Several threads going back into last year have touched on getting started in O scale 2 rail, switching layouts or minimal space layouts, and other related things. This has gotten me started thinking about building a small point-to-point switching shelf layout (since that’s all I have room for). My townhouse in Houston doesn’t have any room for a layout of any size, but our ranch house on our rural property has a 17’ x 15’ “man cave” which is primarily a cigar-and-spirits room. Due to the layout and taking into account it’s uses and points of ingress/egress, I only have one 17’ wall and parts of two of the 15’ walls available to use.

Below is the first of the 15’ walls; the layout will begin at the windows on the left and extend to the brick wall corner, then continue to the right past the small bar against the plank wall and under the tv in the right corner. (This is the 17’ wall.)

CA614B24-D09F-47E2-A5F3-953E95E81CED

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Then, the layout will extend from the tv and turn right against the other 15’ wall for about 4’4” to the edge of the windows.

 

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I’m thinking about eventually extending the layout across the windows in the picture in the previous post, adding about 6’6” to the total length.

The depth of the layout will be about 24 - 30”, and will be set about 3’ off the ground, which is the height of the bar in the first picture; I’m envisioning resting that part of the layout on top of the bar, which would establish the height for the remainder of the layout. The layout would be sectional, removable, and lightweight, made out of foam insulation board a la Tony Koester’s “Wingate” layout in the Jan-April 2020 issues of MR.

This doesn’t give me much room, but it’s all I’ve got and the only place I have to put any kind of layout. These are just preliminary thoughts, and probably subject to a great deal of change as I get deeper into this. Obviously there isn’t any room for large locos, varnish passenger trains, or long freights, and operation will be limited to slow speed switching of no more than 2 or 3 small industries at most...but then that’s my primary interest anyway.

More to come as I research and ponder more about this.

 

With 17 ft on the long wall, you will have room for more than 2-3 small industries.     Or you may have a bigger one.     I'm thinking that most of the industries would be building flats against the backdrop hence taking up very little real estate on the layout surface.

I think you have ample space to do what you have suggested. The only concern I would have, is since this would be a dual function area is some kind of air filtration setup to remove the nicotine when you are tootin' on cigars and not trains! That stuff is insidious, and sooner or later it gets on everything.

Simon

My new layout is being built for this purpose. I can do both switching and just run a train. Single track main with a yard and 3 sidings for switching.

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I am working on a variation of Tony Koester's Wingate. 4' wide with buildings wrapped around the layout. Still planning.

Dick

It occurs to me that in the corner under the TV an industrial area like this would fit:

       IMG_0585

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Sounds great Kyle!  You can have a lot of fun operating a switching layout on your own or with a few buddies once that's allowed again.

I built my modern-era switching layout in ~5ft sections and it's been in 4 basements so far, configured as space permitted.  I have a few larger industries with multiple car spots but if you prefer an earlier era, maybe a few more smaller industries could work fine too.

Here's my track plan today:

GHR Feb 2020

I am very lucky to have a 39ft x 25ft basement space. But any of my switching areas could be a stand-alone layout in a space such as yours I think, with a bit of adjustment. Maybe a detachable narrow shelf on one end of one of these industrial areas could allow some extra switching headroom or an interchange with the "rest of the world".   

Here's a playlist with a few clips of switching ops back when I could have people over:

https://www.youtube.com/playli...pWGXAKZmSQ1c-zvvdOnz

Pete 

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While space constraints are different, here is my approach for a 12 x 12 U that could easily be straightened out:

Storage Room Gargraves Phase 1a extended

 

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Simon Winter posted:

You would have to ditch the two lobes at the bottom. They wouldn't fly in 2 rail, but the rest would work.

Simon

Why?  There are circuits to deal with reversing loops.

palallin posted:
Simon Winter posted:

You would have to ditch the two lobes at the bottom. They wouldn't fly in 2 rail, but the rest would work.

Simon

Why?  There are circuits to deal with reversing loops.

The RADIUS is the problem! Guessing it would be about 18".

Simon

Yes; in two rail O scale a tight radius is considered to be about 40”. That translates to an 80” diameter circle; just a tad under 7 feet. Atlas O Scale  SW’s can negotiate maybe a 36” radius if the track’s real nice and you lay in a transition curve. Forget about road power at that radius. Turnbacks are space eaters in two rail!! 

 

FWIW my 2R layout above has 36" radius curves in staging and at the end of the peninsula. All my 4-axle Atlas and brass Diesels, and freight cars up to 73ft Centerbeams run around them with no issues.

I just avoid the need in my ops scheme to couple or uncouple in those hidden  areas.

