College student needs small layout ideas

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by jonhguth, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. jonhguth

    jonhguth New Member

    I'm a college student in a rented house and i'm trying to come up with ways to make a space effecient design. My parents just sold our house so now all my stuff is in boxes. I think i am going to sell some of it off but i want to keep some of it but i can't figure out how to make an HO scale layout that i can fit anywhere.

    any ideas?
  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    In terms of construction, check out our local modular club... , and visit for an in-depth how-to.

    A small set of modules ( 2 to 4 2x4foot modules) would give you a lot of possibilities, plus be portable/storable...

  4. jonhguth

    jonhguth New Member

    yeah, i think modular is what i have to do
    i'll definately check those sites out
  5. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    The trick is to design a set of modules that stack easily, set up & tear down quicky. As soon as there is any inconvenience, interest will begin to drop.

  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    While I was on active duty, I built an 8' X 10' modular layout. The modules measured 24" X 3'-10 1/2". Two sheets of 3/4" plywood made up a crate, 4' X4' X 25-1/2 ". the inside dimensions? 3'-10 1/2" X 3'-10 1/2" X 24".
    Wood rails were attached to the insides of the sides of the crate so the modules could be slid in. After the 4' X 4' cover was attached, I'd drive screws through the sides and ends(covers), into the module frames, making the whole package one solid piece. Never had any scenery damage, even when the crates were delivered upside down!
  7. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    I can't guarantee that this will solve your problem, but it may help. Go to and on the home page you'll find two more addresses - these are for our overflow files. Have a good poke about in our files, and see if anything takes your fancy
    Shortliner(Jack away up here in the Highlands, and co-moderator of the above
  8. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    One other thing to consider is something thats fairly new in this country but all the rage in Japan.
    Table Top modular layouts.
    An entire tabletop modular layout can be taken apart and stored in an old trunk or a really large tabletop can be stored in 2 trunks.Take a look at Ntrack modules and buils an HO tabletop using similar design perameters.
    You may not have to sell anything, you just need to rethink your strategy a little :)
    Build about 3 sections into a nice switching area.Leave this section set up on a shelf in the bedroom.Build additional corner sections etc so that you can build a complete looping layout with a wing for staging that can be set up in 15-20 minutes for a full blown operating session with several people.If you move,you pack it up in a couple trunks and take it with can be operating the next day in your new digs!!! :)
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The modules we build can set up really quickly. We had a demo the other night at another club, and two of our guys set up 4 modules in about 15 minutes form unpacking to train running. Take down time is similar.

    We use legs to give about a 48" operating height, but there is no reason you could not modify to create a tabletop type setup. One of our members uses his modules at home, and has a separate set of legs for there, plus some of the modules go on brackets on his basement wall.

    We use end plates to pack the modules in pairs for transport. To make things really secure, you could create side plates too...

  10. I built a travk in 4.5x2.5 in N-scale that fits in my dorm, with a yard, interchange, not-an-oval loop, bridge, and 5 industries:

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You probably won't have room to run any sort of round and round layout, but a couple of 2'x4' shelves can make a nice switching layout, or start with a "time saver" layout and make the sidings longer if your shelf is long enough to fit it. Then get a little switch engine and a few cars. You can operate for quite a while switching out industries on a layout that only occupies the top of a book shelf.
  12. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The New Model Railroad Planning has some very nice bookshelf plans(8 of them if i remember correctly). These are for HO so a combining a couple of them could be managed in the same size in N scale :)
    These were designed by guys in the LDSIG(layout Design Sig).They had a design contest with specific perameters and the best plans were put in the Model Railroader Annual.
    Check it out at your favorite hobby shop before you buy it to see if any appeal to you.
    There are some very good tips in it also.
    I would have to say that IMHO Tony K has really come along ways with this annual and this years has alot of value,particularly to anybody interested in designing for operations oriented layouts.Well worth the price,Good Job Tony.Now, can we make it even bigger?? How about Semi annual? LOL :)
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think that was the 2004 edition that had 8 small layouts for book shelves. I just picked up the 2005 edition, and it has 2 really nice plans for small layouts. There is a 1 foot wide by 6 feet long switching layout designed to go on top of a couple of book shelves in ho scale. In n scale there is a 1 foot wide by 6 feet long switching layout that folds in half when not in use to store in an area 1 foot by 3 feet.
  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    have you considered switching scales/gauges? I switched to HOn3 and have a 3x6 layout that offers quite a bit. maybe keep the HO in storage while you are in college, and get a small collection of N scale...
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What era do you model? If you model the modern era, you might consider either moving back to say the early 50's when there were still a lot of 40 foot cars on the railroads and you could use one of those Spectrum G.E. 44 tonners for a switcher. That would enable you to get a lot of action in a small space. When you graduate and move into your own house with room for that dream layout, you could repaint the 44 tonner for a private industry and use it as an industrial switcher at a large industry on that dream layout.
  16. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Russ, you are correct of course.I picked up the new one but was also reviewing some older issues 99-2004 + the new one.I guess i got confused.
    Not the first time and certainly wont be the last.
    I liked that folding plan for someone without much room.It was a pretty cool concept and could really be done up nicely(furniture quality etc) :)

    Looks like JonH doesnt need any more help though.
    Its been a week and a half since he checked back :)
    Maybe he's getting ready for Spring Break :D

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