DIY Model Railroad Layouts

Want to make your own model railroad layouts? Creating the layout for your model train set can be the most challenging, but also the most fun, part of the entire process.

The Theme

Your model railroad layouts should always have a theme. The theme will help to influence other factors like the time period, the location and the climate. To determine your theme, decide where your train is going and why. Is it carrying cargo through Wyoming or carrying tourists through Seattle?

The Location

Once you've picked a theme, it should be pretty easy to pick a location. Once you've done so, make sure you take the location's scenery into consideration. For example, a train in the southwest may be speeding by red rocks and cactuses, while a train in California may be surrounded by palm trees and beaches. 

The Climate

Obviously, the climate is determined by the location. If there should be snow or sand on the ground, keep that in mind as you start to design the layout and construct the scenery.

The Time

Decide on what time period your train is supposed to be running in. The time period will dictate what your trains and buildings look like, so make sure to keep this consistent all around.

The Prototype

The easiest way to construct a model railroad layout is to copy the prototype track plans of a real railroad. The prototype's blueprints can easily be found online. Following these plans will make your job a lot easier, as the hard work is already done for you.

You can choose to follow the prototype exactly or simply use it as a starting off point. Either way, it will save you a lot of time and stress over tedious guesswork.

Making the Design

Once you've settled on a solid plan, you should map it out using either graph paper or a computer program. This will allow you to see if your layout will work space-wise and spot any potential problems before you begin building. 

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