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Author Topic: Newbie Layout Help?  (Read 985 times)


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Newbie Layout Help?
« on: June 18, 2020, 03:25:35 pm »
Hi all - glad to find this forum.

Other than running a loop around the Christmas tree over the past few years, I am pretty new to model railroading.  Growing up, my dad had a pretty decent setup in our basement, but that lasted until I was about 8, and I’ve now inherited some of his small collection.

I’m looking for some help in coming up with a layout.  I’ve built an 8'x10' table with a 2’x2’ hole in the center so I can either operate stuff in the setup or just to reach things.  I am thinking of trying to run three trains in this setup: 1) the NYC Empire State Express, 2) a 2056 engine and tender with 4 Pennsylvania passenger cars (and a caboose if I can find one), and finally 3) a cargo train with 3 boxcars and a Sunoco oil car, pulled by an engine I don’t yet have (I’d like a modern-looking diesel, like an A-B unit).

In terms of yard activity and scenery, I don’t have a whole lot (BUT, my son is going to also put his lego train together and will build some scenery if needed).  I do have the Lionel no. 456 Coal Ramp Set with hopper car, two trestle sets, a trestle bridge, some lights, a mountain tunnel and a little watchman house (activiated by the train passing, with the man coming out).

The trains are all on the older side, so I guess I have whatever track radius is more “original” to Lionel (maybe that is O27?)  I can easily buy more track, but am not looking to spend a bunch of money – perhaps some basic scenery materials, additional lumber to do some elevation, and a third engine.

My big question is really just if an 8x10 layout can handle those three trains without being too crowded?

It seems there are a lot of resources for layouts here and on other sites to peruse, but with that list of trains and materials, are there any obvious things I should or should not do?  Are there “standard” or basic layouts for three trains on a table this size?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Re: Newbie Layout Help?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2020, 04:14:38 pm »
Welcome to the forum!

The size of your table should easily handle three trains on separate loops. With your trestle set, one loop can be elevated.
There are no 'basic' layouts for three trains that I am aware of - every layout is custom designed to the room and requirements at hand.
I had two trains running on a 5'x8' layout with one loop elevated. A third train was parked on a passing siding that I could switch in.
The two loops were figure eights with the sides connected so that a train could run in a loop, or be reversed using the crossover.
The upper and lower levels were connected with a track on a graduated trestle set, so that a train can go from the top loop to the bottom loop, or the reverse.
Sketch out a plan, then lay out your tracks on the board without connecting them to see if you like it. Continue until you find something you like. That is what I did.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 07:31:58 am by TrainLarry »


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Re: Newbie Layout Help?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 06:12:06 am »
Hello & Welcome to the Forum!
Train Larry gave you good advice, the only thing l can add is to check out the SCARM Track Planning Software provided by Forum Member "Mixy".

Happy Rails!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 06:13:29 am by djacobsen »
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Re: Newbie Layout Help?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2021, 03:26:14 pm »
I run 3 trains and an elevated trolley on a 5X10 layout.  It's what ever you want to do.


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