How to draw a model railway trackplan

18 September 2018
Drawing a track plan is a simple enough process. Our easy-to-follow advice shows how you can approach the project in the right order.

It’s likely that you’ll change your mind as you design your plan, so expecting to draw everything you want at the first attempt is somewhat unrealistic. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it helps if you draw the individual elements in the right order.

These drawings show the BRM project layout ‘Edgeworth’, which was serialised in in the January, February and March 2014 issues of BRM. Its 6ft scenic section allows it to be transported easily, whilst a four foot off-stage scenic area provides more than adequate storage for a number of trains. Here we break down the planning process in five easy to follow stages... 

Step One

How to draw a model railway track plan step one

With an outline of the layout’s surface area, the positioning of the tracks is established. It’s arguably at this stage where you’ll spend the most time planning, unless you’re copying a
Avoid placing tracks close to baseboard edges. If a derailment occurs, it’s usually a long drop!


Step Two

How to draw a model railway track plan add scenery

Many layout builders lay track parallel to the longest edge of a baseboard to maximise the length of track. This can make the layout look a little bland, so a good way to hide it is with scenery. Think about breaking up the uniform lines and edges with curved slopes, cuttings and elevations to enhance the trackplan.


Step Three

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How to draw a model railway track plan bridges and tunnels

Having considered the landscape, think about the positioning of your structures. it’s common practice to use bridges and tunnels as scenic breaks between the fiddle yard and viewing area. Platforms, signalboxes, huts, water cranes, refuelling points, coal staiths and sheds are a few to think about.


Step Four

How to draw a model railway track plan add vegetation and cameos

Now that you have carefully considered the number of structures, you will probably find there's the odd corner or section which lacks interest. In these areas you can consider vegetation of varying heights or small cameos. Try to keep them simple, as too many gimmicks dilute the overall effect.


Step Five

How to draw a model railway track plan finishing touchesBefore finalising your plan add labels to structures and featuresto make your plan clear for others - especially if you are working as part of a team. If you are satisfied with the way your project looks, you can start to build it. If not, use the bits you like as the basis for a new plan. Repeat this process until you are finally happy with your track plan.

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