Track Plan At A Glance
Layout Theme: Industry
Layout Type: Module
Size: 2'x2', 2'x4',2'x6', or 2'x8'
Scale: HO Scale
Track: Code 100
Turnouts: No. 4
Min. Radius (Mainline): 36"
Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: November 15, 2016
One of the things that modular layout coordinators appreciate is having flexibility when arranging a layout. Most clubs offer some flexibility to module builders in the overall size requirements of module sections and members who build modules tend to take advantage of these requirements to suite their particular needs. For example, both Ntrak and the NMRA modular standards allow for modules to be built to a length which is a multiple of two feet. This means the length of a module (or module set) could be 2', 4', 6', 8' or longer. As a module owner, this is large advantage as it allows a module size to be chosen which fits the work area as well as the transportation space which is available to move the module. However, this variability in length causes headaches for modular coordinators (such as myself) who have to figure out how to fit a variety of size modules into a coherent layout arrangement. It is fairly typical to have an unbalanced length of available module sets from club members who want to attend a show. This means some module sets have to be left out for a particular layout arrangement to work - which doesn't make anyone happy.
This module set presented here offers substantial flexibility in that it can be setup as one 8' long module set (as shown above) or broken down into various 2', 4', and 6' module combinations. The center module is a 2'x4' module and would include a set of legs. The additional 2' modules would be built as spacer modules - without legs - but with all the necessary electrical components so the sections could be setup independently. These spacer style modules are usually just clamped in place at a show - using the neighbors modules with legs as a support. By having such flexibility in module lengths, this module can be used to plug whatever gap might be left when a modular coordinator is pulling together a layout arrangement for a show.
Around the Module
The scenes on the module have been designed to match the typical northeastern United States which is the predominantly modeled region in the model railroad club where I am a member. Going from right to left, the first two foot module includes a small river scene with a pair of plate girder bridges carrying the two mainlines and the passing siding over the waterway. The middle module - the four footer - includes a small factory scene with a pair of sidings. A single set of crossovers allows trains to move from the inside mainline to the passing siding. The left two footer includes a small scene with a house on a hill set back in the woods. Another crossover allows trains to move back from the passing siding out on to the mainline.
Operations on the Module
As with many modules, the primary use for the module will be at a train show. Ideally, the module owner could alternate time operating the module set at a show between switching out the factory building and then taking the train out for a spin around the layout's mainline before returning to the module to switch some more. When a break was needed, just simply park everything on the siding and take off for a bit. At home, the six foot version of the module set (below) basically recreates a typical Inglenook Siding switching puzzle. Simply setup one of the two footers and the four foot module and an instantaneous home switching layout is ready for use.
Each section of the Milepost 246.8 module set can be setup independently as shown above creating two possible 2' modules or one possible 4' module. In addition, two possible 6' arrangements are possible. | Trackplan by Jim Spavins.
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.