Switching layout ideas needed!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Canopus, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Mar 16, 2006
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    Hi guys,

    First of all, this is pretty much my first posting on Zealot in a long while. I left when The Gauge became Zealot, and pretty much left the hobby too. So it's good to be back! :wave:

    Basically I'm going to be selling the majority of my locomotive collection, and will start again in the hobby from scratch. I want to build a switching layout, 5 x 1.5. But that's about as much as I know! :rolleyes:

    I want to use the glueshell and plaster method to construct scenery to give a sense of depth. So I guess that would mean hills and ditches and whatnot. But you guys need to help me here.

    I can't decide what road to run.
    I can't decide what state to model.
    I can't decide what industries I want.
    I can't decide on era either. I find 60s onwards most appealing.

    I have a few "likes". I like grain elevators, feed mills etc. but I also like mining, heavy mineral and chemical industries, and such. I'm pretty much decided that I want the location to be at least semi-rural. I know I don't want to model desert, so I guess that would rule out the south-western states. I'm not a big fan of coal either, because the industry operates on a scale that I can't reproduce without using selective compression, which I dislike.

    I've seen some attractive industry serving branches in Upper Michigan and Virginia. Pennsylvania is also attractive to me, scenery wise.

    I have no idea yet on track plan. I want a separate module for a fiddle yard, so that the two sections can be joined when in use. This will allow trains to roll on and off of the scene.

    I'm really hoping you guys can give me a push in the right direction.

  2. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

    Jan 5, 2007
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    Welcome back to the hobby! Here is a website I found with some really good ideas:


    I'm in the same boat only have enough room for a switching layout, can't wait to get started! Post what you come up with!
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Jul 9, 2005
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    Good sources of inspiration for shelf switchers:

    • Small, Smart & Practical Track Plans - Iain Rice. Many of the plans are for small shelf layouts.
    • Iain Rice's recent book on shelf layouts. Although the plan are for bigger layouts, there are quite a few inspiring scenes within the plans. Construction of shelf layouts is discussed, too.
    • Model Railroad Planning 2011. The 1st 3 articles are on shelf layouts.
    • Model Railroad Planning 2003. The focus of the issue was small shelf layouts.
    • Micro/Small Layouts (http://www.carendt.com/ has many inspirational ideas, and whole sections on small shelf layout design.
    • Although I have not read his book, Lance Mendheim (sp?) has a slightly different take on shelf layout design. He practices what he preaches, and has many adherents to his design philosophy.
    Hope this helps