I want to build an HO layout but I have limited space. My options are...
looking for any information or ideas anyone would like to share.
Thanks in advance,
I have tried various versions of hide-away or out-of-the-way layouts and quickly lost interest in every single one of them. If you want to operate/work on your layout but have to perform some sort of set-up prior to and tear-down following every modeling session, the layout will quickly become less and less entertaining. This was even true for a layout I suspended from the ceiling of an occupied bedroom. The fact that I would first have to move at least a chair plus anything else sitting on the floor under the layout, then insert removable legs before using an electric winch to lower the layout to the floor (this was the easy part but it took time), then reverse the whole procedure when finished meant that I worked on the layout less and less.
Thus, I would recommend the modular approach. Even if your layout space can only fit one module at a time, the fact that a module is always ready and waiting means that you will more frequently operate it or work on it. If you build modules to a specific standard, the modules will not only travel well but can be connected to other modules of the same standard once you reach your destination.
You might consider building your modules to Free-mo standards:
You can then take part or all of your easily transported modules to join up with others.
Count another vote for standard modules.
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If it were my project (and it's not), I think I'd go for the larger 10x12 layout, made with standard modules about 2x6 and/or 2x4 feet. However, I'm not so sure about putting a high speed, high capacity railroad in that space. It could probably be done, but I think the coal branch would be a better theme for the space.
If you go for the 4x6, I recommend the old tried and true Tidewater Central plan from 1956. The scenery would be changed from the original to suit your needs, and some of the spurs could be relocated as needed.
I'll also recommend the Free-Mo route. If you eventually get a home layout, you can build it so the module(s) can be removable to take to a show.
Modeling whatever I can make out of that stash of kits that takes up half my apartment's spare bedroom.
Thanks for the replies so far. The modular approach seems like the better idea. When I get home, I will do measure the room. I think it may be a foot or two bigger. Maybe, just maybe, if the room is wider, I could build a peninsula in the center. Of course, that would only be if the radius could be permitted to be at least 27".
I'll draw up a plan before the evening is over.
ACYf it were my project (and it's not), I think I'd go for the larger 10x12 layout, made with standard modules about 2x6 and/or 2x4 feet.
I agree with others that modular/sectional is a good way to go. Even if one is not in a group and does not adhere to any group standards. Modular groups usually specify 2x4 and 2x6 standard. I have not been involved in a modular group for many years, but in my time built both sizes. I think 2x4 can be sunwhat limiting and as I got older found 2x6 to be hard to transport (mainly because of weight) I have thought that 2x5 might be a good compromise, but have never built any that size. I did design a 20' layout to NTrak standards (four 5' sections) representing a specific location. It looks good on paper.
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Generally, for Free-mo, the ends of the module have to be 2 feet wide and single centered track (26" for double track). What you do elsewhere is up to you: length, width, curve/straight etc.
I have two modules that are 22 degree curves. They're 6' long overall.
The next module I'm planning will be straight and 22 feet long (in four sub-modules).
There's a lot of flexibility with Free-mo design. I've seen big old yards, turn around loops, and double track wyes. And 2' x 4', too.
Unless you plan to link up your modules with others at a Free-mo meet, following their standards may limit your options in terms of track plan design.
If you don´t need this interchangeability, just plan and build your layout in sections instead of standardized modules.
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I've built an HO slide-under-bed road on a 4x6, a 4x8 HO road on a table with folding legs, and an N 30"x40" in box construction for transporting. The under-bed was just enough trouble to pull out that my nephew didn't use it often. The table layout was a rousing success. The N went to Cub Scout meetings with me, so that worked out OK - a bit heavy but movable. Now that I'm not transporting it any more, we've mounted it on a frame and bolted on another section, to make it semi-permanent. "We" being my grandson and I.
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