Skip to main content

Playroom as Train RoomPlayroom Train Table U3

This is a 1' grid. Roughly 12. 5' by 11.5' -- The space looks big until you start track planning and it is amazing how O shrinks a room. The top picture shows what we've agreed upon as an area for the train benchwork options. The upside down U in the bottom image would allow the xbox gamers an area far enough away from the TV, or for me to watch TV.

I can use a small portion of the sitting area for a yard and storage, and working on the equipment. I use this sitting area daily as an office and we sit in here most mornings as it has a great view -- the point being I don't want impede the access. The bedrooms are only occasionally used, but I don't want them blocked, of course. I could put up to 9' of yard along the north wall of the porch.

So I have read two recent threads and taken note of comments in those. First, the "east" wall is adjacent to a walk-in attic. I technically could run a train through that wall if necessary. (Thanks to this thread, Dennis)

And especially thanks to Nick's thread ( as this is about the same space.

This will be a Lionel FasTrack layout with Lionel switches (90% sure I'm not going to abandon it and switch to Atlas.) Planning on O36 curve minimum.


1. Grandson entertainment. This means continuous running with reversing loops and occasional two train ops with very close adult supervision. The boys like to "tell the train where to go" so switching to a different route or turning the train around without backing up is popular for them. Grandma and the boys' Mom are not afraid to operate one train with the boys as long as they know which turnouts to avoid.

2. Switching puzzles using local industry. Need to have 6 destination industries and 3 source sidings (Lumber, iron ore, grain). One 3 or 4 track yard. Some of the destination sidings will be combined. Highly compressed industry is expected due to space limits. My oldest grandson (2.5 yo) is adept enough to load "logs" on his other grandfather's N scale lumber car. He seems to understand "We need to take these logs to the lumber mill."

The switching puzzles are for the adult kids and me.

3. Conflict potential in operations. ( Crossings are a plus. It doesn't hurt that we have several local crossings between competing [edit] road names. (It's nice to have BNSF, UP, KCS, NS and 2 local road names all in the local area.)  While we don't emulate prototypical ops, we do like to have to think about what we are doing operate efficiently and without running trains together.

Switching operations make it more difficult to plan since I don't want to have crawl under the table to an access hole to be the hand of God when things don't work as expected.

I'll post a few track plans next, with associated benchwork. Real life interrupts for now. Darn.


Images (2)
  • Playroom as Train Room
  • Playroom Train Table U3
Last edited by JackO
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Playroom Train Table U5

First attempt at keeping things in reach. No track would be more than 36" reach. The upper right corner will be a hillside, maybe a tunnel. If so there will be an access point hidden back there in the corner. Made for O36 minimum, O72 max. There is about a 7' x 18" yard off the lower right side of the image.

Inputs requested and welcomed.


Images (1)
  • Playroom Train Table U5

If you make the top portion and the right portion narrower, from 42" down to 30", you will be able to reach the tracks much easier. This will also give you more room 'inside' the layout, which you may find desirable. The wider portion on the left and bottom are accessible from both sides, so their width will not be a problem.

You could make the duck under, a fold down or lift up section, which will eliminate ducking under. There are many design options available to eliminate the duck under. you could use a bridge, or a drop down 'door' that could be fully landscaped. If you need more width, the drop down door is better.

The 2ft wide isles may be a problem, that is narrow and you may end up "running into" stuff on the edge of the train table. Better to have a minimum 3ft walkway. You have enough room to accommodate 3 ft walkways.


NOT the layout, but the table design. I just put the O72 oval in there for reference and checking reach. This gives me 30" maximum reach. Might be a bit farther if I use O48 curves in the top right corner.

I think I'm going to use this as the foundation for the layout design unless someone points out a glaring error. Might need to make the bottom right section a little deeper (north-south) if I want to turn a train around there. Maybe by a foot? We'll see when I start putting the track down.

Thanks for any inputs.


Images (1)
  • 1o

Add Reply

The Track Planning and Layout Design Forum is sponsored by

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.