Great Model Railroads 2016

Model Railroader presents Great Model Railroads 2022 Great Model Railroads 2022 is the newest special issue that highlights the best in contemporary modeling. Featuring 9 realistic layouts in a complete and expanded presentation, you will learn techniques such as operation, control, track planning, and scenery.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines

in this issue

2 min
creativity, inspiration, and determination

GREAT MODEL RAILROADSis Model Railroader magazine’s annual salute to hobbyists who have achieved the ultimate goal of our hobby, the “complete” model railroad. We have to put that word in quotation marks because it’s the rare layout builder who thinks there’s nothing more to do or nowhere left to go with what looks to most of us like a finished layout. Looking over the offerings in this issue of GMR, I’m once again struck by the sheer creativity, inspiration, and determination of so many model railroaders. These are people with the vision to see what they want to accomplish and the drive to get it done. Some work mostly on their own, most rely on friendships and cooperative effort, and this issue even includes one husband-and-wife-team (far from our first or…

11 min
along the mighty mississippi

After retiring from a 35-year career as a professional railroader, I knew that I’d need something to keep me occupied during the years ahead. I’d dabbled in model railroading when I was growing up, so the concept of building a model railroad wasn’t new to me. Besides, given my career (and coming from a long line of railroaders), I figured I knew something about railroading. The trouble was, my house in the Twin Cities wasn’t suitable for building the layout I had in mind. This problem was solved when my wife wished to move back to LaCrosse, Wis., to care for her aging father. Our new house had a 30 x 60-foot basement. I quickly took over a 14 x 40-foot chunk of it to build my dream layout. After the…

2 min
6 tips for realistic backdrops

BACKDROP PAINTING has been covered many times in magazine articles and has also been the subject of several books. However, there are many modelers still afraid to give backdrop painting a try. Here are seven tips I’ve followed when painting backdrops on my layout: 1 CREATE A HORIZON LINE. This should be about eye level for the average viewer. Some of the backdrop scenery will be above the line, and some will be below it. 2 USE VANISHING POINTS. Even natural vistas have vanishing points. Lines of sight converge on these points and determine the size of near and distant objects relative to each other. 3 CHOOSE COLORS CAREFULLY. Use a color palette on the backdrop that’s similar to the colors of the foreground scenery. 4 WHERE IS THE SUN? You must decide where the sun is located.…

2 min
efficient car routing

I WAS INITIALLY using car cards and waybills for car routing on my layout. I added a twist, however. The cards and waybills went along with the train as usual and were set out and picked up at stations worked by the train. But now, each train also carried a train consist list departing the initial station. The list showed the conductor all the cars in his train in proper sequence plus the destination stations at which cars were to be set out along the line. Switch lists were also prepared for yard crews showing them the work to be done in their yard. This proved a lot of work for me, since I had to hand write all the information on all the lists. Hand-writing switch lists was fine for single…

11 min
one layout, many pieces

Some railroad hobbyists collect brass limited-edition locomotives. Others collect dining car china. I collect layouts. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the essence. I’ve acquired, restored, and integrated into a single layout major components from three significant O scale layouts. Smaller components from two other modelers’ layouts are also included. The three larger parts are from John Armstrong’s famous Canandaigua Southern, Ted Stepek’s Pennsylvania RR layout ( designed by Armstrong and featured in his book, Creative Layout Design) and Ed Rappe’s original Pennsy layout (the cover feature in the March 2000 Model Railroader). This layout occupies an 18 x 89-foot space. RESCUE MISSION My drive to rescue these layouts began when I realized most layouts go in the trash when their builders pass away, become disabled, or move. My interest in…

1 min
suspend with wire

SUPPORTING UPPER LAYOUT DECKS can be difficult, especially when running heavier O scale equipment. However, wooden supports from below or above are visually distracting. On my layout, the outer edge of the deck above Stepek Yard is suspended from the ceiling joists using small braided wire cable. The top of each cable is looped over a screw driven horizontally into the joists, run through a U clamp, and tightened. The bottom end is attached to the benchwork similarly, through a hole drilled through the benchwork. A row of such cables supports the upper benchwork; balancing the tension on the different cables equalizes the distribution of weight. Where the cables pass through scenery, I disguise them as line poles. A Plastruct styrene tube is scored to represent wood grain, painted and weathered…