Small N scale track plan

Dean’s been back in touch with his small N scale track plan :

“Al, greetings from Dean in New Mexico,

A couple of weeks ago I sent in a blurb on the planning process for my next small N scale railroad.

After I saw it published, I realized I had only done half of the planning process.

Things I didn’t include: the towns and industries the railroad served, where it was located, and even its name.

So here are those details I have decided on.

My railroad is placed on a real river valley in southern Colorado, the Conejos (rabbit) River.

It connects with a still-active spur line of the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad that runs between Alamosa and Antonito.

Note that the very popular narrow gauge tourist railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, also starts at Antonito.

My fictional Conejos Valley Railroad runs from Conejos, through Fox Creek, to Platoro and serves the town of Romeo.

All these towns exist and (except for Romeo) are situated on the Conejos River.

My video includes more information on the history of the D&RG RR, its relationship to the Conejos River RR, and the influence of the Spanish migration from Mexico to the Southwest of the US.

Here’s what’s real: Platoro once had several thriving mines, but they shut down before 1900, and Platoro is now mostly a ghost town with no mining. Conejos, Colorado is only a few houses, and Fox Creek is a small tourist town serving campers who visit this area.

Here’s a map of the real towns along the D&RG RR between Alamosa and Antonito.

Small N scale track plan

On my imaginary railroad, Platoro is still a very active mining town and the towns of Conejos and Fox Creek are enlarged. I moved Romeo and turned it into a lumber center. Below is my track plan, reproduced from my earlier article. The siding at the lower right is the interchange to the D&RGW which can be used as a fiddle track to add and remove cars.

Small N scale track plan

Below is a 3D view of the plan which shows the elevation changes of the outer loop. (Rendered with the Atlas Track Planning software.)

atlas track planning software

Here is my new plan for the Conejos Valley Railroad (In green) which shows the actual D&RG RR (large red line), and Cumbres and Toltec (small red line).
Small N scale track plan

It’s important to include realistic buildings and industries in your mythical railroad, so here are photos of existing buildings that I will add to my railroad (taken with Google Earth).

buildings model train

That’s it for now. Cheers!


A big thanks to Dean for sharing his small N scale track plan.

When it comes to your layout, a little planning can go a long way.

But in the same light, I know some of you wing it all the way, and still end up with a fabulous layout.

Just me, but I think as long as you have a theme, your layout will turn out well.

Now on to Tom, who has made that all important start:

“I just started this layout in January this year. It’s on two 4×8 sheets off plywood and foam.


model railroad houses

model railroad houses

model train

model railroad

I always get mails asking why I post ‘half built’ layout. It’s because I like seeing them come to life, and also, making a start is the most important part…

A big thanks to Tom and Dean.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

3 Responses to Small N scale track plan

  1. Brian Olson says:

    Like the pics of the real industries, When traveling I often take pictures of them for possible use as part of backdrops.

  2. Rob McCrain says:

    Dean, I like how you researched the area of your railroad and created scenes reminiscent of the area. It is a very interesting area and I am a big fan of the Denver & Rio Grande RR. This is a perfect illustration of what can be done with n scale in a small space. Nice going.
    Tom, some of your scenery items are very well done like the bluff and cliff side. It was very wise of you to use the foam underlay beneath your track. It gives a good profile when ballasting and sonically isolates the track from the wood benchwork which cuts the noise transmitted into the boards. That way you hear the wheels and not the boards reverberating.
    All in all, two great examples of the hobby. Nice going,
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  3. Ken from Pa USA says:

    very nice layout Tom. Well done on the scenery.
    Dean I like the way you plan your layout and the research you put into it. Can’t wait to see it finished.
    An aside to your layout Dean. You mentioned the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. I had the opportunity to ride that scenic railroad in 2008. I travels through some beautiful country.

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