when is a layout to big

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by scoobyloven, May 14, 2002.

  1. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    when is a layout to big i just bought a new house and their is two pole barns in the back. that the old owner made as one. the in side space is 310 feet x 280 feet my wife told me i can have them for my hobby of what ever. and i told her that i would make it my train room everything is their i need heat, water, elec, and even a potty.. but i told her that a layout that big is to big.. and it would take a year or more to just do the bench work and run alot of $ in wood.. and a year to get a track plan... she looked at me and said it is your space do with it what u want so i was woundering if ho scale would be good or go bigger if i use the whole space i've done ho and n scale and working on a n scale layout now
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi scoobyloven

    With that size of room/barn, I would make a garden railroad INSIDE. Wow, thats soom size. In 0 scale it would be fantastic, in H0 I could only dream what a logging layout would look like.

  3. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I'd stick with HO, but I am biased. As for the layout space, I'd start it in stages. Maybe start by making a 20' x 20' layout in the center, and then once that's done to your liking (doesn't need to be complete, but trackwork laid, etc.), then you can start expanding as your time / budget / desires dictates.
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Damn that's a big space! If you have a prototype and are somewhat experienced (have built layouts before) then you have the rare opportunity to model your prototype very accurately! For instance if I had that space I would model the elevated freight line of the NYC in Manhatten, the junction at Spuyten Dyvil, the line to Grand Central including Mott haven yard and the New Haven line. It would take longer than I have on this earth however. If you have a railroad(s) that you have wanted to model, spend some time figuring the scenes you'd want to include, how they would fit in proper sequence and allow for full scale size structures. Then select a suitable scene for the first construction. Design in a continuous run ability, even if temporary, while you extend the line.

    If you do not have a railroad in mind, spend lots of time determining what kind of operation you want. Unless you have other people to help construct and run, the area will probably prove to be too large. (Never thought I'd say that!) While a club with 20 or more people could build an incredible HO or N layout, I'd be inclined to go with O or G if you are on your own.

    Good luck with your planning, let us know what you decide.

  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    With that kind of space my first thoughts are like Shamuses and would go with O gauge but then as I think of the cost of O or realistic G then my thoughts go back to HO. Now why would an N scaler say that?:rolleyes:
    Well I am a steam buff and when I look at what's available in HO that's what I would go for.
  6. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    as for the bench work i would go with a shelf layout and three or for 6x6 spots but still planing on all of this the main line run is going to be three track loop as for everything else it is still open i have three other guys in the hobby to help build and run....
  7. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Scooby, My answer to your question is how long do you plan to live. I have a space thats about 25' by 30' and my mind wanders just thinking of how to fill it up. With the size you have I would probably be comatose or insane within a week!!!!!:eek:
  8. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Scooby...how about this:

    First of all, go with HO. You can do a lot in that space in any scale, but with HO you can be up and going quicker since there is more stuff available in it.

    Second, think of making a branch line. The branch could be on a "table" that runs from the middle of the space towards a wall.

    Later, after you've gotten the branchline up and running, start planning on a mainline railroad that more-or-less follows the perimeter of the space. You can start off fairly small--say, just enough to interchange with the branch to start off with--and add on to it over time.

    As the mainline increases in size, start thinking of where additional branches could be located. After you've built a second branch, you can keep yourself happily busy moving things from the first branch to the mainline, across the mainline to the second branch, then up into the second branch and back. Branchline engines would stay on the branches, while mainline engines would only work the mainline.

    You have tremendous potential for variety with all that space if you use this scenario. For example, some branches could just be plain-old-branchlines that serve a few small towns and industries. A couple of branches could serve mines in a mountainous area, while others could be logging roads. You would even have plenty of space for one or two large cities that would be served by the mainline!

    Another way to look at it is that you would be constructing individual layouts that are connected by a common mainline. By breaking it down like this, filling such a huge space shouldn't be overwhelming. Besides, you might just build a little bit and be perfectly happy. But then if you get bored with what you've got...you can always add more!

    Gee...I wish I had that kind of space! :)

    Here is a rough idea of what I'm talking about...

    Attached Files:

  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Gheesh, just imagine, if you did go all the way along the walls, you're talking 1,180 feet of mainline (20 scale miles). At 60 mph, it would take twenty minutes to go around just once.

    WOW. Extremely exciting, but could be intimidating. Best to do it in stages, like suggested.
  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    You're all putting us on ..... right?

    No one person could build a 310 x 280 foot layout. I doubt if there are many clubs who could accomplish the task.

    If I really had that much space --- and was enough younger --- and had lotsa money --- what I would do is carve the space up into a large "general" workshop, a small model shop, a darkroom, a ventilated paint booth, a storage room, a lavitory, an office, and a lounge for visitors. Then I would design an optimum layout in a size that I could handle in a lifetime, and ignore the rest of the building.

