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8 Realistic Track Plans For Small Switching Layouts Paperback – May 11, 2009
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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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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.
Enough information is provided about each plan to give a sense of location and history as to the railroads "being". This enables a reasonable attempt to provide the feel required to the layout to establish its period. The plans are well presented in color with a general guide to the dimensions of curved radii and number of turnouts required.
Color picture and some black and white fill out the details. The model photographs are of Lance Mindheim's East Rail switching layout, which are superb.
Construction of this type of layout is not the same old grid or L girder construction, which is of great value to small rooms as it conserves space below for other functions. The use of shelving brackets is well utilised and could easily be built by novices and the not so woodworker types. If you want more information on how to go about the construction of these particular layouts, Lance Mindheim's How To Build A Switching Layout goes through more of the construction process in more detail.
Ideas abound. The only short coming is the lack of an example of how to set up an operation session, but then again, there is plenty of information available on Lance Mindheim's website.