New Layout ideas

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  • Member since
    December, 2009
  • From: Ambler, Pa
  • 106 posts
New Layout ideas
Posted by KEVINK22 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:58 PM

Hello All,

Its been a while since I have done anything train related but I'm back to it and am planning a new layout. I have a small space to work with so I am planning on using Lionel Fastrack mostly 048 curve radius and can probably do maybe a 6x10 or 8x8 layout and was wondering if using the curve tracks that I have would be do able. Any plans or ideas would help. Thanks and have a great night.




  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 6:31 PM

In either of those scenarios O48 is certainly doable.  But the wider the radius the less track and more corner you will have.  One way to compensate for the extra space at corners is to have sidings and/or small yards there.  Another use would be as a starting point for a grade to take the line up and over the surface level.  Track planning software like RailWare would help you a lot.  Or, you can lay it out on paper, or just play with track segments on the floor.  One curved and one straight section plus a couple pieces of posterboard and scissors would let you make full size templates to test your ideas.  In the end your locomotives will be the deciding factor on the curvature you use.  Even O80 isn't really a prototypical curve profile in most cases.  (Then there's that extra piece of steel down the middle.  Smile, Wink & Grin)

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    April, 2006
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Posted by fifedog on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:32 PM

Welcome back, Kevin.

Small layouts cry out for small radii.  O-31 or O-36.  Better yet, look at some of the videos Dave Smith has done (Musicalcraft).  

Think of going vertical with mountain scenery, having your trains slowly clinging to sheer cliff ledges snaking over canyons.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • 271 posts
Posted by phrankenstign on Sunday, August 06, 2017 3:15 AM

If you want the most action out of a small space, then you may consider using O27 track and graduated trestle sets.  The extra level adds interest and purpose to your layout.  Coal or lumber can be unloaded on the upper level.  Those materials can then be loaded onto lower level cars.  With a little ingenuity, once the cars are loaded, they can then go up the graduated trestles to the upper level where they can then be unloaded.  I think that's called the circle of life!

The nice thing about 027 is reversing loops can be incorporated into very small areas to keep the operator's interest loading or unloading cars from either side.

The down side to using 027 is the inability to operate scale length trains on them.

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, August 06, 2017 9:22 AM

The other downside to 027 is you're limiting yourself to what you can run on the layout.  If you're sticking to post-war 027 there's a lot of it around at fairly reasonable prices, but a lot, if not most, of the new production toy trains won't run on anything less than 031.  Sometimes you can get away with 031 trains on 027 trackage, but not allways.  I've tried it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.   Aside from trolleys I'm not aware of anything made today for operation on 027 trackage.

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