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4 X 8 HO Scale Trackplans

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4 X 8 HO Scale Trackplans
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 05, 2007 3:46 PM
I've been googling for a while now and just can't seem to find these easily.  I'm sure there's sites with tons of track plans sorted by size.  Does anyone have any resources?  Thanks.
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Posted by secondhandmodeler on Thursday, July 05, 2007 3:57 PM
atlassrr.com is a big one as far as I've heard. 
Corey
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Posted by gderem on Thursday, July 05, 2007 4:05 PM

You might try this site AllGauge - it has lots of track plans for all scales.  Just scroll down until you find N and HO Scale.

Also check out Chip's (SpaceMouse) beginner's guide.

Glenn -- PRR in Georgia

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Posted by pcarrell on Friday, July 06, 2007 8:44 AM

Before you get too hung up on a 4x8, you might want to give this a look.

There's probably a couple of thousand on this site, though they arean't all 4x8's.

There are also many smaller plans here that you could string together to form a layout.

There's also this page that has a lot of plans, though many of them need to be tweaked a bit to make them into workable track arrangements.

Lastly, I've had the pleasure of working with some folks on some designs that I can show you.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Track%20Plans/4x8HOScale-1.jpg (This could use a better yard setup, ut it's not too bad given the space)

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Track%20Plans/Alexs4x8Revised.jpg (Same here)

And here's a few variations on a 5x9 I worked on.  Small loco's are the order of the day here.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Track%20Plans/acu.jpg

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Track%20Plans/acr.jpg

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Track%20Plans/act.jpg

Hope that helps!

If you'd like to design your own, I might be able to assist if you're interested.  I don't often work in HO scale, but what the heck, variety is the spice of life, no?

Philip
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 06, 2007 11:11 AM
 pcarrell wrote:

If you'd like to design your own, I might be able to assist if you're interested.  I don't often work in HO scale, but what the heck, variety is the spice of life, no?

 

Thanks.  I did some measuring and realized I have a decent amount of room for 4x8 in my office of my new house.  I'm trying to avoid doing my layout in the garage due to climate changes and spending money on heaters and a/c units for one room.  The garage, however, would give me more room.  It's a 2 car garage that only my wife in her SUV uses on one side.  Both of our suv's won't fit nicely in there unless I want the little one opening a door and putting dents in the other car.

My ideal plan is two ovals or something like that side by side at least on the long sections so I can run a freight and passenger train at the same time.  I've purchased enough track to do a simple double oval as of right now.  I'm hoping to buy benchwork materials next week.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Friday, July 06, 2007 11:53 AM

Here's a few on this site http://www.trains.com/mrr/default.aspx?c=a&id=603

and the NMRA http://www.nmra.org/beginner/consist.html.

If you have the room for it, a 5x10 is actually better because you can use larger curves/turnouts.  You can use a 4x8 plan changing the 18" curves to 22" curves and #4 turnouts to #5.

Enjoy

Paul 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Monday, July 09, 2007 8:07 AM
 jjryan wrote:
Thanks.  I did some measuring and realized I have a decent amount of room for 4x8 in my office of my new house.
Let me repeat an earlier post and strongly suggest you read this.
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, July 09, 2007 8:20 AM

If a train makes eight laps a minute and you run your train around your oval for 1 hour per day, you will get over 350,000 laps in one year.

No one I know ever made it to 1000 without being bored to tears. I'd take the time to design something that will provide more interest. A 4 x 8 can do that, but you really have to work at it. There's good info in the links the people above have provided.  


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Posted by fwright on Monday, July 09, 2007 9:08 AM

JJ

The others have tried to gently suggest you reconsider your plan for a 2 oval HO track plan on a 4x8.  SpaceMouse points out how boring it is likely to get.

I'm going to approach from a slightly different tack.  Your vision is quite normal for small layouts in Lionel or similar "toy-like" trains.  I went down the same route.  I built an enlarged version (about 5ft x 13ft) of the Atlas Grand Eastern Trunk (HO-25), a 2 track oval 4x8 with a passing siding and yard.  Never got beyond getting the track laid and wiring working because 1) I couldn't see any way to put in effective scenery that looked anything like what I saw in magazines; 2) after a short while, it was even more boring to watch HO trains chase their tails than the Lionel I had previously.  At least the Lionel had the animated accessories to keep my interest.

