O scale table question

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Bance, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Bance

    Bance New Member

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    Hi, I need some advice. I am making my son an O scale train table it is 8x12. I was wondering if that would be big enough to run two trains. Also does anyone know where I can find layout ideas. Thanks any advise would be great, we are very new to this but we are learning. Have a great day.:D
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Are you running 3 rail O or O scale? O scale generally needs 36" radius curves or bigger (some smaller models will go down to 24" radius curves). O scale is gnerally more detailed and more accurately scaled. 3 rail was originally built as toy trains, some of it still is. Accurate scaling is not as important, fun factor takes precedence in many of the models. (There is a segment of 3 rail that does concern itself with accurate scaling and detailing.) 3 rail O (Lionel, MTH, etc) is usually quite happy on 15" or 18" radius (31" and 36" diameter) curves; the smaller models labeled O27 can go around 13" radius curves (27" diameter).

    In either case, you have enough space to make two loops of track. However, you are going to have to access to the middle of such a large table. For most of us, we can only reach in about 30".

    Before we can give layout suggestions, you have to help with refining what you are trying to achieve.

    - is this scale O or 3 rail?
    - if 3 rail O, are there particular operating accessories you will want to use now or later?
    - if 3 rail, what track system do you prefer (tubular, Fastrack, MTH, Atlas, Gargraves, etc)?
    - if scale O, what era locomotives and cars are you trying to run?
    - do you want to run passenger or freight trains or both? If 3 rail, what length passenger cars are satisfying to you? 3 rail passenger cars range in length from 12" to 18"; the longer ones need broader curves.

    - what power system are you thinking about (conventional AC transformers, TMCC, DCS, DC, DCC)? 3 rail O normally operates from AC transformers, but TMCC and DCS are command control systems that add a lot of nice features for a price. Scale O uses DC, or DCC for a command control system.

    - do you want 2 trains shaing the same track, or 2 trains on separate loops? If you want separate loops, do you want the ability for the trains to change loops?

    - do you want tunnels, bridges, and grades? Grades mean the train climbs and descends, but unless you are using a sophisticated control system, the trains will slow down going up, and really speed up going down hill. With normally steep grades, the trains cannot be left running unattended.

    There is always lots to learn. Once you understand some of the basic choices, then it will be easier to proceed.

    yours in training
  3. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

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    I have an 8x8 layout in 3-rail, and it has two loops so I run two trains. In 3-rail, 8x12 is large enough that you could cram a third loop into there and run a third train, if you had the desire to do so.

    Classic Toy Trains magazine publishes one or two trackplans basically every issue. If you're lucky enough to have a hobby shop nearby that has 2-3 back issues available as well as the current issue, you'd be able to get a look at a handful of trackplans that way. Kalmbach (the magazine's publisher) has published a couple of books of track plans as well. Here are three titles to look for: Creative Track Plans for Toy Trains, Track Plans for Toy Trains, and Layout Plans for Toy Trains. Amazon.com has all three books available, including used copies for a few bucks less than new would cost.
  4. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

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    You could run 4 trains maybe.

    I wouldnt put them in all at once, that is a lot of work to redo.

    Google up Thors All Gauge Page for ideas.

    That is a huge table.

    Look in the back of the Lionel catalog.
  5. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

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    You could run 4 trains maybe.

    I wouldnt put them in all at once, that is a lot of work to redo.

    Google up Thors All Gauge Page for ideas.

    That is a huge table.

    Look in the back of the Lionel catalog.
  6. Bance

    Bance New Member

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    Thanks, We are runninmg fast track. I did not realize how many options there are. I am planning on running steam engines with freight cars. I was planning in having a mountain with a hellgate bridge in there somewhere. I am looking foreward to getting this layout up and running. Thanks Mitch
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Mitch

    You might want to look at http://www.atlaso.com/welcome.htm. Some of their layouts might give you some ideas. The Atlas track in the O36 size has pretty much the same geometry as the Lionel Fastrack O36. Also, the Atlas Right Track software, available for free, could help you see if your ideas would fit. The software only has Atlas track libraries (naturally) but again, the O36 systems have pretty similar geometries (I think). A more experienced Fastrack user can tell me where and how wrong I am.

    To me, one of the most special parts of 3 rail O, both as a kid and an adult, are the various accessories and operating cars. Most are available in used Post-War or new re-issue versions. Pick out from the various books and catalogs what most appeals to you and save space on your layout! Many of the accessories that had cars interact with a track-side structure (milk platform, cattle pen, log loaders, etc) need an occasional helping hand either to reset or realign things. These accessories are best used near the edge of the layout, with the main line running behind them, rather than the more common other way around.

    Put together some of the track you already have, and start having fun! Add more as time and money allow.

    yours in accessorizing
  8. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

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    On an 8x12 table with Lionel Fastrack, you've got all kinds of options. Get some of the wider-diameter track if you can find it, to put on the outer loop. You could do an outer loop of O54, with a loop of O45 and O36 (the standard diameter curve) inside. And you'll have lots of room to go up and back down to add interest. Compared to the layouts you see in magazines, 8x12 may not seem like a lot, but I remember reading somewhere recently that MTH did some market research and found that the overwhelming majority of layouts are 8x8 or smaller. 8x12 is big enough to do all that you've mentioned, and then some.
  9. Billman730

    Billman730 New Member

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    Bance I run Lionel fast track in 084 on the outside track and have a bit of room to spare on the board size you mention. I am on the floor with indoor outdoor carpeting in green and brown tones. But I measured my curves without straight track sections added. My middle track is 072 and a third is 048. I do not have simple ovals but stick with the same track radius curve sections for each track. The big O Scale trains look great on the 084 and 072 curves. On the inner stuff 048 and 036 I run standard scale Lionel or Railking size gear. If you plan to go real O the big turns are great for passenger trains. The long passenger cars get dis-jointed looking [ the rubber connection sleeves that would allow a passenger to go from car to car] get way out of wack on tight curves and the cars will hit nearby scenery or buildings! So I avoid tight curves. All depends on what scale you run.....
  10. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

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    Yes you can run two trains w/a siding on 4X8 even