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I have been playing with this plan for a basement (mine possibly) layout that emphasizes train running and routing.   The plan will support 3 trains running, with a siding available for staging.   The two return loops allow trains to change direction.   The outer mainline is O-60 with O-72 turnouts and easements, while the inner main is O-48 minimum.   For the parallel tracks, the center-rail spacing is just over 5", but varies a bit larger in places.   There are three sidings that can be for expansion or give the impression of connecting railroads, or possibly used to stage cars and locomotives or interchange tracks.

The plan uses two of Lionel's Extended Truss Bridges 6-82110 that can be used as Lift-Out Bridges to give access to the center.  The plan shows the lift-out bridges and the foundations that come in the package. Mike Reagan's Bridge video.


With a layout that is 6' wide, access and reach is a problem, unless the layout is an island with all-around access.   This layout is intended to go up against a wall at the top, while the bottom plus one or both of the sides are accessible.   The access and operating "well" in the center is a bit tight at 2'x4'.


For more visual interest, I elevated the outside mainline, siding, and interchange tracks by 1/2" all around.   There is a 2% grade from the crossing up to the outside mains on either side.

If the layout can be an island with all-around access, the center access well could be replaced with a small yard or more industry tracks.  Expanding the layout to O-72 minimum for the outside mainline would add 6" to the width, and a foot to the length making a 6.5' x 17' layout.

I have looked at variations on this theme, and here I was curious to see what this might look like with O-60 minimum for the outside route, handling O-54 minimum locos and cars very nicely.  Comments and suggestions are most welcome!  -Ken


Images (2)
  • M616-01_6X16_v3a
  • 6-82110-Bridge
Last edited by Ken-Oscale
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Guys, if you want to run two trains in the opposite direction, simply run one train on the outer loop one direction, and the inner train on the return-loop-to-loop route in the other direction.  No collisions!   

Even more interesting is to allow the inner train to reverse direction automatically as it traverses each return loop, so the inner route train will alternate direction of travel. 

In general, a single-track loop route will need TWO passing tracks to allow two trains to pass each other in the opposite direction.   However, a layout with two return loops and a long length of track between, could get by with just one passing track between the loops where trains can meet.

This layout is cool in that it allows lots of different running routes and combinations.


Videos (1)
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

By moving the passing siding to the top of the layout from the bottom, another operating plan is possible for two opposing trains, both using the crossing, controlled by two "on the ball" engineers.   [Train lengths are important as is switching "on the fly".]  Operating signals protecting the crossing would be great!

The turnouts at the top of the diagram will be hard to reach for maintenance, so access on both sides and one end would be ideal.


Videos (1)
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I'm really interested in this design.  My area to work with is a max of 7' deep, but plenty of length.  I could fit that and have access from both ends and along the front.  Back would have to be against the wall.  Design has enough options to keep it interesting.

already have plenty of 060 Fastrack and one lift out bridge. Short on the 048 and switches.  Also ended up with a loop of 072 and 084, but that will be harder to use with the space limitations.

Jstraw, here is a layout plan with turnouts labeled, I hope that helps you.   

With a larger space, it would be possible to do all O-72 turnouts, but would require some track plan revision work.  You mention your space is also deeper, you might try for a larger center operating and access area.   If you would like for me to create a revised layout plan and labeled track plan for a larger space, send me an email, and we can work something out.



Images (1)
  • M616-01_6X16_v3f-turnouts
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Great, I look forward to your email.  Perhaps we can consider a plan with O-60 minimum.   That would have the advantage of being able to operate equipment that requires O-54, in case you might like larger/scale at some time in the future (this current plan allows O-54 on the outside loop and passing tracks).  -Ken

Really like your last plan Ken. I am designing our new layout and have been looking at around the wall design,  then I seen this last layout you designed.    You mentioned that this layout  can be done in O72 curves.  I have the space to make it a island style layout . Or one end against the wall either left or right side with a length of 21 feet. Would that be hard to adjust the layout you drew up with larger curves and a 21ft longe table.  Thanks for input.  I do enjoy all your different designs.  Nick T.

T8A, your space should be easy to work with.   I believe that a version with O-72 for the outside loop and O-60 for the inside loop could be done in about 7' x 18.5'.   A version with O-72 minimum (O-84 around the outside loop) would take about 8' x 20.5', with O-72 turnouts.

With a large table against the wall, you need to consider access for construction and maintenance.   A sturdy table you can crawl on top of is one answer (doesn't work for me personally).   Perhaps a plan with access hatches or removable scenery would work for you.   

This size table might be beyond the limit of a movable table on casters, but I would give it a try, and if moving something that large and heavy turned out to be difficult, you are no worse off than if you had not made the attempt.   Using lightweight construction techniques will help, based on 2" thick foam sheets for the surface.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

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