Track & Ballast


Colors used: Dark Bluish Gray, Green, Light Bluish Gray, Tan

1 Straight Track

2 Straight Tracks

90 Degree Curve

Left Hand Switch

Right Hand Switch

Crossing Track

To transition between ballasted and unballasted track:

4 Track Gradient Change

9V vs Power Functions

Though the 9V system was discontinued in 2007, the club still operates a substantial number of 9V powered locomotives. As a result, we typically ensure the large outside loop of track is all 9V. While we prefer all track to be 9V, smaller inner loops may use plastic rail when coordinated with adjoining sections. Scared by the cost of 9V track on the used market? Don't worry, there are individuals in the club happy to loan 9V track for shows if you don't have enough.

Track Placement

Since track geometry varies from one show to another, detailed plans are distributed early in the planning process to ensure compatibility between modules. In general though, straight track is placed so that there are 4 exposed studs between the track and baseplate edge. No other elements should be placed on the track baseplates that would otherwise interfere with the operation of trains. Finally, consideration should be given for 6 and 8 stud wide trains, especially on curved track. Also, any elements flown over the track should be of sufficient height to not interfere with trains passing underneath. Our Track Clearance Guidelines address all of these concerns and likewise, all locomotives and rolling stock should be designed to operate within these constraints.


At this point, most participants in the layout have adopted the club ballast standard. However, to ease the transition for new members, ballast is optional. Members should coordinate ballast use prior to shows and in the event of a transition, the member who is using ballast should provide the necessary gradient change to match up with the adjacent unballasted track. To avoid traction issues, gradient changes should occur at a slope no steeper than one plate per two sections of track. Furthermore, if at all possible, gradient changes should be performed on straight sections of track to prevent derailments. Our 4 Track Gradient Change addresses both of these concerns.


Typical linear table module example.

Linear end table module example.

Wide table module example.