Achievable Layouts

I’ve always been keen on layout design. My understanding of layout design started with popular publications and continues to grow through many web-based resources. But mostly, I’ve been lucky enough to learn first-hand from some of the most thoughtful layout designers on the planet.

I am not a professional layout designer.

I do not design layouts on commission. But I sometimes get ideas I want to explore on graph paper, or I suggest ideas to friends, or I visit a well-executed layout that inspires me. Some of these ideas ended up on this blog – and when I realized I had a collection going, I decided they deserved their own blog.

So, I’ve created a new home for them on the web, called Achievable Layouts:

Achievable layouts header.

I’ve imported the Achievable Layout postings and comments from this blog to the Achievable Layouts blog, and will continue to add to the collection as I’m inspired. But since I know many readers of this blog enjoy these postings, I will continue to post notices here so Port Rowan readers can find my musings about layout design, if they’re interested. In addition, I will endeavour to update this page with direct links (see below) to designs posted on the Achievable Layouts blog.

Achievable Layout Examples

Cobourg, Ontario (inspiration, track maps, layout sketch)

Purina Mill in Woodstock, Ontario (inspiration)

Roweham (a lovey British 7mm exhibition layout built by Brian Dickey)

CP Rail: Scarborough Industrial Spur (layout plan, and a layout being built from it)

Fillmore Engine Terminal (a visit to a beautiful, achievable layout built by Rick De Candido)

Boston and Maine Cheshire Branch (video of layout by Jim Dufour)

Ontario Southland (inspiration)

Southern Ontario Branchlines in transition (video inspiration)

Zurich on the SP Narrow Gauge: A ghost town you can model (idea)

A Century of Ketchup-making: modelling the CNR in Leamington, Ontario (idea)

The Cow at Connors: Temiscouata Railway (idea)

The North Stratford Railroad (idea)

CPR – Elora Branch (idea)

Grimes Industrial Track (HO layout by James McNab)

Southern Pacific – Friant Branch in 1:64 (concept sketch)

ATSF – the San Jacinto District (inspiration and planning variants)

Southern Pacific – Serving the Golden Empire – Branch Line Style (idea)

CNR – Southampton Sub in S (layout plan)

Aroostook Valley Railroad – The Potatoland Interurban (concept sketches)

CNR – The Wiarton Spiral (layout plan)

CNR – Pine Street, Thorold (idea)

CNR – Thousand Islands Railway (idea)

Sacramento Northern – Concord to Walnut Creek (concept sketches)

The Patch (HO layout by Keith Jordan)

CNW – Geneva Switch Run (idea)

CP Rail – Rosebery to Nakusp (idea)

CNR – Waterloo Sub to Galt (concept sketches)

CNR – Peterborough (HO Free-mo module)

8 thoughts on “Achievable Layouts

    • I agree with Marty’s comment. I seem to recall you taunting him with the offer of a 1:48 version of the branch to fit his basement should he scrap his HO scale one. Would love to see what that would look like especially in the 1940s.

    • Wow! What a flood of memories! Back in the mid fifties, I used to be in Richford for a week every year. My favorite memories were of the local switcher, a CV 2-8-0, and being able to ride in the cab while they took care of the plywood plant. I was able to “be the fireman” quite often and even got to run the loco once!

      My Grandparents past away many years ago, and I’ve moved way out west, so I have not been to Richford for many years. Actually, I’m thankful. It remains as it was in my memories.

      Thanks for the trip.

    • Well, here is your chance. Marty recently decided to demolish his existing layout. He’s apparently mulling over what to replace it with.

      -Jack Shall

  1. I have always had a predilection for small layouts, as apposed to larger round the world types, but again the choice is for the modeler. Smaller motive power, shorter trains, and lots of switching operation. My choice for modeling a layout was the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto electric railway in the Niagara peninsula area. However, one possible drawback in modeling a specific line is the lack of available motive power. Hence the need to scratch build most of my steeple cab locos and passenger equipment.

    • Hi William:
      You say “possible drawback” – but I’d say “opportunity”. I love picking prototypes to model because they force me to do research – and, equally importantly, force me to improve my skills to accurately model what I’ve learned.
      The end result is also more satisfying – for me – because it tends to be unique. I know I’ve never seen another layout – in any scale – representing the NS&T the way yours does.

  2. Trevor,

    Great resources. Looking like I may have a new fire chief gig and will be moving.

    I think I have decided to “narrow” my focus with my Sn42 and just model the Grand Falls Central Railway in Newfoundland with the CN interchanges.

    Looks like I got lots of reading to do to grasp the achievable layout concept.


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