Squirrel Tracks Wooden Trains

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Please note: all products Squirrel Tracks Wooden Trains sells are for children (and grownups) ages 3 and up.

Everything we sell is compatible and interchangeable with the
BRIO® and Thomas & Friends™ brands of wooden trains and accessories.

Tiny Locomotive
Our “Information and Ideas” Pages:
The Basics, Layout Ideas, Layout Examples, Free Train Table Plans, Books about Trains, Famous Squirrels

New Item!  From the creative minds at Squirrel Tracks
The Busy Little Engine DVD Front Cover
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*Parenting Magazine’s “Best DVD” (July, 2006). Click here to see more reviews.

“The Busy Little Engine™” DVD
"It's a very busy day in Dinkytown...." A little wooden train is pretending to be a real train, but he doesn't know much about what real trains do - he's only ever seen them at crossing gates. With some help from the Narrator and lots of imagination, the Busy Little Engine and his friend, Pig, have a lot of fun learning about what trains do all day!

Running Time: Approximately 34 minutes, plus extras
Recommended Ages: 2-6 years old


See fun movie clips, screenshots, hear song clips and more on Busy Little Engine’s own website!
(The shopping carts on this site and that one are shared, so you may pick items from either site and pay just one shipping charge)

Layout Examples



Overview

Switch Track
On this page we will show you some examples of interesting and fun layouts that can be put together with common track pieces that come with most any train set. Buying a packaged train set is the most cost-effective way to get started with wooden trains, but if you wished, you could buy the necessary track pieces separately and assemble your own set from scratch.
Keep in mind that these examples are just that, examples, and that they are meant only to show some ways that track pieces can be assembled to create pleasing, interesting scenarios for exploration and play. Try a few of these layouts for yourself as-is, but also try incorporating individual features of these layouts in your own creations. Sometimes it’s fun to assemble a track feature (e.g. track curving around under two adjacent bridges as in the first example) and then let your child use that as a springboard to create his or her own layout. Remember that just hooking up track pieces is sometimes half the fun for a kid!

There are a few caveats before we begin: 1) The examples on this page were assembled without train cars or accessory pieces in order to show the layouts more clearly. Obviously, layouts aren’t as fun without trains or places to go! 2) Wood is a natural material, and there are always variations in color from one track piece to the next. Those color differences are exaggerated on this page because we have increased the contrast in the pictures to more clearly show the individual track pieces.

You can find more information about particular track pieces in the Track page of our Online Store.

Be sure to check out our Layout Ideas page for more concepts and ideas for train layouts whether you are starting out slowly or adding to your railroad empire. You’ll also find our thoughts on what you can do with an inexpensive set, how to make things fit in complex layouts (see the nifty little demonstration graphic), adding track and accessories for creative play, and more!

If you have any questions or comments about trains, train layouts, how kids play with trains, or anything else, please call or write us. We love to chat by phone or email!

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Layout Example 1

Adjacent Bridges
We usually come up with an interesting feature and then use that as the starting point in assembling a layout. This layout features two adjacent bridges with track curving around and winding underneath. It’s a lot of fun to drive one train under two bridges at the same time! And it’s neat that the bridges are not parallel - the angle has an interesting spatial appeal. It is also interesting to try two parallel bridges so that trains go under a “long” tunnel, but that would end up being a whole different layout!

To try your own variations, you might assemble the circle at the top left of the picture including the bridges, the switch, and the track underneath the bridges. Then figure out new ways to connect the three loose ends.

Pieces required: 14 large curved tracks, 5 6” straight tracks, 2 curved switches, 2 three-piece bridges.
Wooden Train Layout Example 1
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Layout Example 2

Wooden Train Layout Example 2
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Variation on a Theme
This layout is a variation on Layout Example 1 above. Generally speaking, the track in the top half of the picture is the same in each layout except that the switches were put in different locations. Now the bridges are sort of perpendicular creating a fun “over-and-under” feature. Another interesting part about this layout is that it is not very symmetrical. With more to grasp spatially, simply driving trains round and round on a layout that’s not symmetrical can be pretty interesting to young minds.

Pieces required: 20 large curved tracks, 7 6” straight tracks, 2 curved switches, 2 three-piece bridges.
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Layout Example 3

Parallel Paths
In a way, this is sort of a double, overlapping figure-8. It features parallel paths and an over-and-under bridge arrangement. Note that some of the shape of the layout in the right side of the picture was dictated by the need to fit the track ends together. This is just one example of how you could complete the circuit, there are many different ways we could have gotten the ends to meet.

