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I have started gathering some inexpensive 2 rail stuff to build a small switching layout in my little room.  Pictured is the bench work that is up so far, some narrow shelf extensions will be added to make it into a "C" shape.  Theme is industrail/steel mill served by the Indiana Harbor Belt with one of the old AHM/Rivarossi heavy 0-8-0's running on the tight radius track also sold back then.  I am going to get a few of the mill gondolas, flat cars and box cars that AHM also offered and can be gotten cheap.  Yes I plan to upgrade the tiny motor in the 0-8-0 and add plenty of weight, followed by a trip to the local weathering guy to make it look less toy like.  But when it comes to track plans and what I can actually fit, I stuggle.  Not planning to do the specialized mill cars, bottle cars ect.  More like some of the outlying buildings as false fronts that I can set out and drop cars at, set in gons of scrap to be melted down ect.  Something I can enjoy a decent amount of operation with.  DCC and full sound in the big 0-8-0 is planned.   Anybody able to help with track planning?   the layout is 8 foot wide at the rear, 3 feet deep in the narrow middle portion, 4' on each side of that narrow part, then 2' deep shelfs down each wall with the left side going 8 foot down that wall in total length and the right side is 6 foot long.     AD   P.S, all the trains on the layout and even the grass mat are gone now, down to the white Homasote and ready for 2 rail track to go down.  



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Original Post


Nope, he's talking about a 2-rail, O scale switching layout.  That 0-8-0 AHM engine he is talking about is the O scale IHB engine Kit along with the motor kit to run it.

Artful Dodger,

It would help in track plan design if we knew  the radius of your "tight" curves.  Also, do you intend to use the old, complementary "tight" radius switches, and, if so, how many of each (right or left hand) do you have?  If planning to use different switches, what do you have in mind?


Last edited by PRR1950

The tight radius track is probably the old atlas 24r track.  I use it with along with the old atlas switches on a tiny 2r switching layout.  The key I think is to keep the degree of curve small.  A half curve or the turnout without the added piece of curve track that came with those turnouts will allow short wheel base locos and 40 foot cars to operate quite well.  Now the 080 may bind on the curves, test before any permanent track placement.

I'm assuming that you're using body-mounted Kadee style couplers.

If the curves are really 24" radius and you're using sectional track (i.e., circular curves that are not "eased"), you may have a problem with excessive coupler swing.  Sticking with short 40' cars is probably your best bet.  (There's a reason why the 3-rail crowd uses truck-mounted couplers, that in some cases are themselves articulated!)

Throw a few pieces of track together and try a couple of cars to make sure they don't pull each other off the track before you get any further into your layout planning.

If you can find old copies of O Scale Trains, they have multiple articles of small area switching layouts. At one time you could download them or read them on line, but since a new publisher took over the old files aren't available.  I saved aproximately 50 issues  but I can't share any of the plans  because they are copyright protected. A number of plans are in the 9x12 or similar sized u shape that could be modified to you space. Good luck with your build.  

For a steel mill if you don't want to get too involved with a blast furnace with bottle cars or slag cars , consider shallow depth rolling mill buildings. They're more long and tall than deep and you could run a spur in through the end or front and have some where for the gondolas to go. They can also be flats for scenic effect also. 

The main table is 4x8 but narrowed in the middle to allow access to the shelves at the rear.  It is land locked on 3 sides as the room is just under 9" wide by 9 foot long.   When standing facing the table/ layout, I can extended the left side down the wall with a narrow shelf that widens to 3' deep at one end but narrows to 12" or a bit less where it passes over my workbench.  The right side of the layout can get a short shelf section that goes up to the door to the room, adds about a 3' long by 2' deep shelf on that side.   This small space is one reason its been mostly a 3 rail layout most of its life.   As any really simple layout gets boring quickly.       AD

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