shelf layout question

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by bellybomber3, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    Is it reasonable to run a runaround loop on a 30" x 72" ho layout? I was thinking of making a modular unit of this size where I could expand it at a later date. What would be some possible track plans for this size layout?
  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Not sure what you mean--a "runaround track" is a siding where a locomotive can run around cars in order to get on the other side of the train, whereas a "reverse loop" is shaped like a balloon (on the prototype they are sometimes called a "balloon track") where a train enters on one leg, goes around the loop and leaves the loop traveling in the other direction.

    30" is too narrow for a reverse loop in HO, unless you are willing to limit yourself to the smallest of locomotives and equipment--the smallest standard curve made in HO is 15", and that 15" radius measurement means the center of the track--which means if you put a half-circle of 15" radius track on a 30" wide table, half of the track would hang over the edge of the layout--no good at all!

    Just to show what can be done in six feet, here is half of my layout--it is made up of two modules, one of which is 1'x6' and the other is an L-shaped piece 3'x6' in total size:

    Here's the same layout from the other end:

    I noticed in another thread that you want to build two 30"x72" modules--do you want to attach them end to end, to make a 30"x12' layout, or back to back, to make a 5'x6' layout? If the latter, you could give each module a C-shaped track plan and include a backdrop in the middle. If you're still thinking of a logging layout, you could put the logging camp on one side, with a branch line going up a steep hill to actually reach the logging camp area, and the lumber mill on the other side. By putting a backdrop in the middle, you create the illusion that the two points are actually very distant from each other. Mountains help, but you might not have enough room to build a mountain too tall to see over--a backdrop lets you put two-dimensional mountains in back of your 3-D plaster mountains, creating much more of a mountain scene.
  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Now, you can have a good loop in in N Scale, check out the photos of my layout, the two side wings are 25" wide and the center is 36" wide.

    With the 11" radius curves, I can run all but the 85' rolling stock and 6 wheel diesels and the largest steamers (2-10-0, Challengers and BigBoys).
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    By "run around loop" do you mean continuous running? I.e. the trains are able to go round and round?

    If yes, then 30" is very, very narrow for a loop in HO. It implies less than 15" radius (since the radius is measured to the centre of the track). That is the realm of trolleys and small locomotives like industrial switchers and so on. So depending on the theme you choose for your layout, it would be possible.

    If your theme is anything else, and you are sticking with HO scale, you will have to go with some other theme/design. There are some really nice switching/point-to-point layouts that can be done in this space. I think at the end of your other thread you mention possibly 2 30"x72" modules. If connected end to end that would give you a very nice space. If you wanted to stick with the logging and mountains/tunnel theme, you could do a logging railroad up the side of a mountain, using switchbacks to gain altitude.

    Trainclown has a great example here -> CLick here to see the thread

    This would allow you to work in your mountains, and even a tunnel. It would not provide continuous running, but if that is a mandatory requirement, then a switch to N might be needed. You could also consider the "narrow gauges": HOn3 (three feet between the rails), HOn30 (30 inches or 2 1/2 feet), or even HOn2 (you guessed it - 2 feet between the rails). This would give you the advantage of larger scale equipment, but the tighter radii possible with smaller track.

    Hope that helps.

  5. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    Thanks for the replies,
    I am going to stick with ho scale. There has to be a way to make this work though. Like I said at the start of my other thread continuous loop is important due to it being built for my kids. I will scrap the logging idea for now and concentrate on building a layout for my kids. I would like to get some experience by building a layout. I have built a 5x8 table which I believe I would be better cutting down to 4x8 due to transportation issues (my truck has a 4x6 bed) I think for now I would like to build a town setting with a mountain/ tunnel in the back corner. Any ideas/ plans that are popular for continuous run town scenes that you could lead me to would be appreciated. After I complete this I would like to work on a modular logging scene.
  6. Kids always seem to like figure 8s, tunnels, and muliple levels, sidings are not of much interest. they want to watch the trains go, preferably at top speed!

    good sites to look at for HO 4x8:

    Gateway Central has 7 fairly simple layouts in 4x6 and 4x8

    The Atlas books (Black & white images of the tracks are at

    The Woodland Scenics 'railroad in a box' (Grand Valley and River Pass) might be perfect kits. the Kids can even help build it if they're not too young.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Those are goo suggestions squirrel. The Gateway guys are up to about 10 or 11 "project" layouts with lots of photos for each.

    The WS stuff is somewhat expensive, because to get a complete layout you have to buy in 4 parts:
    - base and scenery
    - track pack (plus power)
    - buildings pack
    - any loco and rolling stock.

    But the various packs look complete - i.e. you get eveything you need - so it could turn into a good project with the kids...

  8. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    Thanks guys, expecially screwy squirrel and masonjar. I think those plans have defanite possibilities. I will be in touch with what I deside to built.:thumb:

  9. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    I think this is what I am going to use:
    That way I can run two trains at the same time.
    Thanks again,
  10. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    As stated before, I have purchased atlas remote switches and was wondering if I could wire them up to my prodigy express system for control or if I would have to use a control box with toggle switches?
  11. Thats a great kid's track.

    As for the Atlas turnouts and Digitrax, I don't know (I still use DC instead of DCC), but ask on the DCC forum. They should be able to tell you
  12. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hey bellybomber, I'm sure you can use your DCC for the turnouts, just need
    some stationary decoders. Personally I like prefer the idea of the control panel,
    but it means you have to be there to switch, and you have to build and wire it,
    of course.
    So I guess there are pros and cons.
  13. bellybomber3

    bellybomber3 New Member

    Yeah, I am leaning more towards wiring up a contol panel to control the layout. Let me get this straight: a remote switch has everything there to operated the switch and there is no need to mount anything under the table. Correct?
  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Yup, the remote switch has the dual-coil switch machine attached unobtrusively
    (depending on your point of view) to the side of the turnout. Wiring (which may
    need to run under the table) connects the terminals on the turnout to the button
    or device you use to control it. I guess that the so-named turnout is really not
    "remote", but the control is remote from the turnout:D :D
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    With children, you will want to wire in a capacitor discharge machine to operate the turnouts. If the turnouts are operated directly from a push button switch, the kids will inevitably hold the button on too long and smoke the coil in the switch machine.
  16. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    You can take your 5x8 and cut it into 2 5x4 segments, bolt them together to run trains, and unbolt them for transport. You can take the switches at the bottom of the layout and configure them like the switches and the top to move them further off of the seam, which would also get rid of two "S" curves. You could move the inner circle turnouts off the seam, one track to the left, which will give you more room on the passing siding. With the extra foot of width you could curve the siding inside the loops to fit better, and also look better.

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