starting a layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by castlerock, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. castlerock

    castlerock New Member

    After 35 yrs I am starting a layout I am thinking about a 4X8 plan I have in model railroader The turtle Creek RR It looks like I can add to this later with not to many problems. The reason I am thinking about a 4X8 is I don't have a final space yet or should I wait tell I have a room set up for a setup. Any advice :)
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Don't wait. Get started.
    Just make sure that you can move a 4x8 out of the room if you should have to.
    A Model Railroader project railroad like this is ideal for starters. You will probably have a change of mind sometime in your model railroading career, and very few of us are still using the first layout we built.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm not familiar with the Turttle Creek, but I picked up the Feb. issue of MR yesterday. It came with a supplement featuring 8 small layouts. Layouts 6,7, & 8 showed an excellent idea for future expansion. It starts as a 4 x8 with a backdrop in the middle. That allows two unrelated scenes. Later you could remove the two "turnback curves" on either end, cut the 4x8 in haLf lengthwise, and make the layout a point to point 2 x16 shelf layout, or by using a 2 x 2 foot corner piece it makes a 2 x 10 x 10 L shaped layout. I think it is an excellent concept to think about as you build a 4 x 8 that you might want to move into a train room in a different configuration in the future. The other thing to keep in mind with a 4 x 8 layout is that you need 2 feet of space around it on all sides to be able to access all of the track to rerail cars, etc. That requires a minimum room size of 8 x 12. You can "cheat" a little by putting the bench work on castors so tha you can roll it out if you need access to the back. If you can't move a 4 x 8 in and out of a room, build it as 2 4 x 4's and the cut some 2 inch joiner tracks to bridge the connection between the 2 halves. You can put the frames together with screws, and put hardshell scenery accross the joint. If the time comes to move it out, pull out the joiner tracks, remove the screws, and cut through the scenery. I guess this is kind of long, I hope it has some ideas you can use.
  4. castlerock

    castlerock New Member

    Thanks for the ideas I will look into the set of plans you said. I built my first layout 45 yrs ago a secont 35 yrs ago things have come a long way since then. Thanks Again:wave:
  5. justind

    justind Member

    I took a good look at the turtle creek, and I admit I liked it too. The only problem with 4x8's, and they bring this up in the supplement that someone else mentioned included with the new MR, is the space required to walk around a 4'x8' table often takes up a full room that you could have built an around the walls layout if you preferred.
    However, it looked like a good layout with a good amount of structures/scenery (thanks to the river and canyon)/track mix.
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome back to the hobby and welcome to the-gauge! :wave: :wave: :wave:

    I agree the most important thing is to get started! Go for it :thumb: And have fun and stay on the-gauge :D
  7. Raildog

    Raildog Member

    The new MR has a suplement included, called "8 Great track plans for small spaces". It has a few interesting ideas about how to use the classic 4 x 8 and expand it using some new ideas. Plans 6,7&8 are really clever. An oval, I-, or L-shaped layout... neat!
  8. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge! This is a great place for information. There are a lot of great people here!

    Here are a few links to websites that have track plans:

    N-scale, so basically double the dimensions for HO:
    A little of everything:
    A lot of narrow gauge and very small layouts:
    Lots of layouts in several scales:

    To anyone in general: Did MR send out that track plan supplement to its subscribers, or is it only available on the newsstand? I only got the February issue, no supplement... :(
  9. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Excellent advice. I built my first layout as a teenager in the late '60's and have built several since. Can your 4 x 8 be arranged so that one side or end is against a wall? That cuts down on wasted floorspace. I've happily built most of my layouts of 1" x 4" pine box segments 2ft. x "something"--I've done four 2 x 4's to make a 4 x 8, and I've used a pair of 2x 3' plus a pair of 2 x 5's to make a four by eight. These basic "boxes" are re-useable; some of mine have been on three layouts over 25 years. The two most pleasing (to me anyway) improvements to my later layouts were (1) learning to lay flextrack really carefully, and (2) incorporating grades into my layout. Nowadays I handlay and do a lot of scratchbuilding or craftsman kits, but I got there in smaller "growth" steps. Nothing says we have to go from returnee to master layout builder in one giant leap.

    WELCOME back to the hobby! And ... welcome to "The Gauge".
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Stu's ideas to do smaller modules are excelent, given that you will likely move it or rearrange it later.

    The 4 X 8 or even a portable would be a great warmup and hone your skills excercise as well as an intro to and chance to experiment with new materials. For a portable layout, look here for inspiration:

    :D :D :D
  11. Raildog

    Raildog Member

    WoW! That Brifayle stuff is amazing! How inspiring!

    The suplement was in with the Feb 2004 issue at newsstands. I don't have a subscription, so I pick mine up at the local Wal*Mart.

    PM me your address and I'll be happy to mail it to you.

  12. firedude310

    firedude310 New Member

    do you have the lay out plan for the Turtle creek RR ?
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The Turtle Creek layout ran in four parts from Jan - Apr 2003. I found copies at my local shop, but you can order back issues through .

    I noticed too that you are looking for input on your new layout - try posting a new thread here in the layout planning area. You are sure to get lots of help...

    Oh, yeah - welcome to The Gauge!

  14. castlerock

    castlerock New Member

    Thanks for all the ideas As the turtle creek goes I am thinking of the mountin being up to the wall with a hole under the mountin to get at that part of the track then come off both sides down the wall at a later time and keep going after that.

    In race cars its keep the clean side up but in my trains I don't have a clean side what do I do?
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Jon, I don't think they included the supplement for subscribers because I think the track plans in the supplement are reprints of track plans done in the last 2 years.
  16. sammyd

    sammyd Member

    I just got started in this new hobby and chose a 4x8 for several reasons.
    • It is easily portable and since we are currently renting the house it is nice to know I won't have to rip up my hard work if we move.
    • It isn't huge and overwhelming. I won't look at my layout and wonder if I'll ever get it anywhere near a presentable finish.
    • I am new and would like to see if I want to pursue this hobby any further in the future, nice to start small and practice.
    • I can leave a spot or two in the layout so that future expansion would be feasible or I can leave it as is and start over when and if I want to go to something bigger.

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