Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

4x8 City Layout

5082 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 62 posts
4x8 City Layout
Posted by trainman251 on Sunday, July 08, 2012 5:13 PM

Hey guys, this is my first post to the forum and I am trying to build my first layout but i cannot find any plans that have a city along with a rail yard. Any recommendations? I really want this scheme for my layout but i can't find the right plans. Thanks in advanced!!

  • Member since
    October, 2010
  • From: Centennial, CO
  • 3,218 posts
Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Sunday, July 08, 2012 6:30 PM

trainman251 - Welcome to trains.com! Cowboy

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 11,657 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 08, 2012 6:44 PM

Are we talking HO scale or N scale?

Rich

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 62 posts
Posted by trainman251 on Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:02 PM

HO,sorry i should have specified at first 

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 62 posts
Posted by trainman251 on Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:04 PM

[quote user="Stourbridge Lion"]

trainman251 - Welcome to trains.com! Cowboy

Thank You!!

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: California
  • 2,783 posts
Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:09 PM

AS richhotrain asked:  What scale?  Although many (pehaps most) model railroaders start out with a 4x8 HO layout.  The size is very limiting in possible track layouts.  With N scale more can be fit without the appearance of overcrowding but one must not over do it.  A consideration which affects the scale chosen is the size of locos and cars you want to run.  4x8 HO layouts generally have 18" minimum radius curves (a few go down to 15") . This limits you to pretty much to short locos and 40' cars.  Using the same radius in N Scale allows larger prototypes to be run.    

Do you want a continuous run? If you do, in 4x8 you are pretty much limited to an Oval, Figure 8, or Twice Around Oval in either scale.    I have seen a few folded dogbones also.  Double track is possible (so two trains could be run independently)  and would give a more urban appearance but would take space from other features.

Published track plans are really just sugestions.  When you look at a plan consider if it can be modified to achieve your goal.  Plans for 4x8 are generally not real flexible, but it might , for instance, be possible to add a small yard either   within the 4x8 space or with very little widening of the table, or on  a narrow peninsula extending out from one side. Generally yard tracks can be made longer if they are along the outside of the space rather than into the middle

The scenery on the plans is a suggestion too.  By adding more and possibly a few larger buildings a small town can become a city.  Hills and mountains can be replaced by city scenery too.

This site has some nice starter layouts, many with urban scenery :

http://www.gatewaynmra.org/project.htm

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the 1950's Boy's Life magazines http://boyslife.org/ (offical publication of the Boy Scouts) published a series of articles on a HO 4x8 folded dogbone layout that I have always liked. The eventually added about 9" to the width for a small yard with turntable and engine house. The magazines can be accessed through the archives on their web site. I've considered building a 3x6 modified version of it in N scale on the top bunk of a bunk bed.  As deaigned it  has no sidings but in N scale I could easily add either two short sidings or one long siding (to represent an area of double track) and a wye to access a yard on a peninsula.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 62 posts
Posted by trainman251 on Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:28 PM

thank you ho scale and scratch the 4x8 i just got word that i would be able to expand to 4x10

 

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • 24 posts
Posted by motopac on Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:44 PM

You do not mention what sources you have explored, but I would suggest the track plan data-base on this site. Look at all the back issues of MR you can get your hands on. The National Model Railroad Association has a Layout Design Group which can give you personalized assistance if you join up. (don't rember the membership fee.) Buy sone track plan books. Look at all sizes of track plans. You might find what you want in a small portion of a gigantic layout.

Resign yourself to doing some revisions to the plan. You will not likely find  a perfect plan.Don't forget to talk to your local hobby shop. If they cannot give you any significant help, find another shop. A dedicated train shop is best for this. They may also be able to put you in touch with knowledgable model rails who could help .Check out model railroad clubs in your area for help and information.

Hope these quick thoughts are helpful. Good luck with your road!

motopac

 

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 11,657 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, July 09, 2012 5:25 AM

Check out this web site.

