Suggestions for my layout 1st layout?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Derrick W Garrett, Dec 13, 2002.

  1. Derrick W Garrett

    Derrick W Garrett New Member

    I am a newbie to model railroading. My wife bought me an HO scale set a long time ago, but due to space problems I would set it up and then put it away. As you can imagine setting it up and tearing it down became a hassle. Then I found the set again while cleaning out some closets and I am bitten by the bug to have a real layout. I have an area for a 4x8 layout and I have been reading everything I could find on the subject. I know that I am not interested in the history as much as I like the looks of the trains (steam, deisel, freight and passenger) so I am not trying to copy any existing rail lines. I thought I would like to have enough space for a town and streets, maybe making in the style of the 50's small town(I like the building styles). I thought that I would post my layout to this site to see if I could get any suggestions. If my picture post properly you can see what I have so far. I would like to have a small hill to the left so that I could have a tunnel for the tracks and the spur on the left I thought about having a grain silo. The spur at the top I had planned to have a warehouse. At the bottom I had thought about putting a rural rail station. The curves are at 18"R, so I know that I can't run the real long cars of some passenger trains, but I had hoped to find some smaller ones (suggestions please). Reading about DCC, I had hoped that this plan would leave option to upgrade. If anyone is interested I used the Atlas RTS software at their site. It took some time to get used to, but for free you can't beat the price.

    Attached Files:

  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey, welcome to The Gauge, Mr. Big (or is it Mr. D?:D )

    About your plan - not bad for a first cut. Got some questions, comments, concerns though:

    1) How will the 4x8 be situated? Will it be up against a wall along some of it's sides? Reason being - you should plan on being able to reach no more than 2 or 2-1/2 ft from an edge to fix things, pick up after derailments, etc.

    2) You probably shouldn't let the tracks get closer than maybe 2" or so from the edges. Reason being - when (not if) derailments occur, it's a long way down.

    3) The little stub at the top left - what were your plans for it? Can you put what you want on it without interfering with the main track? Looks like you could maybe make it longer if you added some curve, which could be tighter than normal.

    If you have the space, you might consider cutting the corners off of one end of the 4X8 and sticking them on the other end. The resulting shape fits nicely into a corner (see rough sketch) and sometimes gives you a lot more flexibillty in you plan. Does take up a little more space, though.
  3. Derrick W Garrett

    Derrick W Garrett New Member

    Thanks for the post billk, in answer to your question the little stub I had planned on putting a warehouse there with a loading dock for a box car or two, and I did not want to make it too long, as I plan to put a hill on the left side so that I could create a tunnel for the trains. That is a good Idea for putting the layout in the corner, but I am fortunate enough to put the layout in the center of my garage. For now I am going to be able to walk around it (until I packrat myself into the corner). Also I had not thought about derailments. The outer track is about 2" from the edge, but would I need more space, or do I need to maybe make an outer rim or wall to deflect them back to the center if one should occur. My only concern of making a wall is that it might obstruct my view of the trains.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hey Big D,
    Welcome aboard! I think being able to walk around your 4X8 is ideal both for accessibility and operating fun. One of the neat possibilities for an "island" design like yours is placing enough of a hill, set of buildings, or backdrop board in the middle so you visually seperate one side of the layout from the other and can create two distinct scenes (or towns, or sets of industries) and an illusion of distance. As for tracks being near the edge, sad experience makes me reiterate bilk's advice to be careful there. Can you extend scenary a little farther beyond the 4X8? If you're using a 4X8 sheet of plywood as a table top maybe you could add some brackets to your bench work that would support another three or four inches of board beyond the edge of the 4X8. Use this to support scenary, buildings, etc. Having trees or structures in front of tracks makes for interesting scenes.
    Best of luck with the project!
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Just wanted to say that looks pretty darned good and insightful for a new person to the hobby! If you have the whole garage for the hobby, you might want to look at some other ideas before comitting permantly, if there is such a thing, to a 4 X 8. You can look over a lot of layouts and plans for ideas. Most of these are links to layouts of members here on the gauge:

    The one just above urbanscene is by shamus, a great modler, the great modeler, and it has a lot of layout ideas and other stuff.

    Welcome aboard and welcome to the hobby. You've come to a great place for help!
  6. Derrick W Garrett

    Derrick W Garrett New Member

    Thanks everyone,
    This has been very helpful. For now I am going to try to reduce the straight section on each end from 9" to 6" to see if that does't give me the room that I need. That should be an additional 1.5" on each side. I am also going to see what I can do about adding something around the edges to give me more of a saftey zone. I am going to remove and replace all of this on the drawing first and then come back to it, as I don't want to have to rip all of this up after I get it set down into place on my layout. If you can thing of any other suggestions in the mean time I would be glad to hear them.
  7. Railery

    Railery Member

    Hi Big D. Your layout almost looks like a layout that i built 12 years ago :) On the 4x8' board i had a town, a turntable, a mountain, a river, coal mine, train station and a siding for the town. i will find a picture and post it. Can't wait to see your revisions :D :D
  8. Derrick W Garrett

    Derrick W Garrett New Member

    Wow!!! That sounds like a lot of stuff. I would love to see how it all fit. I am anxiously waiting to see those pics!
  9. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    4 x 8 Is A Good Idea...

    Although you have lots of room, a 4 x 8 layout is a great idea to start with. That way, you won't be overwhelmed by starting with a project that proves way too complex, and ends up in total frustration. Good luck, and be sure to keep us posted! :)
  10. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Mr Big D, and welcome to the gauge. The plan itself is very nice and easy to wire up and get trains running. Take it slow and easy and have fun.



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