HO Scale looking to expand

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Zfein23, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. Zfein23

    Zfein23 New Member

    I am currently in the process of finishing up and most likely renovating my HO scale layout. I basically have one loop of track, as the pictures show. The questions I have are:

    1.) What do you guys think I need to do in order to finish up the layout I have (I'm currently painting some pedestrian figures for the sidewalks and looking for cars for the streets)?

    2.) How should I go about adding another loop of track? I'm thinking a completely seperate line, with a seperate power pack and all. The goal is to run two trains at the same time.

    Here are the pictures, and some specs:

    Layout is 4' x 10'. There is room for expansion in any and every direction for the extra loop. There is, roughly, an 18" gap between the wall and the rear of the layout for access, but it is possible to move the entire bench outward, in order to expand the rear.

    Attached Files:

  2. Zfein23

    Zfein23 New Member

    The only feasable option I can come up with for my second question is to add a loop around my entire layout. The current loop consists of 18" radius track, small, but suitable for the trains I run. For the outside loop I think I will use 24" radius track. The track would need to incline about 1" to 2" around the curves into the rear, in order to sit up slighly on the mountain. I would also need to somehow add a few inches all around my layout. Does this sound like something I should start doing, or is it too drastic?
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A couple of suggestions; free advice is worth every penny you paid for it! But before I start, let me say that your present layout looks like a lot of fun in the construction and scenery. Very nice, all around.

    1) Adding the benchwork and/or support for an oval outside your existing track is probably just as much trouble as starting over with a bigger "table" to begin with. On a 4ft x 8ft table, 2 concentric tracks of 18in and 22in radius track works quite well - you can go to 18/21 inch if you use flex track. You would have to remove the straight sections in the middle of each end of your existing oval, though. The benefit of double track is not only being able to run two trains, but being able to run longer trains in the same space if you want because you are no longer restricted by number and length of passing sidings. The drawback is that the layout will look smaller because of the relative width of double track in the same visible length.

    2) The most useful additions to a 4x8 oval tend to be long rectangles projecting out from the basic table near the ends. You have effectively already done this with your spurs and sidings at the one end othside the oval. Just picture adding a 2ft x 6ft (arbitrary dimensions, could be smaller or bigger) addition. Model Railroader had a couple of articles on that last winter, adding a section to their 4x8 Turtle Creek project railroad. Usually a small yard, industrial area, or spurs in a scenic setting to be switched are put on the addition. You might even want to move your existing industrial section onto the extension and lengthen your existing or double-tracked oval.

    3) The Atlas track planning books have several good ideas for fairly simple 4x8 track plans, several of which are double track. They might even have the plans on their web site now - I haven't checked the HO section. If you do have the space to build a layout 5ft wide - I wouldn't go any wider because of having to reach into the center more than 30 inches is very difficult - there are some good 5x9 track plans, or you could expand a 4x8 track plan so that it is not so crowded.

    4) Please do not wire a double track layout as two separate sections (assumes DC and not DCC). Instead use the traditional "dual cab control" wiring described in the Atlas books (you don't have to use Atlas electrical switches to do it!) and traditional train wiring and project model railroad books. This will give you much greater operational flexibility, and lack of problems when a train crosses over from one track to the other.

    No matter what you choose - have fun!
  4. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    If you don't mind widening the tunnels for two trains, you have a very easy solution for getting a second (continuous) loop. The spur at the bottom of your layout can be turned into a loop, 6 18" curve tracks (creating a new tunnel through the mountain), 4 straight sections coming back to the left and paralleling the upper straights, then 6 18" curve tracks coming back almost to join the loop. Put in a right hand switch instead of the curve leading into the spur, and it looks like you have your new inside oval.

    If you mirror the two switches at the bottom leading into the spur (now a loop) with the same setup at the top of your layout using two left hand switches, you now have an entrance and exit for each loop, and both the (short) trains you run will be able to go anywhere on your layout.

    I would draw you a picture, but I don't know how to attach it. I've gotten very stupid in my old age.

Share This Page