Newbie needs layout design suggestions please


Good morning!

I need some suggestions from you veteran N scalers...I'm putting a layout underneath my dining room table, and not sure just how to go about it.

The space is 58" by 34", and I'll have a 3" heigth clearance to work with. It's mainly for a Christmas layout, but if it looks decent, I might keep it during the year.

Anyway, could some of you offer perhaps some ideas for that space? I'd like to have one total loop, then perhaps a couple of inside loops, or some type of siding lines.

I can't do any over/under because of the ceiling, so it'll have to be all one level track, pretty much.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
34" is pretty narrow, but with N scale,you can squeeze a lot into that space.

I would use flex track as much as possible. You can make custom-sized radii to fit your situation. At least one outer loop, as big as you can make it. Within the loop, perhaps a figure-8 with a crossing. I would offset the crossing towards on end, not have it in the middle of the layout. A few turnouts will allow trains to cross over from the inner andouter loops. Putting a crossing nearer one end leaves room for a siding or two inside the larger loop on the other end.

Use small houses and businesses to make the layout appear larger, staying away from big, sprawling structures that would dominate the layout. Since your layout height is limited, a neat trick might be to have a "tunnel" that is actually open on top. Finish the inside of the "tunnel". It will look like your cover glass just "sliced" through the mountain, exposing the tunnel.

Keep in mind that you will want to run shorter equipment for a more realistic look. Full size passenger cars will look out of place,especially on the inner loops.

Also keep in mind that you will need access for maintenance, repairs and the occasional "oops" derailment.

Sounds like a fun project. Post some photos as you proceed so the rest of us can admire your work!

Darrell, quiet...for now
Thanks Darrell,

I have a question. I am using flex track. I have flex track and three turnouts, two left, one right.

Can I solder the track joiners together to make it a little more permanent?