N Scale 4x8 Ideas

williemoe Feb 25, 2014

  1. williemoe

    williemoe TrainBoard Member

    Hi - I am looking to do a N Scale layout on 4x8 board.
    I want to run multiple trains so DCC will be part of it.
    The Kato track has come highly recommended - so that will also be part of it.
    I have gone through a few books on layouts and scenery, etc. but I'm at a loss as to how to put it all together.
    Would like to have part of the layout elevated.
    Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, William
  2. RatonMan

    RatonMan TrainBoard Member

    You need lotsa space for a 4X8.
  3. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

    William, welcome to the forum. 4x8 foot layouts are space hogs. This is because you cannot place one long side against the wall owing to reach issues: the average person can reach only about 30 to 36 inches. You can put one short side against a wall, but this doesn't save you much. Thus a 4x8 is only really suited as an island layout, and that means it requires a space of 10 feet by between 11 and 14 feet.

    If this is your first layout, a much better approach is a hollow core door, or HCD, which is 36x80 inches. An HCD layout is far easier to build (buy door, buy legs, attach legs, done) as well as maneuver around; plus, you can place a long side against a wall since they're no more than 36 inches deep. For a 4x8, you start with an unwieldy sheet of plywood, then you need to build a box frame for it, then fabricate six legs, and so on--a much more involved project (that is, unless you're handy and enjoy this sort of thing).

    There are a lot of decent plans out there for HCDs, and I think you can find one that will meet your needs.

    Here are a few plans I did recently for HCDs using Kato Unitrack:




    The last one has a branchline that climbs up to a second level: the green line is at 0", the blue is +2", and the aqua is a 2.5% grade up from 0" to 2".
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2014
  4. thx712517

    thx712517 TrainBoard Member

    David has a great website with a number of interesting track plans. He's helped me quite a bit in my own little struggle to choose a layout. The image below is something I worked up and intend to build. It may end up going on something a bit bigger than an HCD.

  5. williemoe

    williemoe TrainBoard Member

    David, thank you for the great advice. I will look at the layouts your have provided as well as others.
  6. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

    I chose the 4x8 platform for portability. I wanted a layout that would fit in a generic 10x12 room. I made my layout 4.5x8.5 to allow 3" to the edge for scenery. At the time I did not consider a modular layout because I couldn't figure out a layout that would let me run multiple trains and have a generic footprint that would fit in any appropriate size room. I allowed for layout expansion at one end that I will exploit someday.

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