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The Santa Maria Valley in N Scale

Building from an island, finding an "X"

A more complete story of this layout (and much better artwork!) are found in Model Railroad Planning 2004. A friend had built a small boat-shaped N scale 4'X10' layout in a smaller home, but upon moving to more commodious digs wanted to tie that layout into a larger around-the-walls shelf layout configuration. Since he was already interested in the California central coast region, the Santa Maria Valley Railway was a logical candidate for the expansion. I drew up the original plans with paper-and-pencil in 1995, but converted them to 3rd PlanIt for the MRP article.


I called the stub-end staging tracks facing each other "X-factor" staging in the MRP article, but I'm sure others have used them over the years. The handy part about the staging yards was being able to quickly back a train that had just finished its run into one of the staging yards back across the X into the opposite staging track quickly and easily -- restaging it for the next run.


The resulting 18'X20' plan was nearly all constructed and worked well. The X-factor staging tracks (which I stumbled onto in the first place) were a key to the design fitting into the space -- but we often wished that I had left space for a couple more staging tracks at each end. We had a great time building and having simple operations on the layout, but it was lost due to another household move.

Santa Maria Valley RR, N scale, X-factor staging, model railroad, layout

If you'd like to try your hand at operating the SMVRR, this layout has also been converted into a version for the Trainplayer program and is found on their website. Information is available on the current real-life SMVRR, and there is an SMVRR Historical Society.

And if you would like help with designing your own prototype or freelanced model railroad, let's talk!

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