Researching and Building Rolling Stock

"The American Railroad Freight Car" edited by John H. White Jr. ****(railroading) ***(modeling)
A history and description of the subject through the introduction of steel. It has a few specific drawings of narrow gauge equipment, but it really shines on the various car details it illustrates. If you want to know how various bits of rolling stock were put together, read this book. Ditto for the developmental history. Not as directly useful for modeling as some books, but a very interesting read. A great resource for freelancers looking to make realistic equipment. White's Freight Car book has tons of illos for trucks, very few narrow gauge though. Archbars are kits, so they were put together in many different ways. This is an American publication, it should be available from better book stores. I purchased a softbound edition for $25.00.

"Freight Car Projects and Ideas" edited by Kent Johnson **(narrow gauge scratchbuilding) ***(modern upgrading)
This is a collection of hints and tips for upgrading ready to run rolling stock. It's oriented towards diesel age equipment and not narrow gauge. This is an American publication, it should be available from better hobby shops.

"Painting and Weathering Railroad Models" by  Jeff Wilson **(narrow gauge scratchbuilding) ***(modern upgrading)
A reasonable introduction to weathering and painting, but there are other works that cover similar material. It's oriented towards diesel age equipment and not narrow gauge. This is an American publication, it should be available from better hobby shops.

"Slim Gauge Cars" edited by Hal Carstens ****
An excellent collection of narrow gauge rolling stock drawings with photos. Unless you've already decided on a railroad, I highly recommend this book as it will give you a quick taste of the wide variety of cars that were built. Includes a fair amount of construction details, a great resource for freelancers looking to make realistic equipment. This is an American publication, it should be available from better hobby shops.

"A Century + Ten of D&RGW Narrow Gauge Freight Cars", 1871 - 1981 byRobert Sloan(Colorado)**** (all others)***
It's about 300 well illustrated black and white pages chock filled with plans and photos along with a roster. Model builders and Colorado enthusiasts beware ;) Though at $27, it won't take much of a bite out of the wallet. Some inspiration can be had for freelancing too. It really is a fine book for modelers. Apparently it's self published, spiral bound on a smooth glossy paper, it says in the front leaf, For information contact Robert E. Sloan, RR 6, Box 513, Winona, MN 55987-9465. Some of this is from old Gazette articles and such (which I don't have) and some of it I suspect is new. This book is obviously a work of love and a bargain to boot.

"ABC's of Building Model Railroad Cars" by Wayne E. & Mary Cay Wesolowski *** (older scratchbuilding techniques)
This book covers building cars in wood and paper quite well and touches briefly on plastics and casting resins. It also deals with photography, blueprints and research along with basic tools. It covers the older techniques really well, but it doesn't really deal with what's the big market now for craftsman kits, resin. Since it was published in 1985 from that's really not very surprising. I recommend it if you don't pay collectors prices for it.

Layout Design and Trackwork

"Layout Design" by Iain Rice published by Wild Swan Publications
It's subtitled Finescale in small spaces! A very apt description, some of these layouts are very small.  His ideas for exhibit layouts, unique staging and the like are very good. His principles of layout as a 3D exercise are very good. Likewise the actual module construction is interesting, I like his idea about light weight. The only very slight down side is that all the planned layouts are based on British prototypes and I'm sure our friend across the pond consider that a plus! I highly recommend it.
Wild Swan Publications, available in America from: International Hobbies (530) 268-8715

"Small, Smart and Practical Track Plans" by Iain Rice,  from Kalmbach
Less construction and more layouts with an American bent. I especially like the linked up logger which is the final plan in the book. This is a series of linked modules that allow a room to be used as a normal room as well as a layout. This does have a few plans that would work for that L shaped layout. I highly recommend it. At least one member of the On30 group implemented one of his designs, it looks great in the pictures. I like Rice because he tries out different ideas. Most of the other authors on the subject (Armstrong, Mallery, et. al. usually design much bigger layouts. Uncle Russ in Finescale Railroader (available online!) has presented several interesting shelf layouts in On30 along with exhibiting some pizza boxes and the like. I still recommend Rice's layout books even if you don't build (or like) his designs. But if there's some else writing about small layout design, let me know!
In the USA, this one should be easy to find.

