Model Railroad Layouts

After the Model Scale Selection and available space are determined, some other factors require consideration: adequate lighting such as incandescent, fluorescent or track lighting, layout location heating requirements in winter and/or air conditioning requirements in summer, and spare electrical receptacles.  

 Carpentry skills are necessary for this initial task.  If your skills are minimal, it is best to get assistance from a friend, family member or a professional. Many of the construction materials are available from your local lumberyard, ACE, Home Depot, or Lowes hardware chains. Upon completion of this initial task, it is a good idea to draw your track layout on the tabletop with accurate track radii using radius templates constructed out of cardboard.

See figure below:


If possible, actual turnout templates can be constructed. If you choose PECO turnouts, manufactured in Great Britain, this manufacturer will mail you a catalog and associated turnout templates upon request. In the real world the turnout is called a switch. It controls train direction.

Many layouts have background scenery, as a minimum a blue sky and some clouds. It is possible to hand paint that on an existing wall if so desired. More complex Background Scenery can be purchased from Walthers on-line. It is best to do this task prior to placing the layout table against the wall.

Many people create layouts with one or more tracks, which permit the train to rise along a sloping terrain and/or possibly clear another track directly below it. In order to achieve this one must be aware of the impact that scale has.

By definition, % Slope or Grade = Rise divided by Run times 100. Refer to Table 2  for a listing  of Rise vs Run vs % slope for the most popular model scales. The Clearance required for an object below the highest rise point is also given.