IMHO, a 4x8 in HO is not capable of looking good running or modeling modern railroad operations.  Train lengths and curve radius just aren't suited for the large cars and engines of modern steam or post 1960s.  Some of the better 4x8 plans work reasonably well for earlier era operations - see Harold Minkwitz's Pacific Coast Air Line Railway (http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/) for a great example.  I have successfully used 1920s era and earlier small steam on a 4x8 following the TH&B track plan published in Dec 1967 Model Railroader.  But because of the reversing loop-to-reversing loop design, I would only use this plan in conjunction with DCC.  Another good 4x8 track plan IMHO is Atlas #33, the Plywood Summit Lines.  Phil Carrol's plans he linked to are also quite interesting.  Almost all 4x8 plans are much improved by adding an extension on, such as was done with the Model Railroader project layouts like the PH&C (1962-1963), the Jerome and Southwestern, and the Turtle Creek Central.

If you are interested in modeling modern prototypes or passenger trains in HO, I would strongly recommend a plan like the Heart of Georgia (http://www.layoutdesignservice.com/lds/samples/betterbeginnerlayout.htm) instead of a 4x8.

just my thoughts, your choices

Fred W

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 09, 2007 9:50 AM

THe 4x8 is a challenge. I see it as a oppertunity to "Fatten" up into the more space I have and to "Escape" via a branch to the other corner where there can be actual operation.

The "Heart of Georgia" plan has to be the top dog when one considers how to break the 4x8 foot chain. That 26" radius can pretty much run within reason. Much better than 18-22 inches.

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Posted by CPRail modeler on Monday, July 09, 2007 9:52 AM

I too have a 4X8. I modified it from the 4X6 Morgan Valley RR plan and i'm currently happy with it. I would plan ahead and maybe have adjustable benchwork that allows you to add more stuff later. Thats what I'm doing. You may want to try a switching layout, Mainly one that has alot of puzzles to work out and industries to serve. These usually hold the attention longer and avoid the boredom of seeing the train chase itself around a loop. Another thing is dividing the scene with a backdrop. This can usually get the most out of your layout because you can have the ability to model two scenes at once.

My suggestion: go with switching.

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Posted by Gandy Dancer on Monday, July 09, 2007 12:27 PM

 jjryan wrote:
My ideal plan is two ovals or something like that side by side at least on the long sections so I can run a freight and passenger train at the same time.
You know, it is a whole lot more interesting to run two trains at the same time on a single track main line.  That way they are constantly taking the siding and waiting for the other, or if they are running the same direction the freight eventually has to pull onto a siding to allow the passenger to pass.  Of course one gets back to the limitation of a 4x8.  A 6x10 works much better, and one could squeeze in three passing sidings instead of two.

As for loops.  One operational feature it seems that many people overlook is keeping on time.  One sets a schedule for the passenger train where the engineer must make the stops and starts smoothly without spilling the soup in the dining car.  Get a stop watch, and make a set of event cars to add random variations.  A momentum throttle makes this more interesting, but also should be set so that the train can't exceed a normal prototypical speed.  These old Tyco's & Lifelike's capable of running 250 scale miles per hour make it too easy to make up time.  It is also more interesting with a car that beeps if it gets accelerated or decelerated too quickly.  With all the electronic speedometers available these days it could even be more interesting.

In junior high school, all I had was a simple loop.  I worked at running on schedule until I got so I could leave the station make the appropriate number of loops and pull back into the station exactly on time (remember one doesn't want to be early either).  All someone had to do was  tell me a distance and a time to get there (I also had a set of schedule cards for solo running).  It has made me one of the best throttle jockeys at the club. If someone else thought it was easy or boring, I would just let them have a try at it.   I often had friends coming over and standing in line just to run the train in a loop.  We added the slot cars to add yet another variation (not that the train really had worry about cars, but we could pretend) and to keep the potential operators busy while they were waiting for their turn at the train.

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Posted by bearman on Monday, July 09, 2007 7:25 PM
With respect to those who I know will disagree with me in a fairly vehement manner, John Allen's Gorree & Daphetid is 7 X 4 according to Westcott's 101 Track Plans.  101 Track Plans has several 8 X 4 plans which look like they could keep a single operator busy for some time.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Monday, July 09, 2007 7:48 PM
The Westcott plans are from a different time--when "bowl of spaghetti" track plans and large tables were the norm. Modern layout design has advanced beyond those concepts.
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Posted by bearman on Monday, July 09, 2007 8:54 PM
Thanks for helping me make my point.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by bearman on Monday, July 09, 2007 8:58 PM
Modern layout design has advanced beyond the caveman concepts and into the 21 Century.  Be careful those of you who just want to have fun.  The wrath of the modernists will be wrecked upon you.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 6:24 AM

 bearman wrote:
Modern layout design has advanced beyond the caveman concepts and into the 21 Century.  Be careful those of you who just want to have fun.  The wrath of the modernists will be wrecked upon you.

While I imagine there are those that gain excitement from such things as watching cheese mold, most people tire of the same old loops on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. This is unless of course the loops have a function necessary to the operation of the model railroad. There have been many successful 4 x 8 layouts, but there have been more that get ripped up not long after they are buildt.