There's a small layout design group on Yahoo as well as LDSIG. Of course there is Armstrong and Paul Mallery for those wishing for larger layouts.

"Trackwork for Model Railroaders" by Paul Mallery 3rd edition
My copy is titled "Trackwork Handbook for Model Railroads" by Paul Mallery. It's the 3rd edition, 2nd printing published in 1997. The price I paid for it was $11.95. I highly recommend buying a new copy since Mr. Mallery made many changes to his book to account for experience with new materials like epoxies. Since the 1st edition was published in 1969! it's important to get the new version. The publisher is Carstens.

Jim, I  too have the 3rd Edition, but copyright 1994. Is there any additional material in your 1997 printing?
Since there is no indication in the forward that there were changes in the second printing, it's hard for me to tell. He does say that epoxy holds up well as tie plates now. Other than that, it's hard to say. Foam sounds interesting, if your using glue and not spikes it should be OK if the subroadbed under it is rigid. Mr. Mallery's background is with club layouts where a bad decision will wipe out a huge amount of effort. Using newer techniques on modules should be fine, just take Dave Frary's advice and make the structures easily removable! At one time I used cork and homasite (sic?) for N scale, the results were less than pleasing since the spikes didn't hold well. Lately I've tried Pliobond over pine subroadbed over wooden ties, so far so good, but I haven't put in a lot of operation over it. With no experience, it took about an hour a foot to lay over prepared subroadbed. Later on I'll add the epoxy tieplates if the need is there.

These comments are intriguing. Are you talking about handlaying track, and using epoxy to simulate tie-plates? Or are you talking about epoxy as a  replacement for spikes for handlaid track? Both!
Wooden ties over a pine subroadbed using epoxy as the permanent method of fastening the rail down. The epoxy becomes a combination tieplate/spike. Mr. Mallery recommends a little rectangular applicator that is dipped into a mess of epoxy and is used to form the rough shape of a tieplate, a bent riffler file is used to smooth and remove any unwanted protrusions. For more details see his trackwork book. I've only used Pliobond so far since my design is still in flux and it's easier to adjust. Epoxy spikes can be added to this later.

Other people on this list also recommend PC ties, this would probably lead to very good track also.

I agree there's other track material and technology out there, but Mr. Mallery's book certainly covers a lot of ground. If you follow is advice, you will have a smooth running layout! However, I'm a book junkie so any book/magazine issues that cover this topic, please tell me so I can look at them.

Scenery and Landscaping

I do have the Woodland scenics book on their new terrain system. The only thing that bothers me is the 5/8" plywood base they use in the example. It doesn't seem to have any reinforcement. Other than bracing up the base, it looks like you can rapidly layout track with it.

"Landscape Modelling" by Barry Norman ****(UK) ***(everyone else)
Barry loves the English countryside and it show in this book, his descriptions on how to model it are great and his techniques are very imaginative, for example: Fields of Tall Weeds:  his book  describes several methods of creating weeds and thatch. Some materials he used for this were, plumbers hemp stuck into deep PVA puddles, hard bristle brushes and Woodland Scenics flocking, bleached carpet felt redyed then glued then ripped back put to make a thatch. The techniques were all very different from the Frary books, et. al. The other side of the pond has some great modellers that have some different methods not usually seen in the US.
Wild Swan Publications, available in America from: International Hobbies (530) 268-8715

"Basic scenery for model railroaders : the complete photo guide" by Sassi, Lou. ***
Waukesha, WI : Kalmbach Pub. Co., 2002.96 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm
Covers newer techniques quite well, a good complement to the Frary/Hayden books. Covers layouts built with foam and acrylic as well as some of the newer scenery offerings from vendors.

"Model railroad scenery and detailing" by Sorensen, Albert A. *** (older scratchbuilding techniques)
Tab Books, 1990. Blue Ridge Summit, PA
Covers older techniques for scenery and rolling stock, it's a bit more general than Model railroad scratchbuilding, I would recommend that one before this one, but only just barely. Does cover zip texturing and the like for those who are into that.

Prototype Railroads

"Philippine Sugar Cane Railroads" by Charles Small and Jeffrey G. Lanham **
Railhead Publications. 116 pages, fair amount of photos and maps mostly lokeys of all descriptions with a few of facilities and other equipment. Includes a brief history and description of sugar making. There might be better books on this subject.