Atlas n scale double crossover,vintage wooden train tracks,o gauge modern image layouts,thomas train home videos nederland - How to DIY

07.10.2014
When I design a layout, I almost always have something more in mind than "how much track can I jam into a limited space." I try to make layouts where trains can operate and train-lovers can have some fun. Sorry about the irritating blinking text, but far too many people have ignored this warning and asked me for custom plans. Mike's Tip: Nail & glue a strip of coved molding around the edges of your module or small layout.
If you have room for a full 4x8, the staging track can wrap around the right end and branch into a hidden staging yard. The original plan needs 5x9 in HO and is from Seven Step-by-Step HO Railroads (originally Six HO Railroads You Can Build), by Atlas Tool Co. I also added an engine house and a third industrial spur, without crowding things too badly. Because the new Atlas code-55 track uses longer sections and wider curves than their code-80 track, I found that most of my 2x4 layouts just wouldn't fit in 2x4 anymore when converted to the new track.
I also make a point of setting some space aside for structures and scenery, which seem to be nothing but afterthoughts in a lot of plans for small spaces. Because it was a free download then, I hope there is no problem with me continuing to offer it for free now. I have had no choice but to resort to the ultimate in web-page obnoxiousness, in order to call attention to the fact that I do not offer a custom track-planning service.
An unabashed double-track spaghetti bowl, but at least this one leaves room for the buildings. This up-and-over dogbone plan yields the longest mainline run you'll find in a table this size, if you can live with a really tight fit around the edges of the table.
I doubt you'll ever see a true loads-in, empties-out plan in 2x4, but this one comes close.
If you absolutely must operate realistically in 2x3', this simple-looking plan may meet your needs.
The smallest layout I can design with standard track sections and still include two industries.
A minimum-size shelf switching layout, with seven industries in a space 4 feet long and only 6 inches wide.
This one is for the modeler who likes to watch 'em roll, with an occasional break for yard switching. This is the same plan as above, but with an industrial park instead of the yard and roundhouse.
This plan uses scenic dividers to make three separate scenes - prairie on top, city on the bottom (with staging hidden in a mill building at the very bottom), and a mountain pass on the right end. An outside oval with a 13" radius, plus a two-level twice-around inside it, let you run two trains at once without too much monotony.
My second take on one of the neatest plans I've ever seen, John Armstrong's Granite Gorge & Northern. A good beginner's layout on 2x4, with interchange, small yard, and two industries, plus room for some scenery. But I still need to maintain portability, so my plans have to fit on my three-foot-wide door.
By removing one of the above oval's ends, we turn the plan into a British-style layout, in which trains enter the scene, do their work, and depart. This layout can give you some realistic operation in a bare-minimum space for HO, plus continuous running. You get continuous action, the visual appeal of two levels, a branch line with interchange, and three decent-sized industries, all in 2x4' - such a deal! This could make an interesting city scene, especially with a two-sided scenic backdrop separating the yard from the industries.
Trains will leave the central yard, drop off and pick up cars at the interchange at the bottom, and switch the industries en route. It looks like there's no runaround track, but the center cutoff track can be used to run around cars so you can switch all the spurs. On this layout, the mainline train comes out of its hidden track, swaps empties for loads at the interchange, and returns to staging. Here, the diverging routes from the interchange form a reversing loop, so with a little planning, you can switch the many spurs without any runaround moves.


