New guy with lots of questions

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by aslan, May 17, 2006.

  1. aslan

    aslan Member

    Just found your forum today. I'm just starting out and need your advice. I've done some searches here and found some good info. Here are a few details about what I want to do. I have about $1300 to spend. I want to use HO and probably, if you don't correct me, go with a 4X8 layout. Any advice for a complete neophyte??
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: a 4 by 8 is a good starting layout,if you make it where you can expand from it .
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi Stan.
    First off, don't do anything for a month! Just read the forum and then think about what you want.
    Do you know what you want to model? I often suggest that you go with the time and place where you first found you were interested in trains -- for most of us, that's between ages 8 and 12.
    Picking HO is good. That's one big decision outof the way, and often the least important one. HO is a nice middle-of-the road choice, and you can go almost anywhere with it.
    A 4x8 layout is a good starter. A 5x9 is slighly better, but sometimes harder to justify or find. There are many pre-done track plans for this size; use your month to explore track plan books, track plan web sites. You'll not get anything much more complex than a loop or a figure 8 in the space, unless you like small trains. Worst problem with a 4x8 is reaching across it.
    Don't expect your first layout to be your last. Lots of people don't finish their first layout before they start on their second. Check out the track planning threads.
    Don't buy a train set. It may seem to have everything, but usually not top quality or even middling quality.
    Go to a train show. Go to a railway hobby shop.
  4. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Model Railroader had a four part series on what I thought to be a very clever 4x8 called Stoney Creek. It had a little switching (industry), a little water, a little bridgework and fantastic use of props, scenery, and figures to make the whole thing a story. Nicely done. It ran from January to April 2006. Check your library. Or you can order back issues on
  5. aslan

    aslan Member

    Thanks for confirming of waiting a month! I am usually one who jumps right in but I'm going to take my time with this.
    I have a hobby shop about 1 mile from me with the back issues of the 4x8 setup. I've got the first 2 issues.
  6. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    This was a GREAT article. This article alone got me from thinking about my railroad to actually doing it. HIGHLY RECOMENDED!!!!
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Best advice here,...Welcome to The Gauge:thumb:
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Don't even assume that you need to start on a 4x8. Where are you going to put the layout? Is it going into a room where it could have a layout around the walls just as easily? Remember a 4x8 needs to have access on all four sides. That means you need a room 9x12 to fit it. If you cut that 4x8 into 2 foot wide shelves running around the walls on a 9x12 room, you'll need another 2 1/2 sheets of 4x8 to go all the way around the room. You probably can't do that because you will have a door and probably a closet to deal with, but think about what you can do. You might put a 4x4 for a turn back loop at one end of the room next to a closet or entry door, run the layout around on a shelf to the other side of the door or whatever obstruction there is and put in another 4x4 for a second turnback loop. Look at the track planning forum on the Gauge to see some ideas other members have put out.
  9. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Consider 5x9.... a 22" radius track will come VERY closer to the edge of a 4X8 table. You will be very glad you gave yourself the extra room. Also, if it is gonna be in the corner or against a wall, will you be able to reach all areas of the track easily?

    Also, in my opinion, go DCC. The versatility digital control presents is unparalleled. The EZ commander by Bachmann makes it easy to get started, and now you can get an Atlas decoder equipped loco for under 100 bucks.

    Another decision will be code 100 or code 83 track. I use 100 and know nothing about 83, except it is lower and therefore more realistic, and have heard it is more expensive.

    Have fun!

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