The Roundhouse Podcast

088: How to Design a Model Railroad

model railroad design

Are you planning your basement railroad empire? Curious on how an expert compresses entire railroad locations and operations into a small space? Dan Bourque has designed hundreds of train layouts over the past 20 years, and these can be seen on his Appalachian Railroad Modeling website. He shares his step-by-step approach to finding the ideal method of compressing real railroad mainlines and branches into true model railroading.

“Homework” layout links and excellent examples of Dan’s work:

Clinchfield Fremont Branch

Pittsburgh & Shawmut South End

Southern St. Charles Branch

This episode is sponsored by Age of Steam Roundhouse, a working roundhouse and restoration facility preserving nearly two dozen steam locomotives. Visit their website to plan a trip to visit their facility!

Related Episodes

Steel Manufacturing and Railroads

Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad – History and Preservation

Question of the Day

What railroad do you (or would you like to) model? Let me know and I will respond to your comments in our next episode.

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2 thoughts on “088: How to Design a Model Railroad

  1. Stuart Thayer


    I just listened to your episode 088 and I wanted to thank you for highlighting my friend Dan Bourque and his web site. Dan and I have known each other since early1996 and we have collaborated on trackplans for my previous L&N/N&W/INT layout and the current L&N layout that I am preparing to start building. It can be said that we feed off each other a lot both in what we model and a love for creating trackplans. Every variation of my layouts trackplans have always been reviewed by Dan and a lot of his ideas have been incorporated. It always helps to get a different viewpoint to help you see things you may have missed or not considered. Thanks again.

    Stuart Thayer

  2. Patrick Thomas Webb

    If I had the space I’d love to model either the Nickel Plate Road or the London & North Eastern (LNER). I love both lines, and would maybe try a hybrid of the two. Though since I’m currently in college, that might not be for a while. I have plans for a micro layout that could fit under my bed, but that might not happen, due to money and time constraints.

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