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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 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: 1622 | 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: 2268 | 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: 1462 | 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: 809 | 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: 1339 | 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: 2953 | 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: 1580 | Comments: 5



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, June 06, 2023 at 15:19:52 ADT.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

HO SCALE: Brownville & Ashland Railway

This design was done back in February of 2019 for a client who had plenty of high end custom locos and freight cars that he wanted to showcase on the layout. The layout was to depict a modern day paper mill setting in a remote part of Northern Maine. Boxcars would transport raw pulp wood and bales of recycled scrap paper into the mill...

2020.01.05B-001.gif (28156 bytes)

Views: 4482 | Comments: 2

TAGS: Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Staging Options: Drop Down, Theme: Single Industry, Type: No Run-Around Track, USA (States): Maine, Types of Industries: Pulp and Paper Mills



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Friday, May 26, 2023 at 8:45:44 ADT.)

Friday, May 26, 2023

HO SCALE: Westbury (Urban Industrial Area)

This design has a bit of a back story to it. Back in March of 2017, a client of mine was looking for suggestions for an urban industrial area on his HO scale layout. His only request was that the area must include a few tall brick buildings, and have a downtown small city feel to it. After searching online for a few ideas...

2019.10.12H-001.gif (26302 bytes)

Views: 3705 | Comments: 8

TAGS: Design Feature: Urban Scenery, Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Theme: Industrial Park / District, Theme: Single Station / Town



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 14:11:26 ADT.)

Sunday, May 21, 2023

HO SCALE: Vandelay Industries (Single Industry Inglenook)

This HO-scale design was done for a client that wanted a small layout that he could practice his skills on before attempting a larger layout. He wanted a design that included as many aspects of modeling in a small space as I could possibly squeeze in. Initially, he only wanted to use a 12-inch x 60-inch board, but I convinced him to move up...

2020.01.19A-001.gif (23037 bytes)

Views: 5301 | Comments: 10

TAGS: Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Staging Options: Cassette Staging, Theme: Single Industry, Type: 2 Turnout Layout, Type: Beginner Layout, Type: Inglenook, Type: No Run-Around Track



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 2:03:58 ADT.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

HO Scale: Hiseler-Johnston Manufacturing & Fabrication Co. Ltd.

This was done for a client back in January 2018. The original was done in a 4-foot long space with an hidden 36-long sector plate. But for this version, I used a 3-way turnout to eliminate the sector plate. I had started the 3D work back in 2018, but it was never completed until recently. This is a pretty relaxed plan with lots of room for...

2023.02.17C-[AB].jpg (222383 bytes)

Views: 867 | Comments: 0



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 8:04:49 ADT.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

HO SCALE: Coastal Industrial Park

This design was done for a friend of mine that really liked my Northside Industrial Park track plan, which done in a 1'4" x 9'0" footprint. My friend had a shelf that was 2'0" x 16'0", so a great deal of extra square footage was added to the original after the expansion. With more width available, I was also able to...

2023.02.17E-[AB].jpg (178867 bytes)

Views: 1503 | Comments: 2



Posted in Structure Plans by Rob Chant. (Updated Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 8:02:40 ADT.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

STRUCTURE PLAN: Lineside Shed (Small)

At one time, small lineside sheds like this could be found everywhere since it is a very simple structure that would be common to many railways. Even today, if properly weathered to a dilapidated condition, it could still find a home on a modern layout. It could be used for a small section house or yard office, a tool shed, and even a hard cart...

2020.01.04F-001.gif (24149 bytes)

Views: 1038 | Comments: 3

TAGS: Structure Plans: Small Sheds / Buildings



Posted in Resources by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, May 07, 2023 at 11:18:40 ADT.)

Sunday, May 07, 2023

RESOURCE: Get Maps / topoView

I want to make you aware of a resource I have been using to do some preliminary research on US rail lines for the last few years. It is called Get Maps / topoView, and is a service that lets you explore historical topographical maps in the US. (Link included below or click on the image.). To start, you just type in the location and state abbreviation in the search bar at top right. Once the software finds your location, the viewer will show all maps available. You can narrow your choices down by scale (I find the 1:24,000 topo maps the most useful) and the timeframe you want. Once you see the map you want on the list, select it and download it to your computer. (You must download the maps to see the rail lines. The map on screen is just the index map.) The best choice for download is the GeoPDF format (if available), and my next choice would be the GeoTiff. If you just want to do a quick download to see if the map is what you want, use the JPG format.

2020.01.04D.gif (9097 bytes)

LINK: Get Maps / topoView

Views: 1171 | Comments: 4



Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Updated Sunday, May 07, 2023 at 11:14:07 ADT.)

Sunday, May 07, 2023

On30 / On2 / Sn2 SCALE: Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad

Anyone that is familiar with my interests will know that I have a fondness for Maine 2-footers. While the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway is my favourite (and I also have another unfinished design based on that line as well) this design is of the longest 2-footer: the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad (SR&RL). This is another design that...

2020.03.08C-001.gif (206054 bytes)

Views: 1148 | Comments: 3

TAGS: Design Feature: Helix, Layout Size: Large Layouts, Theme: Maine 2-Footers, Theme: Narrow Gauge Railway, Type: Based on Actual Location(s), USA (States): Maine, American Railways: Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR

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