HO in cramped apartment

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by custom1106, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. custom1106

    custom1106 Member

    I have a 2x8 layout underway. I had the board from another project. I picked up a Plymouth ($20, new unit) that seems to run fine with some 50 or 40 foot rolling stock around some pretty tight curves. Turnouts do not phase this little guy at all, I thought I'd have some problems with stalling like Shortliner said, but no problems here. I'll get some pics up soon. I know it will look a little less realistic with the very tight curves, but none the less I'll have a continuous loop.

    Thanks guys!
  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    2x8? Good luck keeping couplers coupled around a 10" radius curve. Sure, the engine will make the curve--but cars, even 40 footers, don't tend to stay attached together.

    Have you considered not having a loop? Real railroads don't run in circles after all...
  3. shortliner

    shortliner Member

  4. custom1106

    custom1106 Member

    Got the basic loop and part of the yard done today. This time I'm running horn-hook equipment...It seems to stay coupled just fine...even on the insanely tight curves. I like to have a continuous loop because of the smaller kids (relatives) that come over from time to time. They like to watch the train just run around for a while. I can let them take over the controlls without worries about them running out of track, yet I still have a yard with a couple of industries to keep me busy. I'm staying away from N scale because HO is more "kid friendly".

    By the way I'm using old school DC block control and a 15 year old Bachmann power pack from a set (Golden Spike) I got for X-mas when I was 5. I know it doesn't put out a lot of amperage, but it's easy for the kids to mess with, and does just what I need it to. I'll probably keep using it untill it craps out.

    Thanks for the info...I'll have some pics up soon.
  5. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    If you want HO but are limited in space you might want to think about HOn3. I have a trundel bed and I was thinking about taking the mattress off but I don't think I could stand it being so low.
  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Years ago I built a 4X8 layout for my son. I built it with open grid framework and traditional screen and plaster contours. I built it as a rotatating table on a framework with casters I used bearing plates from lazy susans at each end of the table. When rotated on edge it took up about 18 inches of width and could be pushed against the wall.
    On each side, under the table I used a folding table leg of the type used in campers and boats. With todays lightweight foam it could be a lot lighter.
  7. spurline

    spurline New Member

    Hang it.....

    :thumb: What kind of terms are you on with your landord?
    If good,check and see if you can hinge the platform to a wall with drop down legs to support it.
  8. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    I agree the shelf style was the way to go for me. Gave me a 15" deep shelf that ran along three walls in my office. I also built an upper tier that matched the lower shelf, but also had a 6" wide continuation around the room above the doors and windows. THis way, I can have my HO logging layout on the lower shelf, and my continuous running of either HO or On30 above.
    Here's a recent pic of one corner of the room:
    Once I am finished, I will face it off with stained red-oak and plexiglass panels to protect it from cats, kids, dust, etc., and to make it look nice.
  9. wkehr

    wkehr New Member

    Why not make it modular?

    Since you are plannng on storing this under the bed, a larger layout that would normally disrupt your appartment might be usable since you will remove it when through using it. Then you can make the size larger than what fits under the bed. With modular design you are building in such a way that adding on later would seem so be a continuation of what you have done so far. The final shape can more easily fit your location. Using smaller modules also can allow easier access to the layout. For example, 3-1/2 ft by 4 ft end pieces using 18" radius (or even smaller with 15" radius curves) could be used at right angles to a thinner module to create a dog bone layout and you can reach anywhere to pick up a derailed train.
  10. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I started with a 2'X8" layout:

    And later incorporated it into a larger 16X 6' layout at that time I got continuous running.
  11. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    "I've always been a fan of designing your layout for the space that you have and not vice-versa"
    I agree 100% with you hudsonelectric
    I'm "allowed" a 30 " x 80 " layout on a door so I have 2 opyions: a N scale loop or a HO yard ( or switching puzzle )

    Nice small layout Glen Haasdyk. Another proof that size doesn't matter :)
  12. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    The absolute tightest curve you can run is 15", but that is almost never used except for tight sidings. 18" is more the norm for a very tight curve, but that can cause problems with things more than 40' long, including Proto RDCs, almost any SD, pasesenger cars, intermodal cars, etc. If you want to run anything longer than 40', for best results you will want to keep your curves at 22" minimum, No.6 turnouts, which does take some real estate.

    Were I in your shoes I would look long and hard at modules, 4x2 sections of trackwork that connect to each other, and consider an "around the walls" layout made up from modules. Set it up at a height of 44-48" off the floor and it won't interefere with things like dressers or beds, but you will have to contend with doorways and closet access. Frankly, I don't think you will be satisfied with anything that can live under a bed. I started on a 4x8, and it was just too limiting, and eventually just plain boring. Going around the room gives you enough running length to make it interesting, and if you have room for a 3'wide section, you can add a yard.

