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The Model Railroad

Custom made track plans

Recently I have begun doing some sketching and suggestions for different people on the varios mailing-lists on the internet... And lo and behold! Some people actually like my comstomized designs ;-)
So much so, that a couple of the here shown designs are now actually being constructed!
I am even receiving gifts as a thankyou for the help.
So... I am saying thankyou also! -For making it worthwile doing something I like! Thanks guys! (You know who you are ;-)
As I pretend to make semi-professional plans, I would like to hear your thoughts and critisims too!
 
In case you would like to ask me for design-ideas, please read the text at the bottom of this page!
 
To see and read about each of the published plans here, just click on the picture of the layout.
Where nothing else is mentioned, scale is H0, and tracks are from Märklin.
 

1) 600x200 cm M-track. (2003)
Lots of space, but limited track-material.

lay_hx2003jordi1_2.gif
Main station, branchline and visible part of main line.

 
2) 240x105 cm C-track. (2003)
Advanced entry-level layout. Swiss alps.

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Gesamtansicht. Visible tracks.

 
3) 400x300cm K-track. (Layout will actually be 2-rail DC made with PECO-track, but hey! ;-) (2003)
Expert level. Wide radius. Terminal station.

lay_hxfernando1_1.gif
All visible tracks.

 
4) 450x250cm. C-track. (2003)
Beginner level. Fun play-layout, with serious ambitions.

lay_hxvictor2_1.gif
Visible tracks and mountain helix.

 
5) 500x500cm. C-track. (2003)
Big expert layout. Lots of everything.
PHOTOS from actual construction!

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Generel overview of ALL tracks.

 
6) 380x240cm. K-track (2003)
Entry level layout. No fuss.

lay_fran2b_deco.jpg
Suggestion for decoration.

 
7) 436x239cm. C-track (2003)
Experienced level. Slim switches. High standards.

lay_jaume2c_6.gif
Main station, BW and industrial track.

 
8) 260x115cm. C-track (2003)
Experienced level. Compact layout. Terminal station with circular paradestrecke.
PHOTOS from the actual construction!

3D to get a better idea of the layout.
lucas1_gesamtansicht.jpg

 
9) 335x279cm. C-track (2003)
Beginner level. Made for british DC (Hornby) modeller.

mlister1_3d.jpg
3D view.

 
10) 240x240cm. N-scale. Atlas+Peco code 80 (2003)
Spectacular river bend.

phillip1_1.gif
Gesamtansicht.

 
11) 450x300cm. C-track (2004)
Interesting beginner-level layout.
Lots of space, but limited track-material and complexity of construction.
Lots of fun in this one, though!
transfesa1_3d.jpg
3D view.
 
12) 240x120cm. C-track (2004)
Very compact 2-level layout.
Many and complex running possibilities. Relatively easy construction.

lay_benavent1_3d.jpg
3D view.

 
13) 370x240cm. K-track (2004)
Compact layout, with complex construction. Interresting "dogbone" mainline with simple branchline. Lots of shaddow-stations.
Gesamtansicht
 
14) 670x90cm. K-track (2004)
Quite a famous LCTM-layout "redone" for advanced computer control.
Compact layout, with rather complex construction.

davidruso2b_gesamt.gif
Gesamtansicht

 
15) 630x365cm. C-track (2004)
Another LCTM-layout. Lots of space (restricted height). Large yet simple layout with a medium construction-level.

pascual2_3d.jpg
3D suggestion

 
16) 180x180cm(!) C-track (2005)
Minimum space -maximum ambitions. From Norway...

norge4_6.gif
Space is so tight that you have to step out to change your mind...

 
 
How to design a good track plan.

Alright... I dont pretend to know a lot about this, but here is what I consider sound advice:
 
MAIN THEME
Avoid ovals, or trains going round in the same circle(s). Use the dog-bone principle instead (as shown in the design of my actual layout). If you use 2 rail DC beware of short circuits when making reverse loops!
Although layouts with terminus stations are very true to real world situations, they dont allow the trains to run continuosly without operator interaction to change the direction and/or change the loco to the other end of the consist. Therefore avoid this theme. (Or use it only in a secondary branch-line)
 
SHADOW STATION
Do this! Build a shadow-station as big as you possible can! As a rule of thumb you can say that the amount of hidden tracks should be more or less equal to the amount of visible tracks on your layout.
It is far better to build a small station in the visible part, with a huge shadow station, than to build a big grand central station without any posibility of storing trains in an out-of-sight shadow station..
What I like about a layout is to sit back and se the different trains pass by, and so an automated shadow-station provides nice variation all the time.
 
