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Model railroading is a fun and enjoyable hobby for both young and old, and now you can have even more fun thanks to Amtrak's 40th Anniversary inspired HO scale model trains. A big thank you goes out to Philip Shaw, John Swanson and the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders Inc.
Back last August, we received the preproduction samples of some of the model trains we had produced especially for our 40th Anniversary and that are currently available for sale in the Amtrak Online Storea€”and accomplished model railroader Howard Zane graciously allowed us to photograph these models on his phenomenally realistic model railroad. Youa€™ll notice our miniature version of the 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train, with P40 #822 and F40 #406 leading the crew car Pacific Bend, Display Cars and 40th Anniversary Store Car, as well as Heritage paint P42s number 66 in Phase II and number 156 in Phase I.
We recreated a photo lineup with the three Heritage paint model locomotives similar to the full scale version we held on Amtraka€™s 40th birthday in Washington, D.C. We are still proud of the sneak peak at these awesome models, although some of the models had minor features that would not be the same as the production run. In addition to the Amtrak 40th Anniversary themed models shown here, we also worked exclusively with Walthers to bring you models of our single level equipment in the current Phase IVb paint scheme. The Exhibit Train pulls into its next stop with a sizeable crowd on the platform to welcome its arrival. P40 822 leads the Exhibit train around a super elevated curve after emerging from a tunnel. Modern trains have come a long way since the age of steam and heavy weight passenger cars (as seen in the foreground).
The HO scale model Exhibit Train negotiates a sweeping a€?Sa€? curve before pulling into the depot.
No matter where the Exhibit Train travels, people always stop what theya€™re doing to take a look. The colors on these models were matched to the real thing to provide the highest level of accuracy. The first picture was from David Langdon (he gave me the permission to publish his picture here). The second picture from Ross Fotheringham (I've also his permission to publish the picture) shows a nice Bridge that could be build with the stuff from Exactrails. I've picket up the stunning Diorama last weekend in Germany and was happy that the sun was out to take some pictures.
Jurg, I saw the photo you posted (either here or elsewhere) with the bridge in it and it immediately reminded me of that photo!
Great job guys, makes me shudder just looking at the snow and can feel the cold and thanks for sharing. When I post from my HTC phone I have to switch to plain text editor or my carriage returns will not be applied and all the text gets bunched up.
Here is the backside and side view of Bruce Lake Grocery and the front and side view of Thomas Hardware.
Here is county road 650 South crossing the Logansport and Indiana Northern railroad and an old abandoned siding where a very old former PRR gon has a permanent home. Installing traffic signals is another easy and exciting way to add more realism to your train layout, especially if they're automated.Model Power fortunately manufactures ready-to-install traffic light kits made of brass with incandescent lights.
Figure 15: Basic tools are all that are needed to design trackwork for a model railroad layout.
On the first page of our O Gauge Layout Project we worked through the pros and cons of several locations for our railroad empire, and on page two we decided how much space we could allocate to the pike in our spare bedroom. Reversing loops would be nice so I can turn my model train locomotives with out relying on the “hand of God” to pick them up and flip them.


