How Big is Your Past, Present, Future N Scale Layout

Rossford Yard Nov 18, 2012

  1. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter


    1) The Original...a 36 x 80 HCD with a mountain and tunnels at one end. Started as a single line...grew to a double main.

    2) THE Train Trailer...A 15' x 8' layout that incorporated the original layout and numerous other 32" & 36" HCD's. Was a backwards "G" shaped layout.

    Present & Future

    3) THERR RV....A 29 footer...with 20 feet of actual layout room length. Its 20' down the left side...8' across the back...14 feet up the door side. Sorta a backwards "J" shaped. All 32 inch width plywood with kitchen base cabinets under 90% of it. THE RV has heating and air conditioning...Yesssssssss !!!!

    Most likely my last layout. If I have to move will be so danged easy to just start THE RV and drive it...layout intact...out of the backyard and to the new place

    :) :) :) :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2012
  2. WCWBrassHat

    WCWBrassHat TrainBoard Member

    1st N scale layout: 5' x 8' continuous run
    2nd layout: 11' x 8' point to point, 12" to 16" wide, 2 operators
    3rd layout: portable 6'8" x 16' double track oval, would pack into a Pinto hatchback
    4th layout: 8' x 10' point to point, 2 operators
    5th layout: 11'2" x 14'6" point to point, 3 operators
    6th layout: 3' x 8'6" switching layout
    7th layout: 19' x 19' point to point, 6 operators
    8th layout(current): 32'6" x 32'6" point to point, 12 operators

    All but 2 of the layouts are/were operations oriented. The current layout will be the last large layout. The next layout will be a room size switching layout. I am struggling to finish building the current layout. Part of my lack of motivation is having trouble getting a full crew.

  3. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    I've been a modular N-scaler since the early 80's and incorporated run-arounds in order to run trains on my big modular LDE's, which ranged in length from 12' to twice that.

    Now that I've got a little bit of room, I'm in the process of constructing pieces of my planned "big" layout, and I'm up to a modular layout, comprising 6 prototype scenes of Echo/Weber Canyon in 1951 and a run of about 60'. It presently occupies a room that is 11' X 29', and it gets bigger when I take it to shows because then I can put a couple of extra 6' modules on the ends that I can't fit in my present room.

    The "big" layout will occupy a 35' X 45' space, and it'll include many scenes from Ogden Yard, to Wahsatch UT and duplicate operation between these two points, particularly helper and passenger operations with both the Park City Local and Evanston Local running their daily turns.
  4. ArtinCA

    ArtinCA TrainBoard Member

    Past layouts have been everything from 2' x 4' layouts to the last one which was 12' x 16'. Right now I'm in a rental till we decide where the heck were gonna move to. No kids and in the 40's, we got alot of options.

    Next layout will either be N scale protolanced Class 1 (like the Utah Belt) or I'll dump all the N scale stuff and build a On30 layout instead. Depends where we are and what kind of operators I can find.
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Way back when I had a three rail Lionel on a 4X8 plywood under the bed. Then it was HO for awhile about a 6X10. Moved to N with a 8X10X5 all 3 foot wide in a U shape. Layout in planning stages is a 12X12X6 all at 30 inches wide with two levels the upper level being kept to a maximum of 18 inches.
  6. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

    1. Nameless layout (HO scale): 4' x 8' (1965-1967)
    2. Newport & Rock Falls (N scale): 2' x 4' expanded to 4' x 10' (1970-1973)
    3. White River & Northern I (N scale): 3' diameter (1973-1977)
    4. Nameless display layout (Z scale): 18" x 34" (1977)
    5. White River & Northern II (N scale): 18' x 24' (1988-1990)
    6. Nameless shelf layout (Z scale): 10" x 33" (1991)
    7. White River & Northern IV (N scale): 10' x 11' (1997-2000)
    8. James River Branch (Z scale): 15" x 36" (2006-2012)
    9. Geordie & Daphne (Z scale): 17" x 31" (2011-2012)

