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So we’re going ahead and renewing our lease for another year (July 2022) and one of my sons is moving out at the end of this month.  I’ve therefore claimed it as my man cave, train room etc.  Room is basically 146 x 130 with a wall jutting in where the door is.  So, I guess my ramblings about a fictional 14 x 14 room are now officially closed.

Been playing around on RR Track today with some first run ideas of a round the room layout which I will share here.  I want to decide on something quick so that the construction can start rapidly in June after I get my Mianne Benchwork out of storage.  I want to have a set up to run at least 12 months before breaking it down if/when we move.  Was debating with going with HO so I get long runs or with O.  Because this will not be long term, I won’t have the time (we never do) to completely scenic the layout to exacting scale detail limits like HO requires (for me) to enjoy it enough.  HO will have acres and acres of open space that need to be scenicked and I’m into city scenery, not rural. So that means lots of buildings and $$$. I don’t want a Plywood Pacific either so I went with O so that I can get away with placing buildings (read fewer) in proportioned locations and maybe do some of the realistic detailing like what Dennis Brennan does with Sandy Harbor in his book “Realistic Modeling for Toy Trains” that I leaf through on a regular basis.

Two basic loops for now (remember that I must have O-72 curves) using Atlas O with New York on one side and South Florida on the other.  The diagonal roadway in the upper right corner is an elevated expressway (The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or I-95 in Downtown Miami). As you can see, I’ve already set up a Big Apple intersection so that my Fishbowl buses can ply their routes.  Used 3D shapes to represent the Menards Dollar Store Strip Mall, Taco Bell and Starbucks as typical suburban retail.

Yes, the New York Section is 4-feet wide (I’m going to buy a topside creeper) as my dream is to have 2 subway loops underneath it, one local track and one express track using MTH Real Trax.  This is also where the only 4 turnouts in the entire room will be located.  The table will be open access underneath in case of any derailments by the turnouts.

Yes, I know that the He’ll Gate Bridge is floating in air but I’m still working on the details.  I wanted to post something tonight.

In case you’re wondering, the ceiling layout 15 x 9 Ceiling Layout is remaining and is not going anywhere.  Great conversation piece and I get to run my O and HO trains up there.   Still plan on putting up Halloween and Christmas layouts in the general family area of the house.

I’m going to look at some layouts like my buddy Mark Boyce among others for inspiration

Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - Ground Level V1) 3D View 5.4.21

Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - Ground Level V1) 3D View #2 5.4.21

Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - Ground Level V1) 5.4.21

Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - Subway Level V1) 3D View 5.4.21Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - Subway Level V1) 5.4.21


Last edited by Amfleet25124
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Kevin, it looks like some good preliminary planning to get something going in O gauge since you don’t plan to be in this home long, but long enough to want to get some trains running fro Florida to New York and back.  Since you have the Mianne benchwork that part should go quickly.  If you build on a flat table for the track, that should go quickly too both for ground level and subway.  I’ll look forward to seeing it come together.

@Eddie in FL posted:

I like the idea of combining FL and NY into your concept. I have considered FL and PA along the idea. Philly has subways I rode all the time. I will be watching this with interest.

With this being possibly a short term layout do you already have O72 equipment you want to run?

Good Luck.

@C_Murley posted:

kevin, itll be fun to follow along. looking at your layout it appears you are a let it run in circles kind of dude. me too.  i have a few switches to spice things up and move trains around.  i dont have more trains than the layout can hold..... yet haha, so i can throw switches and let other trains run in circles.  just some thoughts.  look forward to your progress

Thanks to everyone who posted.

Eddie - Where in the Sunshine State are you located?  To answer your question, I moving towards more scale type equipment and O-72 is the curve that is the sweet spot.  Have to go with O-63 for any Inner Loops because I don't have the space to run O-81.   With the exception of the holiday themed trains, I've sold off all my traditional size equipment.  Currently have a MTH Tri-Rail set and am on the GGD standby list for some of their excellent equipment.

C. Murley - I like both loop running but also like some switching.  My aim has always to be to have both on the layout on the same time so that I could never get bored.  I need to come up with a plan and come up with one quick, and I've mentioned the South Florida - New York (SFLNYC) theme before so I went with this on my first go around (pun intended).  This set us is easy with basically 2-foot ground area all around.  Anything else, like a peninsula with a yard, etc. would be more complex and more expensive (benchwork) and take longer to complete.  I also would have to figure out how to coordinate it with the  SFLNYC.

But that is what makes this fun!  I'll be brainstorming and maybe have a single track O-72 continuous running loop and have the other be involved in switching and yards.

For what it's worth, here is the HO plan that I drew up on AnyRail using Kato Unitrack (31-inch radius curves aka 62 inch diameter) along with the Bachmann Reversible EZ Track to run the elevated subway train back and forth unattended.

Train Room 146 x 130 [SFLNYC - HO V1) 5.4.21


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  • Train Room 146 x 130 (SFLNYC - HO V1) 5.4.21

Kevin.......congrats and best wishes. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

A few questions and comments.

1. I love Dennis Brenna's book. Great tips and info there.

2. What is the height of your table? It probably needs to be a little higher than 42" in order have adequate room for you to work on the subway......My table height was 42" and my subway was about 28".

It was OK when I built my layout (I was 57-58). It was awful to take it down 10 years later  (67-almost 68).

This is no fun....


3. Those switches in the may want to rethink those. Can you move then to the sides and make them more accessible? I think there must be a model railroading law that says the number of derailments is directly proportional to the difficulty in reaching the area df the derailment......

I am looking forward to seeing your progress....I am a fellow urban modeler and am always looking for new ideas.

Have fun!



Images (2)
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  • EF08F839-8325-4F02-A7D6-F2983770AF94

Thank you Peter.

My Mianne stuff has been in storage so long I forgot what heights I have .  Your photos of you working under the table brings back nightmares of when I had a table top layout.  You are correct about the switches in the rear.  I'm trying to find ways around that, maybe having the express run unconnected to the local track and (1) having a L-shaped point to point for the local with the portion on the right side wall hidden from view and the express staying where it is - this will cut down a few inches on the depth or (2) running the loops as is but without the tracks connecting.

I have to have an express track I've always been obsessed with getting the vision of the express trains running past a station in the dark behind the tunnel support columns.  I loved that scene as a teenager in the Big Apple and still do now.  Here are some YouTube videos that I did in 2017 of the Astor Place Subway Rush Hour and 33rd Street Subway Rush Hour in New York. Music that is sweet to my ears.

Last edited by Amfleet25124

Man I wish I would have found this site before I built my layout. I would have built a subway underneath. Oh well, maybe in the future I will redo it.

There are some great subway & elevated builds right here on OGR with some of the members, and also on YouTube.

Some of them are so realistic, you feel as though you're standing on the platform getting ready to board the train.

One thing that I will need to have in my subway is a cat-sized rat running next to the tracks. 🤣

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