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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
just found this funny H0 track plan: The Corner HO-scale Layout of Michael and I decided to build something like that. I played with Anyrail a lot of hours and I finally drew these two plans (big and small versions). Because I don't have enough space for a real big layout (and probably never will), I use small radius curves (14 1/2", 17 1/4" and 20"). Thanks in advance for any advice.

560465


560466
 

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A 14 inch curve radius will not permit you to run anything but very short
'switcher' type locos and very short cars. The minimum curve radius for
'average' length locos and cars is 16", but if you intend running steamers
or the big 6 wheel truck diesels you would need 22" or better radius.


Your track plan would make possible continuous running, even train A going
clockwise while train B is headed counterclockwise...provided you are
running DCC. However, after a while it gets a little tiresome to just sit
and watch the trains go around. You couold get get a lot more enjoyment from
actually running your train if you have freight spurs and perhaps a yard
that would provide places to have switching operations.

Don.
 

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I would not build a layout plan of this type, knowing what I know after 15 years, and having read literally hundreds of posts across several other forums from people answering this question. If you decide it looks fun enough (for now), don't spend a lot of money, and don't make it permanent. Plan on taking it up and trying something else, so don't nail anything down, or use a lot of glue to hold the curves in place (those tight radii, if they don't exist in sectional track segments) will require a lot of tension in flex track. You can re-use both types of tracks, but it's harder if you ballast flex and glue it down. Just a thought.

So, Don is correct, in my opinion, to caution you that you might see this as fun at the moment, and just a bit off typical, but understandable. However, such loop arrangements can get old rather quickly after watching your train go around in either direction about 85 times.

Don is also right to say that, in HO, such tight radii are getting close to street car radii. I mean, ya gotta do what ya gotta do in a defined and strictly limited space, but maybe your bench layout as an L would be better suited to industrial switching with more generous curves, say in the 22" range. It can be done, and the bonus is you can start populating your dream right away with more representative rolling stock and locomotives that you can easily put on a more advanced track plan later and really enjoy broader curves.

Bottom line, we adopt the position that we want to spare newcomers unnecessary disappointment, mistaken purchases, wasted time and money, and lost time having fun instead of staring at your two-week-old layout and fuming. We hope you understand. Keep asking questions, trying out new ideas, but don't spend any money until you're hell-bent on building something that you don't have to question others about.
 

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Hello,
just found this funny H0 track plan: The Corner HO-scale Layout of Michael and I decided to build something like that. I played with Anyrail a lot of hours and I finally drew these two plans (big and small versions). Because I don't have enough space for a real big layout (and probably never will), I use small radius curves (14 1/2", 17 1/4" and 20"). Thanks in advance for any advice.

View attachment 560465

View attachment 560466
Of the two, I prefer the first one. That one looks a little more realistic in that the loops are further apart.
I suggest that you build this layout in N-scale instead of HO-scale. The same 14" radius curves that are frankly, way too tight to run most HO-equipment, will be OK for most N-scale equipment.

Your track plan (either one) has only one passing siding. Two would be a lot better for operation. You can add a siding on the other side of the loop.

These plans also contain reverse curves near the turnouts at both ends of the passing siding. Reverse curves are never a good idea, since they tend to cause derailments. Using super-tight-radius HO curves will make the reverse curve problem even worse.
If you had a little more table width, then the passing siding could be re-positioned outside the loop instead of inside it. If you swapped the two turnouts to opposite ends of the siding, that would eliminate the reverse curves too.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many thanks for all your comments. They are very interesting and very helpful. I dumped my very bad idea in the trash bin. I'm going to read carefully this forum to find better ideas.
 

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Because I don't have enough space for a real big layout (and probably never will), I use small radius curves (14 1/2", 17 1/4" and 20").
Right. This becomes the overriding factor to planning any layout.
You may want to consider shortening up the passing sidings. This will eliminate the turnouts being right slam after a tight curve. That’s a perfect recipe for derailments. They’ll still be long enough for a few cars.

Interest can be obtained in other ways besides switching. Try sticking a point to point auto-reverse trolley line that crosses the main once or twice. (Once is probably better.)
Keeping the trolley and train from meeting up will keep you on your toes lol.
As was mentioned, flex will be difficult in these tight configurations. Kato Unitrack sections come in radii close to what you require.
You also have the third dimension of height. You could add an elevated line, subway, etc.
Could be point to point or circular. I’ve done both in areas smaller than that in HO.
As for equipment, I have found that you actually can run most types of locos and cars on tight curves, they just don’t look right. That’s a judgement call.
I stayed away from full sized passenger cars. 18” was the tightest I ever felt comfortable with with them and don’t even think about body mounted couplers.
Turnouts for me were the most problematic and you only have two. Steamers ideally should have a 0-X-0 configuration. 4 axle diesels and electrics are best but I have run GG1s, Decapods and SDs on 16” curves. Not ideal but not impossible either IF track is good.

Traction Fan really said the best thing, N is the way to go in this amount of space. But HO can be done if you work at it and are willing to make some compromises.
 

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You’re welcome. That is a nice layout with 20” curves.
Thanks for posting your original ones. I may use a larger version of the longer one for an outdoor layout I’m considering. It’s the only way I’m going to get in a large space.
Keep us posted on your progress.
Dan.
 

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Well, the devil is in the details! That basic loop will get you started, but adding sidings, passing tracks and so forth is where you run into issues. Throw some ideas down, and we'll have a look.

If this is your first venture into the hobby don't expect to get everything perfect on the first try. With your first layout, yiu will likely find many things you wish you'd done differently, so don't be afraid to discard it and try again. That's true even after it's built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If this is your first venture into the hobby don't expect to get everything perfect on the first try. With your first layout, you will likely find many things you wish you'd done differently, so don't be afraid to discard it and try again. That's true even after it's built.
It's not my first venture into this hobby but it's my second big layout since...1982 ! Yep I'm a "Dinosaur" !😄😄😄
 

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Will you be able to reach into the curve where the two legs on the bottom and right sides of the L meet? It doesn't appear that this layout will be able to be in a corner of the room because the top and left sides of the plan would be unreachable.

I'm curious if this will be a European railroad since you are from Switzerland and if so Michael E is the expert here on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Will you be able to reach into the curve where the two legs on the bottom and right sides of the L meet? It doesn't appear that this layout will be able to be in a corner of the room because the top and left sides of the plan would be unreachable.
Good question !
I never think about that before you ask.
I'm curious if this will be a European railroad since you are from Switzerland and if so Michael E is the expert here on that.
I'll use all my stuff (H0 and 00). I can have a little Hornby 0-4-0 and a Bachmann switcher at the same time on my layout. No area or era in particular. The famous rule #1 applies !
 

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I think the photo of the partly completed layout shows a reversing loop just behind the tunnel portal. If so, that introduces an electrical complication, but it's easily resolved. We can talk about that if there's a turnout behind that tunnel portal.
 

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Many thanks for all your inputs. Very appreciated. You helped me to avoid a lot of bad ideas.
Here is my first plan inspired by (HO) Southern Montana, 1965. I have to add turnouts, sidings...but that's the general idea.

View attachment 560490
Garfield;

I like the Southern Montana plan with the center aisle. You will be able to get in closer to the rear track.

Traction Fan 🙂
 
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