Thursday, December 31, 2020

Make Only New Mistakes Video

A recording is now available of the LDSIG’s Make Only New Mistakes clinic offered via Zoom last November. It’s a distillation of the four-hour Layout Design Bootcamp featured at most NMRA National Conventions, including answers to some of the participants’ questions.

Here’s the abstract of the session: Discover how to refine vision, concept, and purpose; select layout footprints and schematics; draw accurate and useful plans; create efficient and engaging yards and industrial areas; make best use of staging tracks; maintain space for people; and avoid common track planning errors. The session was presented by me and other members of the Layout Design SIG. 

The LDSIG expects to present this again live at some time in 2021, along with a number of other sessions, some of which will be for LDSIG members only. Start or renew your membership here.

Monday, December 28, 2020

LDJ-68 – Railfan, Display, Scenery, and Fantasy Themes

After a much-longer-then-expected delay, Layout Design Journal #68 is being distributed now. It includes: Beautiful On30 display layout recreates Disneyland classic in 5’X7’. Large HO layout focuses on Santa Fe and Union Pacific in Victorville, CA in the transition era. Grand Scale (5”-to-the-foot) fantasy design for rugged desert landscape. Remembrances of Jack Ozanich. And more!

Sam Towler's article on his On30 display layout of Disneyland's Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland was a favorite of mine this issue, just as the original attraction (please don't call it a "ride") was one of my top E-Ticket experiences. To see more of Sam's work, check his blog and the layout's Facebook Page. But I enjoyed learning more about all of our authors' ideas.

To download a free “Sampler” of a few pages of LDJ-68 and other recent issues, visit this link:

To begin or renew your LDSIG membership, visit this link:

Thanks to the authors and volunteers who made this issue possible. We're working on LDJ-69 now and expect to distribute it in March.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

LDJ-67: Multi-deck layouts large and small; Manitoba branch line; more

The most recent Layout Design Journal published by the Layout Design SIG brings together a nice variety of articles (including a couple of my own).

Articles include: Compact HO switching multi-deck layout based on prototype car-ferry service between the US and Canada. Pro-railroader’s multi-deck HO design uses spirals and loops to climb through four tiers with no multi-turn helix. An alternative history breathes new life into a Manitoba branch line. HO Passenger switching action in 10’X11’: Somewhere West; The Family Room; and the Keyhole. Modern transload Layout Design Element includes single-car switching for a variety of commodities and railcar types. LDSIG upcoming meetings: St. Louis NMRA; New Jersey

To download a free “Sampler” of a few pages of LDJ-67 and other recent issues, visit this link:

My article contributions were the HO passenger switching layout and the modern transload facility, which is based on a real-life California site.

Even if you are not a SIG member, we welcome contributions  on layout design topics, including from first-time authors.