Model railroad layouts

Model railroad layouts DEFAULT

Im only bringing this out due to the above request. This track plan is something that I would be happy with, so not everyone is going to think this is the best plan every, but I designed it for me, and I like it.

I have not built this, this is only one option I am looking at, since I havent actually built the building that will someday house the layout. I drew this with openoffice draw, and is not to scale. The conversion to jpeg made it too wide, so its a bit skeewed. The plans room is 18x31ft. There is a 2x31 staging yard that would have been on the otherside of the left wall.

My idea was to have a 2 main track railroad, where trains could be looped for open houses and railfanning, but for operations, trains would come out of staging, run over the line, and either end at the modeled yard or back to staging. There is also a branch line that ends at a coal flood loader, to add lots of unit coal trains. Exactly my type of railroading!

Someday I hope to have a layout representing the UP triple track main from Gibbon to N. Platte, hump yard and all! Parades of long modern trains running at track speed is my kind of railroading :)

Per Don's suggestion. Layout stats: Main room size 18x31ft

Min. Radius: 32" main, 26" other

Turnout size, #10 crossovers, #8 mainline spurs, #8 and #6 in yards and industrial areas

HO Scale

Mainline run: 140'


(Male Voice) UP Detector, Mile Post 2 8 0, No defects, axle count 2 0, train speed 3 5 m p h,  temperature 73 degrees, detector out.


Model railroad layout

Part of an HO scalemodel railroad layout

In model railroading, a layout is a diorama containing scale track for operating trains. The size of a layout varies, from small shelf-top designs to ones that fill entire rooms, basements, or whole buildings.

Attention to modeling details such as structures and scenery is common. Simple layouts are generally situated on a table, although other methods are used, including doors. More permanent construction methods involve attaching benchwork framing to the walls of the room or building in which the layout is situated.

Track layout[edit]

An important aspect of any model railway is the layout of the track itself. Apart from the stations, there are four basic ways of arranging the track, and innumerable variations:

  • Continuous loop. A circle or oval, with trains going round and round. Used in train sets.
  • Point to point. A line with a station at each end, with trains going from one station to the other.
  • Out and back. A pear shaped track, with trains leaving a station, going round a reversing loop, and coming back to the same station.
  • Shunting (US: Switching). Either a station, a motive power depot or a yard where the primary mode of operation is shunting. This includes layouts which are built as a train shunting puzzle such as Timesaver and Inglenook Sidings

Common variations:

  • On a point to point layout, the train can increase the time it takes to get from A to B by going around a continuous loop a few times.
  • Single or double track or more, so more trains can run at the same time.
  • Intermediate stations, to distinguish between express trains which go straight through and local trains which stop briefly.
  • Branch lines, to add an excuse for more stations and different types of trains.
  • Use of multiple levels.
  • Arranging the continuous loop as a figure-of-8, possibly with one track going over the other instead of having tracks crossing on the same level.
  • Folding one loop of a figure-of-8 over the other loop to produce a looped-8, so as to reduce the amount of space needed while keeping a long continuous run.
  • Using one or more fiddle yards (US: staging tracks) to represent the rest of the railway system. A fiddle yard is regarded as off-scene; it may hold multiple complete trains, and may also be subject to direct human intervention (fiddling) to re-arrange trains,
  • Dog-bone arrangement of a continuous loop; the sides of an oval are squeezed together so it looks like a double-track section with a loop at each end where the trains turn around.
  • Rabbit warren; a continuous loop folded over itself several times with multiple levels and many tunnels for trains to pop in and out of - often a small layout with sharp curves and short trains.

Station layout[edit]

Terminal station modeled on the East Texas Model Railroad Club HO-scalelayout

There are three basic types of station, and sometimes combinations of these types:

  • Terminus or terminal station. As the name implies, all trains stop here, and then go back to where they came from.
  • Through station. Trains can go through this station; express trains don't stop, while local trains do stop briefly before continuing their journey.
  • Junction. The tracks diverge/join here.

Other factors which affect the track layout of a station include:

  • For passengers only, or for goods only, or for both passengers and goods.
  • Use of steam engines and/or diesel/electric engines.
  • Use of trains which can be driven from either end, e.g. Diesel Multiple Units.

