Catskills HO-scale Track Plan

This is a presentation of a small HO-scale (1/87) layout plan, created in SCARM and sent by Clive “Ace” Ellis via e-mail.

The track plan consists of a single line, arranged as two overlapped loops in very compact space.

  • Dimensions: 1220mm x 762mm (48″ x 30″)
  • Epoch/Era: any
  • Trackwork: Atlas HO
  • SCARM project file: n/a

Below are shown the 2D track plan and the 3D overview, generated by SCARM (click over them to enlarge).



Catskills – SCARM 2D track plan


Catskills – SCARM 3D layout

And here is the description of the layout, as written by Ace.

This “Catskills” track plan was originally drawn by the late Carl Arendt and shown on his excellent micro-layouts web site some years ago. I’ve redrawn it in SCARM and configured scenery in 3-D to best fit with the track arrangement. I’m sure Carl would have enjoyed the great layout planning possibilities with SCARM.

Carl’s micro-layout version was 18″ x 32″ with 6-inch radius curves, for HO or N gauge track. My version uses HO track with 10-inch minimum radius curves to create a compact layout only 30 x 48 inches. I’ve used “easements” on the tight curves as much as possible. I often run typical American-prototype freight cars up to 40 foot length on curves down to 10 inch radius, with smaller 4-axle diesel power.

SCARM is really excellent for visualizing 3-D scenery. After putting down the track and specifying bridges and tunnels, I further contour the scenery with irregular transparent polygons, and click the “Snap terrain to bottom” option. This takes patience to build multiple contour lines at different elevations, like the contour lines on a topographic map.

SCARM sets minimum radii for flex-track, but the author has an easy hack if you want to go sharper as I have done. Here’s an example of how to do this: Open SCARM, put down a single piece of Atlas-HO-100 flex track, save the SCARM file. Re-open the file with Notepad (right-click over and use “Open with” menu item), and you see the SCARM data in text form. The fifth parameter, the number 350, specifies the minimum radius in millimeters that SCARM will allow for that piece of flex track. Using Notepad, you can change this to a smaller number — but not too small as the program might crash. Re-open the file with SCARM, and you can re-shape that track as desired. Copy and paste to make additional pieces of flex-track, which can all be individually re-shaped with the modified minimum radius spec.

Thank you, Ace, for showing us your nice HO-scale project :)

See also
Track Plan of Multi-Gauge Display Layout (O, HO and N scales)


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