Help fill 5x8 space in N scale

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by ddavidv, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Here's my challenge: I have a utility room where I can use about 5 feet deep to the back wall by about 8 feet wide. The width will go from another wall to a door opening, so I can't change that. Depth can be shallower and possibly an inch or two larger if it becomes a problem. The layout will have to be against the wall on the left and back as you'd be facing it with the door to the right.

    My desires for this are to essentially duplicate a branch line operation that interchanges with a 'real' railroad. It will take place in the late 1950s-early 1960s and use mostly road switchers (Alco RS) and 2-8-0 steam, so tighter radius isn't much of a problem. I'd like a decent number of spurs for industries that will give the line a purpose. I'd also really prefer a continuous running option. Hidden staging must be accessible for maintenance. A small engine facility to store the equipment would be nice, but I don't want/need a turntable as I think they rob too much space and honestly cost a lot for a decent one. I'm torn between wanting grades and not. Scenery will be middle atlantic, semi mountainous. I think I have a way to add car storage and interchange off the layout size provided, but don't worry about factoring that in as it's easily added. Reminder; this is for N scale.

    With the size of the available space, I think reach would be a problem for a 'table' type layout, and I'd almost prefer something with an L or inverted U shape. The problem is, finding trackplans with these patterns is really difficult. To get the ball rolling, I'll offer up a couple that I have saved for possible consideration.
    This is the shape I'd prefer. Longest part against the back wall, left side against the other wall. I'd alter some of this plan to eliminate the reverse loops (I am using DC).
    For an L shape, I think this one has some good elements. I could probably expand this to a U layout, but I'm horrible at envisioning things like this, hence my post here. :)
    Another possibility (and I couldn't find an online sample) is the Spokane, Pasco and Wallace from 48 Top Notch Track Plans. Drawn for HO, it utilizes a unusual 3 section approach that I may be able to adapt to my space.
    If anyone knows of any other trackplans I should be looking at, please let me know!
  2. Go Big1

    Go Big1 Member


    I took a look at the 2 track plans attached to your message. I liked the first one better, and you are right, it does seem similar to mine! I dropped some quick modifications to it to remove the reverse loops. Added track is yellow, deleted track is red. This trackplan would have your locos running predominantly clockwise. If you wanted to run both ways, switch up some of the spurs and get some sort of turnaround wye in there somewhere.

    I think you could also relocate the rail yard section to the center of the loop on the left if you wanted, and then you could create some better switching in the lower center portion of your layout.

    Attached Files:

  3. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Thanks for the revisions. I agree, I don't like that 'yard' right there in the middle. I do, however, kind of like the crossover and access spur on the right side. I think I would use that to access the entire center portion for switching and do away with anything coming off the back line. This would allow the two tracks at the rear to either be visibly removed (via a divider, tunnel) or even at a different height.
    On the left I'm wondering if I couldn't adapt the L layout plan more-or-less. I think it's more interesting operationally.
    I wish I could use the RTS program, but it takes me half an hour to lay 3 pieces of track. I just can't seem to get the hang of it. wall1
  4. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Okay, here's a photo of the area I have to use:
    The blue outlines the inverted U shape I was considering. As you can see, the 11" radius just fits (I can make the actual layout slightly larger).
    I also elected to mask off a complete 'oval' that is 1 foot wide everywhere except the wall to the left where the pipes are. There I can do a depth of about 2.5 feet. The 'pit' size is approx 3.5' by 3'. Would this be sufficient room for one operator? I want to have the surface level of the layout up around 4' from the floor as I don't like looking down on a layout, especially N scale.
    I'm beginning to think the 'oval' may actually be a superior idea. The duckunder at that height won't be bad, I can have the continuous running I desire and no shortage of scenery and spur opportunities. Any yard type trackage could be placed at the wider end. I also considered a 2 track main but I think that will suck too much scenery space away at only 1' wide.
    The staging area will be to the upper right part of the photo and runs out of the picture and behind a door. The portion up to it's disappearance could also be sceniced.
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    More than enough.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Robert Sleicher (spelling?) wrote a book [published back in the 1980's titled "Build Your Next Layout This Way." It featured a layout very similar to the first one you linked to with a "tiime saver" switching puzzle to some industries in the center where your layout shows a yard. The biggest "con" to the time saver is that the sidings are too short to accomodate a reasonable cut of cars to a reasonable industry, but I think in n-scale it could be streched out enough to be practical and usable in your space. I think if it was me, I would dispense with a visible yard of any type to save the space for other things. I would make a hidden staging yard under the main layout with access via helix under one of the return loops on either the right side or left.

    Regarding mountains, I think in your space I would model mountains, but keep the track level. Basically the track would stay in canyons or over cuts to stay level while the surrounding scenery went up and down to your hearts content. If done right the mind could be fooled into thinknig there were grades on the layout even though all of the track was flat.
  7. just a reminder:

    The Atlas 'Atlantic Longhaul Lines' fills a 4-by-8 similaly with a two level track, using the notch cut as the upper level and one of the two ramps. In 5-by-8, you could stretch out the middle of the run a little, widening the 'notch'...and I'd use the woodland scenics 2% grades instead of the Atlas Piers (2.5% grades) in a modern version. Its a double-folded dogbone, with a very long run and a couple of yards. I always felt its weakness was the lack of industrial sidings, which could be added in the longer space.

    It might be worth looking at, too.

    Attached Files:

  8. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Thanks, SS. I had seen that trackplan (I may even have it printed in my file) and considered it. My concern also was the lack of sidings. I don't know if I can cram all that into my space though, as 11" radius track is just inside my 'masked' lines. Additional curves in the ends (at least on the 'right' side) would either be really tight or stacked on top of each other.
    My neighbor (also a N scale buff) gave me an excellent idea for my staging, which is off the upper right against the wall in the photo. I can run 2 lines out there, sort of 'off' the layout, at different heights (stacked on top of each other). This would make a virtual 'To' and 'From' interchange. All I need is to raise the one line up, which would be easy along the back wall.
    There will be NO helix on this layout. Quite simply, I don't want to build one. Also, under layout storage is pretty important to me due to the lack of closet space in the house, among other excuses I can come up with. :mrgreen:
  9. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Bringing this back from the dead with a progress report.
    My available size has shrunk a bit to 5'x7'. After laying out several different rough trackplans I'm finding many of them simply will not fit. The 'roval' I was thinking of doing is on the back burner as I don't feel a 1 foot wide right of way is going to please me in the scenery department.

    I have come across a track plan that may work for me, however. It is in the June 1996 MR, a Sante Fe layout by Jack Kenefick. I could not find it online anywhere. No scanning ability either. If anyone in Gaugeland has the ability to throw it up here for comment, I'd appreciate it. It's for HO, but laid out roughly with Atlas track on my floor it looks as if it will (mostly) fit pretty nicely. This may be a case of "not what I wanted, but what I need" since little else seems to work in the space I have. :rolleyes:
  10. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Ok, I photograhed my photocopy so I could post it. :mrgreen: I think it's probably too big to fit the page here, so clickable link to open it:
    At the upper right I would add a line 'off' the layout to staging tracks. The rest of it I would probably duplicate except for the passing siding inside the 'tunnel' portion as the staging tracks eliminate the need for it, IMO and the less maintenance I have to access underneath the better.

  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thats a cool lil plan David. Im liking it and I think you are right about eliminating one of the tunnels tracks and adding a track off to staging. Thats a good idea. :thumb:

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