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NOTE: I'm in the process of updating the scripts that run the blog, so there will be changes made in the next few months. Comments no longer need approval, but you must be logged-in to view posts. If you want to become a member of this website, just click on the 'Sign-In' link on the menu bar for more information. Cheers, Rob.


Posted in Commentary by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, January 21, 2024 at 14:26:10 AST.)

Sunday, January 21, 2024

My New Layout Designs

For anyone wanting to see my new layout designs, please join my Facebook group. We have a lot of talented track planners and professional railroaders in the group. It's a great place to get some help and feedback on your next project.

Just a heads up. This blog is scheduled to move to a new server at the end of the year. I'm not sure how seamless that process will be or how long it will take my blog to be available to the public again. I will not be updating the site again until after the move is done. To stay informed during the transition, I suggest you join my JoMRD Facebook group. You can find a link to it on the menu bar. Thanks.

Views: 555 | Comments: 6



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, January 07, 2024 at 11:35:06 AST.)

Sunday, January 07, 2024

On30 SCALE: Cat Mountain Line

These two 2'x4' On30 portable modules were done for a client's freelanced Cat Mountain Line. The narrow gauge railway runs from a small seaport out into the mountains to a mine in the pacific northwest sometime between 1930 and 1950. My client wanted the layout to include a pier, single track car ferry, mine, simple...

2019.10.12D-001.gif (45534 bytes)

Views: 1723 | Comments: 0

TAGS: Design Feature: Modular Benchwork, Design Feature: Switch-Back, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Theme: Industrial Railway, Theme: Mining, Theme: Waterfront, Type: No Run-Around Track, Types of Industries: Coal Mines, Types of Industries: Wharves



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Thursday, December 28, 2023 at 19:19:47 AST.)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

HO SCALE: Rumington Industrial District

Back in December of 2021, a member on my JoMRD Facebook group, Gary Ruming (I named the track plan for him), introduced me to the Pompano spur in Florida, and I gave him some feedback and help with a track plan to fit his 66x96-inch space on 12-inch wide shelf. I was quite impressed with the area depicted in the prototype, and I wanted to create a...

2023.02.17F-[AB].jpg (180448 bytes)

Views: 999 | Comments: 2



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Monday, December 04, 2023 at 21:08:24 AST.)

Monday, December 04, 2023

HO SCALE: L-Shaped Modern Industry (ISL)

This was done as part of a challenge on the Micro/Small Model RR Layouts Facebook group to design a HO-scale layout to fit in a 6'x6' corner. For this attempt, I decide to go with a modern single industry. Although I didn't specify the type of industry depicted, it could easily work for a few types. The plan is self- contained, with a reasonable sized...

2020.03.08B-001.gif (37218 bytes)

Views: 4358 | Comments: 1

TAGS: Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Theme: Single Industry, Theme: Switching Operations, Type: No Run-Around Track



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, November 26, 2023 at 15:15:53 AST.)

Sunday, November 26, 2023

HO SCALE: Burnside Industrial Park (ISL)

Back in October of 2019, a client asked if I could design a modern switching layout for him in his very limited space. He then proceeded to say that he wanted a layout to fit in his 2x4-foot space, and he was wondering what I could do with it. Now, if you know me, I am always up for a challenge, but I also knew that such a space was...

2020.02.22A-001.gif (14938 bytes)

Views: 3659 | Comments: 8

TAGS: Design Feature: Folding Designs, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Theme: Industrial Park / District, Theme: Switching Operations



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 19:14:54 ADT.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

HO SCALE: Pel-State Industrial Lead

This modern era design was done for a client who is a professional railroader that wanted a modern era proto-freelance layout based on two industrial spurs in Shreveport, Louisiana where he works. The layout room was 10'6" x 11'6" and had a closet that needed access, but I could use a lift-out across both doorways. There are still a few...

2020.05.09O-001.gif (90270 bytes)

Views: 2224 | Comments: 2

TAGS: Design Feature: Continuous Run Option, Layout Size: Small Layouts, Theme: Regional / Short Line Railway, Type: Based on Actual Location(s), USA (States): Louisiana



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Friday, October 06, 2023 at 5:24:00 ADT.)

Friday, October 06, 2023

N SCALE: Norfolk Southern (Switching Layout)

This is a modern-era freelance Norfolk Southern N-scale switching layout loosely based on NS lines in eastern Pennsylvania. The track plan is designed to fit in a 8'8" x 11'8" L-shaped space using 18-wide shelves and 12-inch minimum radius. The design also has a continuous run option that will be used as...

2022.02.04B-001.gif (43134 bytes)

Views: 3249 | Comments: 8



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 6:30:48 ADT.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

HO SCALE: The Dixie Southern

The track plan was just completed for a client that wanted an HO-scale layout based on the Central of Georgia Railroad in south Georgia. It was to be based on the "what if" scenario that the Central of Georgia was still operating as an independent line in the 1970s. The L-shaped space was 6x10-foot and would fit along two walls of a small...

