Architecture of Model Train Layouts: Redoing a Layout

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There are countless considerations that go into designing and building model train layouts. From the benchwork to the paint scheme, every action you make on your layout requires a decision, be it minor or major. When it comes to the architecture of model railroad layouts, you may make these decisions years in advance when you first develop an idea for a scene, or you may decide years after you’ve finished a scene that you want to redesign the layout.

Redoing model railroad layouts can seem like a daunting task, especially if the idea of tearing apart all your hard work sends a shiver down your spine. However, there are certain ways to update and refresh the architecture and components of your model railroad layouts so as to incorporate new techniques in the hobby and maintain your enjoyment while operating your engines. In this segment, host Allen Keller sits down with master modeler David Barrow to hear how David has managed to redo the architecture of his HO scale layout of Cat Mountain & Santa Fe Railway not once, not twice, but three times and counting!

Redesigning model railroad layouts

If you’re thinking about enlarging your room or redoing the track plan for a recent model railroad, you should keep a few things in mind. To help you figure out the best way to redesign the architecture of your model railroad layouts, David walks Allen through the thought process that went into restructuring his layout of the Santa Fe tracks that run through arid West Texas. He discusses the origins of his layout and paints a picture of the original architecture, then talks a bit about what might make modelers expand and restructure their model railroad layouts and how they should go about doing so.

Along with changing the architecture of model railroad layouts, David introduces some of the other elements that can be rethought in the years after completion, including wiring, signals and switches. If you’re anything like David, your model railroad layouts are never fully finished; there’s always room to be redesigned based on your preferences and the things you learn throughout your career as a modeler. Take it from a master, don’t settle if you don’t like the way something works!

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