Model Railroad Update

I can hear the reaction now:  Finally a break from free speech controversies and economic policy so we can get on with Coyote's promised increased focus on the world's geekiest hobby(tm).  So here is what has been happening on the new model railroad (in my tiny, but dedicated, hobby space)

I finished the main body of the railroad.  The two lines that cross at a junction in this section will actually continue around the walls in a loop, but I will add those narrow shelves later.  I added 1/8-inch lauan plywood on the frame.  In the lower left on my desk I am finishing the double crossing which effectively acts as the keystone of the layout, both visually and in construction.  I will lay that first and work outwards.

I use 2" foam as a base.  This is a good approach for modeling rail in the Phoenix area, which is largely flat in the areas I am modelling, but allows some undulations, washes, and canals to be easily carved out.

I printed the skeleton of the track plan in 1:1 scale and laid it out where it is going to go.  You can see the junction in the distance.  I did not like some of the aesthetics and wall spacing and building locations, and altered the track plan some after this test.  The next step is to reprint the full track plan and transfer it to the foam.  I do this using an older (sewing) pounce wheel, which I can run over outlines in the plan and it leaves a series of dots in the foam.  I say an older pounce wheel because the one I have looks like a very pointy spur, but my wife's new ones are not nearly as pointy and don't really work for this application.

After that, I will be to start laying down homosote roadbed for the main lines and start laying track, working out in all four directions from the junction.  As I do so, I will mostly follow the plan but I tend to adjust exact locations of turnouts and sidings as I go.


  1. Shane:

    Luv the free speech tag :P

  2. Christopher Udy:

    Model rocketry (one of my favorites) is up there with model railroading in the geek factor... :-)

  3. irandom419:

    I live next to a park and just got one for free in my backyard

  4. Ward Chartier:

    What gauge? N, Z, something else?

  5. steamboatlion:

    Doesn't work quite so well in the basement though!

  6. Christopher Udy:

    That's true - my next flight will be pushing 6,000 ft (Our club has an FAA waiver to 12,000')

  7. Mondak:

    You expect us to believe the layout skills of a Lauan apologist? I wouldn't expect any better from a capitalist wasp like yourself. You can't just go with the rest of the world and call it Meranti? As usual, you have to go and use a culturally insensitive term like Lauan without ever asking yourself which wood groups you might be triggering. Typical. And then, to add insult to injury, you top it with FOAM? Do you even know what those hydrocarbon molecules are doing to the soul of the wood? Monster!

    ok . . . just wanted to make sure you felt at home in these types of posts. Looks great. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  8. jimc5499:

    I'm into rockets as well. A few years ago I was launching a half scale Sidewinder from a park near my house. A Cessna was flying around just as we launched and the pilot swerved the plane when he saw the rocket. If he would have been at 3,000 ft. where he belonged he would have never even saw it.

  9. bobby_b:

    Solder your joints.

    'Nuff said.

  10. Dave A:

    How will your various railroad operators manage property rights conflicts? Is there a governing body with any sort of power over the railroad infrastructure? :)

  11. Rob Elder:

    Where's the speaker building posts?

  12. Nehemiah:

    Since no one else wants to ask, will you operate freight or commuter/passenger traffic?

  13. Solomon Foster:

    Please keep these model railroading posts coming!

  14. Solomon Foster:

    We know that in the past Warren has used N scale. Assuming that piece of paper with the two pieces of track on it in the first picture is standard 8.5 x 11 paper, and he's using standard gauge track (which it definitely looks like), this is still N scale. (My rough calculation of the distance between the rails is 0.360 inches, N scale standard gauge is 0.354, well within the margin of error for holding a tape measure up to my computer screen!)