Layout Design Special Interest Group (LDSIG)

The Layout Design Special Interest Group, Inc. (LDSIG) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization affiliated with the NMRA, committed to the promotion, development , support and encouragement of the participation by the public in model railroading.

The LDSIG is focused on bringing attention to designing model railroads and the decisions and elements that comprise a comprehensive layout plan and exists to:

  • Act as a forum for members’ exchange of info and ideas.
  • Develop improved methods for hobbyists to learn the art and science of layout design.
  • Provide leadership for planning, developing, coordinating and expanding the knowledge base for designing and building model railroads that fulfil the goals of their owners.
  • Promote, develop, support and encourage the participation by the public in model railroading.

Its prime purpose is to aid layout owners in developing goals, refining designs and creating layouts that achieve the owner’s layout ambitions with a minimum amount of space and cost.   We help avoid common design flaws, while including prototype and design features that maximize operating and visual interest.  We also offer the chance to interact with others willing to assist you with your designs.

LDSIG membership benefits include opportunities to meet fellow designers and operators at regional and national events, forums for the exchange of ideas among members and the public, and four issues of our periodic publication, the Layout Design Journal. It also offers the chance to interact with others willing to assist with your designs, and participation in several Internet discussion groups.

Our slogan, “Make only new mistakes” means learning from others and avoiding repetition of old missteps – they’ve already been made a number of times.

At the convention, the LDSIG offers many events centered on layout design and exchanging information and ideas.


SIG Room

LDSIG activities are concentrated in the SIG room, near the clinic and meeting rooms.  Please joinus in the SIG room.  Feel free to pick up a membership application on the spot. Joining immediately will make you eligible to participate in the LDSIG tours and dinner during the convention week.  Renew your membership and sign-up for carpooling to the dinner and Layout Tour.

Members’ informative displays will include track plans, layout diagrams, articles, and 3-D mock ups showcasing the work of numerous owners. These displays will explain how others have solved their layout design problems. Layout owners will be available at times to discuss their concepts and approaches to creating their visions.

Meet ‘n Greet

Sunday evening 7:00p in the SIG Room –Begin your convention on the right foot by getting to know other convention attendees that are especially interested in layout design.  Hear informal LDSIG-member introductions, and presentations about individual layout design and construction status.  Get the latest updates on tours and enjoy networking opportunities.  Meet published authors and respected contributors to various publications and internet lists.

Shirts for those attending the LDSIG Layout Tour on Wednesday will be distributed; exchange your ticket for your shirt. Tickets are available through the registration desk. You can make and review carpooling arrangements for Wednesday’s Layout Tour.

LDSIG / OPSIG Clinic Track

–  the LDSIG and OPSIG have arranged  several clinics and forum discussions focusing on a wide range of design and operating topics, presented by knowledgeable and perceptive modelers throughout the convention.   On Monday, there will be a “Layout Design Boot Camp” led by Byron Henderson and Seth Neumann.   Thursday the LDSIG will present moderated forumsthat will involve panels of experienced builders, with opportunities for questions and exchange of information with the audience.  The SIG Clinic Track program will end with 2:30 clinic session each dayso as not to conflict with OPSIG Operating Sessions.  See the complete schedule on the website.

LDSIG Annual Meeting – Open to LDSIG members only

Wednesday July 10, 8 am in the SIG Room. The Annual Membership Meeting agenda includes officer and volunteer reports and the results of the election of Directors. All LDSIG members at the convention are encouraged to attend and participate. Maps for the Wednesday tours will be distributed and remaining Layout Tour commemorative shirts exchanged for your Tour ticket after the meeting in the LDSIG room.

LDSIG Layout Tours—Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Layout Design Special Interest Group will conduct its traditional Wednesday LDSIG Layout Tour on July 10.  Layouts are selected based on their Local interest and innovative design elements.  They typically feature both the cream of the local layouts as well as others that have unique design interest.  They will be in various stages of construction and operation, where the owners’ techniques and ideas can best be seen.  We visit the layouts in a relaxed atmosphere, where there is ample time and opportunity to ask the layout owners questions and get their points-of-view on the layout’s layout design and construction features.  Most are designed (or have been re-designed) with group operation in mind.  Due to the nature of the tour, you don’t have to worry about being rushed to get back on a crowded bus.

The Tour is self-guided, by private or rental car.  Car pooling and cost sharing are strongly encouraged, so you can discuss the unique features of these layouts as you travel.  All members of a carpool must register for the Tour.  In keeping with the nature of the Tour and consideration of the Owners and other Tour participants, please limit vehicles to the size of 7 passenger SUV’s.  There will be carpool sign up sheets in the SIG Room, for drivers with seats available, and for those needing rides.  There will be space for comments (i.e. must return to hotel by 7 PM for a clinic; will be joining an op session at 6 PM, etc).  We’ll do our best to be sure you get to see the layouts you are most interested in, and not leave any one back at the hotel.   Meals will be on your own, so each carpool will decide when to break, what, and where to eat.

