Linn Westcott

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Linnaeus Hanson Westcott (July 13, 1913 - September 8, 1980) was an American model railroader, best known as the influential editor of Model Railroader magazine. Born in Los Angeles, California, Westcott attended Carleton College in Minnesota.

He was also a railroad photographer, graphic artist, cartographer and author, and served in various editorial positions of Trains magazine from its first issue in November 1940, through May 1955. He was vice-president of Kalmbach Publishing, the publisher of both magazines, from its inception.[1]

Starting with publication of his contest-winning track plan in 1934, Westcott enjoyed 46 years of association with Model Railroader, serving 16 years as Editor (1961-1977), and following that as Editor Emeritus. He wrote more than 100 feature articles and nearly 200 editorials during the course of his career with the magazine, along with eight books and two booklets on model railroading which had combined to sell more than 2 million copies by 1980.

Westcott made many innovative contributions to nearly every aspect of the hobby, and was creative and forward thinking in layout planning, modeling of equipment, scenery techniques, and electronics and control systems. Among the most well-known of his concepts, the"L-girder" technique for building strong and lightweight benchwork to support layouts is still popular today, largely because of its flexibility and economy, as is his "hardshell" method of building landscapes. Linn also pioneered a scenery finishing technique known as zip texturing which is widely used.

He travel widely in the US, making extensive documentation of prototype railroad structures, equipment, and practices.

Westcott was also an operator of John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid railroad in Monterey, California. After John Allen's death, he compiled a book entitled Model Railroading with John Allen using much of Allen's correspondence, photographs and writing. The book was published in 1981.

Other books by Linn H. Wescott include: HO Railroad That Grows, How to Build Model Railroad Benchwork, HO Primer - Model Railroading For All, 101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders, Track Plans For Sectional Track, and How To Wire Your Model Railroad.

He was survived by his wife, Harriet, two sons, one daughter, and five grandchildren.


  1. ^ "Running Extra," Trains magazine, July 1946


  • Model Railroader October 1977
  • Model Railroading With John Allen: The Story of the Fabulous HO Scale Gorre & Daphetid Railroad Linn H. Westcott Kalmbach Pub Co. ISBN 978-0-89024-559-0