WR&N IV Animation: Working Model Train Layout

Doubtless one of the most ambitious—and subtle—pieces of animation is the working train layout in a hobby shop window. I've actually built three of them: a proof of concept unit that now resides on Rick Spano's Sceniced and Undecided, a final model that I still have, and a Z Scale version I'd made for the James River Branch.

The version pictured below is the final one I'd built for myself. It measures exactly four by eight scale feet. Given that it represents an HO Scale layout in N Scale, it works out to a modeling scale of 1:13,920. The principle of operation involves a small continuous belt driven by a pair of drums; attached to the belt are fingers that rise up through a slot in the miniature layout and carry the model train cars.

The layout includes a lighted station, water tower, through truss bridge, houses, factory with smokestack, tunnel, waterfall and river, road bridge, vehicles, and even telephone poles. It may look crude, but remember that it's only a little over a half-inch wide.

I'd prepared an article for publication, complete with detailed construction drawings, but no one would buy it—which comes as no surprise.

 

 

This video shows the proof of concept version on Rick Spano's layout.

 

 

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