The Owensville Terminal Micro


I am getting started with a new micro model railway layout build, and this one will be entered into the Micro Model Railroad Cartel Facebook Group Micro Layout Challenge Build. The build phase started in March and runs through to November 30, 2022. The first of December is the official entry date, so plenty of time to get this project completed. 

Sketching out an idea 

I started with an idea in mind and sketched it out on a piece of plexiglass and a dry-erase marker. This is a great way to try out ideas for baseboard and track arrangements. The contest layout cannot include turnout points, so a sector plate is needed to switch between the three tracks. This is located in the top right corner.

The inspiration for this challenge build is Carl Arendt's Square Foot Estate layout from many years ago. The challenge layout does not have to fit within a 12 inch footprint, but can go up to 576 square inches (4 square feet). My Owensville Terminal Micro comes in at 481.01 square inches. That's almost 95 inches below the limit. The sector plate and any additional staging tracks do not count toward the 4 square foot limit.

Assembled Baseboard 

Underside Bracing

I'm using a personal favorite of mine, the tried and true baseboard method using foamcore clipboard boxes. This method was originally developed by Chris Ellis.  It is my preferred material and method for micro railway layout baseboards. This will be my third layout that uses foamcore clipboards. 

The baseboard will include the sector plate in the upper-right corner, and a tail track for fiddling cars on and off the layout in the lower left corner. Each staging section will hold a 70 ton switcher and 50' boxcar. I'm borrowing a couple of foamcore clips from my Herrin Micro to connect these clipboard boxes together.

The layout theme will feature my fictional Owensville Terminal Railroad. I started this freelance railroad almost 20 years ago and it still holds my interest. I have developed a history for this fictional railroad throughout the years, and this micro layout will be based on that history.

Area Map (North of Cuba, Missouri) 

The original right-of-way was realigned in 1962 to reduce curves and grades along the line. The original right-of-way was abandoned north of the town of Oak Hill, Missouri. The track running to Oak Hill would stay in service as the Stephenson Branch due to numerous industries located at Oak Hill, including several clay pits located north of town. Unfortunately the clay pits were closed in 1967 and the tracks leading to the clay pits were abandoned. Just south of the clay pits resides an old feed mill that still receives cars by rail. Murray Christmas Feed & Seed is one of only four businesses still receiving rail service in the Oak Hill Area. The Owensville Terminal Micro will feature Murray Christmas Feed & Seed as the focal point of the layout. This structure is a slightly modified craftsman structure kit by Railroadkits called Reaghan Feed Mill.

Coming up: Terrain and Laying Track

Until next time, 



  1. Hi Tom
    That's an interesting concept. Looking forward to see the finished scene.


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