One reason I built the original layout from MR’s plan is because it had an oval loop to run trains around if I so wished, but it also had quite a few switching opportunities even for a small 4×8, especially with some of my own changes to the original plan.
This new expansion also adds more industries, in fact, eight within about 19 feet total. Perfect if you like a switching layout like I do. In testing the switching capabilities in and out of all the sidings and running trains back and forth between both sides of the layout and between both yards, I ended up spending four hours in a session before I realized it.
When you’re working with 2×4 foot modules however, you have to plan your track layout carefully to take advantage of space, especially when you have a 2 ft wide space to work with. Tracks, locations, and scenes in general have to be condensed when you don’t have 3,000 sq ft and 36 inch radius curves to work with.
With this in mind, at the end of the left hand side of the layout, I had to squeeze tracks and switches in to accommodate the industries I wanted, and still make the trackage look prototypical, with a bit of flowing curves, which I think I’ve done.
I have a lot of tank cars, and one for now chemical hopper, so I needed a loading track plus storage track for an enlarged Allied Chemical, but I also needed a switch lead in here as well. All in 5 ft long by 2 ft wide. The solution? Come up with this layout pictured below.
You’ll notice, and I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the switch lead will only accommodate a small switch engine plus one car basically, to get in and out of the ladder, and sidings going into the baking company. This is why I planned to station my Alco S2 down here for this purpose.
Pulling one car at a time might be time consuming, but not if you like switching. It may be boring to some if you don’t like switching. I think it adds more time to a session, and more complexity to the whole operation, for you have to plan your switching moves more carefully. I believe it adds, and will add more interest.