4 "Eye-Catching" Buildings To Add Interest & Realism To Model Railroad Backdrops & Background Scenery
Rail yards can provide a huge amount of operational enjoyment (and frustration), and are generally a great addition to any model railroad. To ensure there's room for enough track space, a sensible compromise is to use low relief industrial buildings against the background. This is instead of trying to recreate huge 3D industrial structures which take up an enormous amount of space (that could be used for more track).
Industrial backdrops (like the one's featured in these downloadable plans) will look incredibly realistic without eating up track space. As most experienced model railroaders have already discovered; industrial backdrop scenery is all about creating the illusion of a model railroad scene being bigger and busier than it actually is.
You can get the designs and plans for these low-relief backdrop buildings deliveried straight to your computer by instant download... well, almost instant... it takes only a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the speed of your internet connection.
You can these save the PDF's on your hard-drive or to a USB memory stick for future use.
These backdrop buildings take up considerably less space than 3D buildings allowing more room for additional track, trains etc.
You can even scale the plans to a different size if you want (anywhere between S scale and Z scale). Here is a guide -
It is then just a case of printing out the design and adhering it to corflute (you can also use card or foam sheets). I personally prefer corflute for backdrop buildings, because it is especially strong, not to mention the low price of buying it from a DIY store. I paid less than $5 for a big sheet 3ft (900mm) long x 2ft (600mm) wide. They had bigger sheets too.
Follow the diagrams that come with the designs... they are very straightforward, and a more detailed instructional manual is supplied at no extra charge (in case you want some extra direction or more tips). With these model railroad buildings you will become a master of scenic backdrops, because they'll look so real positioned against your background
You can add little finishing touches like making steps from scraps of balsa wood or positioning signs above a building with a balsa wood support, so there is still room for some extra creativity if you want to do that.
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How to design and plan model railroad yards and staging yards to maximize space and operational efficiency
Moving cars to and from industries and staging yards is a key function on most model railroads, but for operational efficiently, it is necessary to move cars in a logical and organized manner ...the same as would happen on a real (prototypical) railroad. This takes some careful thought when planning the layout's design to ensure the right train tracks are positioned in the right place.
How to maximize rail yard efficiency
An efficient rail yard is all about efficient loading and unloading of cars, sorting of cars, and storage of cars and locomotives. Planning considerations include:
- How busy the railroad will be and how many cars might be expected in the rail yards at any one time
- How the trains will move around the rail yards
- The types of locos and rolling stock involved. The use of small switcher engines (switchers) for most yard movements
- How the trains will be sorted (assembled)
Common types of freight trains
It's likely a large rail yard will see a variety of trains performing a variety of functions and moving in different ways:
- Local freights will perform a lot of pick ups and drop offs. They will drop off and pick up cars at local stations along the route. Passenger trains will usually have priority on the track, as will fast freight trains and through freights. So, local freight trains will need to wait for other trains to pass.
- Through freights will typically travel from yard to yard, dropping off cars at one yard, and taking 'throughs' to the next destination or yard.
- Fast freights move cars and freight quickly. They usually move pre-arranged blocks of cars to their destinations quickly without being slowed up with yard switching (unless absolutely necessary). This form of transport is ideal for perishables goods like fruit and vegetables. When a fast freight train arrives, it should be moved on as quickly as possible so that it can keep to it tight schedule.
The location of staging yards will be a factor in smooth operations. A staging yard could be as basic as a single track or complex enough to store and sort 50, 100 or even more cars. The right configuration and size will vary from railroad to railroad. Having effective looking model railroad backdrops in place behind the rail yard can add to the drama and realism, making the yard and tracks look busy and exciting.
What is a railroad staging yard used for?
To prevent delays on the mainline, the staging yards will typically have multiple tracks in parallel to park rolling stock off the mainline. This is necessary to avoid obstructing the flow of mainline traffic. Staging tracks can serve a multitude of functions:
- Staging yards can be used for storing locomotives, cars, MOW equipment, and complete trains. That's where everything gets stored when not in service.
- Staging yards can provide additional operational maneuvers. Trains have another place to go, so can disappear "off-stage" to an imaginary destination without the need to create the actual destination on the railroad.
- Staging yards can serve as an Interchange for connecting lines and other railroads.
- Staging yards can be used for classification allowing train consists to be sorted between (or during) an operating session.
So, when planning model railroad yard track design also plan for some spectacular and convincing model railroad industrial backdrop scenery. Industries are an important aspect of any real railroad, so it is logical that factories, warehouses, silos, loading docks, and other industrial structures to be a feature on the model railroad, or at least form part of the backdrop scenery against a background wall.