New Haven Layout – Start Here

I often get asked about my layout, track plan etc so here are the key facts:

  • The layout is based on the New Haven but not one specific location in New England
  • I am still not set on an era and may have 3 main dates. My problem is wanting steam and diesel plus I do like some of the later diesels…
  • There’s a port, city, steam servicing yard and a pretty upper branch.
  • It’s in a room 12’ square
  • It’s triple deck
  • The bottom deck is 26” off the floor and is a storage level only
  • The main deck has a peninsula and the track is 36” off the floor
  • The upper deck is between 49.5” and 56” off the floor
  • the trains run out of the storage yard in a folded over figure of eight track plan. They pass each other behind the steam servicing yard which is very hard to reach
  • The maximum grade is 3.1% and I will never add a curve to thatin future as some trains struggle up it, especially steam
  • I started this layout in 2009
  • No one area is complete and progress has been slow!

Here are a few quick links if you want to find out more:

Track plans
Track plans
Layout Tour 2017
Layout Tour 2017

8 thoughts on “New Haven Layout – Start Here”



    You are no worse than many of us. Have you thought of running heritage steam – modern time steam can visit your part of the world.

    Inspiring, but the grade sounds like a challenge.

    Really enjoy your posts and information. Thank you.



    1. Hi George

      I could do preserved and I’ve had friends do whole amazing layouts around the theme.

      Would never recommend the grade on a curve to anyone!

      Thanks a lot for commenting.


  2. I have a grade on my layout also that some of the steam engines had issues with. I used a product that sells here in the US call Bull Frog Snot. It a liquid product applied to the main drive wheels fort traction.

    1. Hi Peter

      I put bullfrog snot on two of my locos and now they pick the points and derail. I need to take it off them and try again. I think the driving wheels are quite fixed up and down and this is enough to cause problems. I may try snotting a different wheel.

      I’m glad it works for you.


  3. As far as your era of modeling it could be that crossover point between steam and diesel.
    I work on constructing my layout after track is laid by doing the hard to reach areas first.Then start at one end and work your way around to the other. It’s hard not to get distracted by doing this and that in other spots. I make a list for the current section I’m working on and try to stay focused on it.

    1. Peter

      The crossover is a natural point to do but New Haven was dieselised by 1951 and I like some of the diesels from later periods. I tend to stop at 1960.

      I was very focussed but when you’re getting a video out every week, it derails normal modelling. You often end up not finishing things once the video’s done as you need to get on to the next one.

      I quite like jumping about as otherwise I get bored of trees!



    Why do you worry about the era? It’s a hobby and this hobby should make you happy. You do excellent work Kathy, I have forwarded some of your videos to my friends and we all agree on this. If you have my disease, ECS (Era Creep Syndrome), there are ways to deal with it. My personal favorite is to build the structures for your steam era/transition era time frame, and then when the urge to model later power comes over you, just swap out the details which are no longer proper. Vehicle swapping and freight car swapping are the easiest ways to accomplish this. Make a few signs to do the same thing, billboards which are era specific would be simple to do as an example; automobile advertisements being quite era specific and easily recognised. Gasoline station pricing is another indicator of the time period.

    Oh, and I too have some hard to get at track, I placed rerailer tracks between each section of flex track through that area just in case, this evidently works as I never seem to have issues through that hidden area. I say do what makes you happy. On my Arizona Southern RR I have a mid 1970’s theme, but we are also a rolling museum of sorts and have steam excursions and steam freights for photographer specials as the mood strikes. The structures are old enough to be at home in the later 1950’s and 1960’s but I have trading fodder stored and just put in on the tracks for whatever era I feel like running. Same with my delivery trucks and automobiles. I hope this helps you some. Best wishes!

    1. Hi

      There’s some great ideas in there. I may add rerailers to my storage yard as that’s at the start or end of all the issues. My big problem when I started running after a few years off was the turnouts being reluctant to throw and causing derailments. They’ve largely freed up now which has helped.

      I like the idea of swappable cars, billboards etc. All easy to do. I probably should also block my trains in eras.

      Thanks for writing



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