Lin Westcott's 1958 Switchman's Nightmare

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Jorge, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    According to the write up on the site, it was featured in Model Railroader's 2005 track planning annual.
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Member

    I like the Highland Terminal plan. That suits my needs perfectly. :thumb: The trackwork is more realistic. I am going to stretch it out to eight feet long instead of six. Thanks for all the help that I have gotten from everyone.
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Eight feet is plenty of room for a good switching layout.

    The idea is to think of it as a switching LAYOUT, not a switching PUZZLE. A puzzle is just that--a switching layout is an operating model railroad layout that does away with the mainline running for space reasons.

    Here are two shots that capture most of my 12-foot shelf layout--one six-foot module is a yard, the other six-foot module is an industrial area and engine service facility.
    There are three industrial spurs in the foreground, serving four industries. The spur on the far right extends onto a 2' deep "peninsula" into the center of the room to serve a large cannery.
    The three-track yard in the background is both diesel/electric engine storage and a freight house (not yet modeled.) The actual layout is L-shaped, 6' on its long end, 1' deep through most of its length and 3' deep on the leg of the L.

    An N scale copy of this plan would probably fit handily inside of 2'x4' (since I use very dinky Peco turnouts and a super-tight radius curve, it wouldn't fit in exactly half the space.)

    This track plan is not intended to model large through trains or giant consists--this layout is intended to model my favorite kind of train, the daily freight peddler which serves various industries in a city. In the grand scheme of things, the big through trains drop off cars to be distributed and pick up outgoing shipments, and the locals pick up these cars and shuffle them in town.

    This is a simple four-track yard, 6'x1'. It includes an "escape" track and a small repair-in-place track. I use the yard to assemble trains and then run them out to the industrial area to drop off cars--but it would be just as feasible to add cars using a cassette or using the three-track yard as my mini "yard" to serve the industries. Modeling this portion of my layout in N would fit on a 6-8" wide by 3-4' long chunk of lumber.

    When I was a kid, while others marveled at the big powerful through freights and sought to model gigantic steam engines and sleek passenger trains, my attention was always caucht by the pokey, dusty switchers wending their way through dingy back-alleys spotting cars in front of scruffy-looking buildings on the wrong side of the tracks. My layout focuses on ths kind of railroading by choice. It's an ideal theme for modelers with limited space.

    Just keep in mind that it isn't a "puzzle"--the idea is to simulate operation. Small railroads also have other advantages, like ease of construction, low cost and the ability to superdetail without becoming a monster project. They can also become parts of a larger layout later--these two modules are only the first of an around-the-garage layout that will be done sometime before the next Ice Age.

    That and Thor Trains site have some good ideas for small switching layouts of various pedigrees.

Share This Page