A "Big" layout ?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by CN1, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Something has been bugging me for a while: What is a "big" layout?

    Granted, a layout that barely fits in a barn would be a "big" layout but...

    What decides the size of a layout? Do we take for granted that a sheet of 4X8 [plywood] is considered a small layout? If so, what would be the benchmark, the deciding factors to measure what is a medium or large size layout?

    *Is it based on the size of the bench work ?
    *The scale of the model? (O, HO, N, Z…)
    *A combination of both?
    *Number of operators?

    If ½ the basement (or room) is dedicated to a layout, is it considered a “big” layout? Even if the basement is 15X25 feet?

    Time for a drink... ;)
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Someone once told me - when you have 5000 scale feet of track - you got yourself a big layout :D :D

    Lets see in N thats 5000 / 160 = 31 ft of main line

    in G 5000 / 20.3 = 246 ft of mainline hmmm - yep - That's a big layout :D :D :D
  3. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Ok than

    Thanks for the tip
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    I was involved in a similar discussion about what constitutes a "small" layout--things are relative. My layout is actually smaller than a 4x8 layout in square feet (16 sf operating, 8 sf in a separate module not yet attached) but I wouldn't consider it small, with (in HO) a 32-car capacity yard and room for 12 cars on sidings.

    When complete it will cover about the same square footage as a 4x8 but its overall dimensions are about 8x18 feet!

    4x8 was the traditional "small" layout in a time when homes were generally larger than today's. Normally a large layout is one that fills a basement--which can be quite an amount of space! For us West Coast basement-deprived folks, a garage-filling layout might count (except for my "no-car garage", at 8x18 feet.)
  5. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    On the lighter side:
    Don't forget us Southeastern folks.
    If you have a basement around me, it's an covered inground pool! ;)

    Somewhat serious:
    I would think if it takes more than 20 minutes to clean the track... that's a "BIG"
    layout. Like they say "size is relative"... :D
  6. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Huh. I consider myself to have a "medium" layout - 13.5 x 18.5. Takes up about 2/3 of half the basement (the other 1/3 is a "crew lounge" - actually a television watching area, but I've even got my wife calling it the crew lounge now).
  7. cyb0rg

    cyb0rg New Member

    Here's how I would determine layout sizes small, medium, and large:

    4x8, door sized, or common variations. If you can stand at your control panel and see the whole layout without turning left or right, it's a small layout. The wife giggles and pats you on the back when you're working on your little toys.

    L or U shaped layouts, or variations. If there is a seperate yard module or if you need to turn around to see the whole layout, it's medium sized. The wife raises an eyebrow and grumbles at the mention of some of the boys coming over for an operating session again this weekend.

    Basement killers. If the track plan includes operator stations and aisleways, and you need to hand out a layout map to visitors you've never seen before. There's a message on the machine from the ex-wife, wondering if you've spent the alimoney check on another loco.
  8. docsnavely

    docsnavely Member

    I like cyb0rg's definitions of layout sizes!!!! :thumb: :D I hope one day to have a basement killer, but w/o loosing the wife! She's my CFO. How am I gonna make a budget w/o her?!?
  9. siderod

    siderod Member

    I agree with cyb0rg totally...i consider mine a medium size, but it IS pretty big to a 16-year-old :thumb:

    Edit: Not to sound tooo perverted...but some of these posts could come of really badly! :p :rolleyes: ;)
  10. seanm

    seanm Member

    N-Gauger rules makes my helix a BIG layout... (smile)
  11. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member


    "Homes used to be larger than they are now"

    WRONG! The average size of new homes has been growing for decades.

    National Association of Homebuilders
  12. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    My layout size is in there some where Cyb0rg:confused: , room size 12x12ft layout size ????? passing space back to back one steps one way the other steps in the opersite direction, and breath in. you tell me if I have a small, medium, large layout:D :D :D .... have a good one ... steve
  13. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Bikerdad: Okay, okay, I stand corrected...for some reason folks in the Fifties didn't flinch at giving up 32 square feet for a layout but now it's too big to fit. I don't have room for much, but then my home was built in 1944...
  14. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member


    You're probably correct about the willingness to allocate space in the 50s (wouldn't know, before my time), but my guess is the problem isn't "smaller homes", but "more stuff". Add the southward shift of population (especially those in the age group prone to Model railroading) to the lands of no basements, and the general downsizing that occurs with most folks as they enter their "golden years", and the perception of smaller houses is understandable. Wrong, but understandable.
  15. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    It's the 52" big screen TV's with Suround sound components (all 10 of them, yet can't play a Record or Cassette or the Local Radio) and huge "bed-like" couches,
    that are all in a separate room from everything else. That's so the person can feel like they're at the movies. Perhaps it is the computer/Home office that has eaten the train room... or the exercise room... or the sewing room... or... ahh! Heck!...

    We like are STUFF!!!
    :p ;) :D
  16. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Face it everyone. The only way to make sure that you have an adequate train room is to design your house yourself and build it in the plans. That's what I did. Now all I have to do is win the lottery so that I can actually build it. :D :D :D
  17. COCentralRR

    COCentralRR New Member

    Just remember, it's not the size of your layout, it's what you can do with it!

    Yes, I have a 4x8 layout, *sigh* :rolleyes:
  18. theBear

    theBear Member

    Oh NO!!!! Another email spam possibility [​IMG].

    I have impediments in my basement so I can only use 12' x 22' for the train room. The impediments are two boilers right in the worst possible location and what used to be a foundation for an outside wall.

    Otherwise I could get Northern Maine Junction in my basement.

    This two family was built in the 1860's and has been added on to.

    I guess I could always kick out my tenant, no wait, that would be a net loss [​IMG].
  19. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Small layout- can be operated by one only person. More people will just get in the way.

    Medium layout- can be operated by one person, but can be operated more fully by more than one person.

    Large layout- must have more than one person to operate.

    although cyb0rg's are catchier.

    sore wa densha ikura? honto ni? takaiyo ne!!!
    where does this train go? really? (you lost me here) I'm in trouble?
  20. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    My layout. 9' X 8' X 11' I consider it medium size.

    Since this picture was taken, I have added more tracks and another small control panel for the switching yard.

    Attached Files:

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