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10 gems of layout wisdom

Lessons and insights from an O gauge modeler
Carl uses red parts of his nos. 342 culvert loader and 345 culvert unloader to accentuate no. 2031 Rock Island Alcos.
Carl Rygiewicz
The best part of building and operating a layout, irrespective of its size or scale, is realizing how much you have learned and being eager to share a few lessons and insights with other hobbyists. Modeler Carl Rygiewicz gladly does so here. His 10 great tips range from general perspectives to specific ideas to guide any builder.

1. Be patient and take your time at every step along the way.

2. Check and check again all clearances before making scenery. The same advice applies to testing the operation of your trains and accessories. It’s much easier to make fixes when there is no landscaping to get in the way or to be destroyed.

3. Provide adequate access to all hidden track and switches.

4. Place operating accessories within easy reach for maintenance and adjustments.

5. Color-code all wires and draw schematics of your wiring to make troubleshooting easier.

6. Leave switch covers loose for easy removal during maintenance.

7. Operate switches at 18 volts AC or higher from dedicated multiple transformer posts to ensure reliable performance.

8. Make scenery. The process of landscaping your layout will be simpler and more enjoyable than you imagine, especially if you have never done so before. The range of products on the market, along with the latest techniques, makes scenery easy and fun.

9. Personalize your layout by naming areas, towns, and buildings after your friends and family members. Make sure your layout reflects your interests and travels.

10. Continue to add details and upgrade scenes. No layout is ever really finished – and that, Carl emphasizes, is a good thing!


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Easy to follow Lionel track plans.


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