Please help educate a newbie.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Driver8, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Driver8

    Driver8 New Member

    I'm interested in building a HO model railroad for myself and son who is three and loves trains. He has his own Thomas table, so this will be a nice layout for both of us to enjoy for years to come.

    I have been doing a lot of research, which I understand is a good thing, and feel like I am just about ready to "break ground" so to speak.

    For the sake of saving a little cash, I have a 5' X 9' ping pong table in my garage with I would like to use for the layout...with the intent of expanding. I also plan to cover the top of the table with foam for the layout.

    Growing up in Cumberland, MD, I have a keen interest in either the Western Maryland railroad or the Chessie System since I watched these engines pass my house every day.

    Will using the ping-pong table be OK?

    Does anyone have any 5'X9' layout plans that have worked well?

    thanks and all advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    i see no reason a pin-pong table would not work, but make sure you have it in a level spot. If this is your first experience with model trains, I would play around with EZ track (or similar brand) on the tabletop. That way, you can play around till you decide what you like, have fun running trains, until you are ready to make something permanent. For a more permanent setup, I would stay away from the pingpong table. Building simple benchwork for a 5x9 is easy, and it will be much stronger than the pingpong table.

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The pingpong table will work well -- depending on the table, you may need to fasten the top down a bit more securely.
    You can use the "normal" 4'x8' layout on a 5x9 table. The obvious way is to leave an extra 6" along each side; this gives extra room when the train leaves the track. You can put the layout at an angle -- looks better as the track doesn't follow the straight edge of the board. An extra straight piece in each side can push the layout out to fill the table.
  4. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    5X9 is better than 4x8 because you can more effectively use 22' radius curves. when you look at the 4x8 layouts, you can increase the curves, put in more double mainlines or passing sidings, or have more room for scenery.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    On a 5 x 9, lean over the empty table and see how far you can reach toward the center. If you aren't a tall person with long arms, you may have difficulty reaching the center. That isn't a problem if you don't put any track where you can't reach it. If you have any place on the table that you have difficulty reaching, put a large building there, or a mountain, or a lake or some scenic feature that will add interest to the layout, but keep the tracks where you can reach them, because as sure as you lay a track where you can't reach it, you'll have a train derail right there.

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