Interesting track plan, Tupper Lake & Faust Junction


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This plan appeared in the Handbook #15, Track Planning Ideas from Model Railroader, (58 track plans from past issues), multiple printings beginning in 1981.

I'm interested in posting a scan of that layout plan from my issue of that magazine, so that it might be discussed here on the forum. BUT, I can not find an active webpage reference to that track plan to make a definitive link to it.

So I suppose I can post my copy of the layout plan since I have gone to the trouble of trying to find an archived one, and I will give due respect to the original author/source

I am seriously considering modeling this plan with a few alterations, and would like to hear other opinions about the 'stock plan' as presented, and modifications that might be made.

Over the past few months I've been going back thru numerous articles I have saved over the years looking for examples I might consider for my new plan. Just a few days ago I ran across this one, and could find very little references to it on the internet. There were some 'archived references' to it on the track plan index of Model Railroader, but when I clicked on there nothing came up, sent me back to the home of the index.

I find this track plan VERY interesting, particularly when you consider the versatility contained in a 10 x 13 plan (with an extra little 'helix like' addition bump external to the main layout)


description by the designer, Leonard Blumenschine
The layout has two 'terminal locations', Tupper Lake and Faust Junction. Start from either terminal, follow the main line (ignoring the crossover at Big Wolf for the moment), and when you end up at the other terminal you'll find yourself putting your loco on a common turntable that links both terminals,...even though the terminals are distinct from each other in character and function, and are located more than 2 scale miles apart.

At first the road was planned purely point-to-point, about 140 feet of folded and twisted main line. It was only when I was laying the sawmill siding at Big Wolf that I discovered that the addition of one simple crossover would provide for continuous lap running as well. Whether a train makes one lap, or repeatedly uses the 'accidental crossover', it is always headed for the other end of the line, and it never has to pass directly through its destination or origination point along the way while building up mileage.

The accidental crossover creates a sort of dogbone pattern wrapped around the space and folded upon itself. In all, one lap is about 90 feet long....a scale mile and a half. If you continue to take the accidental crossover you could make quite a long trip out of it.

The common turntable idea absorbed the dictates and helped shape the design. By keeping the terminals necessarily close together it created an interesting looking island and walking space for operating purposes. By eliminating the need for two turning facilities (either a second turntable, or a space eating wye), it simplified and compacted the whole design, but left maximum of space for the mainline.
An interesting plan and one that should hold the interest, The "helix" shape is actually 3 return loops, one above the other. Not easy to work out if any are reversing loops or not. If you get a short circuit on the first run, I guess you'll find out.
I agree with Toot. It is an interesting track plan and will not only give you a lot of switching opportunities, but also allow for continuous running.

My layout was built mainly for switching as a point to point layout with a yard and engine terminal at each end. With the use of hidden staging tracks, I can also run trains continuously. Didn't know how much I would do that, but I do find myself letting trains run around the layout while working on projects on the layout. This lets me run different locomotives so none sit around. Keeps them lubricated plus when the grand kids or visitors want to see trains run, you can do that while having cversations about the layout.

Nice plan.
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I agree with Toor. It is an interesting track plan and will not only give you a lot of switching opportunities, but also allow for continuous running.
That was my thought as well. I've not been a big fan of all the switching work, but this plan will anticipate that eventuality should it emerge.

I also find the two long sidings provided on either side interesting. They might well allow for freight trains to pull over to allow passenger trains to pass,....multiple trains on same main lines. These trains might even be operated in opposing directions,...that would be an operating challenge.

My layout was built mainly for switching as a point to point layout with a yard and engine terminal at each end. With the use of hidden staging tracks, I can also run trains continuously. Didn't know how much I would do that, but I do find myself letting trains run around the layout while working on projects on the layout. This lets me run different locomotives so none sit around. Keeps them lubricated plus when the grand kids or visitors want to see trains run, you can do that while having cversations about the layout.

Nice plan.
I'm growing to like it more and more, even while it may force me to change from my original idea that I have invested considerable time in :confused:
Shameless plug: for especially where you want to run multiple trains on the same line and have them able to pass in opposite direction, without a lot of extra switches, blocks and insulating joints.= DCC control.
BTW it was drawn up for HO scale.

And yes I already have a wireless NCE set up, DCC is in my plans for this layout.

I've had some interesting observations about this layout design on another forum, and as soon as I get a little more time I will bring a few of those to this discussion, my reply(s)
Interesting concept, but really track intense. Every place is only a couple inches from a track. Would be very tough to scenic. Very much a "wedding cake" type of scenery.
The spaghetti bowl objection is pretty much a foregone "has to be accepted" result of constrained space modelling, if you want a good track run and industry/yard activity. In this layout's case, the wide open prairies are catered for in that triple loop section and the imagination. A "Busy" plan is it's best description. With several trains on the go, no lack of attention to be had. I remember one in MR mag a few years ago, much bigger than this one, of the Argentine Yard around 4 walls and that's all there was to it. The scenery was all building flats and corner scene dividers. (Road overpasses etc)
Double Track Mainlines

A few folks have suggested that I cut down on those double track mainlines and replace them with a single line (connecting the two reversing loops). Let me explain why I favor the double lines,...first an example...

A few days ago I had occasions to visit a layout up in Jacksonville built by a retired CSX fellow. Just prior to entered the room he told us of his basic idea during the planning.

He liked to run trains, and build and display freight cars/rolling stock. For that reason his layout primarily consisted of a double-track mainline all around the layout where longer trains could pass or run along one another, and a fair bit of yards and sidings where his rolling stock could be displayed on the tracks. His scenic efforts were 'delayed', but he was placing structures all around in anticipation of the 'scenic eventualities', that may come in the future, or get furthered delayed while he had fun with running trains and weathering locos and rolling stock.

