Switching layout

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Wannabe Engineer
Hey everyone after thinking it over and talking to some of you. I think a switching layout would be more appropriate for my space, as I'm not a 100% on what would look best being new. I was wondering if anyone had some old layout pictures and designs they had of some switch yards to give me some ideas. Also it would great if any of these had the possibility of a loop around to kind of keep a continous moving train that would awesome. I have some ideas I will play around with in xtrkcad and post tonight. Thanks

Steve B

This is my new industrial area, the runaround track is on the left with the caboose on, there are four storage tracks and three tracks into unloading / loading facility's, the right hand track into the long blue building has now been removed



Drum Driver
One interesting layout I saw in a small area was on a 4x8 (which I don't know if you have the room for) but 18" radius is the smallest loop your going to get with pre-made turns (flex- can be smaller but as seen in other threads, Not recommended) This layout has an oval, a run around track and a couple sidings. A wall divided the layout in the center diagonally into two towns...You can pick up loads on one side, run laps around the oval till you feel your in the next town and using the run around on one end of the layout, drop off/pick up loads(use this run around for both sides)....it gives the impression of a point to point and continuous running all in one...This is the most you can get in a small area and still have the advantage to run trains without watching them run outta space and off the end.


Wannabe Engineer
I haven't decided for sure but what would be good dimensions for a switching layout. I have 3'x78" plywood sheet but was wondering if I should go ahead and get something that is 8' long.


Master Mechanic
I haven't decided for sure but what would be good dimensions for a switching layout. I have 3'x78" plywood sheet but was wondering if I should go ahead and get something that is 8' long.


If you're still wanting to build it modular, take a look at this:

I'm not necessarily recomending you follow these standards, as it seems other groups have their own, N-track, Free-MO, etc.

But it may give you an idea of what you CAN do in your space! Really before a layout plan can be settled on, and that plan must be modular, how big are the modules?:)


Wannabe Engineer
The website doesn't really seem to answer any of my questions.
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Drum Driver
The website doesn't really seem to answer any of my questions.

The site give specs for building modules so that when allot of people get together, they all can hook them together. That they match up in height, track configuration, wiring, ect. He was giving you some ideas of how to build sections that can be easily moved..Modules are OK, but if you ever went and saw a bunch get together, the scenes don't flow well. Till they get them connected in a workable fashion, you might have the last one going from a farm scene to a shipping dock. :eek: You can take the ideas for the basic benchwork and keep adding (IE: section A-B-C, ect.). I suggest searching track plan books and online to find a plan that fits your area, that you like, and will work for what you want to do...Then build the sections to fit that. Keeping in mind how you'd disassemble it if you ever wanted to move it. When I built my last large layout I made sure I could take it out in sections...and the mountains when turned on side would still fit out the doorways. If a couch goes easy in and out of a room, don't build build a section bigger than a couch. (see what I mean?) Don't build a layout your gonna be bored with just because it fit, make some decisions and try to meet half way. When I build a new house, it will be built around the layout. :D I showed my better half a drawing of what I wanted my new house to look like and the train room was drawn 4 times bigger than the whole house. :D She has a different opinion. :mad:
Getting back to what he was showing you...have fun building sections and detailing them to match and be able to use in a bigger layout so you don't have to scrap them later if you move...some can be spaced out and filled in between later making them HUGE!


Wannabe Engineer
I have a reasonable amount of space to deal with but I was wanting to make it as fairly easy to transport later on when I move in about a year. I have garage bay and the space that is open is roughly 8'x10' if I remember right.


Stay off the tracks!
One layout that I remember fondly from Model Railroader back in '82 was one based on the Galveston Wharves RR (I think the name changed to Galveston Terminal, but that's neither here nor there. It was basically a railroad that started as a switching layout but which you could expand off both ends as you had more space/money/enthusiam.
I started building it when I was in high school but it came down when I joined the Army. I'm pretty sure it started with an 2x8 section.

Want me to dig the article up? I might even still have the scanned in copy of it somewhere.

grove den

naturally natural trees
Hi Bob: I thought he was history :
The guy on the magazine cover looks like the guy on channel 3 that paints the Happy lil trees!!
He looks like Mr Foss, the landscape painter/artist, he died some(2?)years ago...Man..he could paint so "easy "landscapes. I "learned from him to paint ,in a easy way, backdrops...



Stay off the tracks!

I just e-mailed you the web addresses where you can find the scans. Please grab them as quickly as you can - I don't want to leave them up long. Fair warning - they are very large, but that's so they'll look nice when printed on a laser printer.


have you thought about N scale?

the reason I asked is I had about the same amount of room to work with and after several (and I mean several feet of messed up track, I just couldn't do what I wanted to do in HO, so I am going to donate my ho stuff to my dad or my uncle and (just cars and the cheapo engines and 1 industry) and go N scale. My layout is 8x8 with a 32" x 4' hole in the center, I should be able to have 1 mjr city, and a smaller town along with 5 industries, 2 freight stations, passenger station a 6 spur yard with cross overs and run arounds, and depending on what era I model (steam preferabaly) I could put a over head commuter train with out it effecting the main layout OR (my choice would be..) a trolley


Fun Lover

I think the trend in Nicks thought is my fault. Nick will be moving to a more permanent home in two years.

I pointed out that an 8 x 10 layout, even if built in pieces would be hard to find a home for in a new house even if moved successfully. He would need access to three sides, that makes the footprint of the layout 14 x 10.

I suggested that a 2 x 8 switching layout or a 4 x 8 layout with two sets of staging would be more practical to both build and find a new home for in his new house which he will be moving to, but hasn't shopped for yet. I further suggested that a 2 x 8 switching layout would adapt better to a larger home layout than a 4 x 8 loop layout would.

That is why he is shopping the idea of a 2 x 8 switching layout.

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