If you build someone else's design, chances are won't catch their vision of what it was meant to be. Someone above suggested reading my "Beginner's Guide" (clickable from signature). It takes 5 minutes to read but it will help explain what I'm talking about.

Here's a 4 x 8 plan I like. Charlie Comstock built this.

You can tell from the photos that he had vision. He built a railroad, not a toy train track.

So, do you want to build a railroad or a toy train track?  

 


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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:21 AM

A few choice quotes 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
The Westcott plans are from a different time--when "bowl of spaghetti" track plans and large tables were the norm. Modern layout design has advanced beyond those concepts.

 bearman wrote:
Modern layout design has advanced beyond the caveman concepts and into the 21 Century.  Be careful those of you who just want to have fun.  The wrath of the modernists will be wrecked upon you.

 SpaceMouse wrote:
While I imagine there are those that gain excitement from such things as watching cheese mold

 Sometimes it is fairly easy to spot a thread that may be headed for locking. It is perhaps time to back off a little, guys ?

  1. It is perfectly okay to build a 4x8 layout if that is what you want to do. 4x8 designs can support both railfanning (watching trains run by) and operations (picking up and dropping off RR cars, waiting in sidings etc).
  2. If you want a beginner's layout, you would probably get a more optimal use of the room with a layout in the Heart of Georgia style (see above), since a 4x8 typically needs room around the layout for walking and reaching, and thus may take up more floor space than an around the walls type layout.
  3. No matter what layout size and style you eventually chose, you decides how you want to do your layout, I decide how I want to do my layout. It is not a personal affront to me if you should decide to do things in a different way than I would have done, and it should not be taken as a personal affront to you if I chose to do things in a different way than what you would have done.

 Whatever you decide, good luck with your layout !

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

 

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:33 AM
 steinjr wrote:

A few choice quotes 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
The Westcott plans are from a different time--when "bowl of spaghetti" track plans and large tables were the norm. Modern layout design has advanced beyond those concepts.

 Sometimes it is fairly easy to spot a thread that may be headed for locking. It is perhaps time to back off a little, guys ?

My statement is factually accurate.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:40 AM
 steinjr wrote:

 Sometimes it is fairly easy to spot a thread that may be headed for locking. It is perhaps time to back off a little, guys ?

If it makes a difference, I meant no offense to anyone, although it does sound glib when I reread it.

But if we go by the original poster's timetable, he'll be into benchwork by now and in so doing has really decided that despite many warnings he's going to co-opt someone else's plan.

This is therefore now a intellectual pursuit.


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Posted by claymore1977 on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:59 AM

He's been duely warned about the pitfalls of a 4x8.  Sometimes you have to let them touch the hot stove just to get the point across, regardless of how many times they have been warned.

Arguing about someone else's layout is...well, frankly its stupid.  Express your opinions, respect other's opinions and respect the OP's choice regardless if they take your advice or not.  Come on people!

Dave Loman

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 9:14 AM

Steinjr,

You are a bit more eloquent than I regarding the point I was trying to get across.

 

 

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:13 AM

I had no idea starting this thread would end in the result thus far :) Anyways thanks to EVERYONE who has replied no matter what your reply.  I had already purchased the frame work shortly after I made the post so I'm going to go ahead and move forward on a simple 4x8.

I'm not a model railroader who has gotten into doing a lot of switching, etc yet.  I just enjoy watching the trains roll around the layout.  I haven't done model railroading since I was about 16 (I'm 24 now) and I went to the OKC train show and a few others this past year and it bit me in the butt again so I've got the itch to start.

The layout is one to really learn how to use foam and landscape all over again along with allow my 4 year old daughter the chance to run a layout without the need of stopping the train because it doesn't have a loop.  On my old layout my dad built the benchwork and did a bit of the scenery for me.  It was basic.  No road bed and no foam with the grass mat stuff which i cut out and hand painted road which looked horrible :)

I love the concept of the Georgia layout however with one car parked in the garage this layout appears to stick to far into the middle of the garage if I did it.  I'll take a look at the specs later.  This might be a layout with some changes I could do down the road if I move this layout into the office corner or something.  I'm going to install casters so when not in use it can slide against the walls.

Any other comments or suggestions are always welcome.  I was planning on trying to make this layout expandable with maybe a piece of track on either end going to the edge for possible future expansion with my next layout.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:40 AM
 jjryan wrote:

I had no idea starting this thread would end in the result thus far :) Anyways thanks to EVERYONE who has replied no matter what your reply.  I had already purchased the frame work shortly after I made the post so I'm going to go ahead and move forward on a simple 4x8.

