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My Late S Scale Layout
(dismantled in Fall 2007)                                                 

These photos may take a while to load.   I didn't want to sacrifice quality, and I know most of you are willing to wait to see a better picture.

For those of you who don't know me...

I have been building layouts for about 40 years in various scales and with various venues and intents, but always scenery-focused and with quantity of operation a close second priority.  None were published for various reasons.  I am an advocate of design, meaning that I urge layout builders to exhaustively do initial design (initial is most important - design is continual) before starting construction.   This has saved me a great amount of time and frustration.  I almost always incorporate a continuous run in my designs, and suburban and industrial scenery.  I model roughly the mid-1950's.

At a model convention I was asked what prototype I model.  This upsets me a bit as it implies that you must pick a prototype and model it, which isn't true.  My answer this time was "Berwyn, in the late 50's", and I continued to explain what I meant.  This is a true answer to the question, as I am not a typical model railroader.  I build in scale with a kind of toy train approach.  I want to recreate the feelings of my childhood and I accomplish this by designing layouts not so much as miniature transportation systems, but as representations of both real areas (buildings, etc.) and layouts I once had or wanted when I was young.  Sometimes my prototype is all the layout pictures and plans I saw years ago, mixed with a 1950's attitude toward life, as well as how model trains themselves were perceived at that time.

About this layout...

The final plan was centered around the suburban block.  I sacrificed track and some switching to allow for more scenic elements - not usually the case with most model railroaders.  But the basis of all my design problems was that I have about 12x13 feet of space and I'm modeling in S.  I've had some positive feedback so far in appreciation of the simplicity of the design.  I've included some of my other sketches here for those of you who may be interested (squares are 6"):

design1.jpg (19725 bytes)

design2.jpg (17373 bytes)

design3.jpg (17026 bytes)


design_final.jpg (60838 bytes) The final plan...

Here's the plan I decided on (squares are 6").  It's a simple folded dogbone with an upper level at the lower right (right loop of the dogbone is hidden).

The major design requirement that I had to forego was access to the window at the top of the plan.  I had built a backdrop (skyboard) on the upper and right edges of the layout, which extended up to almost eye level, therefore blocking part of the window, which I would have rather used for light.  I decided to create a removable piece of the backdrop for full visual access to the window.

I must point out that this layout made use of sharp radii (22" minimum - like 16" in HO) and steep grades (about 2.5%).

What turned out different from this plan was the passing track by the station extended around to the industry, and the spur at the lower right extended across the road to the other building.

What I would have done different...

  • I have to say I missed the yard and engine facility, but most of all, a staging yard. But I enjoyed making the block of stores and residences - you can't have it all...
  • I would have moved the switch by the window (for the spur, top of diagram) to be more accessible and made it easier to install the switch machine and mechanism.
  • The curves were purposely tight, but this did not allow me to run passenger cars without the added project of adjusting the truck swing and couplers of such cars.
  • I'm really tired of projects! I'd like to just go downstairs after a hard day at work and just run trains without years of work and tedium to get there! The backdrops took forever, and of course the buildings since I built nearly all of them from scratch (and marketed some).



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