Track Plan At A Glance
Layout Theme: Scenic Railroad
Layout Type: Permanent
Scale: Two Rail O Scale
Track: Atlas O Code 148
Turnouts: No. 5
Min. Radius: 36"
Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: August 4, 2015
Besides my interest in building a model of the Big E Railroad Spur, the other railroad prototype that has been filling my track plan notebooks recently are scenic railroads. After completing my Minimalist Model Railroading book, I went through and re-evaluated my various interests against the criteria in the book and re-discovered what it is I enjoy about the hobby. The areas of focus for me were really a desire to build layouts (scenes and buildings) as opposed to rolling stock and operation. Looking at prototypes, I realized modeling a scenic railroad aligned well with my interests.
Somewhere along the way, I have developed a desire to build a two rail O scale layout. I did build a test layout a few years back (see the video here) but it had to be abandoned due to space issues. Undeterred, a number of my recent plans have been for the "King of Scales."
The plan this week is for my 12'x18' former garage space. It is closed on three sides but open on the fourth. This is a bit of a tight space for O scale - especially for a layout which would feature passenger cars. However, this plan is for a scenic railroad which operates caboose trains. These special excursions are run from time to time around the US and are usually very interesting and colorful. Add in some New England fall scenery and this layout would certainly stand out. (Check out a video playlist of caboose trains here.) The advantage of operating caboose trains is that the shorter length of the equipment could negotiate smaller radii (in this case just 36") but still look reasonable. This allows a decent length run in the space available for the layout.
Going on a tour of the mainline, the base of the operations would be at Hope Valley on the left hand side of the track plan. Here a small station and run around track are located. A spur to the enginehouse is also located in this corner of the layout. There should be enough room for about a four to five car train to fit on the siding. Proceeding out of town, the mainline would swing through a residential area with back yards abutting the right of way before heading into a tunnel. On the other side, the mainline would enter a scenic run up the side of a valley on its way to Woodburg. This terminal has another runaround but to save space, it is capped by a turntable. This was inspired by the turntable at the end of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Frostburg, MD.
While certainly not for all tastes, this layout has tons of structure scratchbuilding and mini-scene opportunities. Maybe once I finish the Tribute to Springfield layout, I'll start with this layout.
For Track Plan Tuesday's, I am digitizing all of my old track planning notebooks and sharing the designs here on the website. To see all the plans, visit the track plan home page at: jimspavins.com/jimstrackplans.