i'm new to model trains, any ideas for my layout.

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i'm new to model trains, any ideas for my layout.

  • start with a 4x8 thats what i did heck im still working on mine.Question [?] reply me if you have questionsDunce [D)]

  •  paulsafety wrote:
    We have two layouts in our home - one for Dad and one for Dad and sons (ages 7 amd 10)...the family layout is a "bent waterwings" or "dogbone" design (think oval with the middle pinched tight and bent to form two ballons)...our layout is all Thomas the Tank Engine themed, but can easily turn into a scale layout by changing out the rolling stock and engines. We've posted photos on the net to inspire others. And we are open to suggestions. The layout is constantly being repaired as they love to operate and often accidentally tear up the scenery. We all have a ton of fun with it....here is a link to our photos.


    Wow!  Nice layout pix...and I am not a big fan of Thomas!  That layout loooks great! 

    And you are sooooo smart to  have two layouts--for many reasons!  One big reason is kids like to have ownership, and ownership helps them become more responsible about what they own!  They are less likely to be reckless with something they own.  Also,  model train layouts are fragile, and young kids are bound (even 13 or 14 year olds) to break something at some point, so it is very defeating for a parent to let them use the "pricey" layout and stock.  Accidents are a common thing in family life, there is no avoiding them...and an angered parent with damaged trains can make the hobby a sore spot instead of encouraging!

    My brother had trains, and he was smart enough to make me a layout of my own.  I took great pride in that layout!  The only problem was,the layout didn't run very well all the time because it was a tyco engine and brass rails in HO!  But even then, I STILL loved the layout!  So if kids are exposed to the hi-tech trains of today, even if they have a "luke warm" response , believe me, later in life they will cherish those memories of being with Dad or being with their brother and sharing the fascination.

    Boomers now are buying trains--for what reason?  Were they all big train buffs?  No, but they remember Pop in the basement or their brother with them on the living room carpet Christmas morning....and sadly, as the years pass, we only have these memories to hold on to because the love ones may have moved or passed away or be too busy to spend those idle moments with us.


    Warm Regards,


    Tom M.


  • I have been in modle railroding for a good while. First and foremost i would recomend starting with as little as a mailline and keep building on. I own a shed with track running along all sides of the walls. I am still gradually adding.

    Secondly do not invest in cheap stuff. You want a layout that will run for a long time and is realistic. It will take longer to build up a solid collection of stuff, however it will be worth your while.


  • i think you should go with your ideas as you go thats what i am doing
  • Please, Please, Please when you design a track plan, don't make it a jungle of track. Some times it better to have less track.

  • You could always start out simple say an oval and over time get more track, rolling stock, knowedge, ect. BUT DON'T buy everything at once!! if you do then... you'll have too much stuff to deal with before your ready for it. Thats one reason why some people give up on the hobby because they these big plans and want to runs trains as soon as they can, without learning the do's and don'ts of the hobby.
    Maine Central rules! Lewiston High School Swimteam nickname: Loco Colby
  • Hey,

    I'd suggust that you put in a mountian and/or hill(s).  I added them to my layout and it really changed the terren.  Also, I don't see why you shouln't read up on books and stuff.  Try things in books with sectional track and see what you tastes are.

    Your very welcome,Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

    CPR GP38-2 fan

  •  trainman_1983 wrote:
    i'm new to model trains, and before i do any thing, i want some good ideas. anything to do with model trains in ho scale from scenry ideas to track plans is good THANKS FOR LOOKING , HAPPY RAILROADING Big Smile [:D]Smile [:)]Cool [8D]

    Ask yourself a few questions before you do anything:

    - What size I like to work on?
    - Do I want a specific railroad company or not?
    - Do I want a scenery? (if yes, how big)
    - What do I want to spend on this?
    - How much time do I want to use before finishing it? (a real collection/scenery is never finished)
    - Where do I want to use it? (outside or inside, maybe both)
    - What type of track do I want to have? (narrow or regular track)

    these questions are all part of the hobby, there are more but start out with these and you will have a great result! I myself like the Dutch trains a lot, my entire model train collection exists out of the Dutch trains in HO size. I do have however some extra trains that are not from The Netherlands.

  • Terrain can be made out of Pizza boxes, yesterday's newspaper, paint, staples, tape, ect. and look like this when it's done


    Maine Central rules! Lewiston High School Swimteam nickname: Loco Colby
  • 1. Read as much as you can!  Taking the time to plan what you want, no matter how strict you are with time period etc. will keep you from making costly mistakes.

    2. Scenery- cardboard, chickenwire(I haven't tried this but I believe there is potential there)  Remember to have a sturdy base for your track and structures.

    3. Train Control- go with DCC if you have the money and you have more that one loco.  Bachmann makes easy to use system for only $110 very cheap for DCC. Remember you'll have to spend about just as much for the decoders(if you have no idea what I just said refer to suggestion #1)

    4. Keep it simple! Sometimes a daunting complicated project will never get done(and subsequently the layout)

    5. Have fun

  • Like Paul, I have two layouts, one for me (and my oldest boy) and one for the kids.  The kid's is also Thomas the Tank Engine themed.

     It's really just a small oval, with two sidings serving a station, an engine house, and some locomotive servicing buildings.  Industries (Farmer McCoel's farm, a lumber mill, a small town with schoolhouse, and the Sodor Fuel depot) are around the main oval, so that they can be "served" by Thomas just by taking a lap or two.

     Here you go (keeping in mind that scenery, structures, etc. are not complete):

    Provides endless hours of delight.  And they like building scenery, too.  Just don't ask me why my youngest son has tacked a Troublesome Truckload of crushed stone to the end on his passenger consist.  I just build the scenery....

    Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

    "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Oh yeah.  Someone mentioned Lifelike's Nickel Silver Power-Loc track and Tech 4 200 power pack.  Both excellent choices for the kids' pike, as can be seen in my previous post.

    Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

    "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Hey man, I am 14, I have ben into trains I was little, and I just started my first HO layout this year (I had a Lionel set before but just a figure 8 not on a table or anything). I have ot say one thing start out slow. Do your homework I spent a year of planning and learning up on operations and building one. Also check into your railraod history and stuff jsut spend time on the forums (the model railroader and Trains are the most helpful for me) If you want to talk  or need some advice on sometihngh, IM or E-mail me at Ozzyrules92@aol.com MIke

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Modeling PRR transition era operations in northern Ohio
  • Welcome to the greatest Hobby in the world!!!!!!!! Keep it simple for now it will grow. My first lay out was a 4x6 Oval and two switches for a siding. I had a small Lionel power pack and two engines but could only run one since I didn't insulate my siding. You now have Ez track available and I'd recommend an Athearn set since it comes with everything you need to start a small layout, you can add to and expand from there. Depending on how much money you want to drop, you can buy separate rolling stock, engines and track. I would defiantly have a few sidings maybe a cross over between two parallel tracks. Keep it fun!!!