Model Railroad Books

Shortlines You Can Model, Vol. 1

Imagine a shortline set in a tropical city where English is the secondary language, and trackside voodoo rituals are commonplace.  Palm trees, oppressive humidity, a narrow ship-clogged canal, and one-story pastel-colored structures with peeling paint and murals complete the scene.

Now, take that background image and overlay an arrow-straight, mile-long, spur worked by an aging SW8 in peeling mint green paint running down an often flooded right-of-way to serve a handful of industries clinging to the banks of the river.

Welcome to The Swamp Rat, Miami’s short-lived and largely forgotten, shortline.

This richly photographed and engaging backstory serves as a plausible fiction theme for the freelance shortline modeler.   The journey starts with the backstory.  It then moves on to the design and construction strategies needed to bring it to life.

Model Railroad Scenery Books and Model Railroad Switching Layouts

Scenery For Modern Switching Layouts

Because of their smaller size, switching layouts afford the luxury of being able to spend a lot more time detailing scenery. This model railroad scenery book is a dig deep dive into detailed scenery treatment along the industrial right-of-way and in industrial parks. It’s a start-to-finish, top-to-bottom, approach starting with composition and color treatment and moving on to soils, gravel lots, grass, track and ballast, underbrush, pavement, waterways, and backdrops.

Model Railroad Track Plans, Model Railroad Switching Layouts, Model Railroad Design

8 Track Plans For Modern Era Switching Layouts

Building on my popular switching layout series, 8 Modern Era Track Plans focuses on the modern era. Four of America’s great cities, Miami, Brooklyn, LA, and Baltimore serve as themes for the designs. Included are plans for: BNSF, UP, CSX, Florida East Coast, The Canton Railroad, and New York New Jersey Rail.

Model Railroad Design, Model Railroad Track Plans, Model Railroad Switching Layouts

How to Design A Small Switching Layout:  A step by step guide to designing the most versatile of all model railroad types.  Learn how to: set priorities, pick the best bench work shape, design secondary track, establish scenery zones, choose the best industries, and more!  Two bonus track plans included.  Concepts can be applied to layouts of all sizes.

Model Railroad Switching Layouts

How To Build A Switching Layout:  A prioritized, step by step, approach to building a switching layout with a powerful focus on the steps that create maximum visual impact.  No step left out.  Bench work, wiring, structures, scenery, details, and more!  To view a YouTube trailer about the book click here.

Model Railroad Operations

How to Operate A Modern Era Switching Layout:  The title says it all.  Everything you need to know to operate a modern era switching layout.  How to set up an operating session, car movement strategies, job strategies, prototypical paperwork, prototype rules and procedures, and more!  Bonus track plan an operations example included.

Model Railroad Design, Model Railroad Track Plans

How To Design A Model Railroad:

Organizing ideas into a working layout design is a challenge for modelers. It’s easy to try to do too much or to try to pack too much modeling into a compact space. This book will help you transform your basic ideas of what you want in a model railroad into a workable, realistic track plan and overall layout design that you can then build. This is a hands-on guide to designing and drawing a model railroad that will fit the available space and result in a realistic layout.

A wide variety of topics are covered, including:

  • Strategic planning
  • Benchwork and track plans
  • Design tools
  • Common pitfalls
  • And much more!

Published by Kalmbach.  Order your copy HERE.

Model Railroad Design

Model Railroading As Art:  Model railroading offers the exciting opportunity to be approached in the same way as any other branch of the art world. As such, the same principles can be applied to elevate your modeling efforts to new levels. Follow along as we delve into scene composition, color treatment theory, weathering, backdrops, layout room preparation, photography, and more! Click HERE to order.

Model Railroad Track Plans

8 Track Plans For Small Switching Layouts: Eight, easy to follow, track plans for building small but fun model railroads that will fit in a typical spare bedroom.  Each plan is designed to be visually inspiring, easy to build, and fun to operate.  Included are a port railroad, modern era themes, and themes from the 1950’s.

Model Railroad Track Plans

8 Realistic Track Plans For A Spare Room: Eight creative track plan ideas for your typical spare room.  Each plan is designed to be easy to build, fun to operate, and visually inspiring.  Explore themes such as a Milwaukee Road branch line, a Maine short line, an Appalachian coal branch, and the fictional Tulsa Belt.


Stucco and Pastels: A photographic journey through a sliver of America’s Casablanca – Miami’s western river district, produce district, and Allapattah neighborhood.  Tour faded pastel art deco structures surrounded by palms and live oaks, rail branches running through narrow, cracked streets, open air produce markets, and shipping channels reminiscent of a bygone era.