I started out all O27, to keep everything on a 4x8 table size. Then I saw how much space there was inside the outer loop. So, I replaced the inner track with O31, and the engines ran much better. Then I saw that I could also replace the entire outside loop and switches with 031, if I just increased the length of the table by 6 inches. I did not need to increase the width because in O31 gauge, I still found that I had about 2 inches to spare on each side of the big oval track
Then I said, what the heck? Just increase the table length by one foot, and the width by 6 inches, and give yourself plenty of room outside of the tracks of the big oval. I have a very large basement, and plenty of room
So, that's what I have done. My layout is now all O31, and my table dimensions will be 9ft x 4.5 ft (when I build it next week).
Last week, I traded all of my 027 track, and 4 Marx tin type manual 027 switches, and 2 Lionel plastic manual 027 switches, for two good running 1970s Lionel engines, and a 1033 transformer, and four Lionel cars with metal wheels and trucks, and a Lionel lighted caboose, so I more than got my money back.
So, . . . that's where I am. :-)
I am waiting on one right hand switch in the mail, to fully complete the layout, and I will definitely post a picture of the layout (assembled on the basement floor) when I have it done. I don't think there is any Wow factor in the layout I designed, but it is an interesting design, with several options, and will be great for me and young kids.
Can't stand balky sputtering engines, so if can't get the little 0-4-0 Lionel switcher to run smoothly over the crossing, I will trade it away.
Adriatic, After I put the layout on the board, I will follow your advice to try to get that Switcher running smoothly.