Model Railroad Design Service


Now available, my latest book, "How to Design a Model Railroad Layout"  (Kalmbach Publishing)

Capture Your Vision

I start with interviews to help me fully understand what your vision for the layout is.


I take a collaborative approach to the design process, getting your feedback every step of the way.

A Detailed Finished Package

In addition to a detailed track plan, a design package also includes, detailed construction notes, tips, dimensional specs., and a track material list.

A successful model railroad design isn’t about lines on paper, curve radius, grades, or the number of tracks in a staging yard.  It’s one that results in a layout that actually gets built and provides the degree of satisfaction you had hoped for.


~ Lance Mindheim

My model railroad design service has two goals.  As your model railroad designer, I’ll work with you to come up with a plan that is not only inspiring but also straightforward to build.

As popular as replicating realistic operations are for some model railroaders, many of my customers are more interested in watching long freights wind through compelling steam to diesel, transition era scenes.  The “Appalachian Rail Fan” plan featured above is geared towards the modeler that is primarily interested in casual train running, building structures, creating scenery, and highlighting their motive power.

Completed design packages include:

  • AN 11″ X 17″ COLOR RENDERING (Drawn in CAD)





The cost of preparing a design is driven by how long I expect it will take me to complete.  This isn’t always directly related to layout size.  Costs typically fall in the $1,900 to $2,500 range with the most common project scope I see running about $2100.  The minimum fee is $1,000.  N scale, multi-deck, and sectional track projects (Kato, Marklin, etc.) cost more.  The design fee must be pre-paid before work starts.