Friday, November 11, 2005

Selecting a Track Plan

Unlike our four wheeled friends a model train layout does not lend itself to temporary layouts or heaven forbid running on a rug. Given that limitation there must be at least a a couple dozen books with nothing but track plans that vary anywhere from a simple oval to huge walk-around plans. Being limited to my library I was on the lookout for a decent bookshelf layout that I would not soon tire of. I had always thought of myself as more of a "passenger guy" rather than a "freight guy". That is until I canvassed my roster and found that most of my locomotives would be happier hauling freight. In the United States and I suspect the same goes for the UK and Europe it is the freight customer that pays the bill. In the US more than other country train travel is a shadow of what it once was and most modellers being more familiar with seeing long freight trains lashed to multi-unit consists naturally choose to represent the same type of trains on their layout. What I have decided upon is a layout that would support both freight and passenger traffic, a fair bit of switching yet would allow me the pleasure of just watching the trains run. Now it was just a matter of finding that "perfect" layout. Oh did I mention that it had to fit on a bookshelf? The layout pictured, with some modification should fit the bill. Some notes on the track plan: Rip Track - A track set aside that allows for "Repair In Place". Team Track - A track in a freight yard where loaded cars are dropped off and picked up by different trains, usually between incomming or ougoing freight and local trains. Classification Track - A track where trains are disconnected and reassembled based on their destination. Hump - In a hump yard (also called Marshaling Yard or Classification Yard), the highest point in the yard where cars are released to coast toward the correct track.

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