Plans on the web

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by nicknero, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. nicknero

    nicknero Member

    Im looking for a website that has good track plans Im new and Im afraid of designing my own layout so I want to copy one I guess so are there any good websites?
  2. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    See my reply to the "Your thoughts needed" post - BTW, it would help if we knew what scale/gauge you were planning to use
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  3. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    The "How To" page on the Model Railroad Links page you can click on in my signature has several sites for layout planning.
  4. nicknero

    nicknero Member

    I am using HO and I am using code 100 track if that helps and size is not a problem I got a whole garage
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    The Code 100 track isn't important. What is important is what equipment you'll be running, so we can know what curves and turnouts to use. How big exactly is the garage? Entrance(s)?
  6. nicknero

    nicknero Member

    3 car garage Im using both steam a diesel I just bought an athearn challenger I dont have a Particular era and Im using the digitrax super empire builder
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Ok Nick (?),
    I see you are just a couple of weeks older than one of my sons, so I have a pretty good feeling for your enthusiasm! First don't lose that. Second, you need to breathe in and out slowly a few times, because as we all have learned this a a hobby for the long haul. But I think there are challenges, fun, and opportunities to learn in all phases, so it is all good!
    So, you've got your space negotiated. That's a good thing. But the last thing you want to do is rush to fill it, or you'll get well started and realize you don't have anything like what you want.
    First, I think you need to get and read John Armstrong's book "Track Planning for Realistic Operation". In it he talks about givens and druthers. Once you actually think about it and write them down a lot of other things start to fall into place. I'd also think about getting one or more of Armstrong's layout compilations (I don't remember the titles, look at Kalmbach's site and you should see several). In these books he has the list of givens and druthers from his client (he designed layouts professionally), and then the trackplan he designed, and the thought process that drove the design. It really helps to see how a design evolves. When you see those designs you will almost certailly find one you think is great, but remember, the people building these were not beginners. The ideas are great, but starting off too big could be the kiss of death.
    After you do that you'll find yourself doodling a lot. Just don't get caught at school! Eventually you'll get a picture in your head and you will want to get it on paper, and you'll realize that you are not a draftsman (if you are I apologize!). So you will want help. That's where Xtrkcad comes in. Go to and download it. There is a link in the middle of the page that tells how to register for free. Go through the demo/tutorial under the help menu, or you will be lost. Then you can doodle on the computer.
    I would not try to fill the garage at first. I think maybe a U shape you can walk into that is 10x15 or so might be a good start. If you are clever you might think about how it could be added on to without starting over.
    If you'd like something else to read, here's a link to a good site for thinking about yard design: .
    If you can answer the givens and druthers questions there are people here who will be happy to help scheme out a design, they just need a bit more to go on. I know that you might not have a era in mind, but in the long run you probably want one. Late steam, with the Challenger, although you could go modern and run it on excursions. Modern has the advantage of being right outside your door.
    Enough rambling from me, I hope this gives you some things to think about and get started!

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Since you have bought an Athearn Challenger, you should plan on 30 inch minimum radius for your mainline. The Challenger may negotiate tighter turns, but it will look funny. Since you are not likely to use the Challenger for switching, you can use tighter radius and smaller switches for your industries. A few years ago Kalmbach came out with a book by Don Mitchell from the La Mesa Club in San Diego called "Walk Around Layouts." I think with your garage you should build a walkaround shelf type layout. You might start with a long "dog bone" in a "U" shape layout for continuous running and then you can start scenicing sections and cut in turnouits for industries later. That way you get trains running on a nice long mainline, without being committed to a complicated layout that may not do what you want to do.

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