Small N scale layouts?

Tony P Mar 1, 2010

  1. Jeepy84

    Jeepy84 TrainBoard Member

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    That is probably the most incredible right of way I've ever seen in an eastern railroad, period.
     
  2. Tom L

    Tom L TrainBoard Member

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    Tony,

    If you want to see creativity and excellent modeling in a small space, check out this site. Lot's of good stuff.

    http://carendt.com/

    Tom L
    Wellington CO
     
  3. skipgear

    skipgear TrainBoard Member

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    This is a small layout that I built to fit in a display case at our store. It is 17 x 42 with a 6" minimum radius.

    [​IMG]

    The minimum radius really limits what can be run on it but the layout has been going for over 4 years now without fail. We typically run a Bachmann 0-6-0 on it but right now we are torture testing and Atlas Trainman GP15 and it is doing fine on the tight radius. It gets run 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. It has worn out a couple loco's so far and the track is looking like the real thing from dirt and oil being dropped by the loco's.

    It could be used for some basic operations but really the sidings were built for "scenic interest". The layouts primary goal is to show that a small layout doesn't have to be boring or overly crowded and to show scenery products in use. The whole layout was done with foam and light weight spackle.

    [​IMG]

    It was a fun build and took roughly a month of Sundays to build. Not too bad.
     
  4. theskunk

    theskunk TrainBoard Member

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    That looks simply astounding... I want one!!!
     
  5. Tony P

    Tony P E-Mail Bounces

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    Thanks guys,

    Randgust, Yes I agree if you and other can do it I can too !! Just a matter now of getting the design down. I really can't do the scenic divder thing as now the layout will be on my modeling bench which is surrounded on 3 sided by walls, Tiny, tiny room as you can imagine. It works great for building models but this is going to be a tight squeeze. As long as I can lift the layout and move it I'll be good.

    Tom, thanks great site Ill pour over this one.

    In all the layouts I have seen there are some I like and some that are pretty plain and boring. I want mine regardless if its mining or city to be FULL, no barren spaces, tracks full of cars at the sidings, activity everywhere, each scene I want to treat as a small detailed vignette. I want nothing to do with round and round if possible. Switchbacks if I need one I;ll use one. I am the type if I can't do a high quality job I won;t do it at all. Hence me taking my time trying to get all this info into my thick head and understanding exactly what I need to do to accomplish this layout. Gonna take me a LONG time to get this thing done.

    Thanks for all the input everyone, Tony
     
  6. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I noticed that Walthers has the short Peco turnouts on sale in this months flyer.

    I got a bunch of them used on *bay. Very short insulated frogs, very well made, C80, snap-over points so you don't even need ground throws to get started. On a small layout they tend to revolutionize what you can get away with, in comparison to a typical Atlas switch. I'm using them mated up with the C55 track though.
     
  7. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

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    Tony asks: Confused to say the least,, let me rephrase my previous questions about N layouts and such.

    N scale 24x48 layouts, doable yes but.......

    Are they too small to be anywhere near realistic?
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    Only if there is a overkill of track..
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    How much track can really be put on a layout this size ?

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    Just enough to keep it interesting as far as industries.

    I would use a urban industrial type setting.
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    I see alot of nice layouts with tracks going every whichway, is this overkill ?
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    IMHO yes..I am a firm believer in the less track the better especially on small layouts.
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    What kind of realistic 24x48 layout is really possible in N ?

    Yes as far as switching industries.

    Point to Point ?

    Only if I was going with a logging or mining shay powered railroad.
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    Oval which I do not really want to do?
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    A single loop should suffice operated as a urban industrial branch.

    Point to Point with a loop? My preference.
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    I recall seeing a point to point 2x4' logging layout that included a 8% grade between the mill and the timber area. For a diesel road I would use the loop in point to point fashion


    A Mining type layout or a Mill type city scene with the EL as the road.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Only you can answer that..

    As for me I would go with the urban industrial branch.
     
  8. Tony P

    Tony P E-Mail Bounces

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    Thanks Larry more answers I need all I can get. I think I am getting there though. Little by little.

