Small Train Layouts
Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:09 AM
There are lots of pictures out there of club massive club layouts, but I haven't seen a lot of home sized layouts by individuals.
How much layout could you squeeze into an area six baseplates by four (ie, 5'x3'4")?
Would you go for a continuous run or an end to end?
Modern motive power and rolling stock or steam driven?
European, British or American prototypes?
Industrial scenery or some sort of passenger service?
How would you break up the "flatness" of the baseplates cheaply?
I'm interested to hear some ideas, or better some pictures of people's home layouts.
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Posted 14 May 2009 - 02:33 PM
Let me share a little bit about my layout which is close to the size you mention. I have a small table in my computer room which I made larger (just for a train layout) by using two large boards of equal size that I had cut by a local hardware store. I placed them on top of the table creating a larger area 6' x 3' 4". The boards are thick enough that they hold up well where there is overlap.
Loops vs. End-to-End Layouts
While one can never have enough space for a continuous loop, it's not much fun to run an end-to-end train. One of the best things about a Lego or any hobby train is turning it on, and watching it go around your layout. The only thing better is perhaps two trains. Although with all the new high tech Power Functions and other "techie bricks", one can perhaps have the train move from one side of the layout to the other on an end-to-end layout (that doesn't seem too fun though).
Roadplates and Space for Town
The only problem with not having a lot of space is that you're limited to how much town you can fit within your loop. My table allows me an oval with 8 straight tracks along the length and 1 straight along the width. I'd have space for 2 straights on each side, but with the Train Level Crossing (10128), there's 10 studs of baseplate I have to create an inset for.
This layout allows 8 32x32 standard baseplates in the center of the track with another 4 that the track is placed on (with my Train level Crossing). I don't like when the track is partially placed on a baseplate (esp. curves) which are difficult to attach. Straight track is not a problem. You also want some sort of shunting yard with at least one switch track so that you can add a few cars that are not in use. You can check out my layout HERE.
What Trains to Add/Build
This all depends on the look that you are after. If you have a modern City, you might want a very modern train. I prefer steam trains and/or locomotives. I created my town around the Emerald Night trying to capture a more classic/traditional look. At the same time, this doesn't stop me from adding one of Lego's diesel locos like the SFSC or BNSF. It's just that I love the look of the new Emerald Night which I have running. An ICE or bullet train is out for me. I also have the Swiss Crocodile on my tracks, and I don't think it's bad to mix train types (although perhaps a little unrealistic).
Building Up Scenery
My layout is pretty flat with the exception of the town itself. I have not yet tried adding anything other than trees, which on this size layout, may be a little difficult with the town. I'd love to add a train tunnel mountain, which perhaps I'll try on the far end of the table where I don't have any roadplates. You just gave me an idea. The town adds height/dimension. I did try building another raised loop for a 2nd train, but I would not recommend it without placing it on a mountain or other raised scenery.
I would highly recommend Track Designer as a great program to help you design your layout. When you're done creating a digital layout, the program will give you the overall measurements to help you stay within your parameters. There's a link to the program in Train Tech.
Good luck, and please share some pictures of your WIP or final layout.
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