Need help with a smaller than usual HO layout...

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by custom1106, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. custom1106

    custom1106 Member

    I have a smaller HO Layout packed into a one bedroom apartment. Looking for a track plan to fit inside of the loop I already have. I have some track inside the loop laid out, but not tacked down yet. Before I start tacking things down, I figured I'd run a picture by you guys and maybe you could come up with something better. The dimensions of the layout table are 33" x 5' 10". I have 3 each of both left and right atlas turnouts to use. Layout will run on DCC.

    Go here for pic----->

    I would greatly appreciate any input!:thumb:

  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Custom:wave:, considering the size you have, and if you cant add on to it, i would say the plan isn't to bad!:thumb: you have 4 sidings and a small runaround track, I'm NOT a "trackplan expert":rolleyes:, but if thats all the space you have, i think you done fine:thumb:. just my 2 cents:D -Deano
  3. berraf

    berraf Member

    One key to a happy life is to bee pleased with what I have so I think you could be happy with what you have and make the most out of it.
    You can run trains, do some switching and because you have DCC great opportunity is at hand.
    Have you any idea about how your landscape should look like?
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    An addition you could consider is a passing siding or long spur on the back side for "staging" a second short train. Put a backdrop in front of the staging but behind your other structures. Take a look at Harold Minkwitz's Pacific Coast Airline Railway ( for some great ideas in small layouts (his is 4x8).

    I think you've done a great job on the front side.

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. Nick R.

    Nick R. The Rock

    Excellent advice about the "staging" track. You may also want to think about what industries you'd like to model. It would help determin what kind of tracks to lay out where, although for the space you have you are doing well.

  6. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    15" radius is really tight, sounds like a little switching road. Interesting though, as there might be some possibilities here.

    For passenger, I don't think you'll get a lot of operating fun out of a passenger train on a layout this small. You might want to consider some creative options. One would be a combine hauled on your regular freight, to make a mixed train. Another might be a small self-propelled car such as a Doodlebug. Mileswestern has an interesting doodlebug kitbash somewhere around here. Another would be to just run a caboose -- some railroads used to let you ride in them.

    The track arangement you already have is pretty good. I'd suggest adding a track at the back to represent an interchange or junction, so you have someplace to take your cars.

    Dunno what era you're doing, but this would be great for the steam or transition era. A little GE 44-ton centercab or a small 0-6-0 would look great. Such small layouts are always a real gem to see, keep posting pictures as you go along.
  7. 2680

    2680 Member

    i have a layout similar to yours. it is 3x9 as that is the only space i had available..... i have two tracks on it. the outside is a 15" radius and i have a figure 8 inside that with a 12" radius. on the inside track, i run a ge 70 ton switcher and oar cars.... it runs just fine and looks cool. just another option to have more things running.....
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    44" x 65", 4 completely independent loops of track---one with 3 turnouts, a passing siding and a spur. The outside is 22" radius, big enough for all my steam, followed by 17 3/4" radius, 15 1/2" radius and 14" radius. While it started out life as my Christmas garden and will remain that, until I move into a larger apartment or house, it's my running HO scale layout and I've been having a hoot putting as much track in it as physically possible while still leaving room for buildings and a tree:thumb: .

    Attached Files:

  9. 2680

    2680 Member

    here is my layout with 15" and 12" radius.....


    and here is the little GE 70-Ton i run on the 12" radius....

  10. berraf

    berraf Member

    Looks great!
    Can almost hear the motor of the GE-70...
  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Can you beleive I get an Athearn GP7 to go around that top loop of 14" radius? Love those little GEs:thumb: BTW, that radius came from the fact that it was the largest piece of plywood I had lying around at the time. The loop was design to fill it with a half inch to spare all the way around. When I got a larger piece years later, I just cut it out cookie cutter fashion and have used it as an elevated loop ever since.
  12. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Athearn GP7s are good for crawling around tight corners: mine had little difficulty crawling around my first test layout's 12-15" radius curves! Ironically, my Geep can't make it around my current layout's 12" curve because I installed a guardrail to prevent derailments and it causes problems with wheel flanges.

    Geeps are the big bruisers on my layout--more are more along the lines of that 70 tonner, along with some 44 tonners and an S1. But they're still a four-wheel-truck switcher and thus capable of goating around some fairly sharp curves.

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