Planning a Model Railroad Layout with Tony Koester

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The best model railroad layouts are the ones that have been thought about critically, considered deeply and vetted for historical accuracy and sensibility. That’s according to Tony Koester, one of the hobby’s greatest pioneers, who has long pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on a model railroad layout.

Whether through the design of his own innovative proto-freelanced layouts or his interviews with other master modelers, Tony has always encouraged hobbyists to think long and hard about what they plan to build. In this segment, our host Allen Keller visited Tony’s workshop to get a good look behind the scenes of his remarkable HO model railroad layout of the Allegheny Midland and hear Tony’s thoughts on planning a historically accurate model railroad layout.

Planning considerations for a model railroad layout

Tony’s recreation of the Allegheny extension of Nickel Plate Road set the gold standard for proto-freelance model railroading. His dedication to historical accuracy and his passion for creating a realistic model railroad layout have made him one of the greats to be emulated by all modelers just starting out in the hobby. That’s why Allen wanted to talk with Tony, to get a sense for his methods and hear his thought process on planning a model railroad layout.

Using his model of the AM set in 1958 as an example, Tony discusses what it means to be a truly intellectual model railroader and commit to building a historically accurate model railroad layout. He talks about his dedication to being a lifelong railfan, and introduces some of his greatest influences throughout his career as a builder and purveyor of all things model railroad.

You’ll also learn about both the conventional and innovative techniques Tony utilizes for his benchwork and model railroad layout scenery, and discover the importance of always striving for realism in your own model railroad layout. If you like to impart wisdom from the greats as much as we do, this segment is one you don’t want to miss!