...long narrow room...



Can you believe this room is only about 10 foot wide? (9'10" to be exact)
Double Track Mainlines

I am of a similar inkling as the CSX guy I just referenced. I like to run trains, and I like to see them passing one another in close quarters, either going in the same direction, or opposite directions. For that we need 'double tracks', or long sidings, or BOTH.

I'd like to see if I can get both, long sidings & dbl track,...which this layout does. I can well imagine one train leading the other at such a distance that it has gone around a loop of the helix area and is returning on one mainline while the following train is still on its way to the loop,....they pass in opposite directions on the 2 mainlines.

Want to complicate it a bit more, a third train could be waiting on one of those long sidings.

I can appreciate the criticism about the total number of tracks on a very narrow portion of the shelf, and the terracing of those tracks, and the lack of space for scenic elements. I offer in response,...
1) I believe I know how to eliminate one of those tracks on the narrow side of the layout.

2) I believe I know how to lessen the terracing effect there, and in fact hope to do so as I look forward to the 'passing effect' I spoke of before.

3) My shed will allow for a 11 foot wide layout verses the 10 foot wide original's plan, so I might add extra width to either shelf on each side.

4) There are many modular layouts, that we all see at train shows, that accomplish a lot of scenery in a relatively narrow space, (and most with double track mainlines). So I figure with at least an 18” shelf on that side, there are a number of 'structures/scenes' that might be added to original plan/idea.
V e r y I n t e r e s t I n g. My Garage is like that, about 9'10" and about 30 +'. Had some ideas on it once, but seeing it has to house 2 cars (small by your norm's), never got off the ground (or on the walls or floor). Don't think I'd want as wide a shelf as that, but the way I had one end, it had a center narrow peninsular down part of it for a large industry. Great to see someone else's "take" on the space. An extra foot would make that peninsular much more feasible.
Staging Tracks

Another of the criticisms is the lack of staging in the original plan. I agree, and particularly since I like to run a variety of trains.

I plan on having 6-8 staging tracks, and they will most likely be located below that central peninsula, and most likely accessed from a lowest loop in that helix structure.

One person has suggested some sort of 'transfer table arrangement' to access those individual staging tracks, rather than multiple switches (turnouts). Any ideas of what might be possible?
I can understand you wanting to see long trains running and passing each other. I can't do this on my home layout on a regular basis because it was build mainly for switching. For me a normal local train is anywhere from 10 to 14 cars. I can do this at the model railroad club that I go to.

During operating sessions, it is also opent to the public and we usually have numerous trains running on a dual main line. Some are longer trains of 50 or more cars with six to 10 trains running at the same time. I run a shorter train as the layout is of course DCC and the locomotives I have can't pull many cars on the grades that are on the layout.

It can get interesting when helper locomotives are tacked on the rear of long trains going up the grade as sometimes a train following may have to stop and ait for the helpers to back down the grade. At the club, longer trains have the right of way and they do have numerous passing sidings along the main line for shorter trains to duck into.

Visitors really enjoy seeing all og the action also. My only gripe is that they don't have any communications besides bellowing across the room for someone to take a passing siding or to throw a switch to move a train to another track. I have operated on huge layouts with sometimes as many as 20 trains running at the same time, but under control of dispatchers and wireless headsets for all operators.

I do enjoy watching these types of operations with many trains running and passing each other.

In this video you can see a pair of trains passing each other on the upper level in the background. It can get difficult to take videos during operating sessions as you have to be on your toes all of the time for meets.


Hidden staging tracks are really handy to have. For me it allows me to have continuous running on my point to point layout and as you mentioned, have the ability to park different trains out of sight. 6 to 8 long sidings is probably the best bet. trying to build a transfer table of any length could be quite a task.

Hope you can get the plan figured out.
There's a lot of track on the layout and the distance between the upper and lower levels maybe be difficult to scenic, other than a retaining(s) wall. Maybe too many tracks to be prototypical. The aisle seem to be a bit narrow even for one individual to be comfortable navigating. Just constructive criticism. I am sure that the double mainline is fun to watch several trains operating.

The showroom at Walther's has a display layout approximately 26 feet long and eight feet wide with a town and yard addition. The trackage is double main and the Walther's crew usually has two trains running on the double main. Some times in opposite directions. Great to show off new products as well as for train watching.

My smaller layout has a single main line, but I'll run two trains at a time and enjoy just watching the action. The trains usually have 5 - 7 cars and I run them slowly. I have a passing siding where I can spot a train and bring in another train down the 2.5% grade from the Saxeville exchange or as an alternative have a train leave the main for the Interchange. Trains entering the main from the Interchange must pass trough a crossover (reverse loop) to be able to run in the correct direction. This means the mainline traffic must stop to allow the new train to make the direction change. This all makes for interesting operation for a single or two operators.

Chet, great video from your club. Wow, what a passenger train!


Hi Toot,
So here are a few more of those photos posted here so you can see them.
I only took them very quickly as I was getting ready to depart for lunch, so they are only limited...




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Thanks for the additional photos. Quite the layout. I do agree with Greg on a couple of things. The layout is a bit crowded, but it's his layout, he's the boss.

The isles also do seem to be a bit narrow. If he's a lone operator, it probably isn't a problem. Narrow isles are a problem at the model railroad club I go to in Livingston. Some of us old guys have a tight squeeze from time to time passing each other in the isles. Just holler, "suck it in".