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Kumata

Broad question from a newbie

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Posted (edited)

Hello all, I am a relative newcomer to the world of model railways and have mostly been lurking as I scour topics for the info I need, but I would like to ask a question about layout shape. I have two 4ft x 2ft baseboards to work with, and in the space I have available I am able to configure them in either a square (4ft x 4ft) or L-shape (with 6ft as its longest side). No room for an 8ft length unfortunately.

 

I understand this may be a bit of a broad question, but I'd like to know if either configuration strikes you as more suited for a layout, for any reason? I will be working in 00 gauge and from what I gather space in that scale will be limited, so I'd like to pick the most efficient shape if possible.

 

 

 

Edited by Kumata

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The L shape is the winner. Railways are 'long and thin', so the roughly 7' of running distance that the L will provide makes it an easy winner. The shape lends itself to some interesting scenic possibilities too.

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The L makes more sense, if only because a 4’ square board is difficult to reach across, meaning you need to allow access space on all 4 sides - this the overall space consumption looks more like 8’ square. 

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It does depend what you want to put on it though. If you want a continuous run and can position it so you can get to 3 sides then the square is the way to go. A small BLT or shunting layout would go on the L shaped configuration.

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L shape would not quite allow for a continuous run, but good for a small end to end branch for shunting. 4' is still a long stretch to reach across, so as pointed out above access would be needed from all sides, but 2' is not so bad, so access would only be needed from one side and front, plus ends with the L shape - getting to the back corner may be a stretch, though.

If you can stretch the allowed width, you need a minimum of just over 3' to allow for 2nd radius curves for a continuous run. Stretch the 4' X 4' idea, and you can have the classic 6' X 4' layout, for which there are countless layout plan ideas available.

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Whilst a continuous run would be nice, looking at trackplans for 4ft square or even a 6ft x 4ft the run would be very oval, which looks a bit too 'trainset' for my tastes. There is also the issue of reaching across, and to maximise space in the rest of the room I was thinking of having at least one side of the layout pressed up against a wall. It seems that the L-shape is best suited for my purposes. Thanks all.

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It boils down to what you want, do you want a trainset or do you want a model railway?

 

There is nothing wrong with either but it makes a big difference to what you do.

 

Personally I'd go for the l

L-Shape and make a small end to fiddle yard.

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Posted (edited)

You can't do much with two 4X2 boards in OO.  You can have a branch line terminus diorama, fully detailed but non operational, unless you add a fiddle yard, you can have a very cramped terminus with fiddle yard  squeezed in one end at the back, you can have a circular test track with a tiny straight in each side, or you can do what I am doing and squeeze in some 12" radius curves and have an  8 X 2 continuous run as per Bekra Models layout in their shop at Newton Abbott. ( see track plan from their website) Only a few locos and coaches can get round without modifications but its something different.

N gauge on two  4 X 2 boards makes a lot more sense.

 

Screenshot (281).png

DSCN6804.JPG

Edited by DavidCBroad

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As almost everyone says, L is really the only sensible way to go.

It is a relatively small area but you might be able to do something with a small terminus in each arm and a hidden fiddle yard behind one of them in the form of one or two cassette connection points.

 

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Another vote for the L.  Another advantage is that the 90 degree curve will allow more easily for the railway to disappear convincingly to the next scene; you can achieve control over the sight lines from the operating or observer position with cuttings, and overbridges at angles to the track to disguise the sharpness of the curve.  If it were me, I'd go for an L shaped BLT-Fiddle yard in 00.   David's Berkra layout is a bit too experimental for my taste!

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Posted (edited)

Why not buy two more boards and arrange them to provide a 'well' in the centre?

 

Assuming you have space to put down a 6' x 6' railway.

 

You get a full circuit of R2 and R1 set-track plus a the option of some HOe or 009.

 

Being a small layout only part of the circuit is easy to see which retains interest for operator and viewer.

 

If you can live without the roundy-roundy scenario one baseboard could become a non-scenic stock fiddling yard.

 

The other three baseboards could be three different scenes.

 

I recommend 60 Plans for Small Railways by CJFreezer or Peco STP-OO Setrack Planbook 4th Edition both show you what could be feasible for OO in a modest space. Although the former has a few tricks that the latter has missed probably because trainset roundy layouts are 10 to the penny, and a model railway layout is not a trainset tail chaser. 

 

Remember the plans do not need to be slavishly followed, it is the principle you are after.

 

A surf of the net will find companies that will laser cut 10" and 13" radius track templates allowing you to make the most of the space.

 

Use small locomotives and private owner rolling stock.

 

On a layout this size you need to think outside the usual box.

 

Not having passenger transfer can play to an advantage on a small layout.

 

Although with the proposed Hattons generic 4 and 6 wheeled coaches becoming available could work in a bit of passenger transport. Off-set track to a station by using same hand point work or use Y points and think Haven Street.

 

Don't build a standard BLT with buffers and dead end, do something different perhaps with a detached yard or industry beyond your minimal platform.

 

Final rule less is more so don't pack in too much.

Edited by Sturminster_Newton
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L shaped terminus - fiddle yard for me too, forget any sort of continuous run in that space, it'll just look silly. After that it depends largely on what sort of operation interests you. A BLT is the obvious choice, I have one in a similar area (but set out as a long 8' x 2'), but operation is a bit limited. Train arrives, runs round, maybe shunts a bit, and ... er ... leaves. Repeat. That suits me fine but it might not suit you. 

 

If you want more operational interest think about either an urban terminus, legitimately more cramped than a rural site as you couldn't just buy a bit of extra land next door, or forget the station altogether and have a yard of some sort. Goods, engineers, dockside, exchange sidings - doesn't really matter - whatever floats your boat. 

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