No transportation is provided by the LDSIG or the NMRA convention.  Participants are expected to provide their own transportation to off-site SIG events and travel is at the participants’ own risk.   As private transportation will be used, insurance is to be provided by the participants in the Tour.  Neither the LDSIG, Inc. nor the NMRA will provide insurance coverage for private or rental transportation.

Descriptions of the Tour layouts will be posted in the SIG Room and further information is available on the LDSIG website:

Addresses and an overall map will be provided at the close of the annual business meeting, which will be held at 8 AM on Wednesday July 10, 2019.  IT IS STRONGLY SUGGESTED THAT YOU EITHER BRING YOUR OWN GPS UNIT FROM HOME OR SEEK A RENTAL WITH A GPS UNIT.  No detailed maps will be provided.

Sign-up for this extra fare event will be through pre-registration or available through on line registration or at the convention Tour Desk.  The convention cut off for pre-registration is normally two weeks prior to the convention, so please purchase your ticket for the Tour ASAP.  Tickets are $45. and include a commemorative polo shirt. 

Commemorative Shirts

We are offering those who register prior to June 1 the opportunity to have their name monogrammed on their shirt.  Please indicate your desired size and name during the registration process.  Shirts will be distributed at the LDSIG’s Meet ‘n Greet in the SIG Room Sunday evening, 7 PM and at the LDSIG Desk in the SIG room Monday and Tuesday.

Layout Tour—Wednesday $ 45

Indicate Shirt Size:  S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, XXXXL

Monogram Name:  (limited to 12 characters or spaces)

LDSIG Dinner — Friday, July 12, 2019,       6:30PM,  Annual All-SIG Dinner
No-host happy hour, followed by buffet dinner.

This year the SIG Dinner is open to all SIGs. We have a great venue for the Convention wrap up dinner.  We will be hosted at Jon Robinson’s Hangar at the general aviation SkyPark Airport.  The hangar is between I-215 and I-15, north of downtown Salt Lake.  There is an exit off I-15 that will lead you west toward the airport.  The ride is about 20 minutes, without traffic.

There is plenty of (free) parking near the hangar.  There will be carpool sign up sheets in the SIG Room, for drivers with seats available, and for those needing rides.   If private transportation will be used, insurance is to be provided by the participants in the event.  Neither the LDSIG Inc. nor the NMRA will provide insurance coverage for private or rental transportation.  Directions will be posted in the SIG Room

This will be a great opportunity to relax and rub shoulders with fellow SIG members, discuss everything you’ve seen during Salt lake City 2019 and reflect on how to apply your new insights to your layout!

We will start the cocktail hour at 6:30 PM, with plenty of time to get from the Train Show or 4:30 PM clinics to the Hangar.   The event is BYOB, with the nearest liquor store at 520 North 500 West, Bountiful, UT 84010.  There are no restrictions on libations, but make sure everyone has a designated driver.  The Utah BAC limit is .05 now, the lowest in the nation.  We don’t want any DUIs!   Utah State Liquor Stores close at 7 PM so if anyone wants to get something, they’ll need to do so before 7 PM.  If anyone needs mixers other than the sodas we supply (see below), they will need to bring those too.

The menu consists of Appetizers of Olives, Cheese, Crackers, & Bruschetta.  For Dinner we’ll have an Italian Buffet; Italian Green Salad, Spaghetti, Meat Sauce, Marinara Sauce, Meat Lasagna, Vegi Lasagna, and French Bread with Garlic Butter on the tables.  For Desert we’ll do a variety of pies, cookies, etc.  We’ll provide Coke, Diet Coke, Spite or 7up, Diet Sprite or Diet 7up, lemon & lime wedges, bottled water, ice.

This year’s after dinner speaker is Lee Nicholas, of Utah Colorado and Western fame. He will talk about Utah and his adventures getting the UCW to its current state.  We hope you will have had a chance to see it during convention week.

The cost for the dinner is $48.  Sign-up for this extra fare event will be through the NMRA Convention on-line registration process, Company Store, or at the convention Tour Desk.  Tickets for this event will be limited to 60, with a Tuesday evening cut-off deadline.  

Tickets are available at the main convention registration Link.

Layout Design Consultation Service

Are you waiting to build your dream layout?   We will be available to assist you with ideas for planning and construction.  Do you have a current layout?  Considering redesigning for operations?    We’ll be happy to help with any changes you may be considering.  The LDSIG offers complimentary layout design consultation.  Bring your list of “Givens and Druthers”, proposed track plans, etc, to get fresh insight and valuable help.   Stop by and sign up for an available one –on –one consultation session with an LDSIG member.

For more information visit their website