Monthly Archives: December 2008

Track Plan

Here is a track plan that would make for an ideal switching layout for a small room.  It features a double track main line, with a tunnel for a scenic break.  There are a couple of industries and a service yard which features a roundtable and engine house.  There is a long siding next to the service yard that would be great for parking a few extra maintenance of way cars.

The layout features two industires (which could be combined to create a major industry, such as a mine, that is reached by a single line that climbs a grade, which passes over a small water feature.

This is a very simple but well executed design.

World Record for Longest Model Railroad

The UK’s Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire, home to the hugely popular Thomas Land, has claimed another ‘first’ by setting up the world’s longest ever Thomas the Tank Engine train track at the end of August.

Utilising 10,530 pieces from the new TOMY Thomas Track Master train set, the record breaking track was set up just outside the main entrance to Thomas Land and measured 1,800 metres in length. It was constructed by the Royal British Legion Industries and took a team of six people over a week to complete.

It took Thomas 2.5 hours to travel the length of the track, which consists of 10,530 pieces. If built to full scale, the track would have measured 89 miles, organisers said.

Event was held on behalf of Drayton Manor, HIT Entertainment, owner of the Thomas & Friends brand, and toy maker TOMY . The aim was built to break the current Guinness World Record for the longest toy train track, which previously stood at 1,650.14 metres.

(Read article here)

Modesto rail line buys two new locomotives, adds track

Getting a train set for Christmas is a holiday treat for many families.

This season, the Modesto & Empire Traction Co. joined in the fun by unwrapping two new locomotives, and the short-line railroad is building a mile of new track for them to play on.

“They’re the first new locomotives we’ve bought in about 60 years,” said Joe Mackil, M&ET’s president and chief executive officer.

The red-and- white locomotives cost $1.5 million each, and they’re powerful enough to pull giant, 110-car trains through the Beard Industrial District.

(Read article here)

Track Plan

This is an excellent track plan that would be suitable for a larger space.  It features a number of separate loops for running multiple trains, as well as a large amount of industry.  The layout is divided into two levels, each of which features its own staging area.

The layout is based on the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania Rail Roads, each of which would see a large volume of freight, in parciular coal trains.  This is a large enough layout to allow for the running of some impressive trains.  It would be most suited to a club size space.

(Click on the image to view full size.)

Great Train Expo – Anaheim

Group 160 will be setting up our modular N-Trak layout at the Great Train Expo in Anaheim.

The Great Train Expo is a series of model railroad shows that feature a number of layouts, as well as dealers and other exhibitors.  The Anaheim show will be held on January 3rd and 4th at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave.  Admission is $7.00 for adults with children under 12 years of age admitted for free.  The public show will be on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Group 160 members are reminded that setup for the show will commence on Friday, January 2nd at noon.  If you are planning on attending the show, please contact Arnold to let him know so that he can plan accordingly.

We hope to see all of you at the Anaheim Great Train Expo.

Governors agree to back fast train

For over 20 years, boosters have dreamed of and lobbied for a train that could travel from Southern California to Las Vegas at 300 mph.

The proposed magnetic levitation train line linking Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif. — attacked by critics as a multi-billion dollar pipe dream — has gained new life.

Near the bottom of a news release detailing Gov. Jim Gibbons’ meeting last month with President-elect Barack Obama was the announcement that Gibbons and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had agreed to move ahead with the high-speed train project.

“Arnold and I agreed to jointly work together on the project,” said Gibbons, who is planning to travel to Sacramento to talk with Schwarzenegger about it.

(Read article here)

The Romance of the Rails

When Jay Woodworth was growing up in the early 1950s, he couldn’t wait to get the latest Lionel catalog. “I would take it to bed and dream about all those great trains,” he says.
The Journal Report

Mr. Woodworth doesn’t have to dream anymore. Now, the semi-retired former bank executive commands a model-train empire at his house in western New Jersey. As many as a dozen passenger trains race along the tracks. At one end, Mr. Woodworth is building a scale model of New York’s old Pennsylvania Station.

As he stands at the bar on the edge of his sprawling train room, he says he enjoys “sipping on a tall frosty and watching trains whizzing around the layout.”

Mr. Woodworth is one of many baby boomers renewing their love affair with trains. They have the time and money to build the train layouts they didn’t have as kids — and have access to new and more exotic trains than ever before. These are updated versions of the trains that the 50-plus set remembers from its childhood: the three-rail “O gauge” trains that families set up each year around the Christmas tree, or if they had room, on plywood tables.

(Read article here)

Some tips on selecting Christmas tree trains

Looking for a train to put around the Christmas tree? Here are some tips on how to choose the right one.

Decide whether the train is more for a Christmas decoration or a new hobby. A complete starter set, which can run about $200-$300 and includes everything from the track to the transformer is the easiest way to set up a Christmas decoration.

The most popular Christmas tree train is an O-gauge, an electric train set that plugs into the wall and has cars that are about 10 inches long, according to Lionel, which manufactures electric trains.There are many types of add-on cars and accessories available for an O-gauge.

Think about how much space you have. With the track included in most sets, most people set up a 40-inch diameter circle around the Christmas tree, according to Lionel.

Train cars should take up no more than one-third of the track, says Duane Miller, owner of Caboose Hobbies in Denver. You don’t want the locomotive chasing the tail of the train, says Neil Besougloff, editor of Model Railroader magazine.

Purchase the train from a reputable dealer, says James Pentifallo, owner and manager of Ridgefield Hobby in Ridgefield, N.J. A reputable dealer sells and services trains all yearround — not only during the holidays.

Buy a reliable name, such as Lionel, MTH Electric Trains or Bachmann Trains, says Pentifallo.

Don’t shop only by price, says Besougloff. Consider the quality. You want to make sure the train runs next year, he says.

Be careful about used trains. You may be buying someone else’s headache that will cost you more to fix than it’s worth, says Pentifallo.

Track Plan


This is an excellent N-Scale track plan.  Everything is double tracked, which would allow you to run two trains continuously.  There are two decent yards for switching, as well as a number of industries to keep the trains running.

The “folded dogbone” design can also make for effective scenery breaks, which then allow you to run longer trains without the appearance of them being out of place, or having that “head chasing the tail” effect.  The two percent grade on this layout, plus the addition of a few well placed tunnels, would create a layout with stunning visuals.