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Could you point out problem areas of this layout and how it might be improved?

This is my first "real" layout and I am trying not to be overly ambitious. It starts with the existing Timesaver, can grow around the room with one track, then add passing tracks.
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

NRR 002.jpg

This is the first cut of an HO layout for an existing 13x14 ft room.
  1. Immovable Constraints
    1. Main electrical panel (possible swing bridge instead of duck-under?)
    2. support post
    3. two doorways
  2. Time Period: 1920 to 1942
  3. Area : rural Western Massachusetts
  4. Minimum radius: 26 inches
  5. largest car: 85ft Pullman (6 cars)
  6. Motive power: PRR steam (4-8-2 is largest) and a GE 44-tonner
  7. Operation:
    • Continuous running option
    • some switching, incorporate the existing 12"x 80" Timesaver
    • marshaling yard is optional
  8. Must-have structures
    1. Amherst station 1 (brick)
    2. Amherst Station 2 (wooden)
    3. rock crusher
    4. Farmer's supply
    5. No engine service facilities, (any room for a 12" turntable?)


Active Member
My one suggestion would be a slight change to your rock crusher / farmer's supply sidings to give you a little more room to maneuver or have a greater number of rolling stock parked in the siding. The way you have it makes it difficult to get in and out of the farmer's supply with much parked at the rock crusher. It can be modified to make it a bit simpler and roomier getting pieces in and out of there.

Of course, I have no idea the intimate specifics of what you'll be doing on those sidings so a change may not be needed or wanted. Just the thing I saw that I would personally change.

Looks good. I wondered how to shunt at that location. It would be nice to have a full in - empties out but I did not see anyplace that was possible.


This is simular to the size I have available. Because of logistics I have a little more room available that I may not use. I am not as "track oriented" as your plan is, I'm more "back woodsey"... it will be very interesting to see how your pike works out.
I am not as "track oriented" as your plan is, I'm more "back woodsey"... it will be very interesting to see how your pike works out.
Back-woods layouts are great - they allow sharp curves and scenery. If you disregard the yard (which will be added last), it is a simple once-around with a passing siding and Timewaster. Here it is with the yard stripped away.

NRR 003.jpg
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Could you point out problem areas of this layout and how it might be improved?
You mentioned a steam locomotive. As designed a steamer is going to have to either back up out of yard or back up into the yard. For steam there really needs to be a turntable. One in the yard would solve 1/2 the problem. Maybe on that short spur heading toward the electrical panel. On the lower level for the other 1/2 of the problem, maybe on the other in-side of the curve from Rock Crusher, or perhaps you could squeeze an 22" radius wye into the lower right corner.

Also as designed it is a single train layout. Switching either industrial area blocks the main and there is only 1 passing track. One loco could be working the yard while a train is running, but that isn't really a train.

By the way, over all I think it is a great plan.
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Thank you, IH.

I will start with two engines facing different directions. A cassette could take care of reversing but you are right, a turntable would be nice. When I hid the yard like in the 2nd image, there were two areas under the yard on the right side that could hold a 12" turntable - one near the door at the end of the yard, and the other in the bulge. Also on the right is enough room for two long staging tracks if two curved switches or one #4 switch are installed in the lower right - I do not mind building them.. False fronts would hide the staging rails until the yard goes on top.

Yeah, the switching fouls the main. That is intentional. It is possible to have 3 short trains running which must wait for each other. I like the micro layouts on the site That Timesaver is built on a 12" wide door, and the run-around has just enough room for a passenger car. The Vermonter comes through Amherst, and the platform is large enough for 1 car of the 6 car train.
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Taking all the good suggestions, here is the proposed plan. It is broken into stages allowing me to slowly build in operations.

Stage 1: Small timesaver
Stage 2: wrap one line around the room
Stage 3: add 2-track main, staging track, and turntable
At this point, everything is on the same level. easy peasy.

Stage 4: add grade up to marshaling yard.
OPTION: expand into the next room and put the yard there.

Stage 1

NRR stage 01.jpg

Stage 2: Add 1 track around the room

NRR stage 02.jpg

Stage 3: Add 2-track mainline
staging tracks, turntable, and prepare to expand into the next room (23 feet!)

NRR stage 03.jpg

Stage 4: Add upper-level marshaling yard OR expand into the next room

NRR stage 04.jpg
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Well-Known Member
Seems like your getting to have a lot of track in the space. Expansion into another room would be nice.

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