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Good Morning

I've been lurking for a while, here, but been a member for a few months.
I'm on other forums like CTT and the Proboards. I hardly ever go on OGR or OGF as of late, many personal issues this year have limited my visibility.

That said, I do O gauge, mainly Lionel and few MTH and Menards. I'm relocating my collection now as I'm selling my house and cataloging my trains items. A layout is in the future, just figuring out what room and how big is another subject. I was in the hobby from 1961 to 1969 when my Dad "filed away" out trains. I bought my first set in 2003, worked for The TrainWorks in Jacksonville, FL until the owner passed. My Dad FINALLY told me where he hid everything in 2006 and I have those set aside. Moved back to NJ from FLA USA in 2010 and my collection has been growing since. I had done a few one night Christmas displays at my fire house, but that has ended until they do in person Santa again. We do ride bys now.

My newly minted wife Jenni does N and Z scale, but I can't see them - too tiny.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Rich - anjdevil2 - Exit 8 NJTP (NJ insider joke, lol)
 

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Good Morning

I've been lurking for a while, here, but been a member for a few months.
I'm on other forums like CTT and the Proboards. I hardly ever go on OGR or OGF as of late, many personal issues this year have limited my visibility.

That said, I do O gauge, mainly Lionel and few MTH and Menards. I'm relocating my collection now as I'm selling my house and cataloging my trains items. A layout is in the future, just figuring out what room and how big is another subject. I was in the hobby from 1961 to 1969 when my Dad "filed away" out trains. I bought my first set in 2003, worked for The TrainWorks in Jacksonville, FL until the owner passed. My Dad FINALLY told me where he hid everything in 2006 and I have those set aside. Moved back to NJ from FLA USA in 2010 and my collection has been growing since. I had done a few one night Christmas displays at my fire house, but that has ended until they do in person Santa again. We do ride bys now.

My newly minted wife Jenni does N and Z scale, but I can't see them - too tiny.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Rich - anjdevil2 - Exit 8 NJTP (NJ insider joke, lol)
Welcome aboard.

Traction Fan
 

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Greetings all! I'm not exactly new to the hobby. I helped my dad build his biggest layout after he made a few attempts. It has been about 5 years since I "completed" my last layout. It was my 3rd attempt and the only one I felt good about. It is an HO double main oval 4x8 with a few sidings. It is mostly fully detailed to my own fantasy world and not modeled after any particular proto or era. I like it a lot. Life got in the way and now I'm looking to make another one. I'm trying to do an 8x7 with a 4x3 opening in the center for control and access. I'm planning a double main twice around with an over under as opposed to a crossing. I plan on 2 sidings for a coal industry and a station for The Royal Blue. I'm currently in the drawing stage for a few weeks, partly because I don't want to make the mistakes I did previously and also I hate the thought of demolishing my current one. I'd like to reuse some items thereby saving a few bucks. I've already made a huge investment in the HO engines and rolling stock so I'm sticking with HO. I've tried to use some online planners like Atlas and 1 other I can't remember but they seem difficult to use. My current issue is deciding on what radii to use since I will have 4 mains running around the center hole. That gives me 2 feet of space on all sides, hopefully with room for my 2 sidings. I'm thinking I'll have to wait till I have the new table built to actually test my design. Here's hoping!
 

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Greetings all! I'm not exactly new to the hobby. I helped my dad build his biggest layout after he made a few attempts. It has been about 5 years since I "completed" my last layout. It was my 3rd attempt and the only one I felt good about. It is an HO double main oval 4x8 with a few sidings. It is mostly fully detailed to my own fantasy world and not modeled after any particular proto or era. I like it a lot. Life got in the way and now I'm looking to make another one. I'm trying to do an 8x7 with a 4x3 opening in the center for control and access. I'm planning a double main twice around with an over under as opposed to a crossing. I plan on 2 sidings for a coal industry and a station for The Royal Blue. I'm currently in the drawing stage for a few weeks, partly because I don't want to make the mistakes I did previously and also I hate the thought of demolishing my current one. I'd like to reuse some items thereby saving a few bucks. I've already made a huge investment in the HO engines and rolling stock so I'm sticking with HO. I've tried to use some online planners like Atlas and 1 other I can't remember but they seem difficult to use. My current issue is deciding on what radii to use since I will have 4 mains running around the center hole. That gives me 2 feet of space on all sides, hopefully with room for my 2 sidings. I'm thinking I'll have to wait till I have the new table built to actually test my design. Here's hoping!
Mantis;
Welcome to the forum.

