Small layout - HO or N?


edito, ergo BOOM.
Hey folks:

I have this shelf, and potential top-of-bureau space in my room. All told it is about six feet long, and 2-3 feet wide. (The shelf is 3 foot wide, the top of bureau 2 foot - although I may hang a shelf to elongate that 2)

This space has been screaming for a model RR for awhile. I have dabbled in some HO in years past..mostly junk, and never estabished a completed "layout". Now with a couple weeks off coming up, I think it may be time to do something about it. But I'm at a stumbling block.

I was originally thinking of building a small HO switching layout - since I have a P2K GP9 and a couple buildings. But then again, I have been looking towards N more and more, and having no experience with it at all, I was wondering if you can easily do switching with N?

Right now, I seem to be leaning towards an HO layout, and trying to see if I can add a few more feet to that six. I'll post a diagram of what I have later... but was wondering if anyone has any insights on how they decided between a small N or HO layout? (Or how you would decide if given the chance) Sorry if this sounds I'm rambling...but typing these things out seems to help me decide.

Tom, based on your space constraints, I'd vote for N. I don't have any experience with the scale though so maybe someone will post that has. You could do a small HO switching RR with no problem, but N scale would give you many more track plan options.
Tom, I agree fully with Grande man. You can do a lot with N gauge in the space you are talking about, but other than some fancy switching arangements, HO scale would be limited in both operations and scenery. Have you thought about N gauge mounted on a door? Many do this.
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N scale is a great choice when space is limited. Coupling and un-coupling is more difficult, even if you convert everything to MT couplers. MT's work really well, but the uncoupling magnets are a little tricky to install correctly. Other than that, N scale would be a great choice for you.

3' is wide enough for a loop that will look good. 2' is a little too narrow unless you can hide a large part of the curve to disguise how sharp the turn is. Still have lots of options with N scale. With HO, you're looking at a straight switching layout.

But then, I'm prejudiced, having been in N scale since 1968!!

Darrell, the "old man" of N scale, quiet...for now
Hi tom, I agree with the above posts in that "N" would be a better choice for you. Think about it 3 x 6 ft. in "N" is about the equivelant of 6 x 12 in HO, but with "N" you have the added convenience of being able to reach everything on the layout.

Cheers Willis

I'm casting my vote with the others. N scale has come so far from where it was even 10 years ago, in terms of detailing and loco performance; I sometimes wish I'd gone that route myself, but I'm already so heavily invested in HO that I'd have to start over from ground zero.

Now's your chance to start fresh, go for it!:cool:
CBCNSfan said:
Think about it 3 x 6 ft. in "N" is about the equivelant of 6 x 12 in HO,

Wasn't thinking about that... that's a decent sized layout then. I may even be able to push that six feet out further so...6 X 16, or dare I say 6 X 20? :D

Time will tell.

Thanks for the input guys. I'll keep everyone updated.

Well, I guess I'll jump on the bandwagon here, too! I am also going to recommend N gauge for the same reasons mentioned above. If I were going to do it all over again, I too, would go that route. Since I have a significant investment in HO, though, I figure I should just stay with it. If you only have a little bit of HO equipment, now would be the time to make the switch (as in switching layout-pun intended). The possibilities for what you can do in N gauge are far less restricted than they are with HO.

As for a switching layout, I would recommend going with DCC whether you choose N or HO. With DCC, you have much more control over what your locomotives are doing, and you have the ability to control multiple locomotives easily. DCC allows much greater flexibility when it comes to switching, so I would recommend it highly.