    There are other advantage to using modules. They can be torn down for storage, or transported to a gathering of similarly-minded modellers with a local club. If they are built to a common (NMRA) standard, they can be connected together to create a huge layout for club events or displays. And when moving day comes, you don't have to tear down a wall to get your layout on the truck.

    Scott Fraser
    Calgary, Alberta
  13. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    One thing about this "under the bed" discussion: how many of you have a bed bigger than 8 feet long??

    Module width is a sticky issue. The "common" module size is 2x4 feet, but there is no need to stick to that. Personally I prefer a one-foot thickness, even for yards: that's enough for four or five parallel tracks, enough yard for my purposes, although for a big, big layout a two-foot thick yard can hold 8-10 parallel tracks--assuming you have enough linear space for such a beast (figure a 4-foot module at each end for ladder tracks, plus enough space for one or two modules of just the yard trackage--long enough to hold a train!)
  14. wkehr

    wkehr New Member

    Modular is any size sections

    Modular simply means that it is made up of separate sections. There is no restriction on size. The 2X4 referred to is commonly used by train clubs so that different modules can be created by different people and then connected together. Another modular standard is Bend Track used for n scale.
    I'm trying to design a layout (which changes weekly :) ) which currently has a 3-1/2 by 5-1/2 foot section, a 3 by 5-1/2 foot section, a 1-1/2 by 3 foot section, and a 1 by 3 foot section.
    One way to allow more track in a limited space is to have some elevated track or a lower level staging yard. For a small layout it might take much of the circumfrence for the track leading to the elevated track. A spur used as a run-around track will allow changing the direction of the train on the elevated track without requiring a reverse loop (which takes up a lot of a small layout).
  15. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    This is often stated - that no cars longer than 40' will run reliably on 18" - but most people with 18" curves run 50' cars, including myself on my old layout. However, some short cars may not run on 18". According to Model Railroader reviews (not the most reliable source), Walthers 25' ore cars need 20"+ (they're so short that the flanges will scrape the discharge chute on tighter curves) and their Front Runners require a bare minimum of 24" despite being under 50' long (they have only two axles, and the issue is the angle at which the wheels contact the rail).
  16. custom1106

    custom1106 Member

    Wow...it's been a while since I posted this. Did the 2x8 HO for a long time, finally broke down and did N scale for a while, but couldn't stand it. Moved into an apartment with slightly bigger rooms, so now I just started a 33" x 5' 10" HO layout. Can finally run knuckle couplers and normal sized switchers. It works out ok for having 15" radius track.:D

    Thanks for all the help!!

  17. UKSteam

    UKSteam Member

    Cramped conditons....

    Here's what my Dad did for me many years ago. I had a smallish room as a boy and it worked really well for me until he was kind enough to board the attic for me as my layout grew. He attached a strip of timber to the wall for a spacer and this was perfectly level. To that he attached hinges with the first attachment on the vertical face of the strip.(I guess piano hinge or individual hinges work just as well here)
    The board was then attached to the remaining faces of the hinges. The legs were basically thick legths of dowel about 2 inches in diameter that had a threaded (metal) bar at one end and screwed into the metal plates he bought at a hardware store that had the correspomding female thread, and were attached to the underside of the board.(Cut to length once the board came down to ensure horizontal level.)
    In the upright positon (vertical stowage) the legs were unscrewed, and I used the 'underside' which was now the vertical face, to add cork floor tiles glued on and it was a giant picture and messages type board, thus returning the room back to normal size. The layout was secured in the upright postion by a couple of those sprung ballbearing retainers that clipped around a shaped plate and attached high up on the wall. Like I say it worked well for many years and I think it was an 8' x 6' board.
    I did not have any scenery on the layout, but a further refinent could have been to increase the thickness of the original baton on the wall thus allowing more clearance when folded up, however the flip side of this the deeper a spacer you sued the more the folded layout would intrude into the room, and the stronger the baton screws would have to be. .Obviously anything higher than trees or low platforms would require a larger spacer. But if you built something like this buildings could be removable and simply reinstalled once the layout was in the down position by use of some polystyrene blocks say one inch high glued in position so buildings with open bases simply slotted back over them. A 10 inch high permanently attached feature like a mountain or bridge would feature would require a 10 1/2 spacer thus intruding into the rooom a lot more
    In your case you could mount it high enough to actually be overhang part of your bed to alow you to have a seat to work from as space is an issue. The board size could then be tailored the size of room you have.
    If you had space remaining at one end you could even integrate the idea of a shelf layout that did not fold up, but aligned with the main layout tracks once in the down position, use it as a marshalling yard and negate the need to pick up all your trains at the end of a session, simply run em into the sidings and then fold up the main trackwork. leaving them on display all nicely lined up and ready to run.

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