Book review – ‘Great Model Railroads 2015’

One essential purchase every year is the Model Railroader ‘Great Model Railroads’ special.  I may have given up Model Railroader itself, but this annual magazine, and also the ‘Model Railroad Planning’ issue in the new year, are always worth buying and keeping.  Invariably there are one or two special layouts that one can go back to for reference and inspirations.

Of course, there are always too many ‘basement’ layouts that are far too big for 99% of UK enthusiast.  However, in recent years the editors have included a good balance of railroad sizes and scales.


This year, 2015, is no exception.  I’m biased, as an HO Lehigh Valley inspired model headlines, in not too big a room.  I’m still puzzling over the best shade for Lehigh Valley red.  I was amused to see that the two pictures reproduced above have come out with a darker red than in the published pictures.  I’m getting convinced that my best bet for repainting models is to choose a similar colour that I like and is readily available in the UK and stick to it.

Of the other layouts, a number appealed:

  • The Burnt Hills & Big flats is an extensive layout, but it has moved around the country with its navy owner, and has grown bit by bit.
  • The Grimes Industrial track shows that less is more – simple track layouts with limted operation on a spacious industrial switching branch.
  • The Washington Northern is just good modelling in an average sized room.
  • An S-gauge layout is always interesting.  Here, the owner has gone against the maxim of ‘you can’t have too much staging’.  Four tracks, two at each end of the line, provide all the storage needed for interesting operation.
  • The Bona Vista RR.  Again good modelling with a simple track plan in an average sized room.

In fact, the only disappointing layout is the British outline one!  Not that it’s bad, but there are better examples of British layouts each month in our magazines.

There are plenty of construction and operation tips.  My best quote was from the O gauge model of the Tehachapi Loop:

“Other than in the towns, there are very few trees on the layout.  The desert countryside features a few Joshua trees and yucca plants, along with some jackrabbits and scratchbuilt snakes.”

Man, scratchbuilt snakes?  Is this an aspect of modelling that I’m missing out on?  Perhaps I need an N-gauge Anaconda gracing my next module?

About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Hints and tips, Inspiration, Layout design, The trade and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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