grandpa needs layout help

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by fishneb, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. fishneb

    fishneb New Member

    Sep 19, 2003
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    i need a simple plan for a ho layout(3ft by4ft) on a piece of 3/8" plywood for my grandson(xmas present). i have flex track and a couple of switches. have 40ft rolling stock and 60ft engines.
    maybe just the minunum radius i can use with these products would give me a place to start. double ovals?with some inner spurs. any help for grandpa will be greatly appreciated.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Oct 31, 2002
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    Hi Fish...

    Welcome to the Gauge!

    3x4 is awfully small for a loop of HO track. That means you will be running 15" - 16" radius - allowing for a bit of room around the edges. 40' cars should be ok with that (other considerations not withstanding - overhang, etc), but a 60' engine - maybe a problem. Might be ok if it is 4 axel, but bigger 6 axel will most likely pose a problem.

    (Of course, as I am saying this, in another thread I am asking what is the smallest possible radius for flex track - I want to do an operational diorama no bigger than 2x2!). See

    Could you go to 4x4 feet? That would allow you to run 22" radius circle - not too exciting, but a good place to start for future expansion.

    Future expansion may be the way to go - is it possible to design this as the first half of a 3x8 (two 3x4's joined on the 3' edge)? The modular approach is very popular, and well established. If you build to published standards (see , and others) it will be able to connect to any others built the same way - there are lots of modular clubs around.

    The other advantage of the modular approach is now you don't have to worry about what to get for birthdays and next Christmas! ;)

    There are lots of small track plans at . They also have lots of tips about building small layouts (4x8 or less).

    Good luck. Let us know how it works out, and don't be afraid to ask more questions - the Gauge has a great bunch of people.


    EDIT: Here is a link to one of my favourite modular railroads. It is two pairs of modules, with each module being 2x4 feet - total when everything is hooked up is 2x16.
  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Aug 15, 2002
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    Welcome to the-gauge fish!

    This is a 3 X 4 ft HO/HOn30 portable I designed. The names come from gaugers I have had the pleasure to meet on the telly-phone, except Cobblers Knob. Plenty of action here: City/industrial area, Cobblers Knob; a logging area, Shamus Forset; and industrial mining area, Tyson Clay Mines/Grover Brick Yard (no phone calls please, I'm outa room! :D :D :D )

    Mason Jar's right, these are tight turns. Better get a dinky or a switcher! Probably a 44 tonner or a S-1 ($30ish from would suit nicely.

    You could leave the HOn30 line off, model it as a dummy for the mines, or build a lokey from an N scale chassis and expand your pike into Narrow Gauge (hint hint hint). The dividers could be moved or removed. It is designed to be built from one sheet of foam and the NG line is to be elevated. Anywho, here it is...

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