Keith Jordan’s “The Patch”

One of the challenges many hobbyists today face is reduced real estate for their layout. As Baby Boomers age and their kids leave home, they’re downsizing. And younger modellers buying their first home either can’t afford a “huge train room with a two-storey roof” – or are choosing to buy condominiums and live downtown, to take advantage of being close to their work and the many amenities of urban living.

So I love finding inspiring layout themes – or actual layouts – that don’t require a lot of real estate, yet provide interesting modelling and operating possibilities. One such layout is Keith Jordan‘s HO scale layout of a switching district on the ATSF known as “The Patch”. Click on the photo of Keith’s layout, below to visit it now:
Keith Jordan - The Patch photo ThePatch-KeithJordan_zpsf0f72eb0.jpg

Keith actually has a large layout elsewhere in his house. This layout is built on a narrow, L-shaped shelf in his office. As this PDF of the layout plan shows, it takes up minimal space, being just 12″ deep, approximately nine feet long on one leg of the L, and about eight feet long on the other. Yet, it features two distinct operating districts – the First Street Yard and The Patch.

Since it resides in a nicely finished room, Keith took great care with the presentation of the layout. The Patch would look just fine above book cases in a condo’s living room. Have a look at how it blends into Keith’s room in the photos on this page.

Keith describes a number of operating sessions on his web site.

Keith’s plan would fit well in S, too – the legs of the L would be about 12 feet long and the depth of the shelves would widen to, perhaps, 16″.

While Alco High Hood switchers are not available in S scale, a number of four-axle switchers have been produced in 1:64 that would be reasonable substitutes – anything from a GE 44-Ton or 70-Ton engine to EMD SW-1, SW-8 and SW-9 models, to a Baldwin S-12. (And a note to manufacturers: it’s curious that the Alco S series and Alco HH series have been neglected. I think they would be great additions to the scale. If I recall, there’s an Also S series model available in brass, but none of the High Hoods has been produced.)

Have a look around. I’m sure you’ll enjoy what you see. Thanks, Keith, for sharing your work online!

(BTW, you can read more about Keith’s rendition of The Patch in Great Model Railroads 2012 and in Model Railroad Planning 2011, both from Kalmbach.)

1 thought on “Keith Jordan’s “The Patch”

  1. The Patch is a great example of a mini micro layout, other inspiration can be found at the late Carl Arendt’s website, I too live in what most people would regard as a small house in an inner suburb of Melbourne, and would love to have the real estate to build an empire, but as the say “size is not everything, it’s what you do with it”, hence Victoria Street. The main trick with a small layout in a contemporary space is to keep the area presentable to maintain domestic bliss. Best wishes of the season, Glenn

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