3x4' HO Layout?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by RobertInOntario, May 17, 2008.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I just came across some interesting plans for a 3x4' HO layout in a model railway book published by Hornby (it's actually a British 00, but that's very similar to North American HO). This layout looks interesting and got me interested b/c it's so small.

    I'm hoping to have a more portable layout that will take up even less space than my 4x6 layout. :eek: I realize this is very small but it could be a nice "second" project and give me something to tinker with when I don't have the time or space to set up my larger layout.

    I guess it's OK to dream, b/c that's all I'm doing at the moment! Maybe I'll scan and post a pic of this layout next week ...

  2. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Rob, Please do scan and post - I like the idea of having a 2nd, much smaller, layout to work on - for several reasons.
  3. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    With a lot of the members here running 30" radius, I look forward to seeing some of these comments.

    Myself, I'm interested in what such a small layout could look like
  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for your comment. I think that the radius curves are 18". The layout is supposed to be modeled after (or inspired by) a light railway that would have been common in southeast England around 1910-20, although I'm sure you can make it whatever you want!

    I'll try to post a scan at work next week.

  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I was able to take a lo-res digital pic of this track plan, which I've copied below.

    That large dark area in the centre is a service road leading into a factory or mill which is the vertical rectangle, just to the road's left. At the very bottom, you could add an optional station halt. The other dark areas near the layout's edges are to be trees.

    The layout is 4' long by 3' wide. The long siding on the far left is the layout's fiddle yard!

    Interested to hear any feedback or thoughts! BTW, this layout is taken from The Hornby Book of Model Railways by Chris Ellis (2005). The book calls this layout "Westwood Light Railway" which is inspired by the light railways that ran in Sussex and Kent around 1915.

    Hornby uses strange measurements for its curves (i.e. Radius 1,2, etc. and they're in millimetres too!). The radius for most (or all?) of these curves I believe is 371mm which works out to 14.6"!! :eek:

    Photo 11.jpg
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    One of the most intriguing and inspiring layouts I ever saw was a 4x6 featured in Model Railroader about 15 years ago. It was small enough that allowed for considerable detail. It looked much bigger than it was because of careful placement of vertical scenery and buildings. Looking at your plan above, it looks like if you pack the center part with large buildings or factories, you could achieve the same effect.

  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Kevin. I was just doing some number crunching. I think these Hornby curves are only 14.6"! but then I was never good at math. Hornby doesn't label its curves in terms of inches so I had to do some conversions. If I'm right, I'd have to limit my locos to small tank engines, and my trains to short freights and passenger trains of 1-2 coaches. :confused:

    At any rate, you make a very good point above. A well designed layout will not only look attractive to the eye, but will look larger as well if it has a central focus, etc.

  8. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    It's whatever floats your boat, I suppose, and whether you plan on just watching the trains go 'round and 'round, or doing a bit of shunting.

    The advantages of that layout are its simplicty and room for a bit of scenery (it doesn't have track shoehorned into every square inch of space).

    There are two disadvantages (as I see them). First is that all the turnouts are trailing point, so that any shunting is going to be a backup move, and shuffling cars in and out. Second is that the curves are very tight, so as you noted, you are going to be limited to very small locomotives and rolling stock.

    If I were that space-constrained, that the largest layout I could comfortably manage was 3x4, I'd either consider narrow-gauge, or a smaller scale (N or Z).

    My $0.02. ;)
  9. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Hi, Guys.

    Hornby rtr track radii/radiuses/radios/radiususesiwall1

    1st radius = 371mm
    2nd radius = 438mm
    3rd radius = 505mm

    from the official track geometry guide pdf.


  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Rob -

    I think it was you who posted a link to the Rev. Awdry/Thomas the Tank Engine layout site. What a neat layout! (Ffarquhar I, I think...the 4x6).

    I began studying the plan and fiddling around with it to see how it might be altered to fit U.S. prototype equipment. A tough exercise, to say the least! Our 40', even our 34' and smaller "Old Timer" equipment is hard pressed to fit in the small runaround arrangement of that plan. Where 2 or 3 goods vans would fit, only one 40' box car would fit. You Brit prototype modelers are so fortunate to have short little cars. Then again so are the On30 folks...

    But then I remember that John Allen's first G&D was less than 4'x8'...something closer to 4x6. And he had to limit the size of his rolling stock in order to navigate the 16" min. rad. curves. No wonder that some of his most photographed equipment on that first layout was a little varney 0-4-0 docksider and a few ore cars.

    Neat 3'x4' plan. Remember that any plan can instantly be improved by shifting it a few degrees clockwise (or counter). Making any track un-parallel to the edge is a visual trick that extends the layout off the edge of the board in our mind, somehow. I think this plan is an easy candidate for that.

    I might change the direction of one of the sidings. As it is now they're both either facing or trailing point sidings, depending on how you come out of staging. Swap one around...not sure how if you stick with the sectional track arrangement, but it'd be worth it. This way you need two trains (or the engine mid-train) in order to work both.

    Also, if you can put one on the inside of the loop and the other on the outside, maybe where the station is, that puts your main line running between tracks at some point. You have to generate interest however you can on such a small plan.

    Keep us posted!

  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I'm basically considering this as a small, second layout as I already have a 4x6. The 4x6 is actually large for our basement so it would be neat to have something that's even smaller and even more portable. At least that's what I'm thinking. In many ways, this could actually be an elaborate bit of test track -- something I can tinker with when I don't have the time/space to set up the other one. And maybe I could even join the two layouts together if we ever move to a larger house!

    Cheers, Rob
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- this really helps. I saw that PDF but somehow missed those radius numbers. Rob
  13. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Galen. Yes, I did mention a Thomas website (but I think someone else referred me to it first!).

    Good points, especially about changing the direction of one of the sidings. And yes, the small freight cars do help. It's also prototypical to run some mixed trains, i.e. one coach with a few freight cars -- so this layout will work well for that.

    I'm still not 100% sure if I'll build this layout but I can't stop thinking about it! as it would be a fun side-project. I've also wanted to build a small Canadian layout -- but when you consider such a small layout, my British stock is much more suitable for it, especially my 0-4-0's and small Tank engines.

    Thanks again,
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    IIRC, the smallest Marklin HO radius is almost the same. Most European and British manufacturers make standard curves smaller than 18" in HO.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, it would be good to see what Marklin and similar European companies have to offer. Thanks, Rob
  18. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I figured I'd bring the track planning discussion back here from your "Homasote" thread.

    Here's the track plan using Atlas sectional track (wussy! ;) ) and Peco small turnouts.

    The parts list:

    4 Atlas 821 9" Straight
    19 Atlas 831 15" 30D Curve
    3 Peco SL-92/192 LH Small turnout

    The scenery is just a suggestion... the brown lines are supposed to represent the edges of a road.

    Attached Files:

  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Wow -- thanks! You've done all my homework for me :mrgreen: This looks great!

    I'm just printing it off now before I leave work & will study it later tonight. I hope to get the track in the next few days. I appreciate your doing this. Did you use the Atlas software program or something similar?

  20. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    No problem...it's good exercise, and it's not the work I should be doing.... :rolleyes:

    I used XTrkCad. It's a free program. I've attached the .xtc file (zipped), so if you download XTrkCad, you can play with it, and if you want, print it 1:1 (or any size you like).

    Attached Files:

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