Hi I'm new here too. HO help please? :)

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by NYC Rocker, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. NYC Rocker

    NYC Rocker New Member

    :wave: Hi everyone! What a great forum, holy cow, so many talented people with so many amazing railroads you've constructed!!
    Okay, I have one question, and please keep in mind I'm BRAND NEW at this. :confused:
    I live in NYC and don't have much room... I probably should've gone for N scale but I got HO. :rolleyes: Anyway, what is the minimum amount of space I can possibly get away with for my track? It will probably be on a board or table-top or something. I don't expect to create any big elaborate models like the rest of you, I may even have to stick to a basic circle or oval or whatever I can fit.
    Any suggestions you can give me would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much!

  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    That depends on what locomotive you have. If it will handle a 15" radius curve, the minimum will be 34" X 34"(a little table outside the curve). The most accurate answer to your question is dependant on the minimum radius curve your loco can operate on. After that.......how much space do you have? :D :D (or are willing to sacrifice :eek: :D )
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Welcome to the gauge, we will help you all we can. In HO I recommend no smaller than 4 X 8 if you want a loop. There are other straight line layouts that can be very challanging such the "time saver" switching game layout which can be very small. The guys in track planning can help you out. Fred
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I would try to think the other way around and decide what is the maximum area you have avalable. Then we can decide what to do with the space :D :D :D

    Welcome to HO and the gauge!!!
  5. NYC Rocker

    NYC Rocker New Member

    Thank you both for your quick answers! Yikes :oops: I don't know what the locomotive is capable of, I didn't even get it yet, it's on its way from Ebay. It's a Bachmann Union Pacific Engine. Does that give you any info? :confused: I mean I'm REEEEALLY new at this. ;)
    Okay so I can do 34". But 4 by 8 feet? <-- That I can't do. I wish!!
    By loop, do you mean a circle?? Do I need 34" or 8 feet? I have this table top that is 39" by 42". Do you think that's do-able or am I up the creek now? :cry: Yes I guess I will have to sacrifice some space and get a bigger table if this is not do-able. (Holding my breath and crossing my fingers.)
  6. NYC Rocker

    NYC Rocker New Member

    Hi JonMonan! Thanks! I didn't see you before, we cross-posted. :)
  7. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    You can get it on that table OK, I was thinking of a nice size oval, so sorry. You will just need to use the small radius curves. It's just most would be happier with a 4X8 in HO. :)
  8. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member


    From a practical standpoint, a 8x4 layout is probably the smallest for operating and abiltiy to do some switching. (my club is building a display 4x8) But I lived for a number of years with a small 2x8 switching layout due to space problems. The down side is that I couldn't run the trains around in a circle (I have a test track in a circle for that)
    Here's a picture of it. (It has since been put up on legs!)

  9. NYC Rocker

    NYC Rocker New Member

    Thanks Dash! Yes I would love 4 x 8 - but I really am kinda cramped here as it is. However... there is this storage spot I've been meaning to clean out... and if I do... hmmmm.... ;) It might just work after all!
    Okay for now I'm gonna use this table top, I can always add on later.
    I'm going to read more on that Future Track Planning thread, very helpful!
    Oh and I have another question for you! The "straight line" layout you mentioned, is that like for instance our subway trains here which don't loop around but they get to one end and then just stop and go the other way? (The last car becomes the first car.) Do they make trains like that?? I could do that along one wall I bet. Is that what you meant by "timesaver switching game layout"? (I really don't know any of this, I have only seen a model railroad like once in my life, when my cousins had it around their Christmas tree, and I was about 9 years old. And lemme tell ya, that was a LONG time ago.) ;) I will continue to pick your brain for as long as you will allow me to get away with it.
  10. NYC Rocker

    NYC Rocker New Member

    Hey Glen! COOL!!! Hmmm I bet I can do something like that. Is that the straight line layout Dash was talking about?
  11. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Well, it's not 'the' staight line layout that Dash was talking about but it is one possible track plan in a small space. It does require some skill with a jig saw, since the track climbs in a switchback in the rear.
  12. in your space

    since you have about 3'3" by 3'6", I will ask a couple questions:

    1) do you _want_ a loop?
    2) how much HO stuff have you purchased?

    If you don't want a loop, you can make a pretty nice 'swiching' or 'shunting' layout in that space, though you'll want to keep your rolling stock short (0-4-0 and 0-6-0 Steam Switchers, SW9/1200, and RS1 Diesel switchers are your best bet, along with mid-20th century 40-foot cars.)

