New member, need help with HO track design

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by SteveD, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Hello All,

    Im new here so first thing is first, hello :wave:. I have just purchased a new house and with alot of spare rooms so I would like to build a HO scale model railway. My room size is 3300mm x 2700. Your suggestions would be appreaciated as i really have know idea where to start. What are the basics, minimum turning radius, grading etc :rolleyes: I would like to go for a 1930's look with some sort of cross over or a continues loop!

    Cheers everyone and sorry for my ignorance :thumb:
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge! Congratulations on the new house!

    So your room is 10 feet x 8 feet (approx)? There is a lot you can do in that space. I suggest that you think about how you'd like to run the layout, and what parts of the hobby you enjoy the most. This will influence your plan a great deal. Take a look in my signature fo rthe link to the "Givens & Druthers" form. It will help you answer these questions...

    Some specific answers for you - in HO, the guideline for minimum radius is 18", but some equipment will operate on tighter radii, some require a bigger minimum. Same with grades - 2 to 3% is generally accepted as maxmium, but loggin lines can run up to 10%. If you want to pull 50 car trains with a single engine, you'd better stick to 0%. Curves can make a grade effectively steeper as well.

    What sort of location and theme would you like to have, other than 1930s?

  3. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Hello Andrew,

    Thanks for your reply. I really dont know where to start with the track layout. I would like a couple of levels of track crossing over eachother with bridges/forests and some lakes and a continue looping style of track/s (if that makes sense) Can you point me in a direction of some pre made track designs of that era or similar layouts?

    Once again, thanks
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    So is trains running through scenery your main goal? If yes, there are lots of variations on "loops around the walls". A twice around will give you one spot where the tracks will cross each other.

    Do you want to have any operations on your layout, or are you looking for a place to showcase models, that just happens to have a train running around? In terms of the 1930s - are you looking at logging (east or west)? Passenger operations? Industries? etc???

    A bit more info about what you would like to actually include in the layout would help us help you. If you haven't, take a look at that "Givens & Druthers" form (link in my signature below). I'd be happy to help you with that. Believe me, planning can be one of the hardest parts of this hobby, but once you get a pln you like, you'll be happy you spent the time to plan well. I sold my 4x8 after about 4 years, as I was not really happy with it in the end...

    I am not saying this to discourage you - please post more of you thoughts about what you'd like to do. Discussion often helps to work it out and refine your plan...

  5. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Besides The Gauge (the best resource on the web...imho)...this:
    is also a great place to look at finished layouts that would fit into your space (sometimes seeing a completed layout is helpful...I know trackplans were a little confusing for me when I first started learning. They kind of give you an idea of what can be achieved...It also contains a wealth of info in terms us newbies ;) can easily understand:thumb:
    Best advice...READ READ READ (you could spend months just checking out The Gauge alone)
    You picked the right place for getting great input, advice, and encouragement
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you are modeling the 1930's what equipment you decide to run will determine what sort of minimum radius you need to run. If you try to run full legth 85 foot passenger cars, you will need a 30 inch minimum radius, but if you can be happy with cars like Athearn's 72 foot "shorty" cars you can run 18 inch radius although 22 will look better. If you are going to run big steam, like 4-8-4 locos and bigger, you will need the 30 inch minimum radius, but if you limit yourself to smaller steam like 2-8-2 Mikados or 4-6-2 Pacific types you can run the smaller radius curves. A lot of what can be done in a given space depends on what type of equipment you want to run.
  7. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Check out the layout database in my sig for some layouts and ideas for your room size.
  8. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Wow guys, thanks for all your input. I will get back so you all shortly once i read all the information that you all have showed me.

  9. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Steve,
    Would it be possible for you to post a sketch showing windows, doors (including opening direction, closets/water heaters which you don't want blocked, etc. Are you open to a liftout section, duckunder, or rather have unrestricted access?
  10. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Hey Cid

    I think this is what your after. I would prefer not to duck under but if anyone has any ideas i am open to them :thumb: I am after 1930-50's coal mining layout through a lush mountain range with some water involved and bridges also with a 3% grade and maybe dual tracks.

    Attached Files:

  11. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Here is the other room at my disposal. Pretty much the same size but differant none the less. Which do you think is better suited ?

    The other pic is both rooms side by side for comparison


    Attached Files:

  12. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    The other pic :wave:

    Attached Files:

  13. fuzzyloggin

    fuzzyloggin Member

    Hi steveD welcome to the gauge(from one newb to another :) )
    id go the second of the two and either lose the sliding doors on the cupbard OR just open the whole lot up as if the cupboard was never there,id rather have the 3600mm run.
    nevertheless im a fellow newb here so im not best person to tell you by any means,
    and about what steve said, ive been reading the gauge and other forums for months now and only now do i feel like im in the position to start planning my track even know my garage is sitting with the timber waiting to go. there are just so many options and if its going to be a permanent thing you really want to put alot into the planning in my opinion or else you will get bored of it quickly and will never be anything like what you have in your head but the ppl around here have plenty of great ideas and love to give input so good luck mate and keep us all posted of where your at. :)

    sidenote: you gave measurements in metric.... you dont live in Australia by any chance?
  14. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Hey Fuss,

    Thankyou and Hello from Australia, hehe. I like your idea of losing the cupboards! Fantastic. Maybe i can use that for a staging area? It is very hard to choose but i agree with you that planning is the most important, it just there are so many differant layouts and designs to choose from!

    All the fun of it i guess!

    What layout do you have in mind for yourself?

  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Steve -

    Awesome drawings! Is that SketchUp? Cool program that I do not have nearly enough time to play with...

    I too like the second room, and if you can modify it in any way, so much the better. Even if it has to remain as is, the sliding doors mean that you do not have to allow for swing of a full standard door.

    Is there any way you'll be getting the use of both rooms..? ;) :D

    As far as design, you could run a point to point (no continuous running) from the cupboard (coal mine), around the walls to a port near the window where the coal is loaded onto ships. That would give you one main industry. Halfway between could be a town that ships goods (and workers) up to the mine, and down to the docks. It would also receive goods from the docks. Separate the town from the mine with a mountain "range", and the town from the docks with some other landscape (agricultural, forest, etc).

    Hope that helps.

  16. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I like the first room with the small closet. Take the closet door off the hinges and put it away, or use it for bench work. More space in this room.

    The other room is ruined by the little tunnel you have to go through to get in to the room made by the wall for the closet. I have worked with closets like that before and they are a pain. Put your bench and storage in the second room and the layout in the first.

    Just my opinion.

  17. fuzzyloggin

    fuzzyloggin Member

    hey guys,
    im over at if yu want to have a look steve but as you can see im pretty much still up in the air about the plan atm. i have however worked out my basic bench shape and will probably be making a start on one side of it this weekend. anyway mate about you while we are in here, do you have thoughts on whether you want a continuos run or point to point yet?
  18. SteveD

    SteveD New Member

    Hey Fuzz,

    I would love to have two tracks, one a continues run & the other point to point. Can that be possible?

    Andrew : Yeah it is Sketchup, top program and sooo easy to use! I like your idea for the coal mind, point to point. Is there any way to include both styles?
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Sure, there's always a way :) :D

    It would require a duckunder/gate of some sort to traverse the open door. I suggest you look at LoudMusic's thread "Preparing to begin again". He is tackling the same sort of issues as you, although his room is slightly larger.

    He is also a SketchUp fan... :)

  20. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Idea, tunnel into the closet.

    Attached Files:

    • LAY.jpg
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