Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

John Armstrong's Aksarben Road audio recordings and online extras

Listen to the original 1981 John Armstrong audio recording and see his maps and track diagram from the Aksarben Road O scale layout

Model Railroader readers first encountered a track plan designed by John Armstrong in 1952. John became popular, and dozens of his designs were published in magazines and books, earning him the title “dean of track planners.” He died in 2004.

John’s style was fully “out of the box” for the time. You might wonder if John had ever met a curved line he didn’t like.

John offered track-planning services commercially to model railroaders. For a fee, a hobbyist would tell John how much space he had and what kind of railroad he wanted, and after a series of back-and-forth correspondence, John would present his plan. John also gave his clients an audio tape on which John described the railroad and its operations in detail.

In 1981, H. Denny Taylor commissioned John to draw a plan for Denny’s vision of the Aksarben Railroad, an O scale line that ran between the fork of two Santa Fe Ry. routes in the southern Rockies. Two years ago Denny showed us these plans.

The concept was quite clever: a flood took out part of the Santa Fe fork, forcing Santa Fe trains to cross the curvy Aksarben to reach their destinations. Denny built and operated the layout as designed, although he didn’t finish its scenery before moving to another home.

Check out the track plan and listen to the complete and unedited recordings below. You can can also see John Armstong's original map and track profile

The full text of this article is available to registered users of Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in below.
Comment on this article
Great Scenery Tips

Great Scenery Tips

Realistic creeks and streams.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy