Model Railroad Design Blog

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….


Model Railroad Bench Work Footprints

Selecting the appropriate bench work footprint for your model railroad design is one of the most important design decisions you’ll ever make.  As with all things, there are pros and cons with each available option.  The key is to know which factors come into play so that you can make an informed decision as to…


Preparing Your Train Room

One of the most common questions I get from clients is a request for tips on the best way to prepare a room for a future layout. Lighting (hint: you need a LOT!) I’m putting this first simply because it’s the subject area where folks most commonly shoot themselves in the foot.  It’s a safe…


Working Structures Into Your Design

You’ll get a much more cohesive look if you complete your design first, and then purchase your structures as opposed to vice versa.   When starting a design for a customer, it’s fairly common to hear something along the lines of, “Oh, by the way, over the years I’ve been accumulating a number of structure…


Making Model Railroad Design Features “Pay Their Freight”

  As we take a design from the conceptual to detail stage, foremost in our mind should be the realization that what we draw WE must build.   What may take a few passes of pencil on paper to draw, may take quite a while to construct.   There should be a direct relationship between the amount…