CURVES, STRAIGHTS and TUNNELS
Dont use the pathetic standard curves in any visible part of your layout. (at least not for the main line). 360mm radius curves are way to sharp to look real, especially if you use material with 4 axels.
Dont lay track absolutly parallel with the border of the layout. Make a slight angle to it, or a soft curve.
Try to enter and exit tunnels on almost straight tracks, so that nobody can guess where the train is going when it enters a tunnel.
 
PARADESTRECKE
Try to fit in a section where the trains can get a long un-interrupted run. -With no station or signals to stop them. This can normally always be achieved, regardless of what little space you have available, by constructing it at another level than your main station. A parallel stretch of tracks is only 15 cm wide. If you have this, now try to time the signals so that two trains almost always cross each other on this "Paradestrecke".
 
HELIX
A lot has already been said about helix'es in the internet, so I suggest you enter "HELIX" in Google -or any other preferred internet search-engine. I only want to stress that in a parallel track helix one should make sure the trains CLIMB the helix on the OUTSIDE track, as this will have a lower inclination than the inner track.
 
And finally, the golden rule, which is so easy to say, but is so dificult to follow:
LESS IS MORE
You really DONT want to saturate your layout with tracks and tracks and even more tracks. It's simply impossible to fit all of your creative ideas into one design, -and I dont mind just HOW much space you say that you have available. Go think about it a good long time, and then start SIMPLIFYING that super optimated design that you have worked out over several weeks using the latest in computer aided design technology.
The same also goes for separate parts of the layout; Its much better to decorate a part of the layout with a single well-selected house, than cramming 5-6 houses into the same area just beacuase they all fit in there physically.
As it can be seen in my designs, I have big problems myself, to follow this last rule...
Now. Repeat after me: "LESS IS MORE". Thank you.
 

***** 15. November 2005; Design Service Discontinued, until further notice...
 
In case you would like my assistence, service, opinion, advice...
First off; I'm flattered, of course. Thanks for beleiving in me.
Second: I'm not a professional designer, I do this just for the fun of it. BUT making a good design that is actually going to be USEFUL to somebody takes a lot of effort! Therefore I hope that you understand that I am not able to take on all and every request coming my way.
Note: If you are a beginner, or the following things sounds too technical, dont worry, just take into account whatever you can! I will be asking you a lot of questions anyway, and I'll make a qualified guess for any unanswered questions.
Note2: Exceptions: I am sorry, but I cannot currently help planning using Hornby tracks. I miss them in my track-library, and I dont have the geometric information to make my own definition-file.
 
All that said, lets get down to business:
Third: For me to give you a qualified answer/suggestion/design/whatever, you MUST supply me with all the data that you possibly have! Such as:
Measures of available space. All limitations and oddities of the room/area at your disposal. Also take into account where any tables, chairs, vitrines etc. might be installed. A technical drawing of the room is just perfect.
Type of track to be used. Minimum radius to be used in curves.
Level of complicity of the construction; Should it be based on a simple plate, or are you able to construct an open framework with ramps.
Epoc and country if any specific.
Available track and limits on what additional material might be acquiered.
Weighed themes such as BW, swithcing yards, industries.
Prefered style (if any), such as terminal stations, secondary lines. If you want to OPERATE the layout, or simply prefer that everything runs as automatic as possible.
Preferred landscape; mountains, hills, flatlands.
-Any other details not yet listed here...
Note: (November 2003) I get a lot of requests -and I am very happy with that, thanks! -But please understand that requests that does not include a MINIMUM of information will not be regarded as serious requests!
Note: (November 2005) Thanks to everybody who have contacted me for designs, and apologies to those who have contacted me in vain, and for those who have had to wait ages for me finishing their plans. My daytime job, the work involved moving to a brand-new house and the realization (finally) of my own layout, leaves absolutly NO time left for the Design Service.
 
Reading through the layouts shown here, one could be lead to beleive I only do designs for spanish people. Well, nothing is further from the truth! I am currently designing for british, danish and american people, and more requests are coming every week.
Drop me an e-mail if you are interested. (I can communicate in English, German, Spanish and Dan/Sve/Nor)
Thank you.
 
***** 15. November 2005; Design Service Discontinued, until further notice...