Pennsylvania Railroad Brings the Family Home for the Holidays

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!”

Toy Train Layout for the Grandkids

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.

 

Basic Model Railroad Types to Consider when Designing Your Track Plan

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

free model railroad plans point-to-point curving o gauge o-27 4x8 lionel mth atlas
A point-to-point model railroad plan

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.