    Tony
     
  9. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Tony - did you get my email?
     
  10. Tony P

    Tony P E-Mail Bounces

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    Yes I got it thanks, Ill get back to you e mail

    Tony
     
  11. National Mallets

    National Mallets TrainBoard Member

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    This is an excellent thread with lots of great ideas and observations! The more I get into the design of tiny layouts, it becomes apparent that the geometric freedom of hand-laid track is an enormous asset. The threads on the 'Board that encourage building the track from ties and rail are too good to resist. I have observed that on a short layout, the continuous loop offers the advantage of providing sufficiently-long switching leads, even though continuous running may not be an operational feature. With just a couple switches and appropriate scenery, a tiny loop can very realistically be the basis for a short line or industrial line interchange (a portion of one of the end curves) with a main line (not modeled), serving a single industry on the same or other side of the layout, for example. Not much track, but absolutely prototypical. Seeing what others have devised along these lines is always interesting. Thank you all.

    The concept is borrowed from Jack Hill (WELCOME TO THE NEW CASTLE INDUSTRIAL RAILROAD). Mr. Hill's blog is an important read for those of us who like to learn how and why the prototype works as it does. He is a real railroader and does some fine modeling, as well as writing lucidly about working on the prototype.

    Here is a 26"X38" plan (Atlas code 55 and curve easements) based on Mr. Hill's O-Scale layout:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2010
  12. N-builder

    N-builder TrainBoard Member

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    I love small detailed layouts :D
     
  13. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

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    Here's my 36"x24" Nekotani Dentetsu (Cat Valley Electric Railway), a Japanese interurban line serving a small country village in 1970's Japan.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. National Mallets

    National Mallets TrainBoard Member

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    That is one smart layout, West'! I love the scenery, which I think is very convincing. Did you ever ride the Enoden line? Great stuff for tiny layouts! Well done!
     
  15. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

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    Three times.:D
     
  16. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Well, one thing I will say is that you can't use track planning software on these. Your thinking needs to be 1:1 when they are this small. Tape up some paper, get some actual sample switches, make a compass stick for drawing curves, and start fitting and drawing. Also, because 1/4" can be the difference on making a siding work or not, you need to have actual equipment to get the feel of things, setting it on paper helps.

    NONE of the computer software out there using templates can adjust to whacking off the first half-inch or so of an Atlas turnout, or cutting tie gaps out of 9 3/4" radius to knock it down tighter, or any number of other tricks you need to do. If you can handlay track, God bless you, I can't, but I don't let normal switch and track geometry slow me down either. That's what rail cutters are made for.
     
  17. Wings & Strings

    Wings & Strings TrainBoard Member

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    I honestly can't remember if I've posted here or not (I'm 97% sure I haven't) but here's my N scale San Diego & Arizona Eastern 2x4 layout, a faithful recreation of Jacumba, CA, in 1948. Well, the town itself still needs more buildings...

    [​IMG]


    BTW as many of you may know the lead engine in this pic is my kitbashed SP 4-6-0 #2353.

    [​IMG]


    And this is my other steamer: SD&AE 2-8-0 #104.

    [​IMG]


    Had some fun in photoshop here.
    [​IMG]


    My philosophy for small layouts is to keep them simple, open, and true to the prototype (if there is one). Spaghetti belongs on the dinner table next to the garlic bread, not on our railroads.
     
  18. National Mallets

    National Mallets TrainBoard Member

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    I agree about the track-planning software. The one I have (Empire Express) is real easy to use for concepts and visualizations, but no way would I trust it for actual construction. It would be great if Atlas made some flex with wider tie spacing (maybe not - would it be available two years after they announced it?!).

    Those logging modules are stunning.
     
  19. Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill TrainBoard Member

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    That is some 2x4 layout ... like the statement of philosophy: simple, open, less is more, etc. ...

    Well said SD&AE ...

    And the others shown are instructive and make the point that thinking it through pays off ...
     
  20. N-builder

    N-builder TrainBoard Member

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    Yes you posted your layout in the album section but it still look great nevertheless.
     

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