Helping clients achieve their Layout
I have created dozens of custom model railroad track plans for clients since beginning formal layout
design consulting in 2004, as well as helping to develop operating plans for layouts large and small.
custom layout design and operations project was a layout for the 1950s-era Santa Maria Valley Ry. for a modeling friend
in 1995. An updated version of that design has been published in the 2004 issue of Model Railroad Planning and can be seen here. From 1996 until 2001 I was editor of the Layout Design News and Layout Design Journal publications of
the Layout Design Special Interest Group. I returned as editor of the LDJ in 2010.
In 1997 I moved to the San Jose, CA area and had the good fortune to meet Rick Fortin and become part of the crew on his fabulous ATSF Fourth District layout. Rick graciously allowed me to develop an operations plan for the layout. Sessions have grown over the years and now include
dozens of trains, 18 to 20 operators, and over 5 hours of activity.
Many of my custom track plans been published in the model railroad press (see listing at right) and some example
designs are also found in my Layout Design Gallery. Client comments can be seen on the Results page of this site. I'm also available for editing and authoring for publishers, SIGs and Historical Societies, etc.
My own modeling interests are focused on the Bay Area railroads,
including the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Santa Fe. I'm building an N scale layout featuring rail-marine freight terminal operations in the 1950s. The first tiny test section of this layout is described in
the Layout Design SIG's Layout Design Journal #29 and here. I am a member of the NMRA, Layout Design SIG, Operations SIG, and the SP and ATSF historical societies.
Laying temporary flextrack at Rick Fortin's layout. Photo by Rick, goofy
look by yours truly.
Partial list of articles and clinics
“Designing the Shasta Division”
Model Railroad Planning 2018
“A Balancing Act”
(Multi-deck CSX Cumberland Sub in N)
Model Railroad Planning 2017
“Pushing the Boundaries
of Space and Time”
(HO '50s proto-freelance on the CA Coast)
Railroad Planning 2016
“Room to Roll for Realism”
(Track arrangements for bulk-commodity
Layout Design Journal #56, 3rd Qtr 2015
“East Bay in the present day”
(HO garage layout inspired by Oakland, CA)
Model Railroad Planning 2015
“Cement, Cars … and a Little Beer”
California locations in compact HO and N track plans)
Layout Design Journal # 54, 1st Qtr 2015
“HO Switching Variations in 2' X 9'”
Layout Design Journal # 52, 3rd Qtr 2014
Download a free copy of this article
“North Western’s Chicago commute”
(C&NW twice-around in HO)
Three Compact Rail-Marine HO Layouts:
(Hoboken Shore; Erie’s 149th Street Harlem
Terminal; ATSF Alice Street [Oakland, CA])
Layout Design Journal # 51, Summer 2013
"Coal Hauler in a Spare Bedroom"
(Clinchfield RR multi-deck in HO 12X13)
"Back to Basics: Staging"
(Intro to staging for operating layouts)
OpSIG Dispatcher's Office October 2012
"Howard Terminal in N Scale"
(1950s Oakland, CA Rail-Marine
SP and ATSF in Reedley, CA in HO)
Model Railroad Planning 2012
"HO Logs and lots of Stripwood"
(Freelanced logging featuring craftsman kits)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist October 2011
(Large freelanced ops-oriented layout)
(Mid-sized HO layout with hidden staging)
2011"Switchman's Dream on a 4X8"
(Freelanced HO terminal switching layout)
Railroad Planning 2011
"Layout Design Step-by-Step"
"The Scioto Valley Division"
(Proto-freelanced NYC, PRR, NW in N)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist Sep/Oct '10
NMRA Nat'l Convention 2010
(Jointly with LDSIG)
(CN and NAR in HO scale)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist May/June '10
-- Issue #7
"Dallas on a Door"
(Compact M-K-T N scale switching layout)
(Portable N scale layout based on Bay Area terminal RR)
Railroad Planning 2010
"Black Diamonds and Beer"
(Modern-era PA shortline in N scale)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist Jan/Feb '10 -- Issue #5
"Slim Rails in Stages"
(S.P. Keeler Branch [CA] in HOn3)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist Oct. '09 -- Issue #4
"Alcos in the Alcove"
(MILW-inspired switching layout in HO)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist Issue #3
"Track Warrant Control and Other Operating Forms"
OpSIG Dispatcher's Office June 2009
"Best of the West"
(Tehachapi, Cajon, more in HO)
'Orange Grove Route'"
(Visalia Electric Railroad in HO)
"Down by the Shore in Hoboken"
(Hoboken Shore RR in HO)
Model-Railroad-Hobbyist Issue #1
Two clinics at NMRA 2008 in Anaheim:
"Layout Design from the Prototype" and
"Creating an Operating Session".
(The Oahu Railway in HOn3) Model Railroad Planning
2008"A Baker's Dozen Yard Ideas for Design and Operation"
How to Build Realistic Layouts: Freight Yards
Model Railroader Special Issue August 2007
"Variations on a Waybill Theme"
OpSIG Dispatcher's Office July 2007
"Planning the Midland Pacific"
LDSIG Layout Design Journal
#35; Dec. 2006
"The Pacific Electric
Model Trains International # 63
Model Trains International # 62
Layouts Based on Prototype Railroads
Small Layout Design - Beyond the Timesaver
A Quick and Easy Start for Operations
"On the Streets of San Francisco with the Ocean
Layout Design Journal #32; April 2005
"Folding Belt Line on a Shelf"
(Alameda Belt Line in N)
Model Railroad Planning 2005
"Ops at the Shops"
Model Trains International # 57
"Op Session Design -- Freelance and Prototype"
Clinic, PCR/NMRA Convention
Valley Railroad in N)
Model Railroad Planning 2004
view this trackplan
"Another Angle on Urban Switching Layouts"
Layout Design Journal #29; Jan. 2004
View this layout in the Design Gallery
"Linking Unconnected Decks with Operations and Staging"
Layout Design Journal #28; Spring
"Realistic Small Switching Layouts"
Clinic, LD/OpSIG Regional Meet 2003
Principles for Garage Layouts"
Layout Design Journal #27; Autumn 2002
Terminal Railway in N Scale"
Model Railroad Planning 2002
Design Journal #26; Spring 2001
/ SPINS / ZTS Track-Industry Maps as a Design Resource"
Layout Design Journal #26; Spring 2001