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8 Realistic Track Plans For Small Switching Layouts Paperback – May 11, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lance Mindheim is owner of The Shelf Layouts Company, a custom model railroad building and design firm. He speaks nationally at a variety of prototype modeling conferences and is author of numerous articles for the model railroad press. An engineering graduate of Purdue University, he is a strong believer in the value of simplicity when it comes to model railroad design. Visit his website at www.shelflayouts.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (May 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442176490
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442176492
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth R. Heinen on July 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
As the guru of quality shelf layouts, Lance Mindheim gives us a glimpse at his talent for simplicity that follows prototype practices. While each of the eight track plans features a very different theme, they all emphasize realistic operational potential with plenty of room for scenery.

When space is limited, there is a great temptation to cram in as much track as possible. Most of these eight designs use 24 or 27-inch radius curves and just few Number 6 turnouts, a sure-fire formula for reliable low-maintenance operation. Every layout presents at least one form of staging or interchange with the outside world and the sidings snuggle up against industries that are actually large enough to require rail service.

All of the plans are point-to-point. There are no circles. The emphasis is on simple local freight service to specific customers without resorting to switching puzzles. Neither the Broadway Limited nor 100-car unit trains will grace these tracks. However, each plan has enough destinations to preclude serving them all in one trip, an attribute that leads to interesting operating sessions.

Considering the superiority of today's sound equipped locomotives that will reliably creep along at very slow speeds, realistic switching can be very engaging. To see the operating and scenic possibilities of a small shelf layout, search the Internet for a connection to "Lance Mindheim East Rail," Lance's own layout where he puts into practice what he preaches. Be sure to view the impressive photo gallery to see the opportunities inherent in small shelf layouts. I highly recommend this inspiring book to move you from your armchair.
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Format: Paperback
The book not only gives the reader the 8 track plans it gives you actual pictures of many of the locations which are included in the track plans.

The author also gives many operational ideas for each of the railroads.

The hollow core door benchwork idea is simple and lightweight and is one I will use for my model railroad.

I do suggest this book for anyone getting ready to build a model railroad.
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Format: Paperback
This is a "cracking book"! It deals with around the walls realistic shelf layouts that fits in a 12'x 11' room. The plans are neat, simple, and, most important, prototypical.Each plan has photos of suggested industries, which is really helpful. If your'e in the planning stage of your layout and fancy about switching layouts, this is THE BOOK!

Mário Esteves
(Porto - Portugal)
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I really wanted to like this book, and given the price I didn't expect a full on Kalmbach treatment, but something I could sink my teeth into given the reputation of the author. Frankly it fell down in several areas the most glaring was the lack of content, what I felt were pretty pedestrian layout suggestions, photo's that didn't really add much to the atmosphere of the subjects and the use of large fonts in what seemed an attempt to take up white space in the book. I don't mean to come off harsh...really. Like I said, I didn't expect something from a mega publisher, my expectations were much higher. Maybe that was the problem, high expectations and little in the way of meat to sink my teeth into. Many of the layouts start and finish with a yard and that is very common, and not very interesting.

Suggestions:

Use a track planning tool like Anyrail or others that actually show us that the components you called out will work in that space. I see a few areas that might be a squeeze. We would also get locations of the sections you call out and what parts to order. Will these plans work with Kato roadbed track as well as Atlas Code 55? No idea.

Give us reference to what kit structures we need to anchor the layout and who makes them. Not every building needs to be identified, but a few. I learned in Journalism school to never assume your reader knows what you do. If they did, they wouldn't buy your paper or book. Give the beginner and those of us salty veterans a starting place so we can get juiced about one of your layouts.

HO modelers are not the only ones out there...give us minor scale modelers a bone or two with track plans we don't have to rig around with. You had plenty of room, smaller fonts, use empty pages etc.
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Format: Paperback
First: Lance Mindheim is great an he knows what he is talking about, but this book wa very disappointing.

He fills only about 50 pages and there are a lot of pages with no real content: too two very small prototype pictures on a whole page, the factbox on its own page and when he actually writes something he does so in a very big type. Most layouts are designed to take up 3 walls in a 11'x12' room, not actually what I would call a small layout.

Overall, I would expect that amount of content on a free hobby website but for a book you have to pay for it's too little.
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Two of the main purposes behind a book such as this can be expressed in the catchphrase 'I and I'. In other words, information and inspiration. Lance Mindheim's book "8 Realistic Track Plans for Small Switching Layouts" provides plenty of both.

In brief, the eight trackplans detailed in this book are well-thought-out, practical and feasible, and offer considerable scope for having fun both in the construction and operating phases. It's been said that the first and last few hundred yards of a freight car's journey are the most interesting part, and that's what these layouts depict.

The restraint and balance shown by author Mindheim in his designs will result in a model railroad which is simpler and less expensive to build--and which can be completed in this lifetime. For instance, these plans don't incorporate much in the way of staging tracks. More staging can always be added by the modeler, of course, but the author believes that small layouts can operate perfectly well by staging cuts of cars rather than whole trains, thus saving a lot of complexity, expense and maintenance headaches.

The trackplans are all sized for a hypothetical 11-by-12-foot spare bedroom. Since I sit typing this review in a room which is a virtual clone of the space shown in the book, I suspect that many readers will be able to adapt these plans to existing rooms in their own homes.

Even these too much for your available space? There's a bonus plan entitled 'The Beginner', which would fit in the smallest studio apartment or dorm room. It looks like a blast, too.

"8 Realistic Track Plans for Small Switching Layouts" provides not only inspiration, as any good idea book should; once you're inspired, it will take you to the next step and get you started on an attainable and enjoyable model railroad project.
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