Planning For Vertical Scenery Relief

For many modelers, scenery is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby.  Prior to laying the plywood sub-roadbed a little forethought and planning goes a long way.  Upwardly rising scenery features are easy enough.  Even if your layout base is a simple slab of plywood, anything rising above track level can be formed…


Two “Must Have” Industries For Your Layout

  Pre-purchasing and accumulating structures prior to having a layout design in hand is a recurring theme on this blog.  It’s a recurring theme because the same story plays out with regularity.  For many, having the time and/or space for a layout has been (or will be) a long wait.  In order to get a…


The Three Functions of Track On a Model Railroad

There are three possible purposes track can serve on a model railroad.  When pulling your design together, you have to ask yourself, if a section of track on my plan doesn’t serve any of them, why am I including it? Operational Necessity.  This one is obvious.  As a minimum you need one track to get…


Recycling A Model Railroad

When working with a new design client, it’s fairly common that they state a desire that the model railroad be designed in such a way that it can be moved to a new residence at some point in the future.  Makes sense right?  If you’re going to put all of that effort and expense into…


Creating A Model Railroad With A Soul

 “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.”  “ If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”  Edward Hopper    What a person gets out of the hobby is as varied…


Double Tracking, Pros and Cons

  In most cases, layout design decisions are neither inherently good or bad…… as long as the layout owner is crystal clear as to the pros and cons of that decision.  Therein often lies the problem.  Occasionally we look back and realize, “well it “seemed” like a good decision at the time.  Now that I see…


Preparing For “The Day” You Finally Have a Model Railroad

  Seldom does somebody wake up one day and say they plan to have a significantly sized model railroad housed in their basement six months from now.  There’s a long lead up, often spanning decades of anticipation. Whether it be a lack of space or, more likely a lack of time or lifestyle fit, realizing…


Large “Starter” Layouts

  We typically associate the size of a model railroad with its complexity, ease of construction, operational interest, and viability for entry level modelers.  Such doesn’t have to be the case, however.  An entry level or time challenged modeler that loves long main line runs can have his cake and eat it too if careful thought…


The Case For Only ONE Peninsula

  The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Of more importance, from a railroad’s point of view,  it’s generally the cheapest.  As modelers, we have a disconnect between how the real world looks and the harsh reality that our railroads are located in rooms that dictate that all too frequently we hit…


Easier Curved Fascias

When it comes time to actually build their layouts, one of the most frequent questions I get from my clients is, how do I create curved fascias?  Good question.  Fortunately, there is a dedicated product that provides an easy solution, bendable MDF.  This is available from woodworking suppliers such as Rockler at a reasonable cost….