how far should track be from the edge of the table?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by trainsteve2435, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. hello everyone, just a quick question.... im trying to plan track for my bench work and i have a question. how much space should i allow from the edge of my track to the edge of the bench work in order to be able to add scenery effectively? i was planning on around 4" or so, but im not sure. any suggestions are appreciated. thanks!
  2. pdt

    pdt Member

    I'd take your favorite locomotive, find a cheap boxcar that's about the same size, and roll (as in "tumble" not "push") it off the track toward layout edge (or where it will be). Wherever it stops rolling, add an inch or two for safety. You'd hate to have a sleeve or something catch on a brass horn and pull your locomotive to it's death! Remember, safety first!:D
  3. Railery

    Railery Member

    It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Sounds like you want scenery. If so i would go 6" back. If there is a space problem then you must give in to that. But 6" is plenty of room for scenery along the edge. :)
  4. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    The NMRA standard for a HO module is 5" from edge to center of the outside track. I found this works OK, but the more the better for saftey from floor crashes. Fred
  5. thanks pdt, i never thought of that, i'll give it a try.:wave:
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The advantage of putting the track further back than the minimum is addinig scenery, structures, or whatever in front. These items act as viewblocks and increase the apparent size of the layout as they screen the train from view, much as happens in the real world.

  7. ya know, i never thought about that, blocking the train view. i think i will stick with around 5" and compromise on some other things. i definatley want to add a mountanious, rock cliff to the outside of my bench work. is it also true that tracks should not run exactly parrellel with the edge of bench work? im new thats why im wondering. thanks again!
  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Yes and no. hehe. If it's a "permant" shelf layout then the non parallel edge to track makes the layout more pleasing to the eye. Modules need to be interchangable so that don't work for them. Fred
  9. well, i dont guess its really a module, i just built it that way but it is a permanent layout that will easily come apart and re assemble. so i guess i need to learn how to make nice "S" curves, any suggestions? thanks!
  10. pdt

    pdt Member

    I don't think it hurts to have the track run parallel with the edge of the benchwork, depending on the purpose your layout is serving. If you're creating a series of scenes, it might be appropriate to spend time composing each scene as you would a painting or a photograph. In this case, positioning the track parallel to the edge of the layout could serve a composition purpose. However, I find asymmetrical compositions are usually more interesting, so I'd tend to design the layout with tracks askew from the layout edge. If the positioning wouldn't bother you one way or another, I'd position the tracks askew.
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I know that the general rule for s-curves is to allow for the length of your longest piece of rolling stock (loco or car) from the end of the first curve to the beginning of the second. That keeps the cars from opposing each other on the curve. As one car is exiting the first curve, its body will swing to the outside of the curve at the same time its mate in front is swinging to the opposite, outside of its curve.
  12. Silicon

    Silicon New Member

    An issue of semantics...

    Hey, Steve! Good to see you! :wave: I guess you've already figured out where a lot of the guys from the Atlas forum went when it shut down.:)
    Based on your conversations on the Atlas forum, it sounds like Steve's building a sectional layout. As Fred stated, modules are designed to be interchangeable, which I don't believe is a concern for Steve. He just wants something easy to disassemble when it's time to move. So, standard layout design rules apply; don't worry about conforming to any modular standards. ;)
    On your track plan, or in the real world? Use a compass (the kind for drawing circles, not the kind for determining direction:p) on your track plan, and a trammel (long stick, like a yardstick, with holes drilled in it) to transfer the curves onto your benchwork for laying track. Drill a hole in your yardstick at the 1-inch mark, then other holes for the radii of your curves (don't forget to add an inch, since you're not starting from zero:D). Stick the hole at one inch over a screw or nail at the center point of the curve, and a pencil in the hole for your radius, and draw your arc.

    As shaygetz stated, the ideal situation is to have at least one car length of straight track between opposing curves. And IIRC, according to John Armstrong, the next best solution is to have them immediately adjacent to one another, and the worst situation is to have them separated by a short (20-40 scale feet) straight section.

    Good luck with it, Steve. Let us know how things go.:thumb:
  13. davidvd59

    davidvd59 New Member

    If you have children at home, I set up my layouts with about 12" of space between the trains and the edge of the board. The first 4" of the board is a road way for cars, and trucks to travel on. My son loves that, then the next 8" is buildings of a town/country my scenery. In the middle is my layout of trains. It gives my son some excitement in trains.

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