To create a track plan I downloaded a trial version of AnyRail 6, which includes a library of Kato components. The software is very easy to use, and I was able to make a track plan within 10-15 minutes.
In order to create a true Inglenook puzzle, I had to make sure that the sidings and the headshunt were of the correct length, based on the length of the engine and rolling stock that were to be used. As you can see in the diagram below, the headshunt should be able to hold the engine plus three cars. One siding should be able to hold five cars, and the other two should be able to hold three cars each.
This meant that I had to select my engine right away. I knew I wanted to run steam so I looked into common steam switchers and settled on an unlettered Bachmann 0-6-0. The reviews for this particular model are fair and the engine can be purchased for less than $60 on modeltrainstuff.com.
Without actually having the engine nor the rolling stock yet, I based the Inglenook’s measurements on engine and car lengths that I found on the Web. Ultimately, I erred on the side of caution and probably made the sidings a little too long. If I overshot, I can either add ‘dead’ cars (cars without couplers) at the buffers, or I can opt for longer cars (50′ boxcars instead of 40′, etc.)
Here’s the plan I came up with:
I have everything I need except turnouts and feeders. I purchased two Kato turnouts, four Kato feeders, and two Kato 3-way extension cords from modeltrainstuff.com.
As shown in the plan, I will keep the module as short as I can (just under 50″) but will provide 4″-5″ of empty space on the far side of the track so I can add buildings later on. I will start working on the benchwork while I wait for the turnouts to arrive in the mail. I also ordered a power pack and a Bachmann 0-6-0, but those will probably arrive at least a week later.