There is a tried-and-true method of track planning that pre-dates digital software. Its called paper & pencil. Being an old fart, (74) I haven't used any of the track planning software programs, but I have seldom heard anything but good about them here. However, since you have had difficulty using them, maybe you might "go retro" and try drawing your plan "old school."

From your description I gather you are thinking about some sort of 'L' or 'C' shaped layout with overall dimensions of 8' x 7' and a 4' x 3' operator's pit in the middle. Is that correct? Can you send a drawing of what you have in mind?

Since you already have a firm decision on HO-scale, and you have concerns about minimum radius, I'm going to recommend using 22" as your minimum curve radius. That size curve can handle most HO-scale rolling stock well. Of course, bigger would be better still, especially if you want to run big steam locomotives, six axle diesels, or long passenger, or modern freight cars. Long equipment needs its space and runs more reliably, and looks better, on broad curves.

That brings up another issue. Thinking in terms of 4'x 8' slabs. A 22"r. curve will just barely fit on a 4' wide table. Since you want to have more track around the outside of that 22" curve, "four mains"? you need to widen the table. Five, or even six, feet of width might better fit what you want.

In turn, that brings up another thing you said that raises a red flag for me. "I'm thinking I'll have to wait till I have the new table built to actually test my design." No, you don't, and you shouldn't. Though its all-too-commonly-done, that's totally backwards thinking. The design (track plan) should be done, (on paper) before any benchwork construction is even started. The only reason benchwork exists is to conform to the shape of, and provide physical support for, the layout. The track plan should not be forced to fit a pre conceived, let alone pre-built, shape. Rather the benchwork should be designed, and built to fit the track plan.

Each model railroader builds his/her layout as they wish, and that's the way it should be, but I'm guessing that in contemplating this new layout, you may be at the point where positive change is in order. You also mentioned "hating the thought of demolishing your old layout." By all means save whatever you can. However, to me that indicates that you want your next layout to be more satisfying in the long run. You might be thinking of a last layout, rather than just a second layout, Is that true? If so, there are a couple of different approaches to accomplishing that goal. The attached file, "Where do I start" covers several, including sectional construction, and "thinking outside the (4' x 8') box.
I suggest you read it before going into construction. It presents a number of decisions for you to make about what kind of railroad you want to end up with.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan
 

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Rectangle Font Schematic Parallel Pattern

Hey there. Thanks for the welcome and the feedback. This is my 4th independent layout. I figure I can expand the 8 foot section by 2 feet at most and the 7 foot section is all I have. My current(until today) layout had 20 and 18 inch radii and all my engines and stock rolled perfectly. I have 2 six axle diesels than ran just fine and my 4-6-2 did as well. I used Atlas flex track code 83 so they dont hold exactly to 18 and 20 as they are a bit wider than those radii. I had about 1 inch of clearance on either edge of the 4x8. I do not have any long passenger cars nor large rolling stock and I have no plan to get any. I prefer freight to passenger except for The Royal Blue set I got from my dad. I made many plans on paper, adjusting the operators pit accordingly and I find I really like the track design shown here. My first 2 layouts I did exactly what you said. I built the table to fit the track. With life and all that annoying stuff, I have a space roughly 10x7 at most. 7 foot is blocked by a doorway and the 10 foot side is blocked by shelves. Making 2 4x8 tables and cutting a 2x4 section joining them on top and bottom would be easier on a 10x7 vs a 8x7. Again thanks for the feedback and let me know what you think about the extra details. Rectangle Font Schematic Parallel Pattern
 

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I love the double main look when the trains pass each other in opposite directions and this layout will be my first attempt at elevation. I want to minimize my turnouts to just the sidings and not have any trains switching mains. But that could change. I'm flexible with any adjustments I make but I'm pretty firm on the double main. The 2 somewhat boring ovals made me try for the elevation and twice around.
 