The simplest possible station for passengers consists of just a platform beside the track, with no points (US: switches) or sidings. Both terminal and through stations can be as simple as this; a junction requires at least one point.


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Transforming a plain sheet of plywood and lumber into a detailed model railroad layout is easy with scenery, track, structures, and figures found here. The track section makes planning your layout easy whether you’re just getting started or starting over. There’s a full selection of easy to use track systems, traditional sectional track and turnouts, along with accessories from spikes to rail joiners. Be sure to check out the various detectors, signal kits, systems and accessories available to build more realism into your model railroad layout. Passing endless fields in rural areas, dark forests or slugging it out with a towering mountain range, just about any kind of terrain where railroads run can be modeled with the incredible range of scenery products available today. From traditional trackside depot to grimy industrial district, structures instantly tell visitors about what your railroad does for a living. Choose ready-to-use models, or discover a new level of modeling fun with the many different types of structure kits available. And bring those communities to life in a matter of minutes with colorful figures and vehicles for the finishing touch, including many military figures, trucks, airplanes, and more.


Model Train Layouts & Track Plans

This is the most complete online database for free model train track plans and layouts of SCARM projects and designs. Search it for railway layouts and railroad track plans by scale, size, tracks and other criteria. Download the files and see them in 2D editor and 3D viewer of SCARM track planner.

And don't forget – the most important is to have fun with the model trains

Featured Operational Layout

Scale: H0e (1/87), N (1/160)
Size: Small
Dimen­sions: 320cm x 60cm; 126" x 24"; 10.5′ x 2′
Area: 1.92m2; 2.3yd2
Type: Closed Route
Line: Single
Traffic: Passenger, Freight, Shunting/Switching
Epoch/Era: II, III, IV, V / Steam, Transition, Modern
Scene: Country/Village, Plain
Trackage: TilligH0e 9mm gauge
Author: Stoyan Bozhanovaka TANO
Designed with: SCARM Model Railroad Designer

The track plan is designed in “double 8” figure with one small station in front and train stop at the back and allows exchanging of the buildings, signals and some other parts depending on the current rolling stock scale – standard gauge N scale (1/160) or narrow gauge H0e scale (1/87). See more

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All Layouts & Track Plans

Page 1 / 20 (Projects 1 - 10)

Small oval LEGO layout for playing with short passenger and freigt LEGO trains from the current 60197 and 60198 sets. See more

Interesting HO scale layout project with tracks on 3 levels, featuring long main line passing via large station in the middle level and one more small station on the lower level. The track plan allows playing with both passenger and freight trains as well as many shunting/switching scenarios. See more

Narrow but long layout project in TT scale, featuring folded double main line and a train station in the central area. The track plan allows running of both passenger and freight trains as well as many shunting/switching operations in the station, depot and the small freight yard. See more

Nice layout in OO gauge with opening in the middle, containing multi-track oval main line which links the freight yard in front with the passenger station at the back and passes around various buildings, facilities and scenic areas. The track plan is suitable for continuous running of up to 3 trains and for various shunting/switching operations. See more

Medium-sized N-scale layout featuring single main line with large passenger station in the center area, smaller terminus station in the upper left corner and also a hidden station in the back for storing of up to 3 more trains. See more

Simple but nice around-the-walls bedroom layout with 5-track combined station, several branches, scenic ridge, closet section and a lift-out bridge (at the room’s door). See more

Scale: O (1/48), Standard Gauge (1/27)
Size: Extra Large
Dimen­sions: 610cm x 305cm; 240" x 120"; 20′ x 10′
Area: 18.61m2; 22.25yd2
Type: Closed Route
Line: Mixed
Traffic: Passenger, Freight, Shunting/Switching
Epoch/Era: II, III, IV, V / Steam, Transition, Modern
Trackage: LionelO Fastrack, USA TrackStd Gauge
Author: Michael Shamel
Designed with: SCARM Software for Model Railroaders

Large Christmas layout with 4 independent routes on 3 levels, built around the Christmas tree. See more

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Railroad layouts model

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Building Your First Model Railroad

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