Model Railroad Planning 2016

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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4 min
fiddling around while waiting

I suspect that most Model Railroad Planning readers are familiar with the term “staging yard” and its implications. The idea is simply, “Railroading is based on the concept of being able to forward freight and passenger cars from the point of origin on one railroad to a connecting railroad and so on to the final destination.” To simulate this on our model railroads – that is, to explain how a BNSF Ry. covered hopper from Montana winds up on CSX in Georgia – we’ve learned to add passive staging yards to our track plans. These often-hidden yards provide a place “beyond the basement,” as Allen McClelland put it, for those foreign road cars to come from and go back to. The term “staging” implies the cars and trains that will magically appear…

5 min
8 ways to hide the end of the line

All good things eventually come to an end, as the saying goes. Pessimistic though that may sound, it’s literally true where model railroads are concerned. No, I’m not thinking about what to bequeath in your will, but how your railroad gracefully exits the stage – that is, how it goes from the modeled portion to the off-stage areas that represent the rest of the rail network. Here and on the following pages are several examples of how that can be accomplished. Other ideas? Perhaps you’ve discovered other ways to disguise the transition between modeled and un-scenicked portions of your railroad. If so, please share them with us. 1 Overhead bridge The cover ofModel Railroad Planning 1998 featured an overhead bridge scene on Paul Dolkos’s former Boston & Maine layout. In “Making tracks disappear gracefully,” Paul…

18 min
designing the rio grande in n scale

We all dream big when we’re younger and a large layout is still in the future. For several years, I doodled track plans of the Moffat Road, specifically the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s 1960s-era main line between Denver, Colo., and the first crew change at Bond. This line, now operated by the Union Pacific, operates through the famous Moffat Tunnel. After my wife and I moved to Colorado and purchased our first home in 1997, reality sank in. The basement had a finished “great room,” which was designated as the new location of a future Moffat Road. Although the room was slightly larger than 18 x 25 feet, and N scale makes it easier to fit more railroad into a smaller space, I saw my dream of modeling the entire…

13 min
elevating the right-of-way

Model railroaders are eternally confronted with a limited amount of space. When representing larger cities, we often cram the available real estate with track and fit buildings into the intermediate spaces as best we can, often to the point of just having flats against a backdrop. Those among us who wish to include more structures will sometimes resort to separating the street and track levels. More often than not, however, we will put the city above and the tracks below. But why? Two suspects: The first is convenience, which goes hand-in-hand with a lack of planning. We build the benchwork, lay the track, wire it, and start running trains. Cities? Well, there’s still room above the tracks over there ... . The second is less obvious: We simply don’t know better. As…

16 min
georgia short line on my mind

Three little words that model railroaders dread – “We are moving!” – can offer opportunities to refine what they enjoy about model railroading and enhance their modeling skills when they build new layouts. When the time came for us to move from Florida to the Georgia mountains, my old layout, the CSX Hawksridge Division (featured in the Model Railroader special issue More Layout in Less Space), was dismantled. I donated the modular portions to my former club in Miami. Rather than think about what I was losing, I focused on what I wanted to improve and on what I enjoyed on my old layout. I kept most of the structures, locomotives, and rolling stock to reuse on my new layout, although I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to model. After…

2 min
switch lists and car reports

Modelers have several choices when it comes to selecting the type of system they want to use to switch and route cars on their layouts. I looked to the prototype to see what it used and to determine whether it would work for my layout. A good friend who is an engineer on the GNRR gave me copies of prototype forms and provided valuable information on how the GNRR operated. From these prototype forms, I developed a similar switch list form on an Excel spreadsheet. The switch list indicates all the cars in the train, which is in staging, in order from the locomotive to the end of the train. The cars are blocked by industry but not necessarily in the correct order for spotting. The industry each car is routed…