Designing Your Own Model Railroad Track Plans

Model Railroad Track Plans

Well-designed model railroad track plans are the key to any excellent model railroad layout. They are your railroad’s blueprints, and provide a way for you to visualize your railroad before it is built.

When it comes to designing your model railroad layout, there are a few points that you will need to take into consideration as you create your plans. By understanding these points, your plans will help you to build an award-winning layout that will render years of enjoyment.

Points To Consider As You Create Your Model Railroad Track Plans

Before you design your track plans, you will need to consider the size or scale of your model railroad. The HO scale and the N scale are excellent scales to consider if you are looking to build a compact layout, because train sets in these scales are small and do not require large surface areas in order to operate.

The O scale is a great scale to consider for train sets that are going to be operated by young children. This scale is larger than the HO and N scales are, and train sets in this scale tend to be robust and durable, which is exactly what a train set operated by young children will need to be.

The important thing to remember is that you should always use an appropriate scale, which will be determined by the space you have available and by knowing who will be operating the set.

As you design your model railroad track plans, you should introduce as much variety as you can to your layout. Railroad layouts that feature switching operations and long haul runs can be more fun than railroads that just go around-and-around are. Therefore, you will want to include a number of switches and cross-overs in your final track plans.

If you need inspiration when it comes to designing your plans, you will find that there are a number of books available to model railroading hobbyists; books that are filled with track plans for you to choose from. These plans are usually very easy to follow, and will help you to create a great layout for your model trains.

A perfect book to start out with is Starter Track Plans For Model Railroaders available from Historic Rail. This book offers track plans for a variety of HO and N scale layouts for tabletops, 4 X 8 surfaces, and even layouts for shelves.

Its 64 pages are filled with color photographs and instructional text, which is concise and easy to understand, and will tell you everything you need to know about construction materials, rolling stock, structures, scenery and so much more.

Designing your layout according to one of the track plans from this book is a great way to ensure that your layout will function efficiently and look good too.

Design Your Track Plans Using Your Computer

One of the most interesting ways to design your plans is to use your computer. An exceptional program that will help you to build and operate the model railroad of your dreams is the Trainz Simulator 2010 – DVD-ROM available from Historic Rail. This Engineer’s Edition features state of the art software that allows you to create your own 3D layouts.

Not only will you be able to create your own model railroad track plans with this software, you will also be able to experience what it must be like to be an engineer, and even choose which locomotive you would like to operate from a large variety of passenger and freight train locomotives.

You will drive your locomotive by operating it with your realistic in-cab controls. You will also be able to operate a busy railway line, and control multiple trains at the same time.

Further features of this DVD include:

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  • The largest Trainz collection of routes, locomotives, rolling stock, and scenery
  • In-depth driving tutorials
  • Screen-shot and video capture functions
  • Compatibility with Trainz 2009


In order to use this software you will need a Pentium D 3.4 GHz processor or an equivalent, a 128MB video card, Windows XP or higher, and a DVD drive. With everything it has to offer, this may be the best track designing program ever invented.

In conclusion; always remember that very few creations can actually materialize unless they are carefully thought out before they are put together. If you consider the above mentioned information as you begin to design your model railroad track plans, you should be able to create a great model railroad that you can thoroughly enjoy for years to come.

3 thoughts on “Designing Your Own Model Railroad Track Plans”

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