I need a little help


N Scale Fanatic
I've recently decided to start working on a HO scale layout. The one big problem is I have very limited space to put it in because I live in an apartment. I'm thinking something around 4' x 8' range.

Really what I need is layout ideas that are about in the size range. I know some of you are going to say go to a smaller scale. But the thing is I already have some HO scale rolling stock so why let it go to waste. Any layout ideas (plans) would be a great help to me.
You could start with one of the Atlas track plan books. That's where I started years ago. After you see a basic design, substitute flex-track for the sectional track called out on the plans. You also could upgrade the switches to Peco or Shinohara.

Also, if you'd like to start with a more "prototypical" plan, a shelf type switching layout would be best. I f designed right, it could keep you busy for quite a while. My friend has a 2'x10' shelf switching layout that kept us (as a two man crew) busy for nearly an hour, with only four industries and a small three track yard. We also extended out onto a branch that went to another industrial area which got even hairier when your trying to run aroun centerbeam flats on a siding designed for 50' box cars... Anyway, just another option if you like the operation of model railroading. There are several books out there, including those by Atlas, Kalambach, and others. Happy Railroading.
One source of how to build it articles, are the Model railroad magazines. Try to attend a model railroad show in your area there usually "Previously Owned Magazines" (see note) for sale at decent prices. Model Railroader, for example quite often publishes articles on how to build 4 X 8 layouts based on prototype roads, with instructions on how to do just about everything.
Cheers :D Willis

Note: I don't know about your area, but around here nowdays everything is pre owned, nothing is used, a person buys a new car, keeps it for five years, then trades it in without using it,(Previously owned) fantastic! I wonder if they know how all the mileage got on it :D
This is my idea for a 10x11 room.


I cover it in a web article on my 4x8 page at:


The section across the door is used as a transfer yard track so there is a continual movement of cars. It represents a connection with the outside world at each end of the railroad.

Thank you if you visit
Well guys I've changed my mind. I've decided to go with N scale after all. Even though I have some HO stuff. I've only got 5 or 6 pieces of HO scale rolling stock so it's no big loss. Plus I figure I can get almost twice the layout in the same space.

So now have you got any advice for an N scale modeler just getting started.
I just started doing N scale myself, and the decision was to get the most track per square foot. I'm almost done with a small 2x2 circle layout that I used to learn from, and next I might either do a 3x6, 4x8, or a 10x2 shelf layout, then maybe early next year I'm gonna do a room sized, possibly double decker layout in my spare bedroom.

Have you thought about doing a N scale shelf layout in an entire room? You could go as small as 12" around the room, and have it high enough that it doesn't prevent the room from being used for other purposes. Then when you move out all you have to do is take it down and spackle a few screw holes in the walls.

Goodluck with what ever you decide on!
That's too bad, then gain I don't know much about N scale exept for a couple layouts I've seen at various shows.

I've started in basically the same situation as you, exept my apartment was so small, the compouter chair occupied most of the walking space. Now I've got a full bacement to full around with, so I see no reason why not go HO.

There's a HUGE thread about it here: http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2037&page=1&pp=40

This is what I came up with for a 4x8:

Looks like it'll be a lot of switching fun! In the future I might go to double-deck, bu that depends how the scnery works out.
Here are some of mine Tim, HO scale 4' x 8' layout in my apartment. Looks like I'll be working on this quite a bit now since gas prices are sky high and the Sunset route has been re-routed out of Beaumont.

Excuse the quality... and the mess in the background- it's always a work in progress!
Update on the layout

Well I thought that since I started this thread over a year ago. I would update it. I've started work on the layout. I'll admit it's not much to look at just yet but give it some time. This will give you some general ideal as to the track plan. BTW I'm open to suggestion about scenery and just about anything else for that mater.:D
OK I just had to show this shot. This is the train that is on the layout right now.:eek:

This is 6 locomotives, 34 frieght cars, and a caboose.

And for those who are wondering this consist was put together for photography purposes only. Like I said this train is still on the layout but with three Kato engines (BN, Sante Fe, and CEFX leasor). The locomotives pictured are a mixed of Kato, Athearn, and Atlas. :eek:
Last edited by a moderator:
YAY Tim! I've only had my layout running a couple of times during the past year, but you've inspired me to get out there again and "just do it."

Go for it! I look forward to more pictures. The more the better. :)
Glad you are making progress Tim, I haven't touched my layout in a year. Looks like you have collected a bit of rolling stock there!