4' X 4' layout plan advice

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by roch, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. roch

    roch Member

    I want to do a 4X4 layout and was hoping for some track plan ideas and advice.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    It helps if you specify a gauge and scale, and what your interests in model railroading are. Read Space Mouse Rail Systems. If you don't have a specific end result in mind, then just pick any published plan that appeals to you, adapt it to your space, and build it, because it really doesn't matter. Another excellent guide is the "sticky" Givens and Druthers Form thread, right at the top of this very forum.

    I've said this before, and Spacemouse says the same thing. You can build a generic "beginner's" layout, and learn from the experience. Or you can spend more time planning and figuring out what you want, and then designing and building something closer to your dream. Neither method is wrong, and there are advocates for both directions. But it's your choice. A layout is an intensely personal creation, and until we can do a reasonable facsimile of a mind meld, we can't know what you want or how to help you.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Assuming you are N scale, the kind of layout that will fit in a 4x4 ft space really hinges on what minimum radius you are using.

    If you use 9" minimum radius, then two 2x4 N scale layouts will fit in the space.

    If you are using 12" minimum radius, my advice would be to scale down an HO 4x6 plan you like to 2/3 size (2/3 of 6ft = 4ft, 2/3 of 18" radius = 12" radius) and add some extra straight track in the middle of the 2 turnback curves. Here is an example of an HO 4x6 I drew with Atlas track that I like:

    4X6 HARBOR PLAN.jpg

    The plan is based on an old Model Railroader project layout series, the Tidewater Central, printed in Dec '57 and Jan '58, which in turn is adapted from plan #21 in 101 Track Plans. I built a version with handlaid track in the late '70s. I redid the plan with Atlas track to see what I could fit in the same space - in my handlaid version the lower inside spur departed off the left end with a curved turnout and became a full-fledged branch passing over the right end turnback loop with a bridge. If building with Atlas track, the gaps would be filled in with flex track.

    The spur in the center is intended to be on a dock in a harbor. The straight track in the top left is supposed to be a lift or bascule bridge over the harbor entrance.

    If you use 22" minimum radius, you only have room for a circle in 4x4ft regardless of scale or gauge.

    my thoughts, your choices
  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    101 Track Plans has several square and nearly square layouts. Some are larger, but if you're doing N, they can be scaled down. Which is why we need more information...
  5. roch

    roch Member

    Sorry about the lack of info. I was asleep on my feet when I started this thread. wall1

    I am working in N scale and have 20 or so 9 3/4" radious and 10 11" radious. I have one 45 degree crossing one trestle bridge a bunch of straight track and 3 left hand switches.
    I am trying to aviod any inclines. I have a mountain-tunnel that fits the 9 3/4" radious, and want to do a river and some streams. I bought some WOODLAND SCENICS - REALISTIC WATER and 15 different colors of paint yesterday. I want to do rock formations also but need to get or make some molds first.
    I also have 4 pieces of flexi track.


  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Roch: the Tidewater Central is a layout I liked for years. I think it was reprinted in one of Kalmbach's books (not so many years ago). It had nice water feature in it.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I assume this is Atlas track (or at least has the same geometry). If so, I recommend you use the Atlas RTS software (free download at Right Track Software 7.0). RTS is an easy to use software package for track planning using Atlas sectional track (in O, HO, or N). The flex track tools are not as versatile as other track planning software, so it's best suited for mostly sectional track. Since I'm not sure how much $$ you have for additional track, this will allow you to draw a plan and keep track (no pun intended) of what pieces you are using.

    You will likely need more straight track than you already have, which means more $$ - I recommend substituting flex track for straight track pieces as much as possible when you actually build the layout. Second to straight track will be a need for some more turnouts. You will want at least 1 right hand turnout to match a left hand for a passing siding somewhere.

    Pick an N plan smaller than your space, or an HO plan 5x8 or smaller, that you really like and try to capture the flavor as you draw your own plan. If you treat your board as a 3x4 ft with some extra width, that will give you more separation between the 2 sides of the loop.

    Atlas has both N and HO track plans on their web site for some more ideas.

    keep us posted
  8. roch

    roch Member

    Thanks for the input. I have known that I need at least 1 right hand turn out and keep forgetting to pick one up. wall1
    Yes I am using ATLAS track N scale, code 80.
    I have a 3 storie hotel building that I plan to use as 3 cabins. I want to have it appear to be a remote mountain setting with no industry.
    Now I am still at the stage of putting a base coat of off white paint on my pink styro base.
    I had a 2x4 oval setup that I scrapped to make this larger one and miss the sound of the train running. :sad: At least I can still hear the real trains that run by the house and I got a wooden train whistle to blow. :mrgreen:
  9. roch

    roch Member

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