Possible 2x6' Layout?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by RobertInOntario, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Due to lack of space, I've been trying to create a small as possible HO layout. I also like the flexibility of being able to easily store or transport a small layout (maybe one day I'll switch to N scale!!:eek::mrgreen:).

    I started working on a very small 3x4' layout in November but recently had to set it aside -- mainly due to the crazy busy-ness of the Christmas season. :cry::confused:

    You can read about my small layout here (http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=164130). However, at least one person on The Gauge mentioned that you can actually get away with 12" curves and even create something as narrow as a 2x6' or 2x8' layout. Plans for such layouts have been published in MR and other magazines.

    I will probably carry on with my 3x4' (I have laid the track but haven't done any scenery). But I still thought I'd check with others on this forum to find out if I would be better off creating (say) a 2x6' layout. I could easily buy another piece of insulation and cut it down. I would expect that lot of my smaller British stock would still be capable of handling 12" curves.

    As mentioned in my other thread, I was surprised to find out that MOST of my British stock, including a couple of my Pacifics, could easily negotiate 15" curves. So I should have no trouble getting an 0-6-0 Tank to tackle a 12" curve, etc.

    Open to any thoughts or feedback. I hope to get back to these project(s) after Christmas.

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    If the layout is an honest 24" wide, you will want 10" radius curves, not 12". Radius is measured to the centerline of the track, not the tie edge. Anything more than 11" radius is going to overhang the edge. 10" radius gives you 2" space from track centerline to table edge - about minimum for my taste.

    10" radius curves do work in HO. For American prototype, small steam tank engines (think Docksider and the like) and rolling stock 40 scale feet or shorter (preferably shorter) will generally work. On the cars, you may need truck mounted couplers instead of body mounts for reasonable operation on the curves.

    Something worth considering for both track plans and benchwork are the 30" x 80" N scale hollow-core door layouts. These typically use 11" radius. Admittedly, the track plans will have to be modified to widen parallel track spacing and reduce the number of spurs. But they should give you some ideas.

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Fred. Good point about the 10" curves ! Maybe I could buy some extra flex track and simply create a mockup layout that uses 10"R curves and do some test runs using various pieces of my stock. As you say/imply this should still be fine for my small British Tank locos.

    Thanks also for the feedback re the 30x80" N scale door layouts -- that sounds like a good option as well.

  4. steinjr

    steinjr New Member

    Is a continous run loop a given ?

    You can fit a pretty nice scene in 2x6 or 2x8 feet if you have the track run e.g under a bridge at the end of the scene out onto a detachable cassette - so you can move a train off the layout to a staging track on a shelf elsewhere or turn it around.

    Here is e.g a scene based on trackage in a small junction town in North Carolina, that can be switched using only on layout space.


    Have you already had a look at http://www.caredt.us ? Lots of smaller layout plans there: http://www.carendt.us/microplans/index.html

    Here are e.g some single level continuous run plans:

  5. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Hmm. Does it always have to be 2' by 6', or can it be 4' x 6' when in use and 2' by 6' when not? There are folding layouts, and here's one I'd like to do:
    As long as you don't mind using Thomas stuff, it's great.
  6. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Two 2x6 pieces is an interesting idea! I actually already have a 4x6 layout though -- it's easy to store away but takes up a lot of space in our small basement when it's set up. So this is why I'm tinkering with extra-small layouts.

    I also like that website and article -- my young sons & I are Thomas fans and I enjoyed seeing the pics of this layout. We also run British trains a lot so this website is great for us. There was another, similar website that described the various Thomas locos, i.e. what their real-life counterparts were, etc. For example, I believe Thomas is an E2 Tank, Henry is a British Railways Standard Class 5 and Gordon is an A1 Pacific, I believe. If I can remember its URL I'll post it here.

    Thanks, Rob
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for this feedback. Yes, I am hoping to make this (whatever extra-small layout I end up with) as a continuous run loop. I tried creating an Inglenook sidings switching layout, and it just didn't hold any interest for me -- while I don't mind switching cars to some extent, I really like to see trains continually running, pulling into stations, speeding up/slowing down, etc.

    I agree that you can nicely scenic a 2x6 or 2x8 layout (as well as a 3x4). I'm just looking at some of the websites you suggested now ... looks like there are some good ideas there. Still thinking/pondering!

  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member


    BTW, it doesn't look like your pic of the North Carolina junction town came through. I'd be open to seeing it if you get a chance to post it again.

  9. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Is this what you meant?
    It happens to be the same site. Funny ol' world, isn't it?:)
    Well, the ability to fold when not in use may still allow you to build it. And even if you don't do that one, you could still use Thomas, Percy, Toby, and Mavis. All have decent pulling power and do well on tight curves because of the small chassis. And the small rolling stock? Lovely for small-radius curves also. And finally, tension-lock couplers do better than horn-hook or knuckle around small-radius curves(Knuckle couplers are alright, but if the spring comes out they'll pop open around tight bends. Man that's a pain.). Well, I've made my case and now await the verdict from the judge.:mrgreen:
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, it's the same website -- I thought the "pegnesean" part sounded familiar!:oops::mrgreen:

    I'll still consider using two 2x6 pieces or just one. I'm just weighing my options at the moment. As mentioned, I might simply continue with the 3x4 one or even tackle a 2x6 later next year.

    Good points about the couplers, especially that British tension lock ones will probably work best. Yes, I'm fortunate that these ultra-small layouts are so suited to British stock. I've already noticed the "strain" on the couplers on such tight curves (i.e., it's difficult to re-couple cars on the tight curves as well as putting the trains back on the track if they derail, etc.).

    Thanks, Rob
  11. steinjr

    steinjr New Member

    Hmm - it shows up just fine for me - it is just a jpg - no weird format or anythng.

    Here is a direct link:


  12. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Doesn't seem to work.
  13. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I'm afraid I couldn't get that link to work either, although I appreciate your attempts to post or repost it! R.

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