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Mantis;
Welcome to the forum.

There is a tried-and-true method of track planning that pre-dates digital software. Its called paper & pencil. Being an old fart, (74) I haven't used any of the track planning software programs, but I have seldom heard anything but good about them here. However, since you have had difficulty using them, maybe you might "go retro" and try drawing your plan "old school."

From your description I gather you are thinking about some sort of 'L' or 'C' shaped layout with overall dimensions of 8' x 7' and a 4' x 3' operator's pit in the middle. Is that correct? Can you send a drawing of what you have in mind?

Since you already have a firm decision on HO-scale, and you have concerns about minimum radius, I'm going to recommend using 22" as your minimum curve radius. That size curve can handle most HO-scale rolling stock well. Of course, bigger would be better still, especially if you want to run big steam locomotives, six axle diesels, or long passenger, or modern freight cars. Long equipment needs its space and runs more reliably, and looks better, on broad curves.

That brings up another issue. Thinking in terms of 4'x 8' slabs. A 22"r. curve will just barely fit on a 4' wide table. Since you want to have more track around the outside of that 22" curve, "four mains"? you need to widen the table. Five, or even six, feet of width might better fit what you want.

In turn, that brings up another thing you said that raises a red flag for me. "I'm thinking I'll have to wait till I have the new table built to actually test my design." No, you don't, and you shouldn't. Though its all-too-commonly-done, that's totally backwards thinking. The design (track plan) should be done, (on paper) before any benchwork construction is even started. The only reason benchwork exists is to conform to the shape of, and provide physical support for, the layout. The track plan should not be forced to fit a pre conceived, let alone pre-built, shape. Rather the benchwork should be designed, and built to fit the track plan.

Each model railroader builds his/her layout as they wish, and that's the way it should be, but I'm guessing that in contemplating this new layout, you may be at the point where positive change is in order. You also mentioned "hating the thought of demolishing your old layout." By all means save whatever you can. However, to me that indicates that you want your next layout to be more satisfying in the long run. You might be thinking of a last layout, rather than just a second layout, Is that true? If so, there are a couple of different approaches to accomplishing that goal. The attached file, "Where do I start" covers several, including sectional construction, and "thinking outside the (4' x 8') box.
I suggest you read it before going into construction. It presents a number of decisions for you to make about what kind of railroad you want to end up with.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan
Traction Fan. Please see my previous two posts. I'm still trying to get used to this site and I did not reply or quote you. I'm not a social media user so this stuff is foreign to me.
 

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Traction Fan. Please see my previous two posts. I'm still trying to get used to this site and I did not reply or quote you. I'm not a social media user so this stuff is foreign to me.
Mantis;

I don't do social media either. Never saw any point in putting your whole life online & sending copies of your latest selfie out to the world's burglars, rapists, & other psychos.

Your plan looks OK if your only interest is watching trains run, which is a perfectly legitimate choice.
I would find that boring, but that's just me. I would think you might want to have two crossovers to let trains run from one loop to the other, though you're right, that would mean four more turnouts.
Your "twice around" mains should be helpful with the grades needed to get one track up & over the other.

You do have a duck under, which is, or will become, a bad thing. In your photo, you look relatively young. However, people inevitably get older, and ducking under gets harder. You might consider a hinged section for entry & exit to the center pit.

I also recommend you make your layout in sections smaller than 4' x 8'. My sections are 4' long and 16" deep, but I'm an N-scaler. I think 4' x 2' is a handy size. You can take your layout with you if you have to move. Also that's about the largest practical size to take to a work bench, and turn upside down, in order to mount switch machines and wiring.

The attached file expands on these ideas.
I didn't realize you had built several layouts before. I thought you were embarking on your second. Hope I didn't insult your experience. My files are aimed primarily at beginners, but much of the info can be used on any layout, whether 1rst or 10th.

In any case, its your layout, so build and enjoy it however you like.

Traction Fan
 

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Mantis;

I don't do social media either. Never saw any point in putting your whole life online & sending copies of your latest selfie out to the world's burglars, rapists, & other psychos.

