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Model railroad enthusiasts often consider the designing and constructing of track plans to be a fine art. This is because you need to exercise a number of elements of art and design when looking to set up your model railroad layout. This includes sculpting, modeling, building and painting as well as electronic engineering to some degree.
One of the most common mistakes made by individuals, especially beginners, is that they purchase a model train set without taking the availability of space into consideration. However this is one of the most important facts that you need to keep in mind when looking to design your track layout. Check out a good model railroad magazine or website for some good examples.
If you are fond of changing your tracks around frequently than you would want to make use of an integrated roadway track to facilitate your movements. The ideal surface to work upon is usually a tabletop that measures 4' x 8', the size of standard sheets of plywood.
It is highly recommended that you play around with some temporary layouts even if you intend on setting up a permanent one. This will give you a better feel and understanding of space planning. One thing that you need to keep in mind from the start is that the strength of the surface that you will use to layout the tracks needs to be strong enough to support the scale of your model train.
Modular layouts tend to be quite popular among many train collecting enthusiasts. You will be able to find modules in varying lengths although the standard is about 2 feet. The standards have been published for the purpose of making it possible to position and wire modules that have been constructed by different manufacturers.
If you're looking to build a permanent layout then you need to make the right choice when it comes to the scale of your model toy train. This will have a profound impact on the satisfaction level of your model railroad track plan.
In general, O scale is extremely large and takes up a lot of space. Most hobbyists choose HO and N scale model trains as they can be set up in a relatively smaller place. In case you have a very limited availability of space you can go for the downsized Z standard.
Contemporary model train collectors are fond of constructing narrower layouts that go along the walls of the particular room in which they are placed. L and U shape layouts and track plans are also very popular today. You might also want to add an island so that you can create an M shaped track plan for your model train.
One of the most interesting model railroad track plans is the multi-level layout. This is a variation on the "along the walls" style which is achieved by putting a shelf about 2 feet above the main layout table that measures about three or 4 feet. You can use a helix or a vertical spiral track in order to construct a multi-level layout where your train will actually be moving through the two-levels.
The above-mentioned layouts are just some examples of model railroad track planning that you can experiment with as you design your masterpiece. It is generally advised to start off with simpler plans and then slowly progress to the more complicated track plans as you gain more experience.