Individual Plans

6 “Impressively Real” Paper Building Models To Enhance Your Model Railroad Yard Design

Every model rail yard design needs people, trains, track, machinery and buildings to make it look convincing and real. A smaller rail yard design might not get as much traffic as a bigger yard or interchange, but it still needs some interesting paper building models to complete the scene.

Designs for the model rail yard buildings featured on this page would look very much at home in any railroad yard design (large or small), because they look as though they serve a purpose and belong. The paper building models get glued to corflute or cereal cardboard after being downloaded and printed to HO scale, OO scale, or printed to N scale.

The paper model plans for each yard building is available by download (almost instantly) from this web page. Each plan and design is a PDF file which can be downloaded and kept on a little memory stick, or saved on a computer hard drive. By doing that you can keep the files for the paper building models forever and printout more copies whenever you want. The only restriction (and it relates to strict copyright laws), is you can’t give away, sell, or trade the files or designs to anyone else. The company does enforce those laws. However, personal-private usage is not a problem whatsoever.

After downloading the PDF the files for the paper building models you buy, you print out the designs to suit your model railroad scale before sticking the paper models to corflute and assembling them. At the checkout customers have the choice of purchasing HO / OO paper building models or N scale plans. HO is 87 percent the size of OO so the OO plans can be easily adjusted to HO sizing for printing out on a home printer.

You glue the printed designs to cardboard. You can use a cereal box, or choose other materials such as foam sheet or corflute (popular and cheap from DIY stores). Plans for gluing each piece together to form each of the paper building models is included, as is a complimentary instruction manual which lists further tips and ideas to help you construct really good models to complement your model railroad yard design.

5 Considerations When Planning Model Railroad Staging Yard Designs

1. Will the railroad staging yard be in full view or hidden?

A common practice is to hide the rail yard behind a visual barrier of some kind, such as some elevated scenery, a mountain, or possibly through into an adjacent room. Some model railroaders position their staging yards below the baseboard, or in some instances above the layout accessed by a helix.

Whether the rail yard design is visible or hidden is really a personal preference, or may simply be a consequence of space limitations. Staging doesn’t need to be hidden, and can be designed as an interchange between two parts of the layout (or two railroads).

When the staging yard is out of view, the entrance will sometimes have train tracks disappearing behind scenery, under a bridge, or behind the backdrop. The operator will still need to see when the train is moving and is clear of switches. Closed-circuit television or a track occupancy detection system can be used to monitor trains when yards are completely out of view.

2. Will all industries be visible, or will some industries be out of sight on the railroad?

If the intention is to operate a lot of grain hopper cars then it would make sense to include grain silos on the layout, otherwise why have grain hoppers, unless the silos are maybe located somewhere further away. Have a good look through the excellent range of paper building models for sale on this website. Several of the model buildings are suitable for placement to enhance any model railroad yard design.

A sawmill could be in one part of the layout and a furniture making factory (that gets lumber from the mill) could be located somewhere else on the layout. That would provide a reason to have center partition cars, stake cars, and flat cars operating on the layout. There’s no point is just having model railroad tracks appearing to go nowhere, or not serving a logical purpose. For sale on this website is an impressive range of downloadable paper building models that get glued to card-stock for positioning on model railroad yard designs.

Including related industries on the layout looks good visually and gives the railroad a sense of purpose. A coal mine could be at the other end to a port (coal exporting) or power station (coal user), giving trains a reason to have coal hoppers and gondolas.

A train could be staged at a coal mine, with hoppers laden with coal ready for departure. On arrival at the power plant or port (probably on the other side of the layout) the coal train could drop off its filled hoppers. There could be empty hoppers waiting on another track (they were dropped off by another train) ready for transporting back to the coal mine for reloading. Provided there are plenty of empty and filled hoppers, the coal train(s) could be kept very busy. There is an excellent range of mining paper model buildings to download from this website.

However, even though it makes more sense, related industries don’t need visible. Trains could travel to an “imaginary” out of sight staging yard where the cars get emptied before returning for more grain, lumber, or coal.

3. How long should each train track in the staging yard be?

The answer to this will depend on the length of the average train and how much space is available. One option is to have more tracks, another is to have longer (but fewer) tracks that can handle several trains at once. The rail yard could have several tracks each with a different train capacity. Tracks with a ladder connection at each end are generally shorter than sub tracks.

4. How many tracks should a staging yard have?

However many tracks there are, there will probably never be enough track for most model railroaders. Train collections expand over the years and storage usually becomes an issue at some point in time. Some trains might need to be stored completely away from the layout, with just current operational trains on the layout or parked in a staging area.

There should at least be enough tracks for the required number of trains operational trains, as well as at least another couple of tracks to handle train arrivals and departures. Trains could potentially be doubled-up with two on each staging track depending on the track length and access; however operations will probably flow smoother when each train has its own track.

5. Will a staging yard need loops for turning model trains?

It would look at bit weird for a fully laden coal train to disappear into the staging area only to reappear later still fully loaded. It would look even odder if it arrived back at the coal mine with coal filled hoppers. So freight trains entering a rail yard will usually go there to have cars sorted, or unloaded/unloaded.

What happens in the rail yard will depend to a large extent on the track configuration. Some switching will normally happen during a trains stay in the yard. Ladder tracks (ladders) could be in place at both ends of the yard to make entry and exiting the yard easier. Passenger trains could use flyover loops, and freight could use sub tracks.

A double-ended yard (with a yard ladder at each end) will allow for a train to be moved at any time without turning them around, so trains could be used again during the same op session. However, double-ended yards require more space for the ladders.

A stub-ended yard needs less space than double-ended yards, because it will have a yard ladder at only one end. However, once the train has entered the track it will eventually have to be backed or pulled out, turned ready for the next op session. The other option is to turn and swap the “end-of-train” or “head-end” equipment.

I hope this helps you build and design your ideal model railroad yard, so that you can become your own Yardmaster in charge of operating your dream model railroad layout. Enjoy constructing the paper building models downloaded here.

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