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Discussion in 'FAQs' started by gmbrd, Jun 10, 2002.
What do you think are the absolute musts for a model railroad layout? A yard, station, figures...???
Your layout must have everything YOU WANT on it. If it has what I want, it's my layout, not yours.
There is a standing order in all the local hobby shops, when I buy a plastic kit, they are supposed to ask me if I need a new razor saw. I didn't ask for this, but it's known that I rarely ever build a kit straight out of the box. I almost always modify it in some way to make it "mine".
Look at the pics on this forum. You'll see something neat on every layout. If you like it, it might be worth adding to your own layout, or it might lead you to something better.
In the end, the only person you have to please, with your efforts, is yourself. Go for it!
I 2nd everything Pete said...it's YOUR RR.
I would suggest, though, that when you DO decide on something, add detail to whatever scene you create. Whether ot's a station, yard, a house, etc...
This is easy, all it requires are some figures, vehicles, fences, junk, or whatever your imagination can come up with. It can make a good scene a great one!
I agree 100% with these two guys.It's your layout please only yourself (can't please everybody anyway )
Go with whatever you want to have. TIP: Just don't try to do it all at once!!!
A friend of mine once built a layout that was about 12x25. It was all a steel mill. The oreboats brought in the raw materials on one end and the railroad shipped the finished product from the other. There was so much to do with just this one industry that you could operate it for hours without ever getting bored. Wish that I had some pics...I never made any and he lost his during a move with the Army.
I also agree with what has been said above, but would add the absolute musts for a model railroad layout to me is perfect trackwork, which is why all trackwork should be bullet proofed and test run before anything else is added.
Thanks guys, I also agree 100% but what I was fishing for was YOUR personal musts for YOUR layout. I know there is a lot of difference here.
I am myself totally obsessed with the yard. I don't know why. I even dream of it, the cars the signals the trash and stuff along the tracks and the smell. The smell is intoxicating.
I think I may have a problem
Find all of the articles that you can by George Sellios and his Franklin and Manchester. He is the absolute "master" of trashing yards and right of ways
Hey gnbrd, Vic is right about Sellios. Allen Keller produces a series of fantasic video tapes called Great Model Railroads and has done 3 on the Franklin and South Manchester. Besides a tour of the railroad there are how-to clinics on the tapes as well. While they are $39.95 each IMHO they are well worth the price. He doesn't have a web site that I know of but his # is 1-800-859-9271. I pretty much agree with everyone else here, it's your R.R. do what makes you happy. Just don't forget to post pics of your progress for the rest of us to enjoy! Shamus is very right in making sure your track is bulletproof before going any further. The only thing I might add is to have a operator's type track plan. Even if you have no interest in operations that type of plan will look right to the eye (and leave the door open for operations if you change your mind). Also what Charlie said about details, the best building or yard area doesn't look right if its barren. Good luck and keep us posted!
As long as you are "fishing", I'll bite;
Trees, lots and lots of trees.
Thanx sumpter250, your the only one to take the bait. That is what I was looking for. Not very good at expressing myself.
(1) tunnel(s); (2) yard; (3) river/creek; (4) grain elevator.
If you are in to operations don't forget the staging yards, if you are not put a couple in anyway they are good for storage.
Here's another tip for getting yard track to have that "trashy" look...
Lay the yard tracks directly on the sub-bed, or scenic base...(plywood, or foam, whichever you're using), & use cork only on the main lines. The difference in grade levels is visually pleasing, & very prototypical.
Also, ballast your yard tracks with dirt, &/or cinders, & maybe even throw in some fine ground foam, for a real overgrown, "weedy" look.
Staging yard. Hidden? Inside scenery, 5' dia. multiple track loop? Would that be considered a staging yard? Or would it have to be visible and easily reached?
Mine are hidden, one dead-end (trains are not reused during a session) the other forms a loop for when visitors are over but is treated as 2 dead-ends during operations. But they can be however you want em'. How much space you have, which places or sides of the layout you have acess to all play a part of course. I prefer hidden because it gives a better sense of the trains coming and going somewhere to the rest of the rail network.But they certainly can be visible also. If space is a problem one trick is to have 1 yard and have it do double duty. A train leaves from the left side of the yard travels around the layout nad enters the yard from the right, end of journey as it as now in the "next" town. then the train is turned and sent back the other way. If you have a basic track plan drawn up and want to post it on the track planning forum I'm sure you will get a lot of suggestions on different ways to do this. Good luck!
Tyson, George Sellios' web site is located at
It's not much as websites go, but it's part of a much larger site devoted to HO finescale modeling.
Speaking of Allen Keller's videos... Vol. 3 of the F&SM chronicles the completion of Sellios' great layout, but the print magazines have almost completely ignored the fact that George is essentially finished with the layout. In the third video, George says that the editor of one of the "major magazines" told him the mag wouldn't be running any more F&SM articles because the readers were "intimidated" by the detail of the layout. I was knocked almost speechless by that statement. I'm not intimidated by the F&SM! I find it inspiring; it's modeling at a level I hope to some day attain.
I can't believe the magazines are ignoring the completion of what may arguably be the second or third most important layout in the hobby's history.
Casey for the record Andy Sperando of MR responded in the trains forum to a similar statement and said they never told George that, it must be one of the other mags. Be that as it may they still haven't done anything either. Like you I can't believe they are ignoring one of the all time great layouts. Its people like that that push the hobby to new heights IMHO. I also find modeling by anybody thats better than me (and that's a lot of people ) to be inspiring not intimidating.
I saw Andy's response in that thread, and I had no reason to disbelieve what he said. Likewise, though, Sellios wouldn't have made that statement on the video if some one of the major magazine editors hadn't said that to him. Kind of makes me wonder.... Oh well....
I forgot to add this url last night when I posted the other one (we were in the middle of a huge thunder and lightning storm here at the time and I was somewhat distracted!), but this one should go with it. It's part of the HO finescale site:
Shamus' Badger Creek is linked on that page. Only the best of the best are featured on the "layout tour" pages or the "sources" pages.