Last, but not least, I would like one of the continuous loops to have 72” curves, to run my scale 80-foot passenger cars. While I could meet the “two trains continuously running” wish, the amount of real estate it would take might be difficult to achieve this and any of our other considerations, so I will settle for one train running continuously, and another working off the mainline that will require nearly continuous operator interaction.
And finally, the entire inside loop can be designed to create a reverse loop to return trains to the outer 72”mainline loop, however, it may not be possible to turn the trains that have returned to the outer loop back onto the inner loop. So, now that we have our operational priorities, it’s time to get down to designing our trackwork. Another handy and inexpensive tool for designing a layout that will use O Gauge tubular track is the CTT Track Template shown in Figure 16. To start, I redrew the model railroad layout benchwork to the same scale as the CTT Track Template, where one inch on the template equals one foot of actual space on your model railroad layout.
Using the CTT Track Template, I drew several layout ideas on thin cardstock and cut them out to see how they would fit on the graph paper layout. In Figure 18, I replaced the first straight section coming out of the bottom of the 72” curve on the left side of the drawing with a left-hand 42”switch to lead into the inner loop. However, we may be able to do a bit more to satisfy that last item with he addition of two more 42” switches on the inner loop, as shown in Figure 19. The CTT Track Template is not an exacting tool, so I did do some test-fitting of track as shown in Figure 20.
With these exclusive models, you can run your own 40th Anniversary Exhibit train, Northeast Regionals and other popular Amtrak trains! Head over to the Amtrak store pick yours up today, as there are limited quantities of these models and they will only be available through Amtrak.
If you find something of value here, please "pay it forward" and help us keep the site operating by a secure donation through PayPal (PayPal account is not required), or by shopping with our advertisers. On page three we built the benchwork (the tables the to which the track will be affixed) for the space we had picked. And, the experience you gain in building a small model railroad layout will help you when you decide to tackle a larger pike. On pages two and three, we made concessions on shoulder room at my drawing table to achieve those 72” curves, and built the benchwork specifically to include them, so they have to stay.
Sidings will all have to be inside the 72” loop, since that runs at the outside edge of the benchwork. But, since it’s a loop, the locomotive could be decoupled from the train and run around to couple onto the other end of the string of cars. I like to use colored pencils as well to give some visual separation when there’s a lot of lines on the page.
Expressed as a ratio, it is 1:12 scale, that is, one inch on paper equals 12 inches on the real layout. This again required an S-curve fit a 54” curve inside the 72” curve on the right side of the drawing, even with a couple straight tracks added. The track will reach its maximum elevation about the middle of the layout, as noted in Figure 18. A right-hand switch in the center of the 42” diameter reversing loop on the right side of the drawing creates a siding that will cross the diagonal straight of the return loop at a 45-degree angle, which creates an interesting bit of trackwork. This test-fitting indicates I may be able to squeeze the inner 54” loop enough that it will fit inside the 72” loop without having to cross above it. You can even create your own fantasy consist and let your imagination run wilda€”another fun part of model railroading.


I've found many cool picture on the Railpictures Website and two of them where exactly what I was looking for.
Each of these steps required a number of decisions and compromises with our plans for a dream layout.
This baseline also allows 54” and 42” curves inside the outer loop, so our minimum 42” curve requirement can also be met. We may be able to combine the sidings into the inner loop in the way a meandering small town siding works, where cars are dropped off at various points of the same track rather than building expensive switches to create stub sidings. There are some prototypical examples of this maneuver, but it would work best with a double-ended diesel locomotive.
If you have a big pile of sectional track laying around, you can just start putting it together to see how it fits. Although they used to be a common accessory stocked by hobby shops, with so many computer model railroad design programs available out there, you may have to do some searching to find a CTT Track Template.
I threw an S-curve into the simple 72” loop to take full advantage of the space on the short leg. From here the track begins to descend, and turns left on the drawing to another 54” curve back down to table level. A left-hand 42” switch at the end of the diagonal straight of the reversing loop creates another spur siding at the top left of the inside loop. To get all of these features in this space, We’d probably have to go down to a N Scale model railroad layout.
I had quite a bit of O-27 sectional track, but would have to buy more, so I wanted to develop a plan to decide what track pieces I still needed to purchase. If you can’t find one in a local hobby shop, search online, as they are easy to find there. When designing an S-curve, be sure to put a straight track in the middle before reversing the direction of the curve, or you will have a potential derailment point as train cars make the drastic change from turning left to turning right. This shouldn’t be a problem, as the inner track will be going up in elevation (or “upgrade”), and should be high enough to pass over the outside loop. Where this 54” curve ends at top left, we’ve added another 42” switch, this one right-hand, to allow us to create our reverse loop of 42” diameter curves to start the train on its return journey over the figure 8 to the 72” mainline loop.
These two spurs could be joined with another 42” diameter curve, portions of which could be hidden with buildings or other scenery to keep the impression of spur sidings while giving one more reverse loop for our switch engine to run around the cars it’s spotting along the right-of-way. Be sure to read our Railroad Grades Tips and Tricks page on how to calculate gradient percentages when elevating model railroad track from one level to another. I only had one complete circle of 72” track, which, to my knowledge was only manufactured by the now defunct K-Line company that was absorbed by Lionel, which no longer offers it. By breaking the electrical connections of the track into “blocks” that can be independently powered by different transformers, one train can operate on the outer loop continuously while another operates on the figure 8. But that decision will be left for a later time, when I see how much real estate is left for industrial structures in that area.
So, the S-curve at the bottom right of the outer loop meant I didn’t have enough track for the curve at the top right. The train operating on the figure 8 cannot operate continuously in one direction, however, without ending up back on the 72” mainline, so it will have to be tasked with simply moving cars (switching) to various industrial locations located along this secondary train line.



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