The design and building of a model railroad depend entirely upon the track plan. As the layout is a model, only a part of the world can be replicated, so the designer has to decide what is important and what can be left out.
This page describes the first ideas for my track plan, i.e., what I want, and what I do not want.
- A large layout, basement sized. I have a hard time deciding on what scenes to include and what to leave out, so a larger space gives me the option of having most if not all of the scenes I’d like.
- Industries. The layout must have a purpose. Passenger trains of course, but they tend not to be very interesting. It is freight that really adds a lot of interest in operations to a model railroad. I think three industries would be a minimum.
- Full-length, or near full-length trains. For N-scale, this means trains of five-foot length would be close to realistic for passenger trains. Freight trains can be much longer, but I will limit them to around five feet.
- Scenic view. Living in the western US, the chance for trains to pass through large scenic areas, canyons, bridges, etc., is a must.
- Classification yard. This is also a must. Its an important part of prototype railroads and also gives a lot of interest in a small space as well as operational possibilities.
- Towns. Like industries for freight trains, passenger trains need a purpose for moving people from A to B, hence the need for at least two towns a reasonable distance apart.
- Staging yard. Here we need a place to store and assemble trains out of the sight of operators and viewers.
- End-to-end vs. closed-loop. I can never decide so I decided not to. The visible part of the layout will seemingly be end-to-end but there is a hidden track to complete the circle and allow trains to run continuously.
- I’ve seen several videos taken from locomotives on model railroads. As I love technology, I’d like to have a video camera on a moving part of the railroad.
- I’d like to have a video camera or two hidden on the layout to give a view of trains passing by.