Lots of track diagrams for smaller layouts.

Spend some time looking through it and you may find something of interest.

http://www.thortrains.net/

Rich

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Sorumsand, Norway
  • 3,417 posts
Posted by steinjr on Monday, July 09, 2012 6:21 AM

 There are many possible approaches here.

 You are saying youy want a H0 scale layout on a 4x8 foot table, with a "yard" and a "city".

 There are three challenges her in your request:
 1) The choice of a rectangular 4x8 foot table for the layout
 2) What you mean by yard, and
 3) What you mean by city

 1) The stereotypical H0 scale layout with a loop of track on a rectangular 4x8 foot table has several challenges in terms of fitting in a track plan onto the table, and in terms of how much layout facilities you get relative to how much floor space you use for the layout and adjoining walk-around aisles.

  Some people feel it is too early to introduce these concepts to a beginner, others (including me) feel that it is worth telling people about these challenges early - and then letting them decide for themselves whether they still want to do the 4x8 foot thing, or whether they are able to learn from the experiences others have made about the 4x8 foot footprint.

 Follow this link to learn more about challenges with the 4x8 foot approach, and to see some alternative approaches : http://www.layoutvision.com/id28.html

  A good way to determine whether the 4x8 foot footprint is good for your purposes or not is to measure and describe the entire room you intend to have your layout in, and describe how you want to fit the layout into the room. 

 Surprisingly often (but not always), using a different footprint can fit in a lot more layout in the same space, while negating some of the challenges the 4x8 foot format has.

 For instance, in my basement I have a room too small (it is 6.5 x 11.5 feet big - just under 75 square feet) for the traditional 8 x 10 foot space a 4x8 foot layout with 2 foot wide aisles on three sides need.

 By doing a doughnut design with a narrow lift-out/duckunder across the door instead of a traditional walk-around 4x8 foot rectangle, I was able to fit in about 44 square feet of layout (compared with the 32 square feet of layout for the traditional 4x8), still have ample aisles, still being able to use the room for other purposes, and aving room for a lot more railroading than what would have fitted onto a 4x8 foot table:


 

  Doesn't mean that this specific way of doing things will necessarily be the best for you. But it may be worth it to explore what your room looks like, and what your goals are.


2) A yard can be many things to many people.

 Some people basically mean "a couple of parallel spurs where I can park two trains, so I can choose which of the two trains I send around the loop". This parking of a whole train, before it makes it's run, or after it has made it's run, is often called "staging" in model railroading terms (waiting to appear on stage).

 Other people want to model how the railroad moves cars - and  want a small yard to do something in the yard - like to sort RR cars into groups ("blocks") of cars that are sent in different directions - say "eastbound cars for the local", "eastbound cars that goes to the next yard down the line and beyond". "westbound cars for the local" and "westbound cars that goes to the next yard up the line and beyond".

 Or to have a small yard that is used as temporary work space for trains that deliver cars to local industries - a couple of tracks where inbound (arriving) cars can be left temporarily while the locomotive is picking up outbound cars from the local industries, and then the outbound cars (that has been picked up) can be left there while the locomotive is spotting the inbound cars at the local industries.

 Or to have a small yard which essentially is the home base of a short line - where they park a couple of engines overnight.

 Yards can mean different things to different people. Do you have a rough idea what you want to be able to do with your yard?

 3) Same with the city. Space is at a premium with a small layout (and the 4x8 is a small layout, despite taking 80 square feet of space when being used). Cities can mean different things to different people.

 If you just mean you want a background that looks city like (lots of buildings, maybe a grimy industrial look), that can often easiest be achieved by using a trick known as a backdrop/viewblock - modeling only one side of the buildings or partial buildings, and using some kind of board to block your view of the buildings from the opposite side of the table.

 

 But there are lots of approaches to model railroading. Rich pointed you to the toy train track plans at the thortrains web site - which also is a perfectly fine way of starting, if these plans give you what you are looking for.

