The Room
Home Up The Room Main Yard Test Track Splines


NY Signal drawn by 3rd PlanIt

NY Signal drawn 
3rd PlanIt by Walter Griffin

Click to visit 3rd PlanIt forum

In November 1998 I started to lay out my railroad design a second time. I found I wanted to have my computer, stereo and a couple of chairs for the family in the train room. The peninsula in the center of the room was removed... and a trade was made to use the "guest bedroom" for the layout. Now I can develop 3rd PlanIt right in the heart of the layout, and have the kids around when they're home, as well.

Overview of whole area

In this first image, both rooms are shown. This is about the perspective one would have when walking into the train room from the rest of the house - the actual doorway is the space between the near green lines. The windows really do reach right down to the floor. I showed a closet at the right using only its wall so it was easier to see inside the room. To the left, you can see the counter I'll get to work around, the chairs, stereo, TV and work desk.

Main area

This is the main room for the layout and the office. It's a pretty challenging area to lay out, as we don't want to remove the kitchenette. There's a stove and oven in the cabinets at the right, but we'll cover their surface with Masonite to protect the appliances and provide a decent backdrop.

Plan view of layout

Here's a plan view of the layout area and the very first attempt at a main line. I'm thinking the primary yard will be in the horizontal area near the middle. It has enough room for a decent yard and an adequate drill lead, and there is room for buildings and equipment as well.

Main line through yard

This is a 3D view of the initial main line. I put an SD-40 on it for perspective in the future yard area. There's a helix in the background to get to lower-level staging track. At this point, I'm wondering if the helix should be farther from the left wall so I can leave most of the first loop exposed.

Main terminal

This is the point where I decided to stop for the weekend, after about 9-10 hours of design. The drill lead extends off to the left beyond the side, next to the main line. There are two tracks for passenger loading areas at the back of the yard and room for flat building-fronts on the right. It looks like there will be adequate space for servicing and storage facilities.

Uh, yes... the lower level goes through the wall and cabinets. In fact, this track is already in place from the first layout and will be the reversing loop at this end of the point-to-point main line. This particular part of the design did require considerable negotiation with Sandy. However, she's seen it work so we're going to poke a hole through another wall, behind the hill at the end of the yard.

I've used Micro-Engineering #6 turnouts on the top level throughout and will continue to do so. I've accepted that I'll need to hand-lay a few turnouts, but I do like the looks of ME products. I'll be using Peco on the lower level - they are compact and reliable. I might have used Peco throughout, except I prefer Micro-Engineering's American style track.

The layout maintains a 30 inch minimum radius for visible track, although the broad curves up front are about twice that. The lower-level reversing loop is 28 inches, and the inner helix track will be about 27.75 inches - the absolute minimum for primary track on the layout. The yard is at 48" height... probably the lowest point on the layout as I envision it at this time.

Up Next


Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1999-2015 El Dorado Software - All Rights Reserved
Last modified: September 29, 1999