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CJ Freezer did '60 plans for small railways' and 'Track plans', which are both still available from Peco today. There's various versions produced over the years which you can pick up cheaply via eBay, and while each version isn't a total re-write (as many plans are carried over) there's still some variations and developments between editions. Look out for 'Plans for Larger Layouts' as well.


He also did 'The Model Railway Design Manual' (bung me a few quid and you can have my copy) which is more about general design aspects from a historical perspective - why sidings were placed where they were, different prototype aspects such as operation and signalling, things to consider when planning your layout, common mistakes, etc, etc. It includes a few trackplans at the back as well (10-15 maybe?).


He also did a PSL trackplan book with a darkblue cover – the exact name escapes me, I have a picture on my photobucket account but it’s not working this morning – which I think includes some of his best work as he explored basing designs on prototype locations and considered more the layout as a whole and not just the trackwork. CJ Freezer was always an operation fan, so his approach tended to be ‘cram as much trackwork onto the baseboard as you can’. Scenics tended to not go much beyond the railway boundary. With the PSL book he seemed to move a little bit more towards ‘a landscape with a railway’ instead of ‘a railway with some landscape’.


If you really want to go more in that direction, then Iain Rice is your man as if ever there was a trackplanner who believed in the layout as a whole then it’s him. He certainly opened my eyes to some alternative ways of designing layouts with things such as scenic ‘blocks’ (to hide the entrance to a fiddleyard for example in a much better way than the traditional overbridge) and to set the railway into the landscape more. When I’ve described these two in the past I’ve said that in a typical second bedroom CJ Freezer would have a four track mainline, huge MPD and three stations, whereas Iain Rice would have a single track branch and station and rolling fields. Two different approaches, and you have to decide which you prefer (or steer a middle course). Wild Swan publishes Iain Rice’s stuff.


Recently Peco have been overhauling their Setrack planbooks with Paul A Lunn now contributing much of the plans themselves and these are excellent, well worth purchasing. Ignore the setrack title, there’s very little here that can’t be used with flexitrack and the actual thinking around the layout concepts is very often superb (I did a review of the N gauge one here: http://www.rmweb.co....gauge-planbook/).


There’s the Santona series too (http://www.santona.co.uk/). I thought Paul Lunn’s Micro layouts book wasn’t as good as the Peco ones, but the Model Railway Planning and Design Handbook is an excellent read. Many of the authors involved with Santona are on this very website.


Finally from me, there’s Antony New’s Trackplan book (http://www.amazon.co...d_bxgy_b_text_b – other retailers are available). I’ve not got this, but Mr New published a series of his plans in Hornby Magazine in the first 12-18 months or so of that magazine's publication. Personally I don’t think he offers much over CJ Freezer, and as Messers Rice, Lunn, et al, have progressed layout designs and concepts this seemed like a bit of a throwback to an earlier age and the ‘get as much track onto the baseboard as you can’ approach. Of course, that may be exactly what someone is looking for, and the book itself may take a different approach to the Hornby magazine ones.



There’s some US trackplan books too, but I’ve no experience of those.

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Dear Dave,


Thanks ever so much for your detailed reponse. I see what you mean about the CJF stuff having dug them out. They are really crammed in aren't they! Not the Pendon kind of thing which I guess is where Iain Rice would take it? I would agree from the few HM ones I've seen that Antony New goes down this route too though there were mixed comments about the feasibility of some of these plans.


To be honest though for various reasons the feature of the layout I'm looking for is operation I think, so in some respects more running space and less scenery woudl work better - I can't have the layout out all the time. The Paul Lunn stuff sounds like a good look based on your review of it though.


I'm kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. Ideally I'd like a big hill that represents the peak district with a very small 'rowsley' at the bottom, a couple of stations with little goods yards and a lime siding so you could have traffic coming in from the South, being split in the sidings, then banked up the hill, but also pick up goods, engineering trains, local stoppers and through expresses (passenger and freight) plus the lime trains. I have a space say 12*7 but it's our dining room, work room, and way to the garden and outside with pram room...I guess you get the picture. So I thought of making something that I could put out and take down, kinda like scalextric (if that makes sense) I coudl either go with a dog bone starting in the middle, or an up and down. Or I could just say this will never happen and pick a 10*6 or smaller plan and go with that...But checking out those books will be a help. So thanks!

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