new model railroad build part 2: transfering the track plan to the layout

When I built Scenic Ridge, I had it easy. The kit from Woodland Scenics came with 3 sections of styrofoam with the track plan already printed on it, which made it easy to lay the track. This time around, I would need to figure out how to transfer the plan I’d designed in xtrackcad (a free track planning software package) full-size to the layout benchwork. After some investigation, I discovered that xtrackcad could print the plan full-size, breaking it into 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. It would also print the outline of the roadbed on the plan. I dumped it to a PDF file, then sent it to OfficeMax to be printed (doing so was much more cost-effective than using up a ton of ink in my own inkjet printer).

When I picked up the track plan, I had 72 sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

The full-size track plan… I never really liked puzzles.

Each sheet of the plan had index markings and measurement markings to aid in getting everything lined up properly. I proceeded to lay the sheets out on the layout, taping them together as I went.

full-size track plan in place

Once the plan was placed, I used a sharp utility knife to cut along the roadbed lines, removing the excess paper. This left just the actual track plan on the benchwork. I then traced the edges with a black sharpie, marking out where the roadbed would go.

Cutting the track plan out.
The track plan all cut out
The track plan cut out. Test-fitting a couple of yard/loco facility structures.
I traced the paper track plan with a sharpie. I also cut through the track plan where turnouts were indicated (leaving a scored line in the foam) so I could then go over that with a sharpie.

Once the track plan was transferred to the foam, it was time to start gluing down roadbed.

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2 thoughts on “new model railroad build part 2: transfering the track plan to the layout”

  1. HELP! I am in desperate need to have my drawing built on like Xtracad program so that I can take it to Office Depot and print off the sheets. Would you like to make some extra Christmas money by chance?????????

    1. Hi Steve. Sorry for the late reply. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have time to do work like this. There are some great xtracad tutorials on youtube. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not too difficult.

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