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Thread: Help Designing a Small N Scale Layout

  1. #1
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    Help Designing a Small N Scale Layout

    I am currently planning a small (anywhere from 2x4' to 33x48") N scale layout. I'd like it to have plenty of switching, and, if possible, continuous running. Here's the 33x48" plan I have right now:



    The plan originally started off as a photo diorama, since I really don't like the scenery on my first layout. Over time, I added switching, a tunnel, and multiple industries, to compensate for all the other stuff I dislike about my first layout, and it became a whole new layout plan :o The minimum curve on that plan is 9 3/4", but I could go smaller. My 70 tonner will handle a 4" radius curve (not that I'd want one that sharp on the layout :omg: )

    If anyone has any suggestions or other plans, that would be great! I finally have the foam I need to start, and I don't want this one to be an "I should'vedone everything differently" layout like my first one :embarassed:
    -R.J.
    My blog

  2. #2
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    Hey Jim,
    I'm starting my 24"X48" layout as well. You can see it on my trainblog and new railimages. If you can, I would stick with the 33"X48" I'm finding a little difficulty planning for expansion on mine as it is 24". I like your trackplan you have so far, but why the spur inside the tunnel?

  3. #3
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    Jim,

    I'd question putting two swithback sidings in, and having your only possible run-around start or end in the tunnel. Also, is that a siding IN the tunnel? How would that work?

    If possible re-design your continuous loop so that you do not use the curved part of any switch for the 'mainline'. That is what the big roads do and do for a reason. You'll be happier with the results if your turnouts turnout to a siding, not keep you on the mainline. I think you have three of these on what seems to be your continuous running track.

    I'd shorten the tunnel so there was not a switch inside, remove the siding in the tunnel, change the inner switchback siding to a non-switchback and change your switch orientation to eliminate the problem mentioned above. You'll still have the action you want but without the potential hassles.

    I wouldn't go below 9 3/4" radius just for the appearance of the train as you run it.
    Modeling the North Pennsylvania Railroad Bethlehem Branch in N Scale

  4. #4
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    I'd definitely like to stick with the larger size. I think I have a place to store it LOL

    The spur inside the tunnel is sort of the world's smallest staging yard, I guess. The edge of the layout on that side will be left open to allow access inside the tunnel.

    Really, the only place I'd want smaller-than-9" curves is on a siding. I've seen some crazy-tight prototype industrial track.
    -R.J.
    My blog

  5. #5
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    Just my 2 cents, Jim. I would strongly reconsider the turnouts and siding within the tunnel (unless I'm reading that incorrectly).

    Another option might be to make it a double main line, and use either of the mains for passing as needed. A crossover switch or a couple of turnouts can connect the two mainlines. I only mention this because once you get a passing siding in of any length, it will be half way around the layout. You have spurs on either side of the layout, so you'll have nice opportunities for operations.

    Good luck. Planning can be frustrating and time consuming, but it all pays off when your layout runs like clockwork.

  6. #6

    Cool

    You should avoid turnouts and sidings in a tunnel which is an area that you very limited access to. I would re-arrange that part of your layout plan.

    Stay cool and run steam...

  7. #7
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    Good advice so far

    The biggest issue I keep hitting is that it's, well, a really small layout! I think I'll have to make some sacrifices, like small curves and mainlines running through the curves on turnouts.

    The whole back edge of the tunnel will be open for access, but I could probably remove the stoarge track and move the other turnout back a few inches, out of the tunnel.

    I'm also trying to avoid having a nice, straight mainline parallel to the benchwork edge. That's how it is on my first layout, and as space-efficient as it is, it looks too "artificial" to me. This new plan is largely made to be photographed, and in all the pictures of my old layout, there's a nice, annoying layout edge running alongside the track :o

    - J "There's a Prototype for Everything" Waldo :p
    -R.J.
    My blog

  8. #8
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    So Jim,

    Based on what we've said and your replies, what exactly are you asking for?
    Modeling the North Pennsylvania Railroad Bethlehem Branch in N Scale

  9. #9

    Cool

    You can slightly rotate your track plan, to avoid the track parallel to table edge syndrome.

    You can run some very nice two axle diesels and small steam loco's on that track plan.


    Stay cool and run steam....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Smith View Post
    So Jim,

    Based on what we've said and your replies, what exactly are you asking for?
    I suppose that what I'm looking for is a photogenic layout with interesting switching. My own planning ideas are somewhat limited. Beyond that, I'm pretty mcuh open to any ideas. There's a reason I prefer building locos to designing layouts :embarassed:
    -R.J.
    My blog

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