Your plan looks OK if your only interest is watching trains run, which is a perfectly legitimate choice.
I would find that boring, but that's just me. I would think you might want to have two crossovers to let trains run from one loop to the other, though you're right, that would mean four more turnouts.
Your "twice around" mains should be helpful with the grades needed to get one track up & over the other.

You do have a duck under, which is, or will become, a bad thing. In your photo, you look relatively young. However, people inevitably get older, and ducking under gets harder. You might consider a hinged section for entry & exit to the center pit.

I also recommend you make your layout in sections smaller than 4' x 8'. My sections are 4' long and 16" deep, but I'm an N-scaler. I think 4' x 2' is a handy size. You can take your layout with you if you have to move. Also that's about the largest practical size to take to a work bench, and turn upside down, in order to mount switch machines and wiring.

The attached file expands on these ideas.
I didn't realize you had built several layouts before. I thought you were embarking on your second. Hope I didn't insult your experience. My files are aimed primarily at beginners, but much of the info can be used on any layout, whether 1rst or 10th.

In any case, its your layout, so build and enjoy it however you like.

Traction Fan
Traction Fan,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm starting the benchwork today. I won't be moving anytime in the next 20 years so a portable or sectionalized layout is not an issue. I did save the old 4x8 table and I'm adding a 96x40 inch second table to it. That will maximize the 88 inches on the 7 foot wall to the doorway. I have wondered about the duckunder aspect. I'm (only) 49 so now it isn't an issue. I have considered a hinged section but that scares me. "OH no! What if the tracks don't line up!" I will be doing a lot of research on that topic. You obviously have a lot of experience with hobby trains and I appreciate all you have told me. Keep on chugging!
 

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Hello everyone. My name is Gary and I run O-27 scale Lionel 3 rail. I have been messing with trains off and on since I was a child. Now that I have Grandsons I am embarking on my first layout that will include terrain. I would like to know how to post questions to the community. For instance, I need to turn off the auto-reverse on one of my engines.
 

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Hello everyone. My name is Gary and I run O-27 scale Lionel 3 rail. I have been messing with trains off and on since I was a child. Now that I have Grandsons I am embarking on my first layout that will include terrain. I would like to know how to post questions to the community. For instance, I need to turn off the auto-reverse on one of my engines.
Gary;

You just did post a question to the community. 😄 However, since you run O-27 3 rail, I suggest you post on the O-scale section of this forum. On the initial home page, near the top right, there is a link to see the full forum. click on that and scrol down to the O-scale section. There are a whole bunch Lionel experts there, and they can answer your question.

Traction Fan
 

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Traction Fan,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm starting the benchwork today. I won't be moving anytime in the next 20 years so a portable or sectionalized layout is not an issue. I did save the old 4x8 table and I'm adding a 96x40 inch second table to it. That will maximize the 88 inches on the 7 foot wall to the doorway. I have wondered about the duckunder aspect. I'm (only) 49 so now it isn't an issue. I have considered a hinged section but that scares me. "OH no! What if the tracks don't line up!" I will be doing a lot of research on that topic. You obviously have a lot of experience with hobby trains and I appreciate all you have told me. Keep on chugging!
Mantis;

"Only 49" eh! Sort of wish I could say the same, but that would mean I'd have to go back to work! o_O I like retirement too much for that, and I'm partially disabled, so I don't know what kind of job I could get, even if I wanted one.(n)

The file I just sent you, "sections 3 & 4" delves pretty deeply into the subject of duck unders, and moveable entrance sections. Yes, getting the tracks lined up is a possible problem, but lots of folks have done it, and many have made YouTube videos on this subject, so I suggest you start by reading that file, and then go searching YouTube for moveable model railroad entry sections .

Yes, I have a lot of model railroad experience, as do many here on the forum. Except for a hitch in the navy, I have been model railroading continuously a few years longer than you have been alive.
Experience teaches us by making mistakes. I got a chuckle when I read that you "won't be moving anytime in the next twenty years or so." How would anyone ever really know that?
It would be based on seeing the future, perhaps using a crystal ball? If you have a job, and/or a wife, you may well move sooner than you think. Stuff happens.

A model railroad, complete with scenery, takes a lot of money and time to build. If you're on your fourth layout, that's not news to you. In fact you said you hated to destroy your previous layout. Sectional construction may prevent that. It did for me. When I moved my family to San Diego, I was able to take my model railroad along easily, because it was sectional.
I was also able to adapt it to a different size & shape space in the new home, again because it was sectional.

