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First question for you Ryan, is if you expect to salvage this, or will it be a true Chainsaw?  If you haven't had a lot of construction experience, you may be best served by making something that will see the dust bin eventually. There is an advantage in my mind to doing this, as you don't have to overly stress about mistakes (in the back of your mind, you know you can put up with it and do it right the next time). If you're intending to incorporate it later, well, than you reallly may want to consider how. Lance Mindheim has some related small layout books, but I am not personally familiar with them. With your extra 2-feet of length, I'd substitute #6 or #5 turnouts for the #4s so the layout could handle all sorts of locos and rolling stock. With the extra 6 inches of width, I'd put some distance between the interchange tracks and the distributor so trucks could access the industry. 1'X6' N scale switching layout plus car float, could fit in HO scale in 2X12 with a little tweaking. This L-shaped HO MILW-inspired switching layout from MRH July 2009 could be straightened to fit the space.
My minor modification of Jonathan Jones' fabulous 2'X10' HO switching layout from Model Railroader May 2001 makes for more-realistic operation by eliminating the type of switchback arrangement Mark pointed out earlier.
If your goal is to simulate switching in a small town in a somewhat realistic way (which seems to be the original poster's goal), it is not very clear that creating a puzzle switching game is a good way of achieving that goal.
I don't see anything wrong with taking a 'puzzle' layout and expanding it so that scenery fits. I have seen that trackplan pop up from time to time and have often wondered the same thing.
Also - doing a track that curves away and the recrosses the track it would look visually more interesting for a layout set in a crowded urban neighborhood. Still - seemingly not what the OP was looking for - which sounded more like a small town feeling on an L-shaped layout 2 feet deep, stretching 8 feet out from the corner along one wall and 10 feet (8 feet of shelf, 2 feet of width on the other leg) out from the corner along the adjacent wall. For a long while I used a series of three interleaved switchlists (where one left off the next began).
You may want to flip the auto parts bldg with its track, placing the building next to the wall.
With your plan, it is hard to vision where roads will be without them being chopped up, which tends to look more toy like. Without getting into too much detail on your plan, I would encourage you to think about overlapping layout elements even more than you have done so far. Hi AllSo long story short, I bought a ready made baseboard set up which is 9x2 in total, 1 x 6x2 and 1 x 3x2 board.
2ft of width doesn't preclude an oval (or a 180 degree reverse just at one end.) in either OO or N, though in most instances such a curve would be better hidden.
Thanks for the reply's and suggestions.Have decided to do a HO Gauge American Switching layout. When you're thinking about a terminus to fiddle yard layout, it's worth considering that the fiddle yard need not take up the full 2ft width of the board. Or contest to out design Linn Wescott. The following layout is based on #8, "Port Ogden and Northern RR" in MR's 101 Track Plans.
Chip, you know I'm very very new at this, but I see two trailing point (I think thats what they're called) turnouts and the rest are facing point. There is a runaround track at the yard throat--but the lack of a runaround anyplace else makes operation difficult. Mouse a word of advice, many of the plans in 101 are not operationaly sound by todays standards, I'd look in other places.
Many of these older switching layouts are based on fairly tortuous swithcbacks to make the run longer from one end to the other, which was rare in the real world. QUOTE: Originally posted by Jetrock As to modeling the B&P: Have you done much looking around to find real-world track plans?
If you want an HO layout that allows continuous running -- that is the capability for a train to run round and round the layout -- then a layout that is only 2 feet wide won't work. You can see that with a 24-inch width, the maximum turnback radius you can achieve is about 11 inches.

