Scaling back the track arrangement on my 4×1 feet HO scale Box Street micro switching layout to be more similar to the track plan that inspired it and re-arrangement of industries.

A few days ago, I was contemplating my Box Street micro layout, and thinking about how I can improve it. I was initially thinking about a totally new track arrangement based on a Peco 3 way turnout, but when I saw how much they cost I decided against that idea. I looked through the Carl Arendt authored books I have for small and micro layouts, and I happened upon the Boxer Shortline plan on which my Box Street layout is based. After a bit of thinking, I decided I would change the track arrangement on the Box Street layout to be more like the Boxer Shortline plan. Here are the reason why I decided to do that:

  • No extra cost to buy more track.
  • Simplifies the track arrangement.
  • De-clutters the layout.

The proposed track arrangement would be almost identical to the Boxer Shortline plan, except for one extra spur in the ‘ interchange yard’ area.

Revised track plan

Two of the spurs would be removed, and replaced with scenery, and the location of industries changed to suit the new track arrangement. Here is what it looked like before the changes were made.

Industries: Left: multi-industry building & Jaxxs Snaxxs; Centre: South Chicago Flour & Grains; Right team tracks. The Hot Mix Asphalt plant at the centre front of the layout can also receive cars, but they either foul the double slip or use the Jaxxs Snaxxs spur.

After the industries in the back centre and back right of the layout and un-needed trackage was removed, and the existing track re-aligned and a turnout installed to replace the single slip, it looked quite bare.

But it wasn’t long before the changes were complete, thanks to a Monday afternoon that I could dedicate to making the required changes.

Industries: Left: multi-industry building & Jaxxs Snaxxs; Centre: team track; Right: South Chicago Flour & Grains.

In the process of making the changes, the abandoned building that was next to the team tracks was removed, and some grassed areas were added where spurs and buildings were previously.

Operationally, it will be a little different to how it was before. The capacity of the spurs has been lowered by 3 cars. But there is still room for about 6 cars in the various industry spurs, and 4 in the interchange yard. Although now the runaround track is also the track that serves the team track so that will make the layout more of a switching puzzle than it was before.


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