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MANCO Novelty Layouts
MANCO Novelty Layouts

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Are you looking for something to add a bit of zest to your train room?  Let your trains and track slip the bonds of gravity to create exciting new possibilities for track layouts and train operation: 

A train running on track attached to the underside of a plate shelf around the top of your living room

A circle of track on the face of a wall

A train running on an oval of track that is revolving

A vertical loop of track that can rotate while a train operates around the loop (a “squirrel cage”)

Trains on both the top and underside of the shelves in your display case

Sound impossible?  Yes it does, but MANCO Novelty Layouts bring these fantasies to life!

MANCO    1694 Calle Zocalo, Thousand Oaks CA 91360     (805) 529-2496

Novelty Layouts FAQs

What is a novelty layout?

A novelty layout is designed and engineered to ‘wow the spectator’ with unusual displays of familiar objects.  For example, we all expect the train to move, but when the track also begins to move, we have an entirely new combination of dynamics.  Trains shuttling back and forth become spectacular when they are running UPSIDE DOWN.  Novelty layouts can be considered a form of kinetic art.

What is special about MANCO novelty layouts?

MANCO has combined several new and interesting technologies to create a new category of train display.  Lionel’s Magnetraction provided a moderate traction enhancement 50 years ago, but MANCO’s new Magitraction permits train operation in almost any attitude, from right side up to upside down.  Custom electronic controls provide automatic train control while maintaining balance of the moving trains during dynamic motion.  Track forming and mounting structures permit the track to move during operation.  The combination of these factors creates the new category of train display that we call “novelty layouts”.

Are MANCO novelty layouts expensive?

MANCO layouts require unique components and fabrication techniques, but we have designed the products to hold these costs to a minimum.  Prices vary with layout complexity, but a simple MANCO layout competes with the price of a mid-range locomotive.  Unlike adding just another locomotive that will get lost on your layout, the novelty layout will be a featured attraction for your friends and family.

Where and how can I display my novelty layout?

Although novelty layouts can be a feature of your train room, the portable layouts can also be displayed in the living room or even taken to special train and non-train events for use as attention getters.  Some units can be hung from the wall or ceiling with simple hooks, eliminating the need for more horizontal space, and the support frames fold up for easy transport and storage.  Novelty layouts also make good “attention getters” as store window or in-store displays.

What about locomotives, rolling stock and track?

The trains must be selected and modified to operate properly in unusual orientations.  Operating trains upside down requires modifications to the locomotive and rolling stock.  Weight is definitely a factor.  (We haven’t gotten our Williams Big Boy to work yet….)  Vertical layouts and revolving layouts are even more demanding since the trains must go straight up and straight down at times, and when sideways, the leverage of the car hanging out sideways from the rail tends to pry the train from the track.  MANCO has successfully modified small locomotives and an assortment of rolling stock for inverted and arbitrary orientations, and development continues on suspension and controllers for larger engines.  The track must be steel track, not nickel silver or stainless steel.

Why do I need MANCO’s help?

MANCO has been developing the technologies used in novelty layouts for over 2 years, including suspension and control technology, and special manufacturing techniques and tooling.  You can certainly build your own novelty layouts, but then again you could also probably build your own microwave oven or Honda Accord if you spent enough time and money.

What comes next?

MANCO is working to extend both the range of layout types and the locomotive and rolling stock that can run on the layouts.

How do I contact MANCO?

Contact Dale Manquen

1694 Calle Zocalo, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

(805) 529-2496 or