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Overall Layout Size: Space, Reachability

Examples of Good Layouts

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One of the "bibles" of good layout designs is the Kalmbach book "101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders".  This book has been in print continuously for over fifty years, has sold over a half million copies, and continues to inspire model railroaders everywhere with its interesting plans, charming artwork, and technical utility. 

Note:  Because they represent copyrighted material, the layouts from the book cannot displayed here, nor will you find them available on any website that obeys the copyright law.  The TrainPlayer model railroad simulator has licensed the layouts and provides access to all 101 layouts.  If this presentation is running on a computer with the TrainPlayer software installed the following layouts are worth looking at:

L4, the Reddy River & Piedras provides a very small layout (4' x 6' in HO) with many interesting operating possibilities.  The layout is a simple oval with 2 passing sidings, several industry sidings, a yard with several sidings, including a passenger station and a turntable and roundhouse.  Note that trains may reverse direction, always a desirable feature.  Many hours of operation can be enjoyed moving cars into and out of industries.  And try running two trains in opposite direction without stopping either one and you'll get a good idea of complex mainline operations.  Just be sure to run short passenger cars!

L12, Mechanic Street Yard (2' x 8' in HO) shows what can be accomplished with a "shelf" layout.  There is no mainline but lots of switching.  A layout like this (as with most layouts) will have an "interchange track" where cars are dropped off and picked up from another railroad representing the connection to the rest of the world.  On this layout, cars would have to be taken from the interchange track and replaced by hand.

L1, Stockton & Darlington RR (4' x 3') is another very small layout with only a few sidings but an "over and under" mainline where trains can be run continuously.  Note that its really not feasible to run two trains in opposing directions.

L13, Elizabeth & Rahway River Ry (3' x 7' in HO) is a variation on the popular figure 8 layout.  Just a few sidings but running more than one train takes some ingenuity.

L98, Butte, Anaconda & Pacific RR (14' x 17' in HO) provides both point to point (like a real railroad) and continuous running and is modeled after a real railroad in Montana.  Lots of operation here!

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