    If you do want a loop, you can squeeze an 18" radius circle in that space, with a curved re-railer/terminal, or a 15" radius short oval with very short straights. the 15" circle would again require some very short engines.

    A circle can still work fine as a place to add scenery, as long as you accept that you'll have an 'under the tree' look (some people would rather concentrate on the scenery and don't mind a simple loop of track)

    If however, you DO want a loop, and something more complicated, I'd reccommend N-scale, where your space is enough to have an oval and a few sidings without much difficulty, which is why I asked how much HO you already have. If you don't have a ton of it, its not too hard to switch scales.
  13. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Welcome dude!

    Hi NYC Rocker,

    Glad you found this hobby, and this forum. There is a way to have a 4'x8' layout in a limited space. It's the ol' Layout in a cupboard routine. What you do is make a box that is 4'x8'x1' and this gets mounted on the wall. Then your layout is hinged to the bottom edge and has some latches that hold it closed, and some fold down legs for when it's down. It could be made and mounted in such a way that when it's open, it sits on your existing table, and the table acts as the legs for the layout. Actually, this idea is probably more stable than the fold out legs. When your finished working on your layout, you clean off the loose bits, and fold it up until next time.

    If you go this rout, I have one more idea for you. Get yourself (make if you can) a cart for your train stuff and modeling supplies. Then you can roll it out of sight when your not working on the trains. Also, if your going to sit and watch TV in another room, you can roll it in there and work on yer stuff with ease.

    I got an old wooden bar stool I put on wheels. Made some box-like shelves for between the rungs, and put a plastic tool holder on the top. For sawing and filing I can put the tool holder on the floor and work on the top of the stool, and not have to worry about damaging any of the wife's furniture.

    Here's a pic of me modeling cart.

    Attached Files:

  14. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I got an old card board box and cut it up and made this drawer like shelf that sits on the center rungs. I used a bits of 1'x3' for the sides and then drilled holes in the edge to take some tools.

    Attached Files:

  15. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    found an old tin box that was just the right shape, so I made a shelf that the tin box sets on and slides in and out.

    Attached Files:

  16. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    My neighbour gave this tool caddy and I had no use for such a strange shaped caddy for a long time. Then I started to modeling, and it sure came in handy. You can find caddys like this at flea markets and garauge sales and junk shops.

    Hope this helped out. ;)

    TrainClown :wave:

    Attached Files:

  17. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, NYC Rocker.

    Once you get your engine, let us know exactly what it is, and the many talented people here can help out.
  18. Allstate81140

    Allstate81140 Member

    Hi Rocker and all. Welcome to the train forum. I joined sometime back, but just now getting to start posting, and like you, have been away from trains for a very long time. Over 40 years.

    From a real rookie, I was wondering, what about multi levels with the track, with gradual inclines? Probably a hangup to it, but just thought I'd mention it for what it was worth. Two cents? Ha ha.

    All have a great day. Jack.
  19. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    You may also consider something that fold up out of the way, or folds in half. Another thought is a shelf type layout. Can you run a 12" shelf around or even 3/4 of hte way around the room? With the size limitations you have, you are almost forced to choose between a continuous loop (oval or circle - where the trains can run round and round forever) and point to point (Like the real ones - goes from point A to point B). IMHO That latter is the best bet if you have to choose. Sounds boring at first, but it's actaully the more interesting to operate. You add turnouts (switches) and sidings, then to "operations" moving stuff here and there, rather than just watching the train run. This would look more like the layout that was posted here.

    If you really want to do a loop, you can make it interesting by superdetailing it along the way. In this case, the fun is in the modeling, not in operating. The train runs around the loop as part of hte scene you have created. It's a lot of fun, but once it's completed, it's pretty much done, unless you redo stuff.

    Here is one of my faovrite mini layouts by Brian Fayle:


    His scale is nearly double the size of HO, so you could do something like this within your size limitation. Here's my trackplan for a similar sized HO layout:

    Attached Files:

  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge. I've been on a vacation for a week, and missed the start of this thread. I have a suggestion to consider. Build a linear switching layout on top of a book shelf say four feet above the floor or so. Then make three unsceniced, fold up single track modules in a a "U" shape that will connect to the switching layout for some temporary continuous running that can be taken down and folded up when not in use. Has your U.P. engine come in yet? Do you know what it is, or what it is called on the box? U.P. has run everything from huge steam and diesel power to small switchers. For your space limitations, smaller locomotives will be more practical. If diesel powered, go more toward four axle units rather than six axle. For steam, I would look at 2-6-0s, 2-8-0s, or 2-8-2s. 0-6-0 or 0-8-0 would be good too.

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