Industries include a lumber yard, a warehouse, an oil dealer, a large cannery, and a feed mill.
One is a surprizingly big yard with an engine house; the other serves some big industry made of DPM modules.
Loads go into the big industry (a coal-washing plant?) via the long curving spur, and out by the short spur; empties move the opposite direction.
The long interchange track at left feeds seven assorted industries, with room for at least 12 cars. The emphasis is on interchanging cars between the float (which could be removable) and the two diverging lines that head north and south.
If you have a switcher and a road engine and would like to gove them a work-out, check this plan out. This one has short runaround tracks at both stations and the interchange, so handling freight cars in any direction is doable. The three industrial spurs are so interlaced with the reversing connection (which is also the only runaround) that it isn't always obvious which way the engine should go to make its deliveries.
A small industry on each level gives a freight train something to do, but this plan's focus is the scenery and the bridges. Cars appear on the interchange track at upper left, and are spotted at one of the five industries. The upper-left interchange track connects to three industries on two spurs, and the freight station can serve as a fourth industry. Note how the mainline runs between the spurs, visually breaking up the "racetrack," and that none of the spurs parallel each other.
A busy chemical works takes up the left side, while the center and right hold three more industries and the interchange track. The yard is small, but so are the passing sidings, so short trains will look good on the long mainline. The yard is at middle-height, and the approaches to each end drop or rise to gain the required clearance. There's not a lot of room for operation, although I provided a coal mine, a truck-dump tipple, and an undefined industry. Trains run from the interchange and yard at the bottom, along a winding branch connection to the industrial park on the far end. At the expense of some scenic realism, I pack in four complete laps before a train has to retrace its steps. It requires some heavy compromises, like 4% grades and the elimination of all passing tracks.
The three-track yard at upper right is really a one-track yard with an interchange and a small industrial spur, and there is one more spur at ground level and two at the raised level.
It's a variation on John Armstrong's Granite Gorge & Northern (see below), preserving all of the original's benefits on a 3'-wide door. I've drawn several bridges, which Atlas does not yet offer in code 55; it shouldn't be hard to replace the track in a code-80 bridge with a 5" piece of code-55 flextrack, or a 6" piece cut to fit. The train interchanges with the real world in the front, and winds up a mountain to its main customer at the top, with a lesser customer halfway up. On this one, the upper and lower tracks leading off to the right could easily become connections to staging yards. On the near side of the scenic divider is the interchange, the runaround track, and a station, so your doodlebug or RDC can have something to do. By using super-tight 15"-radius curves and short rolling stock, I come up with layouts that not only fit into such a small space, but that can play host to operation, not just orbiting trains. It shows one scene on a short line somewhere, with a big industry, a small one, and even some staging behind the view block.
Four staging tracks (very generous for a tiny layout) will provide decent variety in feeding trains into the depot scene.
The three spurs inside the curves support a variety of industries, while the one leading up from the crossing is the interchange track. It is drawn as a granger shortline with a grain elevator and a feed-and-seed dealer, but it will do for nearly any scene or industry. I cannot accept any responsibility or liability for use or misuse of this software, and I do not offer technical support or any other assistance in using it.


The shortline engine picks up the empties, takes them to the coal mine, and returns the empties to the interchange.
The double main line allows two trains to run at once, and with all the industries, this layout would be a challenge to switch.
The plan also includes an interchange track on the right, a hidden staging track at the top, and room for some scenery. There's an ash dump track at upper right, a diesel fuel rack at lower left, and coal, sand, and water for steamers at center bottom. There are also two industries, a small engine shed and service area, and room for some harbor scenery.
You can have some fun switching cars between the industry and the interchange track, and there's room for some impressive scenery. The four-track yard gives you room to make and break trains on the arrival track outside the oval, while the interchange and three spurs give a freight train something to do.
You could even use the runarounds as escape tracks for a switcher if a doodlebug or RDC made a run up the hill. Everything runs through the Atlas turntable, which can hold a GP-7 and a 40' car, or a SW-1200 and a 50' car.
Even in this small space, one train can switch the upper level and the grain elevator while another takes laps on the main line, without interfering with each other.
Two hidden staging tracks improve operating variety, and the yard will hold roughly 24 cars.
Operationally, think of the engine facility as where trains swap engines to get over the mountain district.
The emphasis is on the mountain scenery - the grades, the tunnels, and the long bridge or viaduct crossing the valley.
The track colored in orange has to rise above the rest of the second level in order to clear the yellow track beneath it. A few industries and two single-ended staging tracks are provided for operating interest, but this is mostly a plan for the train-watcher. This would be a pike to make scenery and watch trains run, although there are a few spots for switching. Note how none of the spurs runs at the same angle as the others, which helps avoid a toylike look. On the far side are three industries, arranged so the track looks a lot busier than it really is.
Five industries (the white block at the right is an unloading ramp for flatcars) provide room for at least nine freight cars, sometimes by a very convoluted route. One possible prototype would be the Skaneateles Short Line in New York state, which used GE 44-tonners to service a Stauffer Chemical plant. Cars enter the railroad via the interchange track at left, get sorted in the small yard, and delivered to the main industry at top and the less-used industry that shares track with the yard. I'm in the process of building this one; trains are running and some basic scenery is in place.
The top is nothing but three staging tracks, and probably wouldn't need any scenery at all. But if your space is limited and you want to run two trains through mountain scenery, this could punch your ticket.
There is no runaround track, but all spurs except the top one are trailing-point for a train running counter-clockwise. This software runs on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7; I do not know if it works on Windows 8 or on older versions.
If anyone builds them, or uses them as a source of ideas, I love hearing about it and seeing photos!




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