Episode 60: Move a Model Railroad 7/13 – New room, larger size: Thoughts on the extended Track Layout

Hello Model Railroad friends, the →previous post of the relocation series on lighting control can be found here. At this point, it is again specifically about the railroad: How can the old track plan be adapted to the new space?

The old track layout

This was →initially developed for the old room and then →later extended again. This makes it look like this before the move:

In order to make optimum use of the limited space available, the elevator (bottom right) and the switch road (left edge of the picture) are aligned in parallel to the walls. This is not ideal from a design or visual point of view, but it is hardly feasible otherwise.

The new track layout

The new floor plan is somewhat larger with an attached niche. Theoretically, the old track plan (i.e. the layout) can therefore even fit in it unchanged:

The old track plan in the new room. On the right, the workshop area is outlined by dashed lines.

Everything must go in: It can’t be done without compromise

Now there are two questions remaining:

  • Should the modules be left unchanged (which means less effort)? Then driving operation is possible practically immediately after setting up the modules. In the long run, the layout could then be extended in the lower – not yet built – area (“south” of the station turnout road).
  • How can the workshop area be made accessible? As can be seen above, the pull-out track runs exactly between the access door and the workshop area at the bottom right. Should the pull-out track or the module plate be removable or perhaps foldable for this purpose?

After a lot of back and forth thinking (after all, these decisions will not be easily reversed), the track plan is divided into two parts: Into an upper part with the lift behind the door (lucky that the door is right there!) and the remaining half. The upper part with the parade track is placed slightly turned to the wall. This has the disadvantage that the newly created gaps between the modules and the wall have to be “filled” again with some work. But the strict parallelism to the wall is eliminated: The track layout appears more open and dynamic.

The final track plan with slightly rotated alignment, extended parade track and shortened pull-out track

The remaining half of the layout – practically the entire station and shunting area – is moved down; also with a slight rotation to avoid parallelism to the wall. The missing piece of track (we’re talking about 40cm here) is inserted between the turnouts on the left as part of a new module plate. So the space is used well and the anyway short parade track gains some length.

Finally, access to the workshop area must still be made possible. After considering various solutions, I simply decided to cut off the module plate at this point. The extension track is then inevitably shorter. A solution to plug on or fold down did not convince me in this “workshop environment”. That would get on my nerves very quickly: Just fetch a screwdriver; first move the train away, then fold up the track… In addition, the track would have to be folded somewhere… then it would probably be in the way more often. At least the pull-out track is now still long enough that the longest possible train can still pass the switch to the loading track. This requires compromises in the automatic control system (→Rocrail), but you can’t have everything.


After many weeks of thinking, sketching and getting-and-discarding ideas, the above arrangement has emerged. And I can anticipate here that it is probably a good compromise. The slight rotation of the layout looks rather marginal on paper. In fact, the first positioning tests already showed that the gain in space is very positive, despite the few extra centimeters. The entry to the lift no longer looks so squat, and a few more details can be placed behind the track on the wall to lighten things up.

Likewise, the longer parade route can convince. The new – albeit narrow – module means an additional construction effort before the eagerly awaited operation after a long break, but here, too, the optics and the actually longer approach to the station are convincing: More time to enjoy the trains!

One downer is the shortened pull-out track. But since this does not have an overly strong impact on driving operations, this is something to get over. One thing is clear: Obstacle-free access to the workshop is wonderful!

All →previous parts of the moving series can be found here.

Before we start setting up the modules, I will show you →in the next part my background design.

C u, yours

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