Designing the Squarefoot

The objective

To develop the smallest possible model layout that would represent a
complete, working railway in G scale. Extreme narrow gauge was permitted!

The constraints

Minimum radius was 6 inches; the equipment couldn’t handle
anything less. There obviously was no room for a turnout (track switch) as it
would take up too much room. Required operations were: loading cars, hauling
cars at least a moderate distance, and delivering freight to some destination.

The solution

Use a sector plate (a swinging, turntable like section of track)
instead of a turnout to switch from track to track. Provide a “Backstage” area
to operate the layout, store cars and represent the “rest of the world”.

The final design came out as an 11×14 inch layout, with pieces cut out
that brought the final size to 139 square inches. It looks like this:


And it works like this. You can see this sequence in action
in the SFER video clip, “Workin’ on the Squarefoot“.