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Modelling Tip Of The Day – 52

Modelling Tip Of The Day – 52

Modelling Tip Of The Day – 52

This Modelling Tip Of The Day is an ongoing series, in which we’ll be posting a modelling tip that may be of use to the newbie right up to the seasoned modeller. Today’s tip is:

Track Plan Books

If you’ve yet to make a start on your first model railway & not sure what sort of track plan to go for, it’s worth going old school & buying a few track plans books. There are lots available on the market to choose from both new & second hand. Keep an eye out at the ‘Toy & Train fairs’ (Sometimes known as Swapmeets) as you can drop on some bargain second-hand track plans books.

The likes of for example Peco track plan books shows as well as the track plan but also how a layout will look when built. Which is great if you need some inspiration. The likes of the Peco & Hornby amongst others also give a list of what track components you’ll need, so you’ll have no need to guess as to what track components you’ll need to buy. The track plan books also show where you need to connect the power supply to the track, as well as handy tips on laying track etc.

Moving up a level there are track plan books also aimed at modellers who want to move onto more advanced layouts. For example, the likes of the Late C.J.Freezer who penned & published many excellent track plan books & booklets over the years, come into this category. The point work used in these sort of track plan books use the likes of Peco (or similar) longer radius points rather than the sharper radius Hornby point work. They also use a flexible track to create the curves thus giving a more realistic appearance. These track Plans can also include multilevel layouts, which add more operating & scenic interest as well as more storage space.

If going old school with books isn’t your thing, there is also track planning programs available from, free online software to downloads & DVDs. These allow you to design your dream railway layout as well as testing it before actually building the layout for real. Programs such as AnyRail, Hornby, SCARM, Trax editor to name but a few. Time spent planning your layout instead of rushing into a layout build without planning as such first, is time well spent & also prevent making costly mistakes.

If you pop on over to book review section here in the club, Kevin has put together a great series of reviews on track planning books. Well worth checking out.


Happy modelling.


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  1. ClaytonCanuk

    I will be sure to check out some track planning books, something I have never even considered before but can see how beneficial they could be.

    • Iain

      Very much so, often overlooked these days with the internet. I have a good number of track planning books in my book collection which I always enjoy browsing through.

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