Category: Uncategorized

What’s Your Operational Style?

Trains in motion, that’s what we ultimately want. Without it we essentially have a static diorama.  But what is your operational style?  Rail fan? Branch line peddler? Industrial switching?  The answer doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you have a firm grip on it so that it’s front and center in your mind during…


West Virginia Logging Track Plan

Logging Railroad Track Plan   Rickety logging lines are a popular theme.  The design shown above is a free lanced West Virginia logging branch set in the 1930’s or 1940’s.  It’s an ideal canvas for building craftsman structure kits, bridges, and scenery.   The line starts along a river bank at a town wedged between…


How Many Towns Should I Put on my Layout?

Early in the planning process, it’s common for clients to tell me that they have a specific number of towns they’d like to have on their future layout but are having difficulty visualizing how to fit them all in.  (This is often because, in many cases, they simply won’t fit but we’ll get to that…


Structure Building Practice

  Model Railroad Structure Building Practice   The clients that I see generally have many things in common.  Typically they’ve been waiting decades to have a layout, building structures is the aspect of the hobby they are looking forward to the most,  and they are at the beginning of the learning curve.  Over the years…


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…