Model Rail (UK) - - Know Your Stuff - Paul Stu­art, by e-mail

What’s the best method for plan­ning a track lay­out? I’ve heard about scaled-down plas­tic track sec­tions but I’m strug­gling to vi­su­alise what will fit into the avail­able space.

Chris says: Scale track sec­tions are avail­able from Hornby, while there are plenty of lay­out plan­ning soft­ware op­tions to ex­plore. How­ever, I pre­fer to plan my lay­outs full-size in a very sim­ple way, us­ing lengths of track, a se­lec­tion of build­ings, plus the trains them­selves. Rolls of cheap wall­pa­per are a handy base to work on or, if you al­ready have a base­board erected or sheets of ply­wood ready for cut­ting, they can be laid out and the plan for­mu­lated on top. Peco’s free track and point tem­plates are a great help, al­low­ing you to de­cide on the ex­act ge­om­e­try be­fore spend­ing any money. With a track lay­out drawn out, we can then push the trains around to mimic the pos­si­ble ma­noeu­vres, en­sur­ing ef­fec­tive op­er­a­tion. If some­thing doesn’t fit or look right, the plan can be eas­ily al­tered. We can also gain a clear idea of what will fit where, with the num­ber of car­riages or wag­ons ac­com­mo­dated in a sid­ing or loop, for in­stance, en­sur­ing ad­e­quate clear­ance for trains on ad­ja­cent tracks and at junc­tions. Web: www.peco-uk.com


Set­ting out a full-size track plan, with the aid of Peco point tem­plates, gives a clear idea of what can be fit­ted into a spe­cific area.

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