Home (New: April 2017)

This website is STILL under construction (10/23/2017).  I am too stubborn to have someone who knows what they are doing fix it, until I have thrown a bunch of money at it myself.  In the meantime, of course call me at 919 880 3115 or email at fmcdonald1856@gmail.com.  Please do not judge my work on the quality of this website.  Specialty Track Services is dedicated to 2 rail O scale track.  Our primary specialty is knowing what works in the prototype and making it practical in the 1/48.  We have studied every plan of John Armstrong (that we can find) since the early 60’s including research on every one of his track plans back to the 40’s.  Model Railroader mentioned that track plan books are far and away their best selling.  We think that’s probably right.  What we liked about Mr. Armstrong was his ability to make the jump from the prototype to the modelers restricted environment and keep the flavor and flow of the real thing.  To do this requires  at least a rudimentary understanding of the engineering involved – in other words – what will work and why!  And now the most important part:  Keep it Fun.  Like John said “If you reach a stage where you are having so much fun that no more construction gets done – so what?  This is a hobby, man, and if that’s the way it is, you are really living!”  We couldn’t agree more.  

Our plans come with explanations of those compromises so the owner – you – is comfortable with what he is building.  For example, a truss bridge over a river or highway to a single factory.  The prototype did it all the time.  The bridge had a Cost and the factory had Revenue.  When the R was greater than the C the decision was simple.  That gives us the opportunity to fill in a loop with a ton of interesting detail.

STS offers Services and Products.  You can get a complete track plan from us, or a partial for a specific purpose.  We offer advice on how to improve your plan maybe for reliability’s sake or simply to make it more interesting.  If you are into more complex trackage but are worried you might not be able to develop what you want, believe me we are here to help.  We develop and build everything from single turnouts for around $100, to slip switches around $425, double crossovers at $500 and any arrangement of prototype layout imaginable and then some.  We will do our best to make you aware of what you may be getting into.  Situations such as allowing for a vertical easement.  (Vertical easement?  Yep).  Lead in length for super elevation?  Can an 85′ Pullman pass another 85′ Pullman on 48″r/51 1/2″r double track curve?  Yes they can but it takes some explanation.  What about those same Pullmans with 6 axle 12′ wheel base trucks headed into a coach yard with a three way number 7 curved turnout and 48/43 inch radii?  Yes they can do it, but there are things you need to know.  If you know how, you can make them look just fine.  We have experience and photos of all this.  Why?  See the tab “Ramblings and Rationale”.  Not all of us have 45′ x 85′ basements and a steady crew.  

We use Right – O – Way turnout parts in all cases where practical.  The details are excellent, the service is as good as it gets, and the prices are right.  We handcraft our own non standard parts such as #2.67 frogs and 30′ switches.

 For us here at STS, the simple grace of railroad track is what its all about.  Of course, the more the better, the trickier the better.  Please enjoy looking around the pages of this website so you can see some of the things the prototype does and how we try to duplicate those things.

Throat trackage, NorthWestern Terminal. 3 way LH curved turnout.

The photo does not show the entire double track diverging route, but notice the curve and mostly the moveable (frogs) points just left of the locomotive.  Great deal of disagreement on  the correct nomenclature for this type of crossing.

 Up and over, folded dog bones may not be your cup of tea, but the flow of the rolling stock over the easemented, superelevated ROW is an enormous improvement over a flat bench top.  Mr Armstrong enjoyed the curves and went to some trouble to design them into his track plans.  We think they are worth looking at.