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Layout Design Assistance Sought in O Gauge


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Can anyone please assist I am looking to design and build an O Gauge layout in a extension to my house. Its in an Orangery measuring 15'6'' x 13' I already have the boards in place around the room based on 11mm ply tops and on 3' x 1" timber frame with shelving underneath for storage. The main control panel will be in the middle of the room with a control panel to cover all operational aspects including power, points and signalling in the future. At this stage I am purely looking for a reasonable design to incorporate the following key themes and aspects:-


  • BR period 1950- 68 preferable MIdland Region
  • An engine shed and locomotive servicing depot with T/T   (I have a 70ft turntable to install)
  • A shunting and marshalling yard and smallish good depot for all types of freight traffic
  • The scope for including appropriate back scenes and detailing of the layout operation
  • The ability to have a continuous track tun with say 5'6 radius curves to enable medium freight and passenger trains to operate on a potential single track section if it can be incorporated.
  • I am also open to building upwards to an elevated section in the longer term.


I appreciate that this seem's a lot to include in a constrained space and there will in inevitably be compromises along the way but if anybody has any collateral to assist in this process all suggestions would be very welcome and gratefully received.  

I am new to layout building so it's a voyage of adventure for myself and I reckon a a 5 year time frame for its construction but who knows with this kind of project? 


Many Thanks


Iain Gould

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Hi Iain,


First up, I noticed the word "Orangery". If you haven't already considered this, you need to think about the environment and particularly the amount of sunlight and extremes of heat that might be involved. My old conservatory got immensely hot in Summer! - and bright sunlight will be unfriendly to both RtR models and self-painted models and scenery. So if you haven't already looked into dealing with that, you should do so before you begin. Rails, being metal, expand and shrink with temperature changes just as the real railway does: so does wood.

On the layout design I won't make any concrete suggestions because I'm not especially experienced and particularly with O gauge. If you were planning a 00 gauge layout you could certainly have all the things you want and your ideas lend themselves to a set of cameo layouts strung together. Iain Rice's book "Designs for Urban Layouts" has several small goods yards and a couple of engine shed designs that might inspire you and could be worked up to the larger scale.

I don't know how one would go about fitting a continuous run into that space at 5'6" radius - it leaves virtually no room for anything except the oval. I wonder if an overhead railway might work though, quite separate from the goods/MPD setup, perhaps with a simple shuttle service? Rather than go round and round you could automate it to go back and forth in a U? 

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Hmmm, I think your space is going to be tight for a circuit.  Environmental issues aside, I just don't see how the 5' 6" radius is going to be comfortable for your stock (conventional wisdom says 6' rad is a comfortable radius but the bigger the better).  Perhaps consider a terminus with a fiddle yard/sector plate on the L.


My layout is 21' long incl. 5' sector plate.  You can see what I've been doing in the thread below.



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