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Maybe sketch out a layout or two on one of those computer model train layout tools. And then decide based on your findings... (Or pencil n paper)
Agree. A good layout program (I use AnyRail) would answer a lot of questions.

Start the project with Unitrack in both HO and N scale and see which scale gives you what you are looking for. Even if you want flex track, or even hand laid, for you final layout, you can go through a lot of ideas and variations with Unitrack for the drafts, and then work up different track for your final.
 

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You can still do amazing things in HO, I just started on a 2x11' switching layout and for people who doubt small space, just check out:


The man is phenominal !!!
 

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Good Day,

I'm a returning model railroader and have been building layouts on and off for the past 37 years. I have modeled mostly HO scale and did one n scale many years ago. My last layout was a 7x16 HO scale which I was forced to dismantle and sell off after moving into a smaller home. I have about 2 (maybe 2.5)x16 in the garage to play with as a shelf layout. I've got so much HO rolling stock, figures and signs from the last layout and I'm wondering if you had a choice with 2x16, would you do a HO switching layout, or a n scale layout with the ability to run point to point or loop to loop?

The ability to run more trains under n scale is appealing so I either use what I got in HO and continue on with limitations, or I sell off everything HO and start fresh with n scale....either way, I'm just excited that I'm able to return once again to modeling....any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated! Many Thanks, Steve
My suggestion is buy a 12x16 shed, insulate, put in a motel style HVAC unit and make a nice HO layout, N is just too small
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Come on, not O gauge?? Think Big, NewTexan!! :D

How big is your back yard, Steve C.?????
Many years when growing up in California, a buddy and me wanted to build a live steamer.....I left there 33 yrs ago and he started doing garden railroading since he had a huge backyard.....actually my backyard is a pretty good size, however my trains would melt in the Arizona heat and I'd have to build on helluva trestle across my pool 🤣.
 

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My suggestion is buy a 12x16 shed, insulate, put in a motel style HVAC unit and make a nice HO layout, N is just too small
New Texan;

Really, "N is just too small" for whom?:confused:

All photos below are my scratch-built, or kitbashed, N-scale structures. Click on the printed title under any photo to enlarge for detail. Click again on the enlarged photo surface to enlarge it more. See things like the truss rods & nut-bolt washer castings on the scratch-built wooden truss bridge in the last photo. By the way, I'm 72 years old and semi-disabled, and I built all these things and a lot more in N-scale.

Maybe you feel N-scale is "just too small" for you. O.K. you would know that better than anyone else. Maybe, you simply prefer another scale. That's fine, you, and every other modeler, should be free to choose whichever scale the individual likes best. "Every other modeler" would include the OP. He should be the only person to decide, for himself, whether N-scale or HO-scale, or whatever scale, is "too small", "too big" or "just right" for him.
N-scale is certainly not "too small" for me, or for thousands of other N-scalers. We like it just fine.

Traction Fan :)
 

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OK Traction, now you're just showing off. Great work! (y)
Gramps;

Your quite right, I am just showing off. Not for my own credit, so much as to show those who think N-scale is "just too small" that while it may be too small for a few people to physically work with, and too small for the legitimate preference of many, it is not too small for everyone, or even for most people. Whether or not it's "too small" for the OP is his choice. It just gets to me when someone says N-scale is just too small, without adding "for me." Each of us should be able to decide on our own favorite scale without open-ended general pronouncements bashing one scale, presumably for everybody.
Thanks for the compliment on my work, but the main point was to simply show what's possible in a "too small" scale.

Traction Fan :)
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Thank you so much for all the wonderful helpful advice! What an immense amount of information...I still got a lot of thinking to do; I dream of a nice switching HO layout, then again a nice Loop to Loop with a switching yard in N scale would be nice too. I was big into modeling SP during the Overnight and Black Widow era.....may make my decision based on what's available in rolling stock. Many thanks again for taking your time to respond! Steve
 

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Gramps;

Your quite right, I am just showing off. Not for my own credit, so much as to show those who think N-scale is "just too small" that while it may be too small for a few people to physically work with, and too small for the legitimate preference of many, it is not too small for everyone, or even for most people. Whether or not it's "too small" for the OP is his choice. It just gets to me when someone says N-scale is just too small, without adding "for me." Each of us should be able to decide on our own favorite scale without open-ended general pronouncements bashing one scale, presumably for everybody.
Thanks for the compliment on my work, but the main point was to simply show what's possible in a "too small" scale.

