Looking for ultimate 4' x 8' layout

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Lionel-Ritchie, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Lionel-Ritchie

    Lionel-Ritchie New Member

    I am completely new to model RR's. I want to build an O gage Lionel set with Diesel DCC locomotives. I have room for a 4' x 8' board but *could* stretch it to 5' x 9'. I've been looking and looking at 4' x 8' layout books and can't find what I want. I want the ultimate 4' x 8' layout...any opinions? I want a passing lane and a yard. Please help!
  2. Philinbos

    Philinbos Member

    I've never modeled O gauge so can't directly address your question, however your local hobby shop should have several books on designing layouts- Kalmbach Publishers catalog lists several publications:
    KAL-8185 " Your 1st Lionel layout" KAL-8215 Realistic O Gauge Track Plans", KAL-8275 "Layout Plans for Toy Trains" and several others covering fright yards, layouts, wiring and trackside structures. Your public library may even have some of these - most are under $20.00
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The ultimate depends on what your personal vision of what a layout should look like is. With a 4x8 in 3 rail O you are limited to diameter of the curves you use. The width of the table limits the curves.

    Atlas has an O45 (45 inch diameter curve), also O36, and O27. Their switches for your use have O36 curves.

    Lionel Fastrack uses O36 curves and O36 switches.

    MTH Realtrax has both O31 and O42 curves and switches. None of these easily mate iwht each other.

    The traditional tubular track comes in 2 heights - O27 and O (O31). Within each height there are also 042 curves and switches. Most of the other track systems make adpaters to mate with tubular track. But the easiest way to go when starting new is to pick one track system and stick with it. O27 is the cheapest but some locomotives and cars won't take the O27 curves, especially on the switches. The bigger diesels in particular may have problems.

    Next you should pick a basic theme - do you want 2 separate loops each running their own train? Would you prefer one longer run that goes up and over? Do you need to leave space for operating accessories? Would you prefer a figure 8 design? My personal 4x8 - designed for 2 kids - has an inner O27 figure 8, and an outer O31/O42 loop. There are 2 crossovers to allow trains to change loops. If I had a 5x9 space, I would change the inner loop to a over and under folded dog bone using O31, and expand the outer loop to fit around it.

    Last, 3 rail O does not use DCC. Lionel has their own digital command system called TMCC, and MTH has theirs which is called DCS. There is some capability to run each others systems, but perhaps not in command mode. I don't use command control, perhaps some of those who do ca
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    deleted due hitting post key twice.
  5. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    Here is a link that has alot of good info and track plans


    One of my layouts is 5 x 8 foot and here is its track plan

    This is made with 027 track and the outside loop has 042 radiu corners.


  6. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    Kalmbach has several books on layout. Classic Toy Trains Magazine does too. If you use Fastrack, 5X9 may be it as the curves and switches require that if you run an inner loop.
  7. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Look in the back of the Lionel catalogs, dont waste money of a book. Not unless you get it at the lbrary or of line.
  8. Wimpy

    Wimpy New Member

    I got the OK from management to go ahead and build a Thomas the Tank Engine layout for the grandkids. I am limited to 4’X8’ sizes that will fit over a single size bed. Here is the planned layout using O-27 track. I wanted to be able to run two trains plus have a little switching to my barrel loader and log loader/unloaded. Not sure this is what you were thinking about.


    There are some nice layouts here.


    Wiscasset & Carrabassett Ry.
    The biggest, littlest railroad, down east
  9. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    There is nothing at all wrong with that layout--gives you a little bit of everything and still fits. Are those O42 curves on the outside, or O27? I like O42 or larger on the outer loop since a train is less likely to go airborne and off the edge on an O42. But at any rate, it looks like a fun layout.
  10. Lionel-Ritchie

    Lionel-Ritchie New Member

    That looks like a great layout. Thanks for posting it. Can I do it in Fastrack?
  11. Wimpy

    Wimpy New Member

    Dave it uses O-27 curves. I don't know why you couldn't use wider curves on the outside loop. Not sure if O-42 would work, but you could lay it out and see if it does. I altered one of the layouts from the link I listed. They have others that you might be able to alter to suit your taste. I just hope the grandkids have fun with it.


    Wiscasset & Carrabassett Ry.
    The biggest, littlest railroad, down east
  12. silver

    silver Member

    I wish there was more O guage Layout plans on line. You would think that with what 70 years or so worth of layouts some of these old proven designs would be collected somewhere.

    The "Thor Trains" site is nice. He is doing a nice service to the hobby giving a free place to direct new people. However I feel some are a little weak and seem like just trying to fit as much track in as possible without much thought of operation. I wish there was some K-line SuperStreets plans somewhere online.
  13. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I agree. The main issue is copyright, I think. Since it's hard to know what is free to copy and what is still under copyright by someone, that keeps a lot of the old track books off line and on dusty bookshelves. Write your Congressman. Seriously. Copyright used to be cut and dry--if it was 28 years old or older, it was free to copy. If it was less than 28 years old, it was illegal to copy unless you owned the copyright. Today the majority of things published after 1922 are likely to have minimal commercial value, but tracking down the copyright holder to get permission can be impossible, and proving there is no copyright holder requires expensive lawyers.

    The original idea behind copyright was to give the author a chance to make a living off the work, then set it free, to encourage other people to adapt it and improve it and make new ideas out of it. We are a long way from that now. (And I say this speaking as a copyright holder and published author.)

    Sorry for the political rant.
  14. silver

    silver Member

    Thanks to Disney for extending these rules recently.
  15. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Oh, don't get me started on that evil corporation. They waited for The Jungle Book to go out of copyright, rather than license it from the author, then made a fortune off the movie while the author didn't make a dime. Which is fine, that was the law. But then they bought off every Congressman they could find to get the laws changed, so nobody else can benefit from the same conditions they did. Disney is perfectly happy to take, but when it comes time to give back....

    Unfortunately, even though our politicians are supposed to represent you and me, they might as well represent big companies like Disney.

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