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HO scale Baltimore Harbor District

By | September 1, 2017

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Baltimore harbor District
Baltimore harbor District
Wagners Point (Updated from the December 2015 issue)
Carroll Street on the Baltimore Harbor District (Update from the October 2017 issue)

Name: Baltimore Harbor District
Layout designer: Paul Dolkos
Scale: HO (1:87.1)
Size: 17 x 29 feet (in two rooms)
Prototypes: Baltimore & Ohio, Canton RR, Pennsylvania RR, and Western Maryland
Locale: Baltimore
Period: 1955
Style: linear walkaround
Mainline run: not applicable
Minimum radius: 24″, except 18″ and less on some spurs
Minimum turnout: no. 6
Maximum grade: 2.5 percent leaving staging, otherwise level

Originally appeared in Model Railroad Planning 2010.
Carroll Street originally appeared in the October 2017 Model Railroader.

Click on the links to download PDFs of these track plans.

25 thoughts on “HO scale Baltimore Harbor District

  1. My new Mac does not support ashx file format. How do I see any of the plans in the database?

  2. Richard when you click om the file to download it have the system save the file instead of opening it. Then in the save as line change the file type from ashx to pdf. It will open when you click on the file name after that–Larry

  3. harbor and dockside operations with the trains is my favorite type of layout. xcellent job.

  4. I really love this website , I had learned alot of things , Now I havn't start yet just learning and read .
    When should I start?

  5. Great layout-I'm from Annapolis, MD and wondered where the layout represents proto-typically in B-more.
    Enjoyed the hobby since 1971-1st trainset "Fleischmann" Nuremberg, Ger. Santa fe Freight consist now accompanied with over 200 engines and 500 other freight and passenger cars. This layout addition will make my day when I add it to my present HO layout 21' x 8' [my 1/2 of the garage]. The attention to detail makes it easier to copy.

  6. Charles Nicholson,
    I presently live in a 2 bedroom apartment, I work for myself and that means that I use the second bedroom for office space. My office also shares space with my around-the-walls switching layout. I was inspired by an article in the May, 2001 MR by Johnathan Jones titled "Big City in a Small Apartment" . This 2' X 10' switching layout suggests that you can build a layout anywhere. Where there's a will there's a way!

  7. Ive used part of this layout in my layout. I model western US RRs(BNSF,SP,BN) and Swiss european which is Tarn valley bridge used as a a RR bridge instead of roadway A75 which runs from Paris to Barcelona. A 1500 ft valley is not easy to model–reminded me of John Allens layout in Monterey.

  8. Nice work and without doubt will keep operators very busy. It is already a large layout. With more space or possible compression a person could add the sprawling (in 1955) Sparrows Point Bethlehem Steel plant which is just outside the harbor. Also Fort McHenry is across the water from Canton. The icing on the cake would be the B&O roundhouse which is now a museum. I am self employed in transportation and work in Baltimore most mournings. This is truly a gold mine for modeling my friends. Nice topic MR and Paul.

  9. You should have a little ME somewhere on your layout, as I was born in '55. 🙂 I believe a portion of the area is called Highlandtown and Canton. I spent good days there in the 70s/80s and Paul has done a great job reproducing the area.

  10. Nice layout. When I get started on mymlayout I will possibly use some of this. I was born in Baltimore and worked down in this area alot. It sure has changed since the 70's

  11. I have gone to the track plan archive on your web site but all it shows is the picture with some info about the tracks that you use, but I was wondering where the complete info is about the track plan


  13. Baltimore is good for modelling as it’s a fall line city, so it goes from ‘dockside’ to foothills in a few miles. Several railroads can be run close by each other without too much of a stretch of reality: B&O, PRR and Ma & Pa. Also, Custom Model Railroads is a Baltimore company that makes HO and N scale kits of many landmark ‘Charm City’ buildings all the way from several row house styles to Penn Station.

  14. Its asking for comments on the ‘article’, but I don’t see where to read the article?
    I did get the track plan down loaded.

    I lived up in that Annapolis, Balt, DC area off and on for a large part of my life, and now I retired to Fl and Thailand. I’m currently making plans for a new layout to fill my 12×16 HandiHouse shed in FL. I like a lot of B&O and C&O steam engines, and I like all kid’s favorite Santa Fe diesels. So I tell people my model railroad spans the steam-diesel era, and it stretches from the east coast to the west coast,…so I can run all of these RR lines. The east coast city backdrop that will be behind the turntable/roundhouse will be BALT. and it will have some depiction of that iconic Bromo clock tower and the Mount Royal train station. And on that same lower level (dbl-decker) it will likely have a blast furnance (Balt was a steel town), and some sort of small harbor (already have the B&O tug bpat and carfloat). I think I even have a very nice brass model of a Docksider loco that use to work that waterfront.

    Yes Balt makes a good backdrop for model railroading.

  15. Interesting that this track plan has never been updated to show the actual plan constructed, as shown on pages 40-41 of the Dec 2015 MR. Spurs to the dock and oil facility have no crossing, and the two tracks in the center merge to a single track rather than longer tracks with a crossover. Yard throat is simpler, too.

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