Traction Fan :)
Understood, I was joking but your work is worth a compliment
 

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Understood, I was joking but your work is worth a compliment
Gramps;

I know you were just kidding. Thanks for your response though.

Traction Fan 🙂
Good Day,

I'm a returning model railroader and have been building layouts on and off for the past 37 years. I have modeled mostly HO scale and did one n scale many years ago. My last layout was a 7x16 HO scale which I was forced to dismantle and sell off after moving into a smaller home. I have about 2 (maybe 2.5)x16 in the garage to play with as a shelf layout. I've got so much HO rolling stock, figures and signs from the last layout and I'm wondering if you had a choice with 2x16, would you do a HO switching layout, or a n scale layout with the ability to run point to point or loop to loop?

The ability to run more trains under n scale is appealing so I either use what I got in HO and continue on with limitations, or I sell off everything HO and start fresh with n scale....either way, I'm just excited that I'm able to return once again to modeling....any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated! Many Thanks, Steve
SteveC;

Another thought just occurred to my senile brain. You say you have lots of HO-scale structures, and figures. Do you have any interest in narrow-gauge railroads? HOn30" (a.k.a. HOn2-1/2'), uses HO-scale bodies of narrow gauge equipment over N-scale mechanisms, running on N-scale track. The railroad, structures and figures would still be HO-scale, but the track would be N-scale, and could turn around in 2.5 feet of layout width.
Just a thought on how to use some of your existing HO accessories, and still have continuous running. Of course most of the narrow-gauge prototypes didn't run heavy train schedules. In many cases only a train, or two, a day; so "continuous running" wasn't exactly their forte.

Traction Fan
.K.A.
 

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MichaelE;

I get it. Of course you were suggesting meter gauge, some of that "foreign stuff" you like! You know, those railroads that are generally more advanced than ours and actually have reliable passenger service! Besides, The rock group "Lead Zeppelin was pretty successful! 😄

Traction Fan
 

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Meter gauge only because I'm working with it, but any narrow gauge HO would be appropriate for that size of sub-roadbed. He would be able to use tighter radius curves that would be entirely correct for that gauge and still use his structures.

If he chose, by a long shot, HOe (Germany / Austria), he could use N scale track and would even be slightly narrower than HOn3.

Not many into European railroads around these parts though. I find narrow gauge Swiss very charming running in the wooded part of the Alps. Scenery possibilites are endless.
 

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Meter gauge only because I'm working with it, but any narrow gauge HO would be appropriate for that size of sub-roadbed. He would be able to use tighter radius curves that would be entirely correct for that gauge and still use his structures.

If he chose, by a long shot, HOe (Germany / Austria), he could use N scale track and would even be slightly narrower than HOn3.

Not many into European railroads around these parts though. I find narrow gauge Swiss very charming running in the wooded part of the Alps. Scenery possibilites are endless.
MichaelE;

I hope you know. I was just pulling your leg a bit. Your layout looks excellent in your photos, and you are a valuable resource to the forum, simply because, unlike most of us, you do know a lot about European railways. For instance I, a 40 year N-scaler, didn't know that HOe was related to N-scale track.

Keep up your good work;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Gramps;

I know you were just kidding. Thanks for your response though.

Traction Fan 🙂


SteveC;

Another thought just occurred to my senile brain. You say you have lots of HO-scale structures, and figures. Do you have any interest in narrow-gauge railroads? HOn30" (a.k.a. HOn2-1/2'), uses HO-scale bodies of narrow gauge equipment over N-scale mechanisms, running on N-scale track. The railroad, structures and figures would still be HO-scale, but the track would be N-scale, and could turn around in 2.5 feet of layout width.
Just a thought on how to use some of your existing HO accessories, and still have continuous running. Of course most of the narrow-gauge prototypes didn't run heavy train schedules. In many cases only a train, or two, a day; so "continuous running" wasn't exactly their forte.

