ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Lance Mindheim – Discover His Secret: A Review of “How To Design A Small Switching Layout”

Updated on December 22, 2011

Lance Mindheim can help you finally get a layout with your spouse’s blessing. You talk about taking over the entire basement for your dream layout. Your spouse says no. You beg for a small room on which you can close the door so the layout bothers no one. The answer is still no. You pull out How To Design a

Lance Mindheim Techniques

Why? In his book, the master of custom layout design, Lance Mindheim, advocates a few simple principles so layouts can co-exist peacefully with the rest of the household. The most important of these is using a shelf layout occupying only a corner or two of the room. The shelf width ranges only from 12 to 24 inches, and is mounted close to eye level, allowing room for furniture underneath. Lance Mindheim also suggests decorative framing and lights, making your creation look like a work of art.

Lance Mindheim Sample Railroad

Well, those principles satisfy the ruler of your household, but what about you? Lance Mindheim addresses hobbyist concerns with an HO sample layout that is a 10 x 10-foot L-shape, with an 18-inch width, no grades, and a 24-inch minimum radius. He offers step-by-step procedures, with the first half involving planning. Here, Lance Mindheim discusses strategic concerns that include writing down your interests and time, setting the benchwork footprint, selecting industries and roughing in their locations.

In the second half of his process, Lance Mindheim talks about track planning. He specifies elegant and simple runs, with no return loops. This may disappoint train watchers, but allows more track and scenery in smaller spaces. Add enough turnouts to handle the planned industries, and you get hours of operational interest. Lance Mindheim even leaves room on one end for a six track yard, so those who collect freight cars have a place to display them. An optional one-track staging area can attach to one end of the example, so foreign engines can be brought in and out as needed.

Lance Mindheim's book
Lance Mindheim's book | Source

Lance Mindheim Conclusions

Aside from many full-color diagrams and photos, Lance Mindheim offers numbers for measurements and standards honed from years of experience. For example, he recommends a minimum of 1.25” between a track and the front edge of a layout, with 2.5” to 3” being better. These specific recommendations tell me that Lance Mindheim knows what he’s talking about. (You can check out the Lance Mindheim website for more information about his activities.)

The book is pricey at $21.95 for only 68 pages. And the fonts are large, with lines of text running uncomfortably long across the page. Lance Mindheim was obviously trying to fill up space for this self-published effort. But he could’ve done so with more layouts beyond the main example, and two bonus plans, which oddly enough, have no description or commentary.

Lance Mindheim and his book “How to Design A Small Switching Layout” gets high marks for me because of the useful tips and information found nowhere else.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks Danette. I just like the hobby a lot. You guys can probably set up a permanent Lionel train layout if you wanted, though it does take a lot of space.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      I haven't read your other train hubs yet (linked over from your recent forum question) but it sounds like you are quite knowledgeable. My husband still has a Lionel train set that he got when he was a kid in the 1950s. We've had it set up at various times over the years, but mainly when the kids were little. Voted up


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)