Model Railroad Design Blog

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…


Three Common Construction Errors

Here are three common construction mistakes that will bite you in the rear if you aren’t careful.  I’ve made all of them.  Most of the other modelers I come in contact with have made all of them. Parallel Track Spacing In HO scale, a parallel track spacing of two inches is the norm (one inch in…


Planning For Success in N Scale

  In the past several years I’ve noticed a trend in the scale my customers select for their layouts.  N scale now accounts for almost half of the projects I see.  What is even more interesting is that most of these individuals are in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties. N scale has a lot…


Layout Planning, Covering All of the Bases

  When the term “layout planning” is thrown out, the image that pops into most people’s mind is a track plan with a sidebar that delineates turnout size, curve radius, and track locations.  That’s not the overall “layout plan”, it’s only the design, the technical drawing, the track plan, it’s not the overall plan for…


Should You Double Deck?

  When you look at a developing model railroad design it should be from the perspective of having the blinders off and being crystal clear as to what it entails to build, maintain, and interact with.   Only when you can say with total confidence that you know exactly what you’re getting into, the good, the…