand Trunk Western RR (later Canadian National) and the New York Central (later Penn Central, Conrail, and now Norfolk Southern). Some background Post Cereals was founded in 1895 as the Postum Cereal Co. by C.W. Post. After acquiring several other food brands, including Jell-O gelatin in 1925, Baker’s Chocolate in 1927, Maxwell House Coffee in 1928, and Birdseye Frozen Foods in 1929, Post Cereals changed its name to General Foods Corp. In…