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All about the Readers' Choice RR

This 4 x 8-foot O gauge plan features new products, alternative techniques, and a reader-selected theme.

Classic Toy Trains magazine presents:

The Readers' Choice Railroad
Tailor-made to what our readers' said they wanted in a layout

We were encouraged to find that many of you are reading and willing to build a layout when you're inspired by numerous how-to ideas, simple instructions, and intriguing photographs, much like those we've included in CTT's Retro Railroad (2009) and The Cascade & Timber Trail Ry. (2008-2009) project railroads.

Watch the video below of the finished railroad in action, and start getting your tools ready!

For the Readers' Choice RR we chose a benchwork option that was new to us, and found the Mianne benchwork system an ideal solution for many of our readers.

Click here for a just-for-fun video demonstrating how easy it is to assemble the Mianne benchwork we decided to use for our lightweight, yet sturdy layout base.


Once the benchwork was completed, Kent Johnson created a template to use as a construction aid for the railroad. Subscribers can download and print the template, created in full-scale (1 inch equals 1 inch), showing the precise placement of track and accessories.

Downloadable File(s)

In the final installment of our series we decided to add a 3 x 8-foot extension to address your secondary interest in a layout that features urban scenery. In the video below, subscribers can watch action on our bustling city streets.

Just like the original section of our project railroad, our preferred method of transferring a track plan to a flat tabletop uses a computer to download and print out the full-scale template of the 3 x 8-foot extension to our Readers' Choice RR.

For the complete series on building the Readers' Choice RR, here is a list of the issues and which topic was covered in each one. Click on the issue to order a back issue if you've missed one.

February 2011 We introduced the track plan and benchwork, with a list of Lionel FasTrack components, an alternate list of Lionel O gauge track components, and a list of suggested modern-era accessories.

March 2011 This installment discussed the tabletop, terrain, track, and wiring.

May 2011 Here we added mountainside scenery and magic water to our coal-mine themed railroad.

July 2011 This issue covers setting the scene. We included a list of suggested scenery supplements...and still excited by the layout we made plans for an extension.

September 2011 About that extension! The second interest expressed in the survey was for a layout featuring urban scenery.  So, unwilling to have the layout come to an end we decided to continue building.


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10 layout mistakes

10 layout mistakes

Tips on what to avoid.


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