    10. White River & Northern VI (Nn3): 2' x 4'
  7. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    My first lyout, HO 4x8 Christmas special.
    It grew and shrank as time passed, then dismantled when I left home to join the Navy.
    The next layout was at the Livingston, MT Depot club layout, HO, as a contributing member. Fun!
    My first N-scale was a 3x5 i bought preasasembled. Lots of lessons learned with it, and lots of family fun with kids helping.
    My current is a 5x7 built as two 2.5x7 modules which is currently standing on end in the garage waiting for me to finish it's home. And that is a subject for another thread when I can get myself in gear to move pics from camera to puter to TB.
  8. Kenneth L. Anthony

    Kenneth L. Anthony TrainBoard Member

    Past N layouts:
    2x4 ft "generic Colorado" layout
    27x34 inch Berlin, West Germany layout
    2x4 ft 2-sided layout with seaport one side and farm town with trunkline interchange other side
    3x7 ft East Texas piney woods courthouse-square town with ATSF secondary line

    present portable layout
    2x3 foot Navy blimp base railroad

    layout under construction
    11x11 around-the-room Texas coast island seaport
  9. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    First layout was a 16 X 4 HO scale dog bone layout complete with Atlas sectional brass track and AHM, Bachmann and Life-Like equipment. Ran and "operated" from November of 1980 to Spring of 1987. The bench work remains in my dad's barn.

    Second layout, N scale, 2X4 foot freelanced Maine Central / Boston and Maine generic "New England" layout. 1998 - 1999. [​IMG]

    Third Layout and current, N scale, 6'X3' 1976 B&M, portion of the Northern Line in central, rural New Hampshire.

    There was also a High Rail O layout that was 17' X 4 between the years of 2002-2008.

    I like proto operations and mainly branch style. Although the B&M Northern line was not a branch, it was operated as such by the 1970's. Future layout will be around the wall, 4 foot by 18" sections N scale CB&Q to early BN of the C&I line from Oregon to Savannah Illinois.
  10. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    1. 2 X 4 1984 - 1986 Was loosely based on the N9 layout from Atlas.
    2. 6 X 8[​IMG] 1986 BIG failure[​IMG]. It was some twisted, folded layout that was designed to be in some kind of cabinet that I attempted to expand it as a walk around. The biggest problem with that layout was, because it was expanded in all three dimensions, I could not reach the inside. This layout was short lived.
    3. 18 X 12 1987 - 1990 Around the room dog bone with the ends on top of each other
    4. 12 X 14 1990 - 2002 Figure 8 with multiple duck unders
    5. 10 X 12 2004 - Present It started out as an 8 X 4 ell (or a 7) and got evicted from house and now resides in its own building since 2007. Has been slowly growing since getting its own home. [​IMG]
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    The JACALAR is my first layout, which is 14.5 ft x 7.5 ft, around the wall.
  12. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    My first layout was about 5x10 in a U shape. It was my first foray into N, and I had to make it lightweight and movable since we were in an apartment. I over did it, lost interest in it, and it stagnated.

    We moved out, and I pulled the track off of it, and the structures. They're all in a box ready to see the daylight again. Right now, I have the one Modutrak module, which is probably going to get a partner within the next year, as I need something more to do.

    The future layout will be the California Northern circa 1995 (so I can skip installing ditch lights). Have to find a basement first!
  13. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    4x6 finished.
    Am making an around the room addition (about 12'x14') which has stopped because of back issues and getting under the layout. If it straightens out, I will progress.
  14. ChileLine

    ChileLine TrainBoard Member

    Our 1st layout was 8'X2' on a 1/2 sheet of 3/4" plywood ripped lengthwise atop 3 sets of sawhorses. Basic but level, square and mobile. We took it on moves to two other states. There was a 1/2" of Homosote on the plywood and 1" of pink foam on top of that. We used WS inclines and plaster cloth painted earth tones. It contained a small yard, a wye, and a short branch.

    Now we have a bigger place with a garage and the new layout (under construction) will be roughly 16X4. My wife insisted on open grid construction, more for appearence sake, bit it will take longer to build. We'll use pink foam and WS inclines with plastercloth again. We were pleased with the look last time. We're attempting a bent dogbone with stacked reverse loops, a central yard, and switchback branchlines along the back wall. My wife says it sounds complex. We'll see if it all fits.
  15. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

    The first layout was mostly built by my Dad with some help. It was about 16 inches high and roughly three by four feet in area. There were two unconnected ovals, one for each kid. Later a couple of spurs were added. Many of the buildings on that layout are still available today!

