Model Railroad Planning 2019

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
all you need to know, in two slides

Over the years, I’ve used a pair of slides (above) in some of my clinics to make the point that you can design the basic plan for any model railroad in a few seconds using a common household utensil: a fork. The idea is that a railroad has to come from Somewhere and go to Somewhere Else, with Somewhere and Somewhere Else represented by the tines of the fork – often passive staging or active fiddle yards. If you’re modeling a stub-end short or branch line, you can get by with a single fork, although it, too, should connect with the rail network at a junction with a trunk line. So maybe you better swipe another fork from the kitchen drawer and T it off the first two. If you want a…

11 min
modeling a sense of place

Decades before I became seriously interested in building a scale model railroad, I spent a number of years pursuing my passion for railfan photography. Over the years, I had come to see photography as a means of self-expression. In model railroading I’ve found an equally powerful art form with which to express myself. I’ve learned that to capture a sense of place in my model scenes or photographs, I need to truly “feel” those scenes or places. Living in the lower Hudson Valley of New York, much of my rail and photographic explorations have focused on upstate New York and New England. Often the image I was after necessitated a friendly knock on the door of the resident to request permission to shoot a photo from the vantage point of his or…

1 min
an influential encounter

Let me share with you an encounter I had with Kit Lukas, an 82-year-old client and filmmaker who had been a program director for the Public Broadcasting System in New York. I had professional reasons to be at his home, and we were soon enjoying an involved conversation about art. I then showed him some photos of what I was doing in HO scale, and he was amazed. “This is a piece of art you’re making!” he exclaimed. “Could I possibly see it?” I invited Kit to visit my railroad, and he was intrigued by everything from the scenery and lighting to the NCE throttle I handed to him so he could run the train that was staged and idling in the yard. As we stood near the rail siding of…

12 min
a multi-deck railroad in o scale!

I became interested in prototype modeling while working in HO scale. I had some success with duplicating structures, bridges, locomotives, and rolling stock, but I lacked a specific time and place. The main line included parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. The layout was in a room over the garage, and I struggled with dust issues. I spent too much time cleaning track and wheels and not enough time building and operating. In 1995, I began seriously considering switching to O scale (1:48). The fascination of scale-size couplers that worked like the prototype provided a strong pull. I then began reading about Proto:48 “fine scale,” the 100-percent accurate version of O scale, with correctly gauged rail, proper wheel width and tread contour, and the limited availability of motive power and rolling…

9 min
the lehigh valley in n scale

Choosing the Lehigh Valley RR (LV) as a modeling subject came easily for me. I grew up in Hughestown, Pa., which is near the LV’s former Coxton Yard. The Lehigh Valley and Delaware & Hudson (D&H) main lines both ran past my grandparents’ home in Avoca, Pa. I could see both railroads from the picture window in their living room. My interest in railroads was sparked early, as I went right to that window and waited for action with every visit. My parents also had a fishing cabin along the Susquehanna River, which was only a short walk away from the Lehigh Valley’s Vosburg Tunnel near Mehoopany, Pa. From the cabin, I could see trains approaching along the river and have enough time to run down to the tunnel to see them…

12 min
modeling an ohio classic

My long-lasting interest in the Akron, Canton & Youngstown (AC&Y) can be attributed to visits to grandparents in northeastern Ohio. They lived near the AC&Y in Fairlawn/West Akron. The chime of a Nathan M5 air horn was my incentive to bicycle to trackside. At the time, the AC&Y’s locomotive roster consisted entirely of Fairbanks-Morse (FM) road switchers. Passing trains dispensed the characteristic blue-gray FM exhaust and a distinct sweet aroma of newly minted tires from Akron’s many rubber plants. I determined from train crews and the local section gang where the AC&Y went – 169 miles between East Akron and Delphos. Soon I was able to visit both terminals and much of the railroad in between, and I was hooked. The summer of my induction into the U.S. Army, I worked for…