However, we have a saying here on the forum. "Your railroad, your rules." So good luck with whatever you decide to build, and have fun with it. Ultimately, that's all that matters. 😊

Traction Fan
 

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Mantis

I sure agree with the others...No matter what
your age, the ducking under gets old very
quickly. I went for a few months and had
my full of it...and went with a hinged bridge.
A hinged lift up 'bridge' is
a lot easier to build that you think. Hinged UP is
the easiest. Finding the right hinge is toughest part.
Lining up the track is easy. You build the bridge and
get it working smoothly so it provides a solid surface even
with the 'shores'. Then lay flex track on the bridge
with ends lapping over the shore. You cut rails on angle.
The 'open' end is cut \ and the hinge end is cut /.
Those angle cuts allow bridge to move without touching
the 'shore' tracks yet the cut is narrow and does not
affect smooth running.

Very important that you wire the bridge with an
safety electrical cutoff for the shore track.
'Provide an isolated section that is about 2 feet long.
Only the right rail should but cut. A wire from
that rail to a metal 'plate' on the 'open' end
support. The bridge will have a matching plate
with wire to bridge right rail. You'll also provide a wire from
your bus to each bridge rail,
Thus when bridge down 'shore' track
gets power, when it's up, power is cut
and loco stops before plunging
to it's demise. If more than one track, do the
same for each. The bridge in the up position
would physically stop a loco from making a dive so no
special isolated section is needed on the hinge end.

Don
 

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Build the benchwork at 48" and it's not bad to get under it. Benchwork at 48" also makes it easier for maintenance and wiring underneath the layout and keeps curious children or grandchildren away from your railroad.

Mine is not a duck-under build, but I've been under it enough times to get to the access holes to know that higher is better.

 

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Howdy all! I appreciate everyone joining the chat. I figured on making a hinged lift up as opposed to fully removeable as it may prove to be a bit heavy with 4 main lines and 2 feet of layout with scenery and such or a swing out option because of sagging issues. I have watched and researched quite a bit already about hinged sections. There is an incline section that will be on the hinged section so that may prove to be a bit hairy. If I have patience and take my time and be careful, I think I'll do a fine job. Thanks DonR for emphasizing the safety feature. I had seen that on you tube and I will go that path. But you described it a bit more so it made more sense. Again, Thanks for all the great feedback.
 

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Howdy all! I appreciate everyone joining the chat. I figured on making a hinged lift up as opposed to fully removeable as it may prove to be a bit heavy with 4 main lines and 2 feet of layout with scenery and such or a swing out option because of sagging issues. I have watched and researched quite a bit already about hinged sections. There is an incline section that will be on the hinged section so that may prove to be a bit hairy. If I have patience and take my time and be careful, I think I'll do a fine job. Thanks DonR for emphasizing the safety feature. I had seen that on you tube and I will go that path. But you described it a bit more so it made more sense. Again, Thanks for all the great feedback.
Mantis;

I'm going to disagree with DonR's suggestion that you make your hinged section tilt upward. Downward would be better, especially since you plan to have an incline of elevated track going across the hinged section.
The actual "pivot point" around which the hinged section will move, is the center of the hinge pin between the two leaves of a door hinge, or most other hinges. That pivot point needs to be either right at, or slightly above, the highest part of your section, if the section is to tilt upward.
That highest point would be the top of the rails of your elevated track. Think about it. If you have an elevated track on an embankment that is higher than where the hinge is, tilting the section up will either crush the track embankment, or the section won't be able to tilt up at all.

However, tilting downward will not damage the same track embankment, or keep the section from tilting, even with the hinge well below the embankment, and even a little below the main surface of the movable section. All that will happen is that the two halves of the embankment will pull away from each other rather than squashing toward each other.
The same angled cuts, and safety wiring, that Don recommended, still apply.
Only the direction of tilt changes.

Near the end of that "sections 3 & 4" file I sent you are four sketches of track plans for a small room. Sketch # 4 is an all-the-way-around-the-room plan, and has a lot of info on the various types of movable sections. It points out the advantages of tilting down, instead of up, along with the pros & cons of other systems.
I think DonR's own moveable section was based on the info in that file.

