Multideck Design for Model Railroads

Tony Koester
Item #12837

Designing a new layout? Modifying an existing layout? Get more layout in less space by adding a second deck to your model railroad.

In this new book, Tony Koester works with other experts in the hobby so you get essential insights from some of the best-known modelers!

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Multideck Design for Model Railroads features all-new content covering the many methods for designing and building a multideck layout along with all the tried-and-true tips Tony Koester has gathered along the way. This go-to book includes many examples on lighting, construction, operation, and other facets of two- and three-deck layouts.

You’ll learn about:

  • Deciding whether a multideck layout will work for your space, time, modeling skills, and finances.
  • Dealing with grades and whether to include a helix.
  • Planning for sufficient aisles and benchwork widths.
  • Lighting lower decks and the layout room itself.
  • And more!

Tony’s broad experience and wide acquaintance in the hobby makes this a must-have book for anyone considering a multideck layout.

Author: Tony Koester
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 112
Author Bio
Tony Koester has written 10+ books on Model Railroading for Kalmbach. Tony spent a quarter of a century designing, building, and operating (with his friends) the Allegheny Midland, a freelanced coal-hauling HO railroad. He is now hard at work completing a multi-deck HO layout that accurately depicts the Nickel Plate Road's St. Louis Division as it appeared in 1954. Tony has been the editor of Model Railroad Planning, a special annual issue of Model Railroader, since its inception in 1995. He is a contributing editor to Model Railroader and writes the popular "Trains of Thought" column and numerous feature articles.
Table of Contents


A matured approach to layout design

Chapter 1: Defining the purpose

No sense making a big commitment unless you really need to

Chapter 2: A mature technology

Multideck railroads have been in operation for decades

Chapter 3: Key design considerations

Benchwork height and depth, getting between decks, backdrops, and more

Chapter 4: Then and now on the Nickel Plate

Comparing aspirations with realizations at the two-deck mark

Chapter 5: When stuck with lemons...

Multidecks are about compromises, so make the most of them

Chapter 6: The aesthetics

Ensuring that crew members, visitors, and you are comfortable

Chapter 7: Operating a multideck railroad

There will be twice as many crew members in the same aisles

Chapter 8: Multideck photo gallery

Scenes on railroads discussed in this book


In the new 112-page Multideck Design for Model Railroads, well-known author Tony Koester lays down his thoughtful ideas on how to double space on your layout. A one-surface model railroad, no matter how large it is, can be more impressive and at the same time double your model railroad's footage by adding another deck. As author Koester relates, reports from experienced designers, builders and users of multideck model railroads will “cheer you on, offer sage advice or throw a bucket of cold water on your aspirations.”

Koester, having had two decades of experience with his own multideck HO pike, presents in easy-to-understand text and numerous color photographs, the essentials of constructing this type of model layout. He suggests you define why you want this type of model railroad, explains that the concept is sound, helps you decide benchwork height and depth, compares what you want in this type of design and how it might play out, explains compromises, aesthetics, operation of a multideck layout and ends up displaying various photos of different multideck pikes.

Because building this type of layout can be demanding, having all the main components of this type of construction and operation clearly defined ahead of time, can save hours upon hours of work and many headaches. Thus this comprehensive publication is an essential stepping stone to a workable multideck layout. 

—Don Heimburger, Heimburger House Publishing Co.        

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