As the title says, I’m asking for some ideas on having a double track layout using O-54 and O-63 tracks. Carl (Moonman) has always opined and helped me in the past, so hopefully he will chime in here.

Reason for the minimum radius is that I’m gravitating towards the larger equipment and the Husky Stack and Auto Carrier cars require O-54 minimum tracks.  MTH says that their Bombardier passenger coaches can run on curves as tight as O-42, but I’m not going anywhere that tight and the resulting overhang.  I ran my Tri-Rail Bombardier set on the O-72 curves at one of my two LHS (Ready to Roll in Miami) yesterday and those looked just right, it’s just that O-72 track will not fit on a 6-foot wide table, and I wouldn’t want the table wider than that anyway for arm length reach purposes.

We’re going to be moving next month (leaving Downtown back to rent in suburbia) and as such, the ability of me having a layout where I can run trains at home instead of having to go to the club has returned.  We’re entertaining the possibility of getting a 4 bedroom so that I can have a hobby room for my trains and plastic model planes and boats.  Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes but I’m hoping for at least a 10x10 minimum on the room size.

My original thought was to have a 6x10 table with a screen divider having a New York City theme on one side and a South Florida theme on the other side (discussed on the 1/43-50 scale vehicles thread) with basic multi-track loops both on the ground and subway levels being the standard.  However, recently I’m thinking that the 6x10 table might become a too unwieldy, depending on the size of the room.

So now, I’m leaning towards a Round the Room layout using 24-inch wide shelves for my Mianne Benchwork with the South Florida and New York sections on opposite sides of the room, and have small sidings on the other two sides with 2-3 of the more “realistic looking” operating accessories like the Oil Drum Loader, 264 Forklift Platform, and 23796 American Flyer Sawmill.  The great unknown is where the door entry will be. Wherever that is will be a bridge or lift out (I’ve seen images on the internet of the MTH Steel Arch Bridge being lifted on one end).

Either way, one thing is for certain is that it needs to be portable as we’re renting.

I hope that the end result is not me ending up the garage running temporary layouts on weekends (another OGR topic I started in 2017).

I'm heading out to church now so I'll check back in later if there any replies that have questions for me.


Original Post

Hi Kevin,

I really like your idea of the 24 inch shelves and the round the room layout.  Also I like your idea of NYC and Florida which certainly creates a nice contrast in destinations for your trains.   If for any reason you have to go to a 42 inch curve you can always hide the overhang of certain cars and  locos by creating a tunnel, tall buildings, or a bluff to hide the curve.  I created tunnels on my current layout, on both 42 inch and 54 inch curves, and doing so works well for me.  I don't have to look at unsightly overhang of my scale GG1, Class J, and other scale locos and long scale cars, on the 42 inch curves.  

One other thing to consider with a bedroom ( and you may have already done so ) is the location of the closet.  Before moving to my current location, I had a 10 by 10 train room.  This room also had two entrances and a closet.  The additional entrance made it nice regarding additional access to the layout and the closet provided storage for train boxes etc.  Although the additional entrance door did not impact the shape of my layout, the closet did however affect the size.  Of course, at the time I was just getting back into the hobby and had nowhere the experience as you presently have.... so I'm sure that you would come up with a more creative solution than I did ... which, at the time,  was to build a 8 X 10 layout with a 18 inch square center access ( a tight squeeze for me ) hatch within the confines of the 10X10 room.  This gave me a 2 foot access isle to the closet.  Visitors could view the layout by squeezing into the two foot isle and/or by viewing through the other entrance doorway which was on the opposite side of the layout.  It seemed to work at the time.   With 20/20 hindsight the thing for me to have done was to build a round the room shelf layout, as you are suggesting, and not perhaps not use the closet.... thus storing boxes in another space within the house.  I would have also needed to created a lift out section at one of the doorway entrances to access the center of the layout.  

Anyway Kevin, just thinking out loud.  Good luck with your move, enjoy the process of creating your new layout!  I hope you have BIG fun!


Cheers and Happy Railroading,

Patrick W  

CEO - The Free State Junction Railway 

" Where the music is sweet and the trains always run on time"

Home Office - Patsburg, Maryland 

Thanks Patrick.

I should have mentioned that I'm looking my Atlas O inventory to be used as the track.   Would use my other track inventory (Real Trax) but it doesn't come in O-63 diameters.

I think that I would have the upper level loops off centered in relation to the benchwork so that on the New York side the tracks are on the outside edge (against the wall) so that they can be hidden by buildings and a scene block (Tri-Rail doesn't run in NY ) with the buildings and road on the inside edge of the loop; and on the South Florida side the tracks are running on the inside edge of the loop with the roads and buildings towards the outside edge.  

I didn't mention it before, but on one of the 4 sides I would one day like to have mountains with the trains never being seen as they're in tunnels to represent the countryside of Jamaica in the Caribbean where I grew up (as a city kid). It's beyond my current skill level to build mountains and winding one lane roads with homes dotted about, but I would like to get there. 

Came across this HO Scale plan called the Heart of Georgia (HOG) that's providing some beginning inspiration for the overall concept with a big hole in the middle:


Heart of Georgia HOG Layout 1Heart of Georgia HOG Layout 2




Photos (2)

MTH Bombardier passenger coaches DO NOT run on 042 curves.  They derail on my gargraves 042 return loops.  The undercarriage also clips a z-1000 switch machine.  I made a test loop of tubular 042 track for some continuous running during testing and repair of some locos, they simply do not work at this radius.  Alas I am going to have to wait for a time when I build a layout with slightly larger radius curves but these are relegated to a shelf for now.

Here's a 10' x 10' point-to-point that uses O54.  The focus is the ferry terminal at the lower left.  It is Atlas with some Ross switches.  It can be turned into a loop by closing the bottom.



Small 10x10 Timesaver v2


Photos (1)

Thank you for all of the ideas.

Mike, I recall one of your pictures from some time back when I was asking about how to support Atlas O track as it rose above the surface level.  I will have to revisit that topic.



Perfect Mike. If I have any questions,  I'll contact you offline.

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