Track plans for model railroading

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"Terminus": Track plan

"Terminus": Making of

Pictures: On the track

Pictures: City scenery

Pictures: Countryside

Pictures: Engines

Pictures: N scale details



Wiring & electronics

Terminus: 4x8 version

Track planning & design

N scale: myths & facts


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A BIG terminus on a small bed mattress

The "Terminus layout": This track plan has got a lot of positive feedback, but to be honest: I don´t know why! It breaks ALL rules of advanced model railroad design. Because it is so simple? Because it works? Actually it does, so let me start my track plans collection with this idea - it´s my favorite, too!

Terminal station in N scale

Track plans

Doing the impossible

The intention: Urban scenery with a big dead end terminal station. Long passenger trains, long freight trains. Trainspotting instead of shunting locos. All on the size of a small bed mattress (2 x 1 meter). And, please: Keep it easy. A VERY contradictory preset….
The answer?

Click picture for download (pdf)

Track plan

Tags: Track Plans Model railroad Model railroad layouts N scale H0 scale Model railway layouts Track planning software N gauge Model railway Station track plans 8 x 4 track plans Diorama Small track plans Free track plans for download Model ships N scale Model trains Harbor Micro layout Electric trains N scale layouts Overhead wiring Photos

The BIG Bluff!

Looking under the covers: Not a real dead end terminus! But the green line makes a 180° turn within the platform halls - dead end station, here you are… Only standard curves were used, no flex tracks.
Size: 200 cm x 100 cm (= 6,56 x 3,28 ft)
Tracks: N scale Fleischmann (piccolo)

Click picture for download (pdf)

Model railroad

The plan

All is based on a 2-oval-concept. The green line is only for passenger trains. The crossing in this oval is not a reverse loop. It is just a simple crossing with one siding; the crossing rails are electrically insulated from each other.
The grey line is for passenger trains as well as freight trains. A closer look at the grey line shows a way for freight trains to run along outside of the station halls. A freight train along passenger platforms in a railhead station does not make sense, isn´t it? Furthermore, this grey line pretends to be a 2-track main line in the foreground, where the trains can parade on the correct side in each direction.
Only wide radii (R3 & R4) are visible. But some sharp curves are necessary too, because of short space. As sharp bends like R1 can cause problems for long trains or big steam locomotives (especially when the tracks make a "S" line) it is advisable to do some tests before. A short straight line between the "S"-bends will leave all model trains run well. Tracks are wired as analog DC.

Revival of the the notorious 2-oval-concept

… because at a first glance the two oval concept is not visibly here:

N scale model railroad track plans

Although there are only 2 loops, allowing 2 model trains running simultaneously, there is an appearance of realistic and busy traffic without separating a single track line into different electric sections. The 2 ovals are simply wired as 2 (insulated) electric circuits.

Dead end station or a continuous run?

Both - it´s all phantasy, what happens!

N scale layout

Big station on a small table: The Fleischmann switches have a simple "Stop" function; waiting engines or trains can be stabled easily on sidings, thus becoming part of the scenery. Although this track plan has no fiddle yard, it provides place for 5 model train sets.

A look at the right side

…where the model trains disappear. Or do they come back?

Model train track plans

No slopes, no gradients: Long trains like this model railroad track plan! All bridges are just road bridges. And, for that reason, the construction of this layout was really easy: It took me just 2 weeks to get finished (not included the assembling of the building kits; houses are left over from my childhood, as model railroading has a long tradition in our family).

…and where are the rails?

I dont´t like "spaghetti layouts". Even model railroad on a door size should have space for atmospheric scenery. Above the rails there is enough space for some scenery works. On the left side a city, on the right side rural landscape. Once more a look at the right side:

Model railroad scenery

And please: Don´t call this layout a subway or underground!

More track plans

Ideas for model railroad layouts are always on my mind; the "Terminus" idea is not the only one! Probably track planning is the part, which I like most of all when spending time with model railroading, and I decided to make this English version of my German model railroad website, as my site grew up from a "just for fun" idea to a popular page with visitors even from USA, UK or Japan. So have fun and inspiration, excuse my "Germlish" (I do my best), and check out my other track plan ideas, either by visiting the extra track plan menu, or by skipping directly to the following chapters:

- Track plan railyard / train depot
- Track plans for small N gauge layouts
- A shelf layout
- Steelworks & industry
- Track plans for harbour layouts
- Switching layout
- HO scale for kids

Although HO scale is more popular here in Germany, these are mostly N scale track plans (Fleischmann), because the 9mm gauge is a convenient size for a model railroad layout at home. However, feel free to get inspired for other scales, or other manufacturers like Kato, Arnold, Atlas, Minitrix or Peco.

The Fleischmann piccolo N scale track system

I like this system, because it has a simple and consistent geometry, and, like Kato, the trackbed is ballasted. Additional custom ballasting or weathering is no problem. Turnouts and crossings have a 15° angle. It is a code 80 system. Curves are available in 4 standard radii:

  • R1: The smallest radius. R = 19,2 cm (Fleischmann Code: 9120)
  • R2: Outer parallel radius to R1. R = 22,5 cm (Fleischmann Code: 9125)
  • R3: A wider radius. R = 39,6 cm (Fleischmann Code: 9131)
  • R4: Outer parallel radius to R3. R = 43 cm (Fleischmann Code: 9136)
    Switches use this radius, too (15°)
  • Flex tracks are available for custom bendings or routing.
    But flex tracks were not used for this layout.


Creating a model railroad layout: My philosophy

Maximum size is 4 x 8 ft! Most plans are even smaller and made for a desktop or a table size. And each plan must be easy to build within an assessable time.
Although my concepts are inspired by the "real world", I prefer creating imaginary worlds more than reproducing real sceneries in a gauge as accurately as possible. The Munich Central Station (= München) was an input for the model railway layout described above. Other inputs are the Ruhrgebiet (= Ruhr area), a region with extensive industry plants, or the Rhein (Rhine river), which however was more prototype for harbor track plans than a lovely river valley with castles and whine hills. Thereby focussing on a single theme or topic for a layout is better than going for an "all inclusive concept". When doing so, the coordinates for each model train track plan are distinguishably. The "Terminus layout" is made for long model trains, whereas track plans for a harbor or an industry area are switching layouts with tasks for shunting some freight wagons - especially challenging, if it happens on a bookshelf sized micro layout. You will also find here track plan ideas for a branch line in a rural scenery; and the train depot idea is more a diorama with function than a model railroad layout.
When going deeper into track planning it is a good idea to study online sources, or books like John Armstrong, a well known track-plan designer.

Feet, inches, meters: The metric system

In Germany we use the metric system, which is based on meters an centimeters (1 m = 100 cm).
Here the formula for converting measures:
1 inch = 2,54 cm (= 0, 0254 m)
1 foot = 30,48 cm (= 0,3048 m)
or vice versa:
1 m = 3,28 ft = 39,37 in
1 cm = 0,0328 ft = 0,3937 in

Free track plans for download?

Yes! You can download my model railroad track plans on your private computer, or use them for your next layout - the track plans are free. But if you use my graphics in a public way, like web communities, forums, or a website: please give me a link, or credits at least (by the way - the "©" symbol on the plans is just for the "oblivious" ones). Thank you!

Last, but not least…

… a steam engine in action

N scale model railway track plans

Or credits to software for digital manipulation of photos?

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