 What I have tried to do above is to give you a brief introduction to the level beyond "a ready made trackplan for a 4x8 foot table".

  Whatever you do, don't get intimidated by the number of possible approaches.  Doesn't mean that you have to explore these ideas I have introduced - although I still recommend reading Byron Hendersons web page on the 4x8 foot footprint I linked to above before you dive into a 4x8 foot layout - the page also contains links to a couple of pretty good (from my point of view) 4x8 foot track plans.

 It just means that this is a hobby that can give you a lifetime of enjoyment - it is not just a loop of track, watch it run for an hour and then moving onto another hobby.

 Welcome to the forums :-)

 Smile,
 Stein, a sometimes overly talkative guy who tend to say "there are many possible approaches"

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: West Australia
  • 1,770 posts
Posted by John Busby on Monday, July 09, 2012 8:28 AM

trainman251

thank you ho scale and scratch the 4x8 i just got word that i would be able to expand to 4x10

 

 4'X10' much more do able for a city but I would recommend a, diagonal double sided scenic divider of some sort breaking it into at least two scenes or re-arranging the shape if you can to get the same effect.

One side being CBD and residential the other being the industry/industries that the city started from and the once grand now less well heeled side of the city. 

Giving more scenic scope and also more operational interest.

Remember there is more to the city than just suburban trains flying about the place.and sky scrapers

Even though the sky scrapers and other tallish buildings will be your mountains and valleys

 I have yet to see decent representations of those available as kits they all seem a bit short. you might have to make or bash a few of those to get the drama and enough of them for it to work.

 As to a track plan cannot help much but given the city theme it is going to be at least a double main line and coach / rail car  yard  and at least a couple of passenger stops for the trains.

Hope you find what you want.

regards John

 

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Northern CA Bay Area
  • 2,560 posts
Posted by cuyama on Monday, July 09, 2012 11:32 AM

trainman251
thank you ho scale and scratch the 4x8 i just got word that i would be able to expand to 4x10

If you have the choice, adding 1 foot to the width will often be more helpful than adding to the length. That is because it allows you to have a broader minimum radius, which will help with longer models and make things more reliable overall.

5X9 and 5X10 are better sizes for an HO "island" style layout. But as others have pointed out, an island style layout is rarely the best fit to a room or the best choice for moving the layout to a new space.

Best of luck.

Byron

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: Just South of the Arctic Circle
  • 6,814 posts
Posted by Sir Madog on Monday, July 09, 2012 1:10 PM

The Kalmbach book "48 Top-notch Track Plans" contains two city layouts.

One is a 4 by layout, using Atlas snap-Track, with both passenger and freight operation; the other one is a 5 by 9 layout called the BTR RR, BTR standing for "Break The Rules". It is a somewhat unusual layout, which certainly has its appeal.

Both are worth having a look at, if only for food for thought.

Cheers!

Ulrich

People in Hamburg don´t tan, they rust!

  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • From: Enfield, CT
  • 923 posts
Posted by Doc in CT on Monday, July 09, 2012 1:25 PM

  I suggest that you read John Pryke's Building City Scenery for Your Model Railroad   (found here at decent price; no longer available online from Kalmbach).

Also, buildings can be creatively combined to create a double sided backdrop/divider.

Co-owner of the proposed CT River Valley RR (HO scale) http://home.comcast.net/~docinct/CTRiverValleyRR/

  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • From: Enfield, CT
  • 923 posts
Posted by Doc in CT on Monday, July 09, 2012 1:28 PM

Some additional thoughts...

One could always elevate the city section above the yard and other tracks, thus allowing a contiuous run loop or staging to be hidden under the city section.  A number of track plans in the data base and layouts in articles use this approach.

Co-owner of the proposed CT River Valley RR (HO scale) http://home.comcast.net/~docinct/CTRiverValleyRR/

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook

Loading...