Laying Out My Track

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by BIG44, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    Hello there. I've never made a track layout before and as I sat down to start drawing it out on paper I thought to myself, "How close to the edge of the table can I get with my track?"

    So I ask you....How close to the edge of the table can I get with my track or does it really mater? Is there a rule of thumb that we; as modelers, tend to stick to? I'm using N Scale Kato track by the way:thumb:
  2. Hello BIG44, i dont know if there is actually a rule of thumb or not, but keep in mind that you may want to allow for some sort of scenery or landscapeing or something and that would take around 2" to 4" depending on what you decide on. Also, theres always a chance you will derail a unit, and logic says it will not fall twoards the safe side, but twoards the floor, so remember to allow for this also. Believe me, if there is a chance a loco or piece of rolling stock will derail, and they will, they will almost always decide to do it next to the edge of a layout, and from there its a quick trip to the floor below!
  3. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Most "canned" track plans tend to use every inch of space, so they're not necessarily a good indicator.

    I like the two to four inch range myself, although I will certainly have to check to see if I've followed that myself...

    (pause to walk over to layout)

    ...well, I've mostly adhered to it anyway. The most difficult points are where there are curves that must fit within the space available to turn a train 90 or 180 degrees. There is the tradeoff between space and radius.

    The extra space for scenery in front of the track is certainly useful, and an opportunity to help cut down on the proabability of those 1000 scale foot drops... although it's amazing how far an expensive piece of rolling stock can go in order to make it over the edge...
  4. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    Thanks, you guys, for the input. And I didn't think about the train derailing. Very good point guys:thumb:

    As we speak I'm looking at a 4'X10' layout. I'm trying to use as much room as possible without using all of the room in lol! I'd like to make it a lot bigger but I just can't spare the space. I'm sure all of you fel the same way. HAHA!!
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I would try for at least 2" in N gauge. I have one track on my HO layout that's closer than that to the edge, but it's a siding. I also have a removable section that's 4 or 5" wide (total).
    If your one side is against a wall, you have to leave space for the front of locomotives and such to come out of the curve.
  6. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    Something else I never would have thought of. Thanks 60103!:thumb:
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I've found out that whatever is in the flight path of a three year old's hand will in fact be knocked down on the layout edges. My track is one inch from the layout board edge at the very front of the layout where you'd sit to control everything...but signs, cross bucks, and such get bumped from time to time and need glued back down. Also, it makes that section hard to get good pictures of since whatever train you run is right at the layout edge. Makes composing a picture harder since you have almost no good background. Also, whatever is in the front of the layout and close to the edge will get hit by a loose shirt or clothing. Trees snag, buildings get moved, telephone poles get snapped which makes the little plastic people mad because they have to go back and fix all that stuff. This isn't the most technical reasons I've offered...just what's happened to me more times than I'd like with little kids about.
  8. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    HAHAHAHA!!! Now see, that's where I'd have a problem. I don't have any little people to go fix everything yet. Maybe I'l stop by hobby Lobby and pick up a maintenance crew. Do they help build the layout as well?!?!?! lol!
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Show layouts often have a clear barrier along the edge. Some people also put those on home layouts, though I'll admit I've rarely seen it.
  10. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    That's kind of cool. Do you mean like a Lexan barrier?
  11. BIG44

    BIG44 New Member

    Okay, so I used my Kato Track Planning Template to come up with a nice sized layout for a 10'X4' table top. It looks really good so far and I guess my next step will be to figure out where my rolling hills and river will be located. I'm still kind of iffy about all of this. We'll see what happens I guess.

    Good thing about it is that I can always come here for tips, etc.:thumb:
  12. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    "How close to the edge of the table can I get with my track?"

    Second verse, much like the first.

    "How close to the backdrop of the layout can I get with my track?"

    I figure I want something between the backdrop and the nearest set track to help soften the bluntness of the edge of the world. Does the same rule of thumb apply - two to four inches? How do more serious modellers here handle track at the back?
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One trick is to make a little up-slope just outside the tracks at the table edge: and inch or two in N, 2 inches in HO, out of foam or such to catch anything that comes off.

    A lot of modellers use the back few inches to make an adjustment from the built-up scenery to the view painted on the backdrop. Best to find a scenery book to see how it's done.
  14. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Do to space limitations in my train room, the base of the benchwork is app. 40 inches off the ground, so what I will be doing soon is putting a clear plastic sheild allong the edge, this way if a derailment happens it will not fall to the floor. And the plastic keeps the little people from touching anything.

    hmmm, what out the cat ? ... I found the little guy in my tunnel once... ONLY ONCE... lol
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    I found mine coming out of the tunnel through a brick wall. After he chewed some buildings I installed a door at the basement entrance (previous owner had removed it) then had to get some much stronger latches for it.
    (There's a picture of that somewhere).

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