By the way, I recommend using a "piano hinge" also called a "continuous hinge." These are available in lengths from 3-6 feet at Home Depot. They help keep the tilting section from moving side-to-side, which makes it easier to line the tracks up. Some tapered pegs that fit into holes can do the final alignment between the tilting section and the mating benchwork.
If your tilt section will be heavy, you can use counter weights or counter springs to make pulling it up into position easy.

Traction Fan
 

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hello All,
My name is Jim and I’m a newbie here.

When I was young I had a Lionel setup in the basement that my Dad had built, and after years of neglect in my teens or later that set was sold off or donated in pieces. A few years ago I bought a very basic HO layout and rekindled some interest as an activity with my grandson, and eventually I put it on a 4x8 piece of plywood in my basement. Now that I’m semi-retired (automotive engineering, real estate) I’m starting to think about planning a more or less permanent layout and getting a little more serious about the hobby, in addition to some plastic model building (cars, planes, ships, railroad).

I came across this site today looking for resources to diagnose a problem with a steam locomotive that I bought today at a swap meet. And in scanning some of the posts I’ve seen some interesting discussions about the size of a layout, and that 4x8 may have some limitations I wasn’t aware of; I’ll certainly be researching that topic more.

It looks like there are some very experienced people on this site who are willing to help people of all levels, and I look forward to tapping some of that knowledge base.

Jim Littlepage
JLittlep
 

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Hello All,
My name is Jim and I’m a newbie here.

When I was young I had a Lionel setup in the basement that my Dad had built, and after years of neglect in my teens or later that set was sold off or donated in pieces. A few years ago I bought a very basic HO layout and rekindled some interest as an activity with my grandson, and eventually I put it on a 4x8 piece of plywood in my basement. Now that I’m semi-retired (automotive engineering, real estate) I’m starting to think about planning a more or less permanent layout and getting a little more serious about the hobby, in addition to some plastic model building (cars, planes, ships, railroad).

I came across this site today looking for resources to diagnose a problem with a steam locomotive that I bought today at a swap meet. And in scanning some of the posts I’ve seen some interesting discussions about the size of a layout, and that 4x8 may have some limitations I wasn’t aware of; I’ll certainly be researching that topic more.

It looks like there are some very experienced people on this site who are willing to help people of all levels, and I look forward to tapping some of that knowledge base.

Jim Littlepage
JLittlep

Hey Jim;

Welcome to the forum.
I have one of those non- 4 x 8 layouts,* and I somewhat advocate for them in the beginner's files I wrote. (attached below) That doesn't mean I really dislike 4 x 8 layouts. There are some very nice ones, but, as you mentioned, there are serious limitations in confining your thinking into "What can I fit on a 4 x 8 ?"

Now, before you start building, is a good time to do enough research and thinking about what sort of model railroad you want to create.
I suggest you take your time, and read through these files at your own pace. They present options, but leave the decision making to each individual reader. Maybe you will end up wanting a 4 x 8 layout, or maybe you'll want something else. Either is quite OK. Its your railroad, so you decide. If you have questions, just ask.

Traction Fan 🙂

* To see a diagram of my layout first click on the "Full forum listing" link near the top right of the home page, then look in the "layout design" section of this forum. My N-scale shelf layout is near the end of a thread called, "Here are the layouts of some forum members."
 

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Hey Jim;

Welcome to the forum.
I have one of those non- 4 x 8 layouts,* and I advocate for them in the beginner's files I wrote. (& attached below) That doesn't mean I really dislike 4 x 8 layout, there are some very nice ones, but, as you mentioned, there are serious limitations in confining your thinking into "What can I fit on a 4 x 8 ?"
Now, before you start building, is a good time to do enough research and thinking about what sort of model railroad you want to create.
I suggest you take your time and read through these files at your own pace. They present options, but leave the decision making to each individual reader. Maybe you will end up wanting a 4 x 8 layout, maybe you'll want something else. Either is quite OK. Its your railroad, so you decide. If you have questions, just ask.

Traction Fan 🙂
Wow! Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!
 
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