I have a new 105 sq ft of layout... that's it, I cannot squeeze another inch out of the available space.  I am also challenged with height/ceiling limitations as it's located in the attic.   I am extremely grateful for the space that I have... and,  I've looked at quite a few small layouts for inspiration that I describe as...

Nano... 32 sq ft or less

Micro... 64 sq ft or less

Mini... 96 sq ft or less

Marco... 128 sq ft or less

I have not yet finalized my track plan and would like to see some more small layouts before I do to help me in avoiding mistakes... and, providing some new ideas (it's difficult to think of everything).

If you can share some photos/descriptions of your small layout I would be extremely grateful and appreciative!

Thanks!!!

dennis

Original Post

Dennis, the shape of the space makes a big difference in design elements.  You say your layout is 105sq ft - is your layout 10x10, 6x17, 5x21, rectangle, L-shape, etc?  At any rate, 105 sq ft certainly seems like a good space to work with.

Or do you mean the room is 105sq feet?  Again, the L x W will help determine what is best for the space.

Last edited by JD2035RR

Good Point JD!   dennis=dummy

It's basically a rectangle 21' x 5'... see below...

THANKS!

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Aldover... Thanks!  I already see something on the Thor site that I would like to incorporate.   Will it work?  I don't know!  It's why I posted this thread... I had gotten *stuck* and needed some ...actually, a lot of fresh thinking.

Thanks

dennis

With that size, I would build the classic "Gumstump and Snowshoe " from MODEL RAILROADER MAGAZINE.  It was 1x6 feet in HO  scale so its 2x12 in O gauge, but I would expand it out in all 4 directions.  Put in an O-42 oval connecting the lower level tracks,  stretch the length to the maximum and add a few more sidings on both the upper and lower levels,  giving you a chance to both have trains running continuously and also a little bit of switching between levels.

My layout is only 37x63 inches.  It's a modified version of one of the Thor Trains plans.

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If you look through YouTube there are several layouts under 100 sq ft.   12' x 8' offers a lot of potential. Are you able to have a lifting section and access an around-the-walls layout in the attic?

The only layout size criteria I recall reading about was in HO.  Articles describing "great" layouts under 200 square feet have appeared from time to time.

Separating into nano, micro, etc., is just silly.

Last edited by GVDobler

That is lots of space for a switching pike. My space is 11'8" X 12'8", most of which is a simple loop.

Most of the action is on the South wall at the East End and West End industrial areas.

The East End:

This is a modified/quasi Inglenook switching puzzle wherein all switching work takes place on the East Branch (not using the Main, that is). The area is tight so some thought must be devoted to what moves in what order will accomplish the necessary pick-ups and set-outs. It is a lot of fun.

A plan-view shot:

The West End, the "Paint Factory":

This spur has four car spots and off-spot storage for two more cars. Drilling cars into the necessary order can be a bit intense here.

The track-plan is drop-dead simple with no run-around siding and all switches facing the same direction. The run from Town to Interchange is a shove move which is why the Plywood Empire Route still uses an old ex-Conrail Crummy on every train. It provides the Conductor with a safe platform for those shove moves. The fun isn't in complex track routes but rather in doing the actual switching work of picking up, setting out and drilling cars as needed to serve the customers.

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My layout is just over 103 sqft being 15' x 6-7/8' in size.  Had to get an O72 loop in for my scale Big Boy.  The red by the station is a spur I added that allows me to park a MTH Doodlebug or a shorter passenger car at the station.  The short flat side is against a wall and I have access to the layout from all other sides, the rounded end being in the middle of the room.  I run trains as a locomotive, 5 freight cars and a caboose.  Each of the yard legs is just long enough to hold 5 or 6 cars.

Here it is after I got the track down before I started the town in the middle.

It's a pity you couldn't get deeper, but you'll be able to have some nice long runs.

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I always recommend https://www.carendt.com/ for people looking to make small layouts. Brilliant source of information there. The Brits have, by virtue of their limited working space, more track plans developed to work in small areas. I run an Inglenook switching layout myself, which is more of a shunting puzzle than a "prototype" layout, but it's all kinds of fun for me.

With your space, do you want to model the hands-on point to point style of a branch line, or do you want a dogbone for constant running? That'll drive a lot of decisions going forward, as well as scale, era, motive power, and road.

Geysergazer!!!  At last... another attic dweller (complete with sloping roof line).  Now, I don't feel so *alone*!

Thank all of you so much!  Your layouts are awesome, inspirational... and, FUN!  The links are very helpful and interesting... I've been doing a lot of reading and feel like I'm starting to catch up after being a low level/absent participant in the hobby for so many years.

Rock On!

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

Here is our 4X12 double track up and over train layout that we created for display at our local train shows. It is based on a layout idea from Thor Trains but stretched out. You have a longer space available to which would add to the possibilities for longer yards. I hope this helps! Here are a couple of videos in action:

https://youtu.be/sFfb-t8b8AM

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Dennis,

My under construction layout is in a slightly smaller space (11'x11') than Lew's (geysergazer), however, I do have a full 8-foot ceiling.  It is around the walls too, but I had to put in an aisle on the one side for access to the two doors.  So it ends up being 11'x8 1/2' with an area in the corner for a short stub yard and will have a wye to a two-stall enginehouse above the yard.  I have wondered what the square footage of the actual layout is, so I measured and multiplied it out.  It ends up being in the Mini category at 76 square feet.  The shelves are 2 1/2 feet deep.

BTW This is the largest space I have ever had available, and my first layout dates back to when I was a teenager in the late '60s.

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Last edited by Mark Boyce

Mark, I see you are moving right along. If I had actual vertical walls I think I'd be trying to stuff a helix in so I could have another whole layer of switching pike.

Lew, I have made progress, though it slowed way down once the unusually hot weather left us a month ago.  Every so often someone mentions a helix, and I go into the room and look around.  It would have to have very tight curves to fit one in, but it could be done.

@Firewood posted:

If you look through YouTube there are several layouts under 100 sq ft.   12' x 8' offers a lot of potential. Are you able to have a lifting section and access an around-the-walls layout in the attic?

No... to many obstructions ...but, Ray (sidehack) clued me into something the other day that he did.   Open up Portals in the Knee Wall at both ends... and have a tunnel in the attic eve.   I already put a small access door under the benchwork.   I probably won't put that line in until early next year though... to much on the plate right now!

@sinclair posted:

My layout is just over 103 sqft being 15' x 6-7/8' in size.  Had to get an O72 loop in for my scale Big Boy.  The red by the station is a spur I added that allows me to park a MTH Doodlebug or a shorter passenger car at the station.  The short flat side is against a wall and I have access to the layout from all other sides, the rounded end being in the middle of the room.  I run trains as a locomotive, 5 freight cars and a caboose.  Each of the yard legs is just long enough to hold 5 or 6 cars.

Here it is after I got the track down before I started the town in the middle.

It's a pity you couldn't get deeper, but you'll be able to have some nice long runs.

Is that green indoor/outdoor carpet for a base.

@WaynePa posted:

Is that green indoor/outdoor carpet for a base.

Nope, that is felt.  Just went to my local fabric store and bought several yards of dark green felt.  Then used 3M spray adhesive.  Sprayed the table top and then laid the felt down.  The carpet cost more, and had too much texture for the look I wanted.

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