Book review – Model Railroad Planning 2017′

The new year has come around again and it’s time for this year’s ‘Model Railroad Planning’ from Kalmbach.  I get this annual publication every year, and it is almost always worth a read.  There are usually too many (for me) basement sized layouts, but these are usually balanced by a few small ‘British size’ layouts.

This year seems to be a good edition.  The cover layout and featured plan is a shortline switching layout that comes in two sizes, the smallest 8′ (in HO) plus an add on staging siding.  There is also an attractive trolley line.  As the Model Railroader site describes it:

Adding traction to a steam railroad

Thinking of adding a trolley line to your layout? Well, that can be a fascinating addition to an existing model railroad. It can be simple or as complex as you might want. Just be aware of one hidden risk: A trolley operation can become addictive – sometimes to the point that it becomes more intriguing than a traditional steam railroad.

That’s because it can be scaled to your available space more easily than most other types of railways. Most electric lines were short, with ultra-sharp curves, steep grades, simple but frequent operations, and short trains – often just a single car. Scale-length trains are practical. Adding even more realism is that, like their prototypes, the models are powered by electricity!

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this edition is the fact that it contains two British based, but American outline, layouts.  The first, the ‘O’ gauge Laramie loco depot is described as:

A slice of Wyoming in the U.K.

Why would someone who lives in rural Gloucestershire, England, model part of a Union Pacific engine terminal in Wyoming? For many, a layout is an unashamed trip back to their childhood. On reflection, I guess there’s an element of this here: I have a clear recollection of the son of two of my parents’ friends having an HO model of a UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, and of being insanely jealous of this amazing beast.

This fine layout was at the Stevenage show earlier in the year.

The second UK layout is a gem.  But I would say that, as it is ‘N’ gauge and based on the railways of the North-east.  It even has an abandoned Lehigh Valley line in the background!

An N scale traveling layout

Although I’m a member of the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society and model the EL in HO, I have always wanted to see what I could achieve in a small space in N scale. I started designing a layout capable of being taken to exhibitions and where the main size constraint was the back of my Volkswagen Golf with the seats folded flat. This gave a maximum size of 40″ by 70″ to work in.

I’ve always had an interest in Eastern railroads – especially in Pennsylvania – and have collected reference books for influence. My main interest is the Erie Lackawanna, but I also gathered information on other roads such as the Reading, Lehigh Valley, Lehigh & New England, Pennsylvania, and Central RR of New Jersey.

I scanned this plan from the magazine, to share what a good small design (5′ 10″ x 3′ 4″) this is:

To add interest to a small layout with a small staging yard, Ian Wilson modelled one end of the fiddle yard as visible, so the locomotives and cabooses of trains can be stopped in open view, then moved into the yard as an extra operational movement.  The end of yard tracks are in the foreground below, and a train is leaving past the depot and junction.

Very much recommended!

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About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Hints and tips, Inspiration, Layout design, The trade and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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