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new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:43 am
by Duke Special
I’m new to the forum as a poster but have been lurking for a while. I currently have a “toy” OO layout on an old 8x4ft sheet of ply – something I whipped up to entertain the nieces and nephews out of a mix of old and new track. I have a load of engines and rolling stock from my childhood (late 70s, early 80s) and plenty more acquired over the last couple of years. The current layout is basically three ovals (first, second and third radii) all interconnected and three sidings in the middle. It’s wired to three controllers so that the kids can “race” the cheap diesels and tank engines, whilst I can run my nicer pacifics on the second and third tracks when the kids have gone. This layout has moved between garage and conservatory over the last two years and is propped up out of the way when not used.
I now have space in a spare bedroom and as it happens, it’s almost exactly 8x4ft. This time I want to build something properly and will be assembling my own 8x4 baseboard and buying new track. I have an old Hornby R965 controller (brilliant at running my older engines) and an HM2000 (better for smoother control of the newer stock but rubbish with my old engines). I’m after some ideas and advice from you good people. My preferred criteria are these:

- I’m sticking with DC control and OO gauge – too expensive to change.
- I usually run pacifics or large diesels with 3 or 4 coaches when the kids aren’t playing
- No first radius curves
- Preferably express points
- Two main lines – I like to see two trains in continuous action
- I would like an operating well somewhere in the board if practical to fit one in. I don't intend to electrify points so it will help access them easily. I am quite tall so can reach the back of the board if needs be!
- Not too bothered about shunting so sidings are just for parking coaches and engines
- Scenery isn’t important to me but it would be nice to have capacity to add some if I choose. I have a couple of stations but I just enjoy watching my old engines running.

On Anyrail I have reverted to type(!) and keep coming up with three ovals of 2nd/3rd/4th radii but it means I am very close to the board edges and therefore scope for adding stations and any scenery at all is extremely limited. I’m looking for some more imaginative use of the space available, taking into account my preferred criteria because I’m afraid I am fixated on one type of layout! Any suggestions gratefully received.

Re: new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:21 am
by jon_1066
Have you seen this website:

Quite a few 8*4 suggestions there.

Re: new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:50 am
by beeman
Your post suggests you are coming up against the same problem as most of us, and that is the one of space in which to promote and express your ideas. Model railways in general are, and have to be a compromise, generally due to that reason. I remember one comparison drawn was that to model one of the London stations, can't remember which, in 4mm it would need the area of a TENNIS COURT. To 'achieve your task' , you will need to make it look realistic as far as possible in how you do it. Myself not liking these over and under matrixes of tracks, elevated areas that to me are are 'trains for trains sake', piling in as much as possible and rarely being 'realistic'. I reluctantly fitted R1 curves in some areas to achieve but hiding by scenery. There is NO magic layout plan that will meet all your ideas/demands so compromises will be needed .At the end of the day its what pleases YOU.Good Luck .Beeman.

Re: new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:33 pm
by jon_1066
How about something like this:

8 by 4.jpg
8 by 4 layout idea
8 by 4.jpg (47.35 KiB) Viewed 2463 times

It is all long radius points and Hornby track. (If you go with Peco you get more choice of points.)

It has storage for 1 m long trains (3 carriages plus loco or 4 carriages)

The station is an island and can take 1 m long trains.

I have added a rudimentary MPD with a turntable to let you turn your pacifics. If you want a well you could do away with the turntable. This also acts as a runaround loop for 3 carriages so you can turn your train about.

I have added some possible scenics - I think a river could look good running through it with a tunnel to try and hide some of the round about nature of it.

Re: new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:27 pm
by Duke Special
Thank you all for replying. I'll take a look at the free track plans thank you. Jon_1066, I like your suggestion. I got trapped into trying to get as many loops and tracks in as possible but as beeman says, it will end up looking cluttered and unrealistic. Your suggested plan gives me enough space for a lot of engines and coaches on the layout without overcomplicating the main loops. One question:I can't make out the codes for the greyed track. Are they slightly tighter radii to get the inner loop further inside on one edge to accommodate the station? I assume the curves on the two mainlines are 3rd and 2nd radius?

Re: new poster: 8x4ft layout ideas please

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:10 am
by jon_1066
It is a basic 2nd and 3rd radius curve oval except the 3rd radius are replaced with 4th radius curves on the approaches to the station.