I think most model railroaders agree that the minimum practical curve radius for an HO layout is 18 inches. This is why other posters have assumed you will be constructing a switching-type layout without continuous running. No very practical ways for a beginner of making a loop of track in H0 scale in less then 2 feet of depth - it would take extremely short cars and locomotives to get around a 11" radius curve in H0 scale - for all practical purposes locomotives and cars would have to be scratch built or heavily modified. H0 scale loops on tables take up a lot of floor space - 8 x 8 feet for a 4x6 foot layout, and 8 x 10 feet of floor space for a 4x8 foot layout. That is no deeper than what can be reached across from one side, so you don't need extra floor space for an access aisle along the rear of your layout. Here is a suggestion for you: try to avoid posting as if you were texting to a friend that has known you for many years, and know what you are thinking about.
You have ample space here to explain or clarify what you are trying to do, what limitations you have to work within, and what you would like to do. If you are asking about a plain shelf switching layout (without any attempts at turn back curves to create a closed loop for continuous running), then it makes little sense to ask about minimum radius - then you want as large radius curves as you can fit in.
If you are dreaming about a loop layout, a 2x8 foot shelf is not a good starting point in H0 scale. But in order to discuss this in a sensible way, we need to understand what you are trying to do, what your goal is. So try again - this time respond by explaining what you are trying to do, and what you are asking about. The one you found is workable, as is this one from Byron Henderson's website (it could easily be streched to greater length).
If so, looking at industries or small station stops of that prototype may be a good way to get some inspiration and perhaps lead to some interesting research. I don't know that 'Time Saver' is the exact arrangement I'd go with, but using it as an example, it seems like it could be a good small town on a bigger layout. Using prototype concepts such as shifts, seasonality, and varying customer demands creates plenty of operating interest with no puzzle frustration for me. Main reason behind it was the decision to purchase a Norfolk and Southern Black liveried Atlas Genset.
What you can then do is have a narrow scenic section in front of the fiddle yard, allowing the whole length to be scenic in some way. If you take a train out of the yard and head i t out for delivery, you are facing the wrong way for most of the deliveries. Maybe that's the idea--but it makes the layout a lot more work to operate, as you have to scoot back to the yard to do a runaround move.
There are four industries to serve, but for the most part it's a set of yards to be connected to a larger layout later. As to modeling the B&P: Have you done much looking around to find real-world track plans? Satellite photos, area maps, published schedules, plat maps, old photos, anything like that?
At that, you will be limited to small wheelbase equipment such as 4-axle diesels and 40-foot freight cars. Either would give you some valuable build challanges for your skills, and would provide operational enjoyment later on.
You certainly can hit a golf ball with a tennis racquet, or a tennis ball with a golf club, but that does not necessarily mean that it a brilliant idea to use a golf ball when you play tennis, or a tennis ball when you play golf. Though again, I'd probably stretch it out so that more buildings and scenery could find their way in between the tracks.
The dimensions in the book are 6 inches by 8 feet, but to get it all in using XtraCAD and their Atlas #4 templates, I had to stretch it in both directions.
In my own modeling, I try where I can to make my layout resemble what was actually there--key buildings, track layouts, industries. What is the terrain like? The problem with creating a puzzle is that once you solve it, it is no longer a puzzle but drudgery. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that most HO equipment will not run well on such tight curves, and if it does run, it will look odd. Thus for continuous running, an HO layout must be a minimum of about 38 inches wide, and that's if you run the track very close to the edge.

You could possibly include a branch to an industrial unit of some kind (or very small station) above the hidden curve at one end (you could fit a 1 in 30 incline in about 5ft of length). If you are looking for the basics of switching in a roughly 12 foot long space, it can be accomplished in HO as well (although N would offer more operating possiblities in the same space, obviously). For exploring the basics of switching, a terminal or port theme is a good alternative. The plan you are basing it on is hilly with mountains--would you be modeling real-world mountainous terrain, or placing mountains where there are none? I live about 30 minutes from Horseshoe Curve. Running trains so close to the edge of a layout is not recommended because a derailment could actually send a train over the edge and onto the floor!
If you more accurately mimic prototypical design opportunities the layout will become more dull, making train moves as simple and efficient as possible. I recently designed a 12 foot long HO shelf layout for a client that is a little tight, but workable. The plan you are basing it on is hilly with mountains--would you be modeling real-world mountainous terrain, or placing mountains where there are none? Where do you want the focus to be? But for the most part, I think railroads were designed to make things easy and git er done. Instead of 4% it is now about 2.8% and I think I can smooth it out closer to 2% with a little work. Any switching-based layout will be based on going from one end to the other, switching industries along the way, then turning around and doing it again.
Part of the regulations is any alterations to the house require that the power boxes are compliant. I want it to be really interesting with lots of moving around, back and forth, turnout control, pickups and drops, pushing and pulling the same car, waiting for track to clear, and require some thought process as to how to get to a car and how to put it where it needs to be.
I can reasonably expand the layout to 12" x 12ft or maybe a little more in length, so I have a little elbow room. The elevations did not come through in the bitmap conversion. If you were reworking it into a similar space but in N scale, adding yard tracks would be a first priority along with more industry tracks. But you can also do a lot in less space in N scale. If you don't like the idea of doing that, a switching layout isn't for you. Is there a reason you're dead set on N scale rather than HO? Maybe you could enlighten me. #55 I see as starting at Burnham Junction with a load of freight you make your pick-ups and deliveries as you head to Belfast. One of my designs was published in the 2005 issue of Model Railroad Planning that offers quite a few of these same elements in 1' X 6'. If your goal is to learn a bit about switching and operation but not a permanent change in scales, you might want to stay with an HO design so that you would not have to buy all new equipment. Put the mainline in the foreground, industrial spurs in the background, yard or passing tracks in the middle ground.
That 3 foot of clearance pretty much forced the design of the basement layout you saw earlier.
On the other end,, The pier (two parallel tracks is a 0 elevation while the trestle (next track up) is at 2", Everything else is somewhere between. In the track plan, Linn Wescott calls out all sorts of industries, but they are not pictured in the 3d drawing. The purpose of the layout is for me to experiment with switching and operations.
Once you reach Belfast you make your final deliveries turn around, use the industrial sidings as makeshiftyard and sort your freight. The idea is that use this layout to explore what I like about model railroading so that when I go to a basement size layout, I'll know what I want. Right now I have settled on coal because that is the main thing hauled by the B&P, but there is also short freight so the industries are wide open.
And I plan on powering it with my Zephyr which can handle both the basement layout and the switching layout. When it was small, there was not much you could do with it, by extending it, it opens up possibilities. I don't think N is scale is large enough to have an impact with these types of scenes even if I could see well enough to paint them. N would make a good functional operational layout and if properly designed, would not be the kind of work I plan on putting into the basement layout and it would still look good.

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