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Caboose Park HO Scale Track Plan.

Caboose Park V

The Caboose Park Theme in a Basement

Track Plan At A Glance

Layout Theme: Scenic Railroad
Layout Type: Permanent
Size: 17'x22'
Scale: HO Scale
Era: 2000s
Track: Code 83
Turnouts: No. 6
Min. Radius: 24"

Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: February 7, 2017

For the final edition of the Caboose Park series, let's look at taking the theme of a scenic railroad operating caboose trains and how it could be placed in a basement space.  The room used for the trackplan is 17'x22' with a stairway entrance into the basement from the house, an exit doorway, and no windows. 

Just like the other plans in the Caboose Park series (Caboose Park I, Caboose Park II, Caboose Park III, Caboose Park IV), the plan at the beginning of the article is for a scenic railroad which operates caboose trains between a main terminal and a destination along a scenic route.

Around the Railroad

Overall, the railroad packs in about 70 feet of mainline (a little over a scale mile) in a loop to loop configuration. For the most part, the layout would be operated in a point to point fashion but the end loops provide the opportunity for a continuous circuit to run trains around the layout when visitors are present.

Going on a tour of the mainline, the base of the operations would be at main station on the outskirts of Hope Valley on the bottom right hand side of the track plan.  Here a small station and run around track are located along with an enginehouse facility.  A large parking lot is located behind the station giving train riders an opportunity to see the behind the scenes locomotive prep before boarding the train for the run over to the cider mill.

After leaving the main station, the ride would proceed through a small New England downtown scene before crossing Apple Creek.  Proceeding out of town, the mainline would swing through a wooded area and open farm fields.  Just before the cider mill, the mainline passes over Apple Creek again. The end terminal at the cider mill features a platform.

Track Plan Analysis

Compared to the first four plans in the series, this plan feels wide open due to the larger space.  The longer mainline run provides an opportunity for a train to stretch its legs a little bit and to take a fair amount of time to go from the main station to the cider mill.  Just one cycle around the railroad can take upwards of 45 minutes to an hour if following prototype practices - mimicking many scenic railroads almost exactly.

A disadvantage of the larger size layout space is that some costs are added to the layout compared to the smaller versions of the railroad.  With the additional amounts of trackwork, buildings, and details which need to be added to the railroad, the budget can grow fairly quickly.  In addition, more time would need to be invested to bring the layout to a high level of detail compared to the smaller versions of the railroad.

Given the basement size space, it seems clear that an HO (and probably an N and even O) scale version of the layout would adequately provide a model railroad which would capture the essence of a caboose train scenic railroad.


I hope you've enjoyed this design series and given you a chance to think about how a particular layout theme can be fit into a variety spaces using different scales and design techniques.  As can be seen, it is possible to align a theme to a particular space, budget, timeline, and skill set with a little thoughtfulness.  If you haven't started your next layout, going through this exercise of trying your preferred layout theme to different condition can be a useful method to help sort out what is and isn't important to you in your next model railroad adventure.

Prototype Resources

For Track Plan Tuesday's, I am digitizing all of my old track planning notebooks and sharing the designs here on the website.  To see all the plans, visit the track plan home page at: jimspavins.com/jimstrackplans.  Follow new track plan announcements at: facebook.com/jimstrackplans

Caboose Park Case Studies

Evolution of a Layout Theme

Caboose Park I
Scale: O Scale          Size: 12'x18'

Caboose Park II
Scale: HO Scale          Size: 12'x18'

Caboose Park III
Scale: O Scale          Size: 8'x8'

Caboose Park IV
Scale: HO Scale          Size: 12'x12'

Caboose Park V
Scale: HO Scale          Size: 17'x22'