Sometimes you may need to add in a few curves or lengthen parallel track sections with straight pieces in order to have the flexibility to make track ends meet. See our Layout Ideas page for more information on how to make things fit in complex layouts and see the nifty little demonstration graphic we’ve put together.

You might like to try making your own variations of this layout by starting with the circle, switch, and over-and-under bridge arrangement as in the left side of this example and then figure out new ways to connect the loose ends.

Pieces required: 17 large curved tracks, 9 6” straight tracks, 2 curved switches, 2 three-piece bridges.
Wooden Train Layout Example 3
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Layout Example 4

Wooden Train Layout Example 4
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Adjacent Switches
The neato features in this layout are the adjacent switches and bridge in the right side of the picture and the crossover track at the bottom center. Arranging the switches and bridge like this is great for exploring interactions between two trains. One southbound train might need to wait under the tunnel while another southbound train travels along the switches and crosses the first one’s path. Or a southbound train might drive over the bridge to get out of the way of a northbound train about to enter it’s path from the switch. The switch and bridge arrangement is appealing because a lot of action and interaction can center around one area.

The crossover track is a feature unto itself. Depending on how you count it, a crossover is a whole bunch of switches in one piece. With a crossover, a train on either of two parallel tracks can switch to the adjacent track. Whether you’ve got two tracks running parallel and you’d like to get from one to the other, or you’re making great figure-8 variations and loop-back layouts, a crossover allows for a great variety of layout combinations.

Try other variations using this arrangement of switches and bridge - there are loads of other possibilities. Also, try circling track around from one connector to its parallel connector on one side of a crossover track so that your trains can loop back and go the opposite direction through the rest of your layout (attached to the other side of the crossover). To make a loop-back layout, you will need some adapter tracks or you can use a nifty technique with your existing three-piece bridges as explained in the description of our Stone Bridge.

Pieces required: 20 large curved tracks, 15 6” straight tracks, 2 curved switches, 2 three-piece bridges, 1 crossover.
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Layout Examples from our Train Sets


Maxim 50118 Train Set in Storage Tub layout
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Maxim 50118 - Train Set in Storage Tub
(More information coming soon!)

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (188k)


Maxim 50225 Busy Farm train set layout
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Maxim 50225 - “Busy Farm™” Train Set
(More information coming soon!)

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (184k)


Maxim 50116 Cross Country train set layout
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Maxim 50116 - “Cross Country” Train Set
An adapter track (female-to-female) is used on the left side of this layout to allow the track to loop-back to the crossover thereby letting trains start out going in one direction and end up back where they started but now going the other direction.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (253k)


Maxim 50226 Busy City train set layout
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Maxim 50226 - “Busy City™” Train Set
The Busy City set was designed, in part, to fit on a 48”x32” train table. It packs a lot of activity into a small space. With the T-switch and a couple of paths that allow a train to loop-back, there are lots of ways to get from one place to another on this layout. It’s fun to drive multiple trains along the parallel tracks at the same time. This layout measures about 48”x32”.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (303k)


Maxim 50330 Western Timber Town train set layout
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Maxim 50330 - “Western Timber Town” Train Set (discontinued)
This layout is fairly simple but uses a combination of regular curved tracks and short curved tracks to add interesting variety to its wiggles.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (212k)


Maxim 50315 Intercity Line train set layout
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Maxim 50315 - “Intercity Line” Train Set (discontinued)
With lots of switches and bridges, there are many different paths to take on this layout. The turntable is used as a simple crossing, but little engineers have to make sure it’s turned the right way to let their trains pass! This layout measures about 51”x36”.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (237k)


Maxim 50314 Big City Connection train set layout
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Maxim 50314 - “Big City Connection” Train Set (discontinued)
This double-decker layout shows some of the neat stuff you can do with our Multi-Level sets. (It’s probably helpful to look at a photo of the set so you can see how the levels relate to each other.) It’s fun to have trains go over and under each other on different levels of the layout! This layout also has a nice loop-back path and a T-switch, both of which allow your trains to travel around the layout in all different directions. This layout measures about 51”x35”.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (167k)


Maxim 50320 Toot around Town train set layout
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Maxim 50320 - “Toot around Town” Train Set (discontinued)
This is a very simple layout, but the T-switch gives it a lot of flexibility. By making a three-point turn, your train can easily reverse direction and go around the layout following the paths in different ways. This layout measures about 30”x30”.

Click here for a PDF file of this layout (170k)

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Other Resources for Layout Examples

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We are working on putting together some examples of more complex
features and layouts. Please check back later!


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