The Track

The layout track plan was conceived with the goal of maximizing the number of simultaneous running trains along with the largest diameter curves and allowing for the operation and transfer of any train to any track (locomotive minimum curve radius permitting).  The benefits of this approach is we can operate up to four trains concurrently with little to no operator intervention, while the passing sidings, reversing loops, and inter-loop transfers provide more interesting operation when desired.  This comes at a cost of advanced switching routines, spurs, and defined “industry” for specific lines. Additionally, we’ve avoided any grade changes to ensure smooth operation of locomotives not equipped with modern speed control as well as in consideration of adhering to the standard of not exceeding a 4% grade anywhere on the layout. Lastly, due to the number and size of loops, the amount of available area for scenery (structures, roads, natural features) is reduced (to the chagrin of Phoenix).

The track plan was generated using SCARM model train track planning software and underwent a number of iterations before attaining the final plan.

Some quick stats:

  • Table Dimensions: 216″ x 84″ x 37″ (5486mm x 2134mm x 940mm)
  • Scale: O Scale (1:48)
  • Gauge: O Gauge 1.17″ (30mm) 3-rail
  • Minimum Diameter Curve: 48″ (1219mm)
  • Maximum Diameter Curve: 72″ (1829mm)
  • Number of Independent Lines: 4
  • Train Control: MTH DCS / Lionel TMCC / Conventional
  • Track: Lionel Fasttrack (base level), Gargraves (EL line)