HO switching layout plans

Dan’s been back in touch again with his HO switching layout plans:

“This installment of the Santa Fe layout has the switchers (shunters) at work. The layout has to earn its keep.

 model train grain elevator

Photo 1 The grain elevator has its own loco.

HO switching layout plans

Photo 2 New farm equipment arriving.

HO switching layout plans

Photo 3 Picking up a TOFC load. (Trailer on flat car)

HO switching layout plans

Photo 4 Moving machinery to the trans load facility. This is one of my very lightly weathered locos on my switching layout. I can do it. I just prefer not to do much weathering.

model train call box

Photo 5 It looks as there will be ham at a market soon. Also notice the trainman at the call box. He will be asking for permission for track and time to the yard.

moving caboose car

Photo 6 Moving a HO caboose.

HO switching layout plans

Photo 7 Loads on the way to a farm show. I used the date of the show to set the time period of the layout.

HO switching layout plans:

 diesel locomotives

Photo 8 Tale of two HO switchers. Both are Athaern locos. 2685 was 56 years old in 2015 when the other loco was purchased. The older loco was a kit. You had to build up the gear drive. The loco is still in service and is a little noisy.

ho scale switching track plan

HO switching layout plans

Photo 9 Switching in the industrial area of the layout.

HO switching layout plans

Photo 10 Scrap loads. I did removable scrap loads for a friend. His cars were “colorful” to say the least. His layout was featured in the post about the scenery on the helix.

model train trestle bridge

Photo 11 A road HO switcher on a work train doing repair work. (Road switchers had higher horse power, different trucks and geared for higher speed.)

model railroad car crossing

Photo 12 A special move. The load is on one flat car and an idler car on either side to allow space for the load to be moved.

HO switching layout plans

Photo 13 A close up look. I use #8 button thread to lash down the load. The thread goes through the stake pockets on the flat car and kept in place with super glue.

That is all for now. I have a few night scenes to post next before I move on to other layouts I have done. If Al lets me 8+)


A huge big thank you to Dan for sharing his HO switching layout plans and pics. And yes, please do keep ’em coming Dan.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do just mail me if you have anything you’d like to share.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

16 Responses to HO switching layout plans

  1. David Howarth says:

    Nice work Dan and all explained with the pictures and descriptions

  2. Delmar Servoss says:

    has a very clean look . thats good

  3. Brian Olson says:

    I’m expanding my N Scale switching layout, good ideas here. Thanks! I agree with others here, it has a “clean” look.

  4. John Philip Ruetz says:

    I agree with the very clean look. That was the first thing I noticed. Great job.

  5. Terry patti says:

    Amazing beautiful detail. Love the extended load with idler cars.

  6. donald wenzel says:

    Could you provide a track plan for your switching layout? I’m in the process of designing one for myself and from your pictures, I would like to incorporate some of your ideas into mine.

  7. George Zaky says:

    You learn something new every day-TOFC, idler car. Great looking locos working on a fabulous layout -Awesome.
    Much thanks for today’s show. Cant get enough.
    Big Al
    Hope you have a joyful day. Much thanks for your hard work.

  8. santafedan says:

    The track plan has been published before in a previous post.
    I am about to send some videos ans it will be in one of them.


  9. Rob says:

    A stellar example of beautiful track work. Contributes to the “clean” look everyone loves on this layout. Great Work!

  10. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice layout and scenery

  11. Clifford Foote says:

    Fabulous. Full of inspiration..

  12. santafedan says:

    Thanks, Al for finding the track plan.
    Well done.

  13. Andrew Aves says:

    Wonderful Layout Dan,
    Andrew in Oz

  14. bill palmer says:

    very nice

  15. Dennis says:

    That sure is a nice layout!

  16. Will in NM says:

    Great layout Dan! Very impressive overall detailing and thoughtful actions on the tracks. I’m also a Santa Fe fan and love the 1960 time period for your layout.
    Thanks for sharing.

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