2023.02.21A-[AB].jpg (189664 bytes)

Views: 1133 | Comments: 2



Posted in Industry Database by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 10:59:11 ADT.)

Sunday, September 24, 2023

INDUSTRY DATABASE: Sunrise Baking & Milling Company (HO scale)

While working on a track plan for a client, I stumbled upon this little gem for a bakery complex. Modeling single industries has become an increasingly popular theme for modern-day industrial switching layouts (ISLs), but back in the day, it was very common for layouts designers to stuff as much track into a space as possible, sometimes not even...

2022.01.23A-001.gif (28915 bytes)

Views: 1384 | Comments: 2

TAGS: Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Theme: Single Industry, Types of Industries: Bakeries



Posted in My Projects by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 10:53:35 ADT.)

Sunday, September 24, 2023

PROJECT: Sydney & Louisburg Coal & Railway Company

I had a few inquires about the status of my Sydney & Louisburg Coal & Railway Company retirement layout, and a few other people asked for an update on the project. I currently have about 75% of all the materials needed to build the triple-deck design. I had to import almost everything from the US, and with the weak exchange rate, I already...

2020.02.03D-101.gif (56028 bytes)

Views: 2067 | Comments: 13

TAGS: Design Feature: Train Elevator, Layout Size: Small Layouts, Theme: Industrial Railway, Theme: Mining, Theme: Narrow Gauge Railway, Canada (Provinces): Nova Scotia, Canadian Railways: Sydney & Louisburg Coal & Railway Co, My Projects: Sydney & Louisburg Coal & Railway Co



Posted in Resources by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 10:50:31 ADT.)

Sunday, September 24, 2023

RESOURCE: 3rd PlanIt by El Dorado Software

I have been asked many, many times what software I use to create my track plans, and 3D renderings. For those of you that don't know, I have been using 3rd PlanIt by El Dorado Software exclusively for over twenty years. In those two decades, the program has never once failed to meet my requirements or my expectations. In fact, it has proven to include far more features than I will ever use. In the interest of full disclosure I should also mention that for the past year or so, I have been part of the development team that tests new versions of the software before the updates are released to the public. It has been an honour for me to be part of that group of people, and to see firsthand the dedication and effort the developer continually puts forward to roll out the best track planning software on the market today.

LINK: 3rd PlanIt Website

Views: 1336 | Comments: 8



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Friday, September 08, 2023 at 20:00:14 ADT.)

Friday, September 08, 2023

O SCALE: Southside Connecting RR

One of the members of my JoMRD Facebook group was looking for an O-scale track plan to fit his 2x14-foot space. Since I hadn't designed very many O-scale switching layouts for a small space, I figured that I would give it a hook. After just a few attempts, I came up with a rough draft that I liked. The track plan has 11 car spots, and has room...

2023.02.16B-[AB].jpg (253448 bytes)

Views: 657 | Comments: 1



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Friday, September 01, 2023 at 1:00:03 ADT.)

Friday, September 01, 2023

HO SCALE: Cascade Paper Recycling Plant

This track plan was done for a client back in December of 2021. When he contacted me, he was looking for a pulp and paper mill to fit in his 18x84-inch space. He also dropped a bit of a challenge on me to squeeze in as much track as I could, since his interests focused mainly on switching puzzles in the past. Since my client left the track type up to...

2023.02.21D-[AB].jpg (205415 bytes)

Views: 1191 | Comments: 0



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 19:13:49 ADT.)

Saturday, August 26, 2023

HO SCALE: Lake Superior Railway & Navigation

This modern-day HO scale layout was done for member of the Micro/Small Model RR Layouts group and his Lake Superior Railway & Navigation layout which is based on GN, DM&IR, and SOO on Michigan's upper peninsula. The owner wanted a car float and lumber transfer warehouses included in the design. I also threw in a small grain elevator (which could be bigger)...

2020.01.25K-001.gif (22178 bytes)

Views: 2773 | Comments: 4

TAGS: Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Staging Options: Car Float, Staging Options: Drop Down, Theme: Single Station / Town, Theme: Waterfront, Theme: Yard Operations, USA (States): Michigan



Posted in Articles by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 8:44:34 ADT.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

ARTICLE: The Sangaree Valley Railway - a branchline in a bedroom

It has been awhile since I bored you with the article on representing a branchline operation in a small room, so I thought I would mock up another design and discuss another favourite premise of mine. Some of you may be aware that I have quite a fondness for prairie branchline operations, and I have created a few designs over the years with...

2023.02.18A-[AB].jpg (189239 bytes)

Views: 1333 | Comments: 5

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