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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the book (as I feel sure do many of you.) Someone said in a post recently that we had "passed by" the plans in that publication.

Are those plans dated and if so how?
 

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It just seems to me a garden railroad differs from an indoor layout in major ways. Flip through it to get ideas, but start with a sketch of your space on graph paper.
 

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Lynn Westcott authored the book 101 Track Plans way back in 1956. And yes, track planning has advanced a tremendous amount in the half century since then.

The notions in vogue in the 1950s about what constituted a track plan typically led to the proverbial spaghetti bowl - a long main line run was desirable, along with considerable industrial trackage as even then the wayfreight was appreciated.

Since that time, new notions have been grafted on as track planning has evolved. First of all, John Armstrong fathered a new breed of designers much more concerned with emulating specific prototypes. This translated into railroads that were typically around the perimeter, were linear in design and the concept of scenic sincerity meaning the track ran through a scene only once. This was accomplished in a tight space through the use of double and triple decks plus helixes and Armstrong's own invention - the mushroom.

Following Armstrong's strong influence, the NMRA Layout Design SIG introduced a great many new ideas. Key among these have been the concept of an LDE (Layout Design Element) or a domino. There has been a new found emphasis on creating specialty layouts that cater to passenger service or belt line railroads ... and considerable emphasis placed on coordinating with the Ops SIG.

While these advances were going on, two other important factors came about ... one was the introduction of modular railroads (either fixed standards or Freemo) and the other was the displacement of traditional cab control (what is called track power in large scale) in favour of the now ubiquitous DCC (battery /RC as well in the garden). both concepts have influenced greatly the way in which layout design is approached.

Are garden railroads different from indoor railroads fundamentally and therefore none of the layout design thinking matters? Personally I do not believe so. While there are many who simply want to animate their garden, there are also a large number of model railroaders who build a layout in whatever scale to model the operation of a railroad, not just its equipment. For these folks, trackplans matter ... and one would do well to look over modern layout design ideas before simply settling on a mid 1950s era trackplan.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Doug-

Thanks for the lengthy reply, that helps me a lot. I guess the final element that will change layout design will be the high cost of track.
 

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Hint: Start small.
 

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The best advice I've seen, is get some runnable / operational track up as quickly as possibly. Any silly circle will do ;-) This will give enjoyment and energy to move on with further layout construction.

After 2,5 years, I've decided to tear my initial start on a layout down - however I will not do so, untill the basis (mainline) for my new layout is operational! Actually getting to run my trains, gives me the energy to go on with some of the not so fun work needed for layout construction.
 

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Posted By Dougald on 06/20/2008 8:54 AM
Are garden railroads different from indoor railroads fundamentally and therefore none of the layout design thinking matters? Personally I do not believe so. While there are many who simply want to animate their garden, there are also a large number of model railroaders who build a layout in whatever scale to model the operation of a railroad, not just its equipment. For these folks, trackplans matter ... and one would do well to look over modern layout design ideas before simply settling on a mid 1950s era trackplan.



Well said, Doug! One reason that many garden RRs ignore basic layout design models is the apparent disinterest demonstrated by Garden Railways. Their layout coverage seems to stress prettiness and foliage without regard to operations. Just compare their track plans with those of Model Railraoder. Even when they don't describe operations, the latter's track diagrams permit the reader to construct operational schematics. That is next to impossible with the tiny track diagrams in GR, where all too often you see two or more undifferentiated lines intersecting without any indication of whether or not they connect. As long as GR remains an important influence for garden railroaders, their lack of interest in thematic operations will not help improve garden layout design.

Mark
 

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Well said Mark. I think that's why I'm drawn to more of the prototypical layouts or at least in the planning that grace the MLS forums.

K Strong, Tom Farin, Bruce Chandler, Marty Cozad, Dennis Paulson, TOC and Richard Smith along with many others show the excellant effort to keep the "model Railroading" alive in the garden. Thanks guys!
 
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