Lionel’s Polar Express 2-8-4 Berkshire rolls past the wharf in Christmas Town pulling the three original set cars, and three add-on cars on its way to the North Pole.
A young couple kissing under the village Christmas tree doesn’t even notice the Lionel 4-6-2 Pacific roaring by with a string of K-Line and IDM freight cars in tow, capped with a Lionel Santa Fe illuminated caboose.
It’s beginning to look (and sound and smell) a lot like Christmas.
A Lionel Pennsylvania Railroad Three Rivers Berkshire pulls a string of K-Line streamliner passenger cars through the winter night to bring everyone home for the holidays.
Something about the smell of Lionel train smoke that just makes me think of Christmas.
And, seeing trains running in the living room, around the Christmas tree just screams “Santa is on his way!”
When I found out my grandchildren were going to visit, I decided to throw together a little toy train layout for them to play with.
I went on eBay and found two Toys ‘r Us promotional Lionel train sets, one from 1982 with an operating Geoffrey car and one from 1992 with a nice illuminated caboose. Both sets, with shipping cost less than $100.
I used Lionel Fastrack for the outside loop and O27 tubular track for the inside loop (mainly resorted to the tubular track for accessory activation). The older set had a cam that attached to the track to operate the “ducking Geoffrey” and I added a 153c contactor to operate an early 1990s semaphore and dwarf signal. There are two manual switches on the O27 loop with an accessory on each route.
The Fasttrack loop has two O36 remote switches, and doesn’t have any operating accessories, but I added a K-Line whistling train station between the two switch routes. but I added a late 1990s Linex operating oil derrick and some yard lights to the table for interest.
I’ve got a bunch of Plasticville buildings that the kids can place wherever they want on the table (although with two different loops, there are more buildings than will fit). They love rearranging the city and transporting people (from a Safari Ltd. “Toob”) and cargo on the train cars from one side of the layout to the other.
Lionel Three Rivers PRR Berkshire Jr. with Trainsounds running on our in-progress O Gauge Model Railroad Layout Project:
This is why we love toy trains!
Model Railroad Layout Track Plans
Can Be Classified Into Three Types
Understanding Model Railroad Track Plan Types First Step in Designing Your Model Railroad Layout
Most model railroad sets come with a simple loop of track, which allows your train to run continuously, without your constant attention.
However, if you want to expand your model railroad layout, you may want to make some changes to the track to make it more interactive. To do this, it’s time to think about model railroad track planning.
When it comes to model railroad layout track plans, nearly all can be classified as one of three main types. Once you understand these basic types and the operational advantages of each, designing your own track plan becomes much easier.
Our Basic Model Railroad Types page shows examples and describes the pros and cons of each type.