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I have been in the hobby for the past 15 years, part of Oahu Railway Society where I ran interurbans, trolleys, WP and SP on the club layout in Ewa Beach. Now I am retired and thinking of having a shelf or "floor" layout in my 1 bedroom apartment. I know I'll have to sell or donate a lot of my equipment but would like to have a compact layout in my bedroom. Any ideas? The club layout is currently off limits due to COVID--Aloha PS I am not an expert modeler.
 

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I have been in the hobby for the past 15 years, part of Oahu Railway Society where I ran interurbans, trolleys, WP and SP on the club layout in Ewa Beach. Now I am retired and thinking of having a shelf or "floor" layout in my 1 bedroom apartment. I know I'll have to sell or donate a lot of my equipment but would like to have a compact layout in my bedroom. Any ideas? The club layout is currently off limits due to COVID--Aloha PS I am not an expert modeler.
HawaiiTraction;

Welcome to the forum from another Traction Fan. (it's my screen name) My favorite traction is mainline heavy electric locomotives on the Milwaukee Road. I model a tiny bit of the Seattle, Washington area in the 1920s.
However, if it runs on rails, I like it a lot. If it runs on rails and draws power from overhead wire, I like it even more!

I think a shelf layout in an apartment is quite doable. My own layout is a "Bookshelf Model Railroad" design that has a top shelf filled with train books and other stuff, over the railroad. My layout is N-scale and two level. So, from the top down, it's books, railroad, more railroad, and then additional shelves for general storage. This basically uses the same small amount of floor space for several different purposes. My layout is along two walls of my garage ,but I think something along the same general lines would work well in a small apartment. The sections have a nice wood finish look, so they could be in your living room, but only if you're a bachelor! 馃槃 I've been married for over 38 years, so my layout is not allowed on the living room walls, and must live in the garage. 馃槙

What scale are your present models? Obviously, a smaller scale fits better in a small space, but my own layout could be done in HO-scale with some alterations. My minimum radius is 16" not that much smaller than the 18" radius that will handle small to medium sized HO equipment. No 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" steam locomotives or DD40AX diesels, but six-drivered steam, or four axle diesels. would work. If you're still planning on running trolleys & interurbans, that's a whole different world, and a better one, in terms of fitting it into a small space.The "trains" are one car, two if your pulling a trailer. The curves can be tight, so it would certainly fit on a shelf. Since you're renting an apartment, you won't be able to drill holes in the wall and bolt the sections onto it like I did, (Landlords tend to frown quite heavily on such activities!) :mad: ,but four-legged, free-standing, sections can work equally well.

The first photo show the basic idea of the bookshelf railroad design. The key element is the arches that support the top shelf. They make it possible to have a continuous scene across the front of all the sections, with no front support posts to block the view.
That top shelf will support quite a bit of weight too. My large collection of train books, & magazines, ain't light! I also have a TV set, tape recorder, and other electronics up there. My standard section (see 1rst. photo) is 48" long, 16" deep, and 16" high. I have deeper sections at the ends to hold return loops for continuous running, but no section is more than 36" deep. A shelf layout doesn't need to be this bookshelf type. A simple single shelf will do.

The files attached below are some I wrote for new modelers. They cover shelf layouts in depth, and many other model railroad topics.

again, welcome;

Traction Fan 馃檪
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Aloha.........welcome.
 

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Another traction fan here with a big welcome to the Forum.
I had a 2 route HO streetcar layout with 4 cars using
trolley poles on an overhead wire. It was on an approximately 4 X 6
benchwork. As you likely know there are pretty well
detailed HO streetcar models commercially available. Mine
ran regular DC (with two powerpacks and a lot of wiring). To make
operating interesting, the two separate car routes used a common
loop in 'downtown' St. Louis. So that meant a lot of toggle switching
so the right power pack followed each car. If I were building today
I would definitely go with DCC.
You can enhance the enjoyment by adding a loco and
shuttle some cars around (as did the now defunct Illinois Terminal RR)

Let us know if we can help you get your wheels a rollin.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another traction fan here with a big welcome to the Forum.
I had a 2 route HO streetcar layout with 4 cars using
trolley poles on an overhead wire. It was on an approximately 4 X 6
benchwork. As you likely know there are pretty well
detailed HO streetcar models commercially available. Mine
ran regular DC (with two powerpacks and a lot of wiring). To make
operating interesting, the two separate car routes used a common
loop in 'downtown' St. Louis. So that meant a lot of toggle switching
so the right power pack followed each car. If I were building today
I would definitely go with DCC.
You can enhance the enjoyment by adding a loco and
shuttle some cars around (as did the now defunct Illinois Terminal RR)

Let us know if we can help you get your wheels a rollin.

Don
Thank you Don--I just have one question-can you run the layout's DCC equipment witha standard dc power pack--HawaiiTraction
 

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Some DCC decoders are dual input, that means some will run on DC
as well as DCC. Most currently available have that capability.

If you are asking about my streetcar layout, it was years ago and
was DC only.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Some DCC decoders are dual input, that means some will run on DC
as well as DCC. Most currently available have that capability.

If you are asking about my streetcar layout, it was years ago and
was DC only.

Don
Thanks Don
 
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