    I would go with a large scale, but not G, which is a goofy scale invented out of the blue to put 3-foot gauge rolling stock on an existing toy train track product.

    I would go with 3/16" scale. Now that would be fun to work in. The fact that there are very few things available in that scale would make it all the better. Would force me to build from scratch --- and what a joy it would be to build such large models.

    Bill S.
  11. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Agreed, Bill. But it would be fairly simple, and wouldn't take long, to at least have a single track all the way around the outside wall. It could pass through the rooms you mentioned, so those in the lounge could see a train pass through the room once in a while (every 20 minutes according to my previous calculations).
  12. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I can't even comprehend 1 person with a couple of friends trying to fill up 86,800 square feet of space!!! Too much of a good thing for me I guess. You would be looking at 10's of thousands of $$$$ at least. If I had that much space it would be so overwhelming that I would probably say the H*LL with it and go fishing instead. :D Whatever you do, good luck!
  13. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I'll tell you the same thing I tell evryone, regardless of the available space...Start small & simple...
    It doesn't matter how much building you have, you want a layout you can build, operate, & maintain. This is relative to the individual, depending on lots of things...time, money, etc...
    You need to determine your own scope on this...by starting small, you'll be able to tell how much you can do in a given space & time.
    After you've gotten a handle on that, your expansion possibilities, in the space you've got, are practically limitless!
    Something else that hasn't been mentioned yet, is that you have the space to build multiple layouts, in multiple scales, styles, etc...
    I don't know if I envy you, or not...my head's spinning just thinking about it!:eek:
  14. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    well as for the layout i made my mind up lastnight while at my dads house it is going to be a shelf layout. we where in his train room digging in some boxes lastnight and ran across 10 cases of flex track 100 pices to a caes and 45 left switches and 30 right switches and two cases of road bed my dad bought a few years ago when a hobby shop closed they had an auction on all or their stuff.and alot of my old ho scale rolling stock and i got his 4-8-8-4 big boy (he he he) but he told me that he wanted my fleet of 3 sd70m's.. there is three other pepole and my dad to help build and run...
  15. justind

    justind Member

    How much track are you willing to clean? ;)
  16. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Has anyone taken note of the fact that scooby hasn't said a word about the house :D :D

    I guess I tend to agree with those who say the cost of attempting to fill the place would be out of sight, so the first thing I might ant to do is consider dividing the area up with an interior wall or two. A place with a pole barn that size might have some acreage with it and I'd want to be able to get all of my equipment in there too. I think the other consideration is whether or not you have to heat it in winter.

  17. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    cleaning is easy when you have a cleaning cars i'll have to buy more but that is ok the thing is i love to see long trains roll past in and out of the landscape i have a 6 x 6 n scale now that is around 80% done and only started this one in nov and i can run a 2 loco train with 16-18 cars but this layout i have been trying things on it that will be on the ho when i start it i must be crazy i have real water on my n sacle and going to do the same thing in ho.. i rather build the layout then run it when it is done ... but we all know it is hard not to run the train around..
  18. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    i don't talk about the house becouse my wife told me when we bought the house that the pole barn is my space and she don't want to see that train stuff in the house the books in bed the papers on the dinng room table the train cars in the babies room and when her freinds come over i kidnap them in to my lil world as for the land it sits on 40 acers what is farming land that the old owner used to rent out to other framers now i would do the same...
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    One of the things to consider is the maintenance. Not just track cleaning, but switch machines/switches and anything else.

    I like long shelf layouts.

    Think about doing it in stages. Put a loop and a yard in one corner, maybe behind a partition, add a few train lengths of shelf and set up another loop and yard at the end of that, but make the second loop movable. when you get the first stage comfortable, move the loop down and add more shelf.

    We have a large O gauge layout in our area (Aberfoyle Junction) that is the work of at most a half dozen guys and their families. It fills a nissen hut and is worth a look if you're planning to fill space.

    What's a pole barn?
  20. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I don't know about Mich., but in the south a pole barn is just that. Poles are used in place of regular lumber for the uprights, floor and ceiling joists and rafters. The poles are made from tree trunks that have been delimbed and debarked. The debarking is usually done by hand with a draw knife. Think of telephone poles except most of the pole barns I've seen the poles were a little smaller in diameter that a telephone pole. I know, what's a draw knife? It's a blade about a foot or so long with a handle on each end. You sit on the pole (or stand next to it) and DRAW the knife towards you, peeling off the bark as you go. Most pole barns I have seen do not have finished interior walls, floors or ceilings, or insulation. This alone could get quite expensive.

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