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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about creating a tiny HO layout. I have 53" x 21" to play with.

Continuous running, a distorted oval probably, will run either a street car or an 0-4-0 switcher, probably 8" to 10" turns. Not interested in a switching layout or even sidings for that matter, but will definitely have an 'abandoned' spur.

I know N scale would be more reasonable but I cannot get wrapped up around that.

Terrain will be local small-town Interurbanish, if that makes sense.

What say ye?
 

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Hi,

With that much space you can do quite a bit if you go with a interurban layout.

The classic book "One Hundred and One Track Plans for Model Railroaders" has a number of fine examples.

They would be much more interesting than just an "oval" - to build and to operate.

Frederick
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi,

With that much space you can do quite a bit if you go with a interurban layout.

The classic book "One Hundred and One Track Plans for Model Railroaders" has a number of fine examples.

They would be much more interesting than just an "oval" - to build and to operate.

Frederick
Yes, I have looked at that. They do have some twisted or distorted ovals. Looking for additional opinions or advice.

(Did you read the dimensions correctly, BTW? I am talking less than 2 feet by 5 feet.)
 

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Yes, I have looked at that. They do have some twisted or distorted ovals. Looking for additional opinions or advice.

(Did you read the dimensions correctly, BTW? I am talking less than 2 feet by 5 feet.)
Yes I did.

You can find interurban motive power that can handle very sharp curves.

And if you take the time to include the catenary it can look grand.

Frederick
 

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Hmmm, I have some home made SHORT log cars, and a 0-4-0, if I can find some flex track I could test for minimum radius.

and

BACHMANN HO 1320 GANDY DANCER ELECTRICALLY POWERED HAND CAR
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm, I have some home made SHORT log cars, and a 0-4-0, if I can find some flex track I could test for minimum radius.
I may have gotten down to an 8 inch radius on prior HO layouts with careful selection of engine and cars. Single truck trolleys have no issues at all.

Let's see what you can do!

Be prepared for the inside flex rail to stick out a mile. Great for staggered track joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nice idea. Be sure to let us know what you come up with.
Yes, I will. I have been sketching track plans and so far it looks like I am leaning towards a distorted oval or a 'dumbell' shape with circles at the ends and three rails down the center - would be paved road - with one common rail in the center. I am not sure if the layout is long enough to pull that off, though.
 

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Do a Google search using the basic parameters you have listed. There's already gazillion posted on the internet. An urban based trolley plan could easily be made in a 21"x53" space. Look for an interurban near by that you could visit. Also there are some interurban module clubs that can be found thru an internet search. They should have literature on interurban modeling.
 

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What you’re considering is also known as a ‘dogbone’ type configuration. Urban trams are very popular in Europe so be sure to search for ideas there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do a Google search using the basic parameters you have listed. There's already gazillion posted on the internet. An urban based trolley plan could easily be made in a 21"x53" space. Look for an interurban near by that you could visit. Also there are some interurban module clubs that can be found thru an internet search. They should have literature on interurban modeling.
Good tips, I will. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, I'm in.

Back story - I am on assignment and am living in a hotel suite. I will be here long enough that I need something to do in the evenings besides company email and 24 hour news channels.

So I am building a tiny, lightweight layout.

This will be a field expedient exercise as I have very limited resources. I will be using whatever I can.

A coworker got some IKEA furniture and I commandeered the cardboard box. That is my layout and that is why it is the size it is.

I used wire hangers to kinda sorta lay out the track. Looks like it will be a dogbone but that is still subject to change.

IKEA has all sorts of handy cardboard shapes and miscellaneous pieces. Some will be used to reinforce the inside of the box, like on a hollow core door, and others will be landscaping or raw material for structures.

Here are some shots. That rough laminated piece of cardboad will serve as a ledge for the rear straightaway, which will be slightly elevated.

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Discussion Starter #15
And here are some aspirational photos to inspire the design of my layout, the Hudson Valley Railroad.

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There will be an abandoned siding in there somewhere, and if there is a switch it will be a scatchbuilt open end stub switch.

I am really terrible at bridging the gap from where I am now to a fleshed-out landscape plan, so I am open and request ideas and suggestions. Otherwise, I tend to just go with the flow to see what develops. :dunno:
 

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If you can walk around your layout think about a scenic divider down the middle. That way you could have a city side & country side.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you can walk around your layout think about a scenic divider down the middle. That way you could have a city side & country side.
Unfortunately, there is no chance of a walk-around in my tiny space. :(

I think I am going to keep it country with perhaps a building structure or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, here is where I am.

IKEA boxes come with what turns out to be a nice large piece of tracing paper.

I traced out an approximation of the track and terrain features.

Those of you who know me know that I am a fan of constantly changing gradients as real life is seldom billiard-table smooth (even when it is, it isn't).

Building on this shallow box makes it easy for me to cut into the terrain.

I am thinking of a central valley. It will cut at an angle more or less in the center of the longest layout dimension (it shows staight across on the tracing paper; it will cut at an angle instead).

The area to the left of the valley will be at table height. The track there will have three gradient changes. Entering fom the valley on the bottom / front of the layout and going around to the left, the track will be flush with the surface as if the ties are buried (I will mount the ties below the cardboad surface), then rise so that the ties are mounted on the surface, then rise to cork roadbed so the ties are above the surface nd continue atop the raised rock section at the rear.

On the right, the track will be atop roadbed all the way, but on a raised berm as the valley will extend from the center outwards.

On the left, the valley will go right up to table height. This is where I will model that dirt road crossing with the old-fashioned railway cossing sign (see an earlier photo).

I will build a low trestle bridge for the bottom / front crossing and a stone arch bridge for the upper / rear crossing (again, see earlier photos).

I guess the valley should have a little meandering stream - that would be nice.

I m not sure that I am happy with that location for the abandoned spur. Once track is down I will have a better idea.

I will not cut cardboard until I form and solder the track into one piece. My son is shipping me some flex track, roadbed, and odds and ends as we have tons of stuff back at the ranch.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions welcome!


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Unfortunately, there is no chance of a walk-around in my tiny space. :(

I think I am going to keep it country with perhaps a building structure or two.
Guess you're stuck w/ the long side against the wall. Looks like your plan is to have large radius curves for your interurban MR. Most street car, trolley & interurban cars could handle small radius curves down to 6-8" R in HO scale, especially the first two types.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Guess you're stuck w/ the long side against the wall. Looks like your plan is to have large radius curves for your interurban MR. Most street car, trolley & interurban cars could handle small radius curves down to 6-8" R in HO scale, especially the first two types.
Yes, larger radius - between 8" and 9", probably. I decided against even tighter turns with streets and buildings. A single-truck trolley or even an 0-4-0 switcher with carefully selected cars can handle these turns. But thinking trolley, an imginary rural trolley that feeds a large service somewhere.
 
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