Traction Fan
.K.A.
I don't have a lot of much other than accessories (e.g. signs, automobiles, piggyback trailers, a few rolling stock, passengers and two engines) in HO. It appears I sold most of it back 6 or so yrs ago. So, I can either go HO for switching or Looping N layout. I guess it all goes back to perspective....if I was to do a switching layout in 2X16' I'd keep it flat with buildings and some foliage but stay away from mountains....I do like the switching layout in HO and the detail I can provide, but then again....I don't want in a few years to get bored. On the N layout, will I get frustrated with lack of detail or having to use tweezers on accessories? There's a lot to take into consideration and the nice thing is; I have time and I'm in no rush to jump in without doing my homework. The interesting thing is that on one of my HO lines way back, I had a narrow gauge shortline running with it.....not a bad alternative.
 

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That was my dilema with 2'x11'. With N scale I could model some great natural scenery but not so much on the detail front as I could with HO. I decided on HO because I could make my industries interdependent on each other. Produce warehouse delivers boxcars of fruit to Tropicana Plant, reefers leave Tropicana plant to go to Cold storage facility. Corn syrup facility delivers to soda plant and Tropican Plant, transfer warehouse receives from Soda plant and delivers parts to any of the previous mentioned industries....I can have some really great detailed scenes with HO and if I get bored I can switch over to MOW operations (I have a great collection of pieces) and with HO I can continue to add details regardless of space...lights, fire hydrants, pallets, dumpsters etc etc..
 

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I don't have a lot of much other than accessories (e.g. signs, automobiles, piggyback trailers, a few rolling stock, passengers and two engines) in HO. It appears I sold most of it back 6 or so yrs ago. So, I can either go HO for switching or Looping N layout. I guess it all goes back to perspective....if I was to do a switching layout in 2X16' I'd keep it flat with buildings and some foliage but stay away from mountains....I do like the switching layout in HO and the detail I can provide, but then again....I don't want in a few years to get bored. On the N layout, will I get frustrated with lack of detail or having to use tweezers on accessories? There's a lot to take into consideration and the nice thing is; I have time and I'm in no rush to jump in without doing my homework. The interesting thing is that on one of my HO lines way back, I had a narrow gauge shortline running with it.....not a bad alternative.
Steve C.;

You are wise to take your time deciding what you want to model. I also agree that the HO-scale switching layout would be better if fairly flat and in an urban setting to look realistic. You might have a grade for unloading hopper cars at a coal-fired power plant, but you won't have room for mountains or other large scenery features. That, to me anyway, is another advantage of the urban setting. You could model some "concrete canyons" (spaces between tall buildings) more realistically than sprawling natural canyons, for example.
You might also do some street running with track buried in the middle of a city street. That would be an interesting detail you could model. There are two spectacular urban layouts I suggest you look up online for inspiration. One is George Sellios "Franklin & South Manchester, and the other was built by rock star Rod Stewart. I think it's called "big city lights" or something like that. Both layouts are incredibly gorgeous.

I wouldn't worry much about being able to do detailing in N-scale, should you end up favoring the continuous running option. First, you've worked in N-scale before, so you know how to handle it. Second, if you look back through this thread, you'll see my response to a member, "New Texan" who said "N is just too small." My response had several photos attached that showed structures, some quite detailed, that I have scratch-built, or kitbashed in N-scale. I think they show what can be done, even by an old guy like me, in N-scale. Yes, I do sometimes use tweezers to handle small detail parts, like those photo-etched tools hanging in the maintenance shed, shown in one of my photos. However, those same tools are made in HO-scale too, and I suspect a modeler working in HO-scale ain't gonna be able to handle them with his fingers either! As far as your own personal physical abilities, you would know those better than anyone else.
I've always maintained that anything that can be done in one scale, can be done in the other scales too. There are exceptions, I can't sit on one of my locos and ride it, like the live steam guys do, but neither can anyone modeling in G-scale or smaller!

As for getting bored, well that's possible with any layout, but one designed with operating potential, that mimics the operation of a real railroad, can hold your interest for years. This could be true of either the switching, or the continuous running layouts.
Ultimately It's simply a choice, to be made by you, of which type of layout operation you prefer. If all else fails, flip a coin! You can't really go wrong either way.

Good Luck & have Fun

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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