I'm not a model railroader who has gotten into doing a lot of switching, etc yet.  I just enjoy watching the trains roll around the layout.  I haven't done model railroading since I was about 16 (I'm 24 now) and I went to the OKC train show and a few others this past year and it bit me in the butt again so I've got the itch to start.

The layout is one to really learn how to use foam and landscape all over again along with allow my 4 year old daughter the chance to run a layout without the need of stopping the train because it doesn't have a loop.  On my old layout my dad built the benchwork and did a bit of the scenery for me.  It was basic.  No road bed and no foam with the grass mat stuff which i cut out and hand painted road which looked horrible :)

I love the concept of the Georgia layout however with one car parked in the garage this layout appears to stick to far into the middle of the garage if I did it.  I'll take a look at the specs later.  This might be a layout with some changes I could do down the road if I move this layout into the office corner or something.  I'm going to install casters so when not in use it can slide against the walls.

Any other comments or suggestions are always welcome.  I was planning on trying to make this layout expandable with maybe a piece of track on either end going to the edge for possible future expansion with my next layout.

As you have noticed, there are many points of view on the subject of the good ol' 4x8.  Truth be told, it's probably the most popular size actually built because it uses readily available materials with a minimum of construction. Many (most?) of us started with it and it's still a good way to get your feet wet in this hobby and have some fun.

Sharing it with your daughter is an extra plus.

Enjoy

Paul 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by claymore1977 on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:48 AM

The layout is one to really learn how to use foam and landscape all over again along with allow my 4 year old daughter the chance to run a layout without the need of stopping the train because it doesn't have a loop. 

Of all the reasons listed thus far, these are EXACTLY the two that I feel are the most important.  Mainly because thats the boat I am in, 'cept my daughter is 2 and its my eldest son that will be 4 soon.

Exceptional reasoning jjryan.  4x8 is the way to go!

Dave Loman

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:24 PM
Thanks guys.  I understand what everyone was saying above but unless my wife lets me buy a new house to build a train room in those ones going around the walls just take up too much room.  We just bought this house in April right before I decided I wanted to make a layout.  Doh!
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:37 PM

My objection to moving forward quickly is not that you were going with a 4 x 8, but rather that one week is not really enough time to truly think through a good plan. If you lay track that looks good with the intent of working through your scenery, sooner or later you are going to box yourself into a corner where what you would like won't work--and then you rip it apart and start over.

IF you are going to put $1600 and 1600 hours into a 4 x 8, it makes sense that you have a good well-researched and well-thought-out plan--one that develops and incorporates your vision into it.

Also since you will grow as a modeler, it would be good that the design you create would grow with you. If you don't design it with that in mind, you are just counting time until you outgrow your layout.

Better to do a little soul searching now, get a better result, and save yourself money and effort.


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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 2:07 PM

I'm definitely planning before I start the actual layout.  I've just purchased the lumber, blue foam and playwood to make the benchwork.

The reason I did that was to just lay the track on something and see it take up the space so i can try to brainstorm what i want out of the layout.  There are several things I want to do including:

- The layout will be built on the same level and not elevate at all to make it simple.  I'll then cut into the foam and attempt to put a bridge of some sort there to give the illusion of elevation.  If that doesn't make sense sorry!  It was confusing to type and explain

- I will do a small hill of some sort somewhere to experiment but I'm not sure where yet.

- Since I don't want to spend $1000 on buildings I'll make it a small town of some sort since a city landscape sounds like it gets pricey quick.

That's it so far.  I'm hoping the rest will come to me once I get the track on there and can see it in front of me and know the exact space I have to work with.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 2:23 PM

Good!

Starting with track is backwards.

You start with the road name and era.

That determines the scenery and industries.

Available models or your scratch-building skills determines what you can model.

These industries will need a specific track work. This will be the basis of your layout design.

 

The thing is you already know what your perfect layout will be. You see it every time you close your eyes and imagine running trains. Now you just have to flesh it out. Maybe do some research. Tell us what you see in your mind's eye and we can give some ideas on where to look. It will probably be the trains you saw as you grew up.

Don't buy anything until you have the theme down. If you do, chances are you have bought a shelf queen.

See if there any clubs in your area. Ask your LHS owner who and where they are. You'd be surprised on how fast you learn what you like after you've run trains on someone else's layout. The clubs are also a great resource in learning how to build your scenery, etc. as most people are willing to give you a shove and let you improve their layout. But take your time. You'll probably find that the planning itself is a great, fun adventure.    


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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 3:14 PM

MR mag has a series of books with all sorts of layouts, including 4X8's, which have been featured in MR mag.  Links to some of them have already been provided in this thread.  Additionally, some of them are definitely amenable to future expansion if that is in the cards.  I ended up looking at I don't know how many before I settled on the Berkshire Division and then modified it to suit my needs and desires.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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