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  • Track Plan Programs

    FROM SIMPLE TO SUPER TO MODULAR; THE PROVEN WAYS TO LET YOUR RAILROAD GROW WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE

    1. A suitcase is large enough for an N scale oval but if you want real railroading fun you'll need a bit more space. With a bit of careful thought, you can avoid the major modeling mistakes on paper by picking a pre-planned track layout like one of these. 2. & 3. These two plans are about the least complicated model railroads you could wish for. The sidings will give you a chance to try your hand at switching operations. Both plans courtesy Trix trains. 4. You can pack a lot of track into a four by six foot space in HO scales. This layout was built from Fleishmann-brand HO track and equipment. Most modelers would prefer a bit less track with more scenery. Proper pre-planning can avoid such a jam-packed appearance.
    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 22 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 23

    The growth sequence, from train set to a complex model railroad, usually includes some need for a plan for the position of the track. It would be more fun, perhaps, if the model railroad could merely follow the contours of the land like the real railroads try to but few of us have access to such unlimited vistas of space. Most frequently our railroad empires begin as an empty tabletop or at best, an empty room that we hope to convert into some sort of a replica of real railroad action. Given such linear limits to our "empires," the confines of a rather definite plan for future track location is the safest bet. The seemingly simpler alternative of just laying track wherever it seems to look best will often result in a model railroad that is far too complicated to operate enjoyably with curves and other areas that are too tight and cramped to allow operation of the largest engines and longest cars. If you are a relative newcomer to the hobby you can be consoled by the fact that literally thousands of others have had problems almost the same as your own. Those thousands have developed, through the oh-too-human trial-and-error method of perfection, a series of steps that work best in the development of a model railroad from the oval train set start to a room or tabletop full of realism and fun.

    The half dozen or so layout plans on these pages illustrate the major steps in the development of your oval train set into a comp lete and lifetime type of model railroad. The first two plans represent the basic oval and figure 8 type of model railroads that every kid has dreamed about; the only difference is that each of them has an extra siding or two so that the train can bestopped every lap or two to set out or pickup a car or two to alter its consist. If you like scenery and structures, either of these simple layouts could be completed to the last detail while you gain experience in the trackside detail segments of the hobby. The third layout plan is merely a more complex oval with enough laps of track and passing sidings to allow the operation of two or more trains. If you like switching operations and/or wiring for multi-train operation this one would be a fine example for your second "phase" in the hobby. With these layouts and some of the better books on model railroad electrical problems (HOW TO WIRE YOUR MODEL RAILROAD, at $3.00, is one of the best your dealer has to offer) you'll learn where the rails must be cut and electrically isolated to avoid short circuits. You'll also find out how and where to install on-off switches and extra power packs for operating two or more trains at the same time. The fourth and fifth layout plans don't appear to be much different than the rest but both of them have a "P"-shaped loop to allow non-stop reversing of a full train. The wiring and operation of a reversing loop is yet another aspect of the wiring side of the hobby that you'll want to learn. Again, the books on wiring will show exactly what you have to do to gap the rails and connect the wires and power supply for a operating reversing loop.

    5. This two-oval layout was designed for N scale Rapido-brand track sections but, like the others on these pages, it could be snapped together from almost any brand of HO or 0 scale track to match the same shape. Two trains can operate at the same time on this one. 6. This graceful track has the general appearance of a double track mainline with the simplest possible wiring. The layout could be built without any switches. Note that there are no switches connecting the tracks at either loop end. A pair of switches would be needed to complete the crossover and allow entire trains to be reversed but the layout's wiring would be far more complex to avoid short circuits. Track plan courtesy Trix trains. 7. This rather simple-looking track plan has what amounts to three "P"-shaped reversing loops. An extra pair of reversing toggle switches would be needed at the powerpack to control the flow of current to the reversing loops. Gaps would have to be cut to insulate the rails and extra wires run to avoid short circuits. Your hobby dealer should have the book HOW TO WIRE YOUR MODEL RAILROAD to show how and where. caption>
    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 24 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 25

     

    The final few layout plans illustrate the most advanced thinking in the hobby; that of "modular" model railroading. The railroad, with this concept, is built in sections at least smaller than a doorway so that the complete railroad can be disassembled for moving or so that sections can be removed and replaced with revised or extended modules. This type of layout building finds much favor with apartment dwellers and others who lack the space for an entire model railroad. You can complete one "module" of your layout at a time right down to the wiring and scenery; operate trains on it in back and forth switching moves; and enjoy the hobby nearly as much as the man with a giant layout. If you have the space you can build three or four of these "modules," store them away in a cupboard when not in use, and set them down on the floor or on removable legs when you want to operate a complete model railroad. Some military men, constantly on the move, have even constructed sturdy storage boxes for their "modules" so that all they have to do is screw on the lid when moving day arrives. The concept has application on almost any size model railroad from a shelf-size layout to a giant club. The Thunderbird Model Railroad Club in Phoenix, Arizona, built their model railroad as a complete unit starting in the early nineteen fifties but each section of the benchwork was built as its own entity. When the club had to move in 1968 they simply unbolted the various "modules;" carted them out the door onto waiting trucks and trailers, and over to their new club site. A few new "modules" had to be built to match the layout to the new space but the member's eighteen years of work was saved in its entirety and encorporated into the new layout. A much smaller example of the "module" construction concept is shown in this issue's chapter on "Styrofoam For A Starter." This layout is only 1 x 4-feet in N scale (2 x 4-feet in HO scale.) It can be operated as a complete model railroad, added to a ready-to-run oval lay out as a switching area, or it can serve as one of a dozen or more "modules" that will make up a complete model railroad empire as large as the Thunderbird Club's. If you can settle for the relatively limited operation that a single "module" offers, building only one "module" at a time and learning from your previous mistakes, your first model railroad layout can become part of your final "module" system.

    8. 9. & 1 0. These three model railroads are assembled from "modules"; self contained sections of a complete model railroad, that can be assembled in different ways to form a complete model railroad. Yard "modules" like numbers 24 and 25 can serve as complete model railroads in themselves while the balance of the railroad's "modules " are completed. Trix trains plans. 11. This coal mining and industrial center railroad can serve as one of the individual "modules" of a giant model railroad system. "Modular" contruction allows you to move or expand your railroad without tearing it down to start over. "Modules" simply bolt together; wires plug in.
    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 26 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 27


    These particular track plans were engineered for use with Trix and Rapido brands of sectional N scale track but nearly identical layouts could be assembled in HO or 0 scale. The $.75 Trix Catalog illustrates ten additional track plans. Your dealer should have it or you can order by mail from American Tortoise, Inc., Farmingdale, N .Y. 11735. Rapido has a $4.95 track planning manual that fully illustrates all of their track and components. Order from your dealer or Charles C. Merzbach Co., Inc., 200 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10010. Atlas, too, has a fine book on track plans for use with their N scale truck and another for use with their HO scale track; both written by expert, John Armstrong, and available through your local hobby dealer.

    Article Details

    • Original Author 1001 Model Railroading Ideas
    • Source 1001 Model Railroading Ideas
    • Publication Date Winter 1971

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