In the first of a new series looking at different track plan designs that you can use for your model railway, we start with one of the most popular, easiest to build yet most versatile layout formats — the end-to-end or point to point layout.
In end-to-end designs, the track runs from one station or terminal to another. For railway modellers, they have the advantage that it provides a complete self-contained railway system rather than just being part of a larger circuit for which you need to imagine what lies beyond your layout boundaries. They also take up the least space, whether your’re working in Z, N, OO / 4mm gauges or larger.
The plan below shows this versatile concept in its most basic form — just a straight section of track with stations at either end — but the fun of this type of layout is that it can be added to even in its simplest form, with points of interest between the ends.
You can supplement it with extra track and buildings to give sidings, bigger stations, loading areas for industrial zones and engine sheds for added appeal and interest.
The track plan here, for example, is of one of the layouts by my local model railway club (the Astolat MRC) that shows what’s possible. It features station, engine and goods sheds, cattle loading docks, level crossings and a viaduct!
Watch this video of another OO gauge point-to-point track plan for more ideas.
They can also fit a variety of surface areas. Obviously, they’re ideal for narrow rectangular spaces but there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate curves or S bends between the two ends to fill L or square shaped spaces with a plan like this:
More ideas can be found in Peco’s 60 Plans booklet. Although small, the 60 plans within it will give you plenty of ideas for your layout.
For me, the easily expandable nature, variety of possible features, small space requirements and self-contained nature make end-to-end designs the best layout. It’s only because my current layout was based upon a prototype design that fitted which an oval track plan, which I’ll cover in future, that I didn’t choose it for my current model railway.
What buildings and industrial settings would you feature on a point-to-point layout?
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.