This layout, which took a number of months to construct (even though it’s only 4 square feet in size), had a few goals:

  • To use up the remaining model bamboo, agave, and palm trees I purchased for my Brazilian micro layout.
  • To use up the remaining XPS insulation foam used to build my Brazilian micro layout.
  • To fill in the gap under my Petra pizza micro layout.
  • To explore what is possible in a 2×2 feet / 600mm x 600mm space, that is more complex than the standard loop of track.

Locale

This layout represents a standard guage railway that mainly transports bamboo and some general freight between the bamboo plantation and the harbour, with some tourist trains to add interest. The locale is a fictional small island nation, somewhat near to the equator in the western Pacific Ocean, that grows bamboo for export and enjoys the usual amount of tourists (there is no airport, so they arrive by boat). The nation, which owns and operates the railway, is somewhat cash-challenged and has purchased all motive power power and rollingstock second hand ‘on the cheap’, mostly from Australian railways wanting to rid themselves of old motive power and rollingstock but also from anywhere else that such items can be procured as cheaply as possible.

Track Plan

I designed some track plans, some of them being derived from the traditional ‘pizza’ type track plan, some based on the late Carl Arendt’s ‘Square Foot Estate’ but in HO / OO, and some that are just ‘out there’. I had planned to build and use a CD turntable – basically a CD / DVD disk converted to a model railway turntable – but in the end I decided to go for a more sane approach. The plan I chose was this one, very similar to the late Carl Arendt’s “Square Foot Estate”.

There is a sector plate in the top right hand corner, with 3 tracks branching off it.

Scenery

After I ordered the motive power for the layout I spent a lot of time getting the scenery scenery done. The layout has the following scenic features:

  • A bamboo plantation.
  • A port area.
  • An old abandoned car on a hillside.
  • An old water tank.
  • Grass, bushes, tropical plants and other foliage.
  • A freight loading area.
  • A passenger ‘station’ (really only an area designated for passengers to join and leave a train).
  • A mountain range between the single track at the top of the plan and the next track down on the plan so that there are effectively two switching areas forming separate scenes.

Some photos of the layout, taken in mid November 2020.

To allow a locomotive and 2 wagons on the sector plate, which is only the length of a standard length piece of set track, I purchased HO scale X200 class NSWGR rail tractor, a very short loco. I had previously purchased 2 NSWGR ‘S’ trucks, short 4 wheel open wagons.

The loco and 2 wagons fit comfortably on the sector plate, meaning I can have a train of the loco + 2 wagons, a bit more interesting than a loco + 1 wagon!

For blog entries about this layout, go the Tropical Micro Pizza category.