    The second layout was a quickly terminated 4 x 6 foot affair at "grownup" height. I couldn't reach it. It didn't last long.

    The third layout was done several different times on a 2 x 4 foot piece of plywood, with varying degrees of success.

    For much of the 1980s, there was a layout that was about 2 x 3 feet with a long tail on the end. A couple of photos of that layout survive and are on my website.

    After moving here to Western New York, I had a layout in my bedroom that had no real plan, thus no real future. Things got better when I started building a sectional layout in the storage room in the basement. (Technically in violation of the rental agreement, but...) There are some photos of that pike on the website also. Each section was about 2 x 4 feet and there were five sections in a "C" shape, more or less. It was sectional, not modular in that it could only be put together one way. The plan was to take the sections apart and reassemble them once we were in a house.

    However... when we got settled in the house, I decided to start over and so the sections were never re-assembled. Instead they were stripped for buildings and track as much as possible, and the current version of the Wilmington and New York was begun. It's easily my longest lasting and most successful layout. The "original" part is a backwards C, 2 feet deep shelves of 2 inch foam, 19 feet long, and 6 feet wide. The "new" part is a 4x8 section that connects via a wye to the original part of the layout.

    Lots more here: .
  16. tommyh

    tommyh New Member

    I currently have a double main dog bone of sorts with some yard and a run through track in the center. It's 14' long overall. The center 8' is 2' deep and the ends are 36" deep. I slapped it together with some scrap plywood screwed and shimmed to the workbench where we were living. Along with some 2x3 legs on the ends where needed. It was never intended to be permanent, just "something to do during the winter". then we decided to move. Enter: the drill, 3/4 inch pine, and drywall screws. I was able to secure things together enough to be able to carry it on edge and move it to our current location where it now resides on the old kitchen cabinets we pulled out. I still run some long trains on it from time to time, sometimes 2 at once and try not to crash them at the crossover section.

    But I continue to plan the "new real layout" for "someday" after I get some finish work done in the basement, some year. I'm currently planning just for my corner area that's 14 x 14 feet. Maybe I'll go bigger. we'll see. My wife asks: "when do you think you'll actually do that?" And I say: "honey, i'm 41, I have AT LEAST 30 years to get it done!" But this one will be built in sectional bench work, in case we ever have to move again.
  17. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    The Portsmouth Branch was 11 x 24 on three levels and had 1100 linear feet of track on 338 sq. ft of deck. Still exists in sections. The prior Pittston and Dewitte was 11 x 19 with 275 linear feet of track.
  18. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    My first layout was one my brother built for me in 1964. It was Lone Star 000 track on a 3X4 piece of plywood. My second was one I built in high school on a framed 4X6 sheet of plywood with sheet of homasote over that. With all my NTRAK modules I can build a 26X14 foot oval with a 20 foot yard down the middle. I have a big industry, the Imperial Sugar Refinery. I have a 48X80" HCD double Unitrak test loop where I probably spend more time running trains. I also have enough T-Trak modules to make a 3X4 foot oval.
  19. MVW

    MVW E-Mail Bounces

    Great question, and lots of interesting responses.

    Like many, I started with Lionel as a kid before moving on to HO in the '70s. Just switched to N about 2.5 years ago. I'm currently building a large layout ... one HCD at a time. I wanted to keep it sectional, because I had to decommission two large HO layouts due to moves, and HCDs make an excellent, sturdy base.

    I currently have two HCDs laid end-to-end, so that's 13-feet, 4 inches by 30 inches, or a little more than 33 square feet.

    I hope to add at least one HCD a year ... possibly ending with around 14-15 HCDs. But I'm building this thing so that it's completely operational at every step, so I can stop building any time I need to or have to, and I'll still have a layout designed for operations.

  20. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I have room in my basement for a 4' X 16' layout (with a very small L to one side as bonus space). This would occur if I had time to start it, which could happen if I live to be 117 years old.

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