Making Staging Yards & Model Railroad Crossings

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While it’s not uncommon to see model railroad crossings or diamonds designed into a layout, it’s rare to see them modeled as anything other than just a neat scenic element due to space limitations. But, as we see in Part Six of Bruce Carpenter’s BNSF HO layout, he designed his four-way crossing to be totally functional and play an integral part in his operational strategy.

As Bruce shows MRA’s Allen Keller, his model railroad crossings at Nerska Tower connects his mainline tracks to four large staging yards. And while he would have liked to have 24-tracks in each yard, due to aisle width restrictions and operations requirements for up to 12 friends at each session, he compromised on 12-track yards, and stacked one on top of another to save room.

You’ll also see how Nerska interlocking tower that guards the crossing is fully functioning, always manned during a four-hour ops session and features a CTC panel that mimics the prototypes real tower controls. It adds a sense of realism that few layouts can match!

Finally, based on some of the drawbacks he’s observed during operations on other layouts, Bruce shares some of his secrets to labeling and instruction that allows such a large number of operators to function efficiently as a team with a minimum of direction and confusion.

Tags: Allen Keller, Model Railroad Crossings, track