Pete

I would do two things:

Instead of a specific loop at the end I would incorporate them into to track plan to be more hidden.  And creates more space for industy or spread things out.Capture 

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Sorry for the long delay in responding to all of you provided feedback on this inquiry. I tried to post a response to all of you when this conversation was active, but for some reason that response failed to go thru, so my apologies. I really appreciate your answers and taking the time to provide your thoughts. Still planning, and am drawing up a list of structures from various sources. My layout will be Transition-era and will incorporate smaller industries, with some use of building flats; I do like the “shadow box” concept that Todd Architectural Models has developed.

My thanks again to all of you.

@Kyle Evans posted:

... I do like the “shadow box” concept that Todd Architectural Models has developed ...

Can't recommend this enough. TAM's work is nicely detailed and well made. And with an accessible interior that's just deep enough to place 2 or 3 figures front-to-back, you can create terrific mis-en-scene with genuine 3-dimensionality.

If it's in the budget, do it and never regret it.

- The Other Guy

It's late and I just skimmed the responses.  My BAD.  But, in OST several years ago, there was a series of articles about a well designed switching RR in 2-rail.  Could have been more than several years but it is worth looking up.

Ed

@Ed Kelly posted:

It's late and I just skimmed the responses.  My BAD.  But, in OST several years ago, there was a series of articles about a well designed switching RR in 2-rail.  Could have been more than several years but it is worth looking up.

Ed

OST?

Ed, you might be thinking of Mike Culham's series on small layout design and build?  He's been a big influence on my work over 20+ years, and I've been fortunate to operate on several of his layouts.    

Pete

More food for thought: In addition to his series on building a layout, Mike Culham also wrote an article, "Layout in a Small Space: 11' x 19'," which appeared in the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of OST.  The article shows designs for two point-to-point switching layouts; #6 turnouts are used.      

Last edited by Juniatabilt

Kyle:

If you'll accept a point to point trackplan w/no turning provisions, choose your track system carefully, your engine(s) and rolling stock likewise, I think you can have a superb urban industrial switching layout in that space using the Hi-Rail approach with 3-rail or even 2 rail scale.

A LOT can be done with the urban theme and 17' plus part of those 15'walls in O scale. Given the crowded nature of urban railroading, you'll be justifying tight confines and track density. Win-win. In fact, you can probably do it with 24" to 30" deep benchwork and save a lot of space for "living" in the same room.

Best of luck to 'ya!

Andre

@Kyle Evans posted:

I’m thinking about eventually extending the layout across the windows in the picture in the previous post, adding about 6’6” to the total length.

The depth of the layout will be about 24 - 30”, and will be set about 3’ off the ground, which is the height of the bar in the first picture; I’m envisioning resting that part of the layout on top of the bar, which would establish the height for the remainder of the layout. The layout would be sectional, removable, and lightweight, made out of foam insulation board a la Tony Koester’s “Wingate” layout in the Jan-April 2020 issues of MR.

This doesn’t give me much room, but it’s all I’ve got and the only place I have to put any kind of layout. These are just preliminary thoughts, and probably subject to a great deal of change as I get deeper into this. Obviously there isn’t any room for large locos, varnish passenger trains, or long freights, and operation will be limited to slow speed switching of no more than 2 or 3 small industries at most...but then that’s my primary interest anyway.

More to come as I research and ponder more about this.

 

 It is better to raise the layout to, imo, 48". Some even advocate eye ball level. That's fine with no kids involved. I like 48" for the reasons, it's easier to "look down the street" at. eye level and it's easier to crawl, I am 72, under the layout.

Dick

Thanks for the further responses, everyone. I’ve seen Mike Culham’s superb layouts on the Facebook O scale/P48 group site. Will have to find those articles in OST which will no doubt make for informative reading.

Mario, some good points you raised. My stock is, with a couple exceptions, all transition era 40’ stock or shorter. Locos will be small switchers (SW, NW, or similar). The layout will definitely be point to point, there’s simply no room for anything else. It will be more of what I would describe as a “rural industrial” line, serving industries in or near a small town setting.

Dick, I’d like to set it higher than 3’, but there are some design considerations which would make it difficult to do. 

Firewood, thanks for the ideas. I’m somewhat familiar with Carl Arendt’s micro layout site, but will look some more for the O scale layout you mentioned.

Thanks again, everyone.

Skimming the posts, I didn't see any mention of John Allen's Timesaver layout.  It's a classic design, and I've seen it done (by John Coy) in 3-rail as a portable layout that is about 2' by 6'.  It can be stretched or bent to fit the space.  Since there aren't any sharp curves, I expect that it could be done in 2-rail O in about the same footprint.    

Mallard4468,

If you look closely at the track plan that I provided, you will see a Timesaver on the left and an Inglenook on the right.  Theory of operations would be you build a train in the Inglenook, deliver it to the Timesave, return the empties to the Inglenook.  The connection to the world provided by the car ferry would supply new rolling stock for the next cycle and retrieve the old, a mix of empties and loads from the island.

Or Chuck Yungkurth’s Gum Stump & Snowshoe line, which I believe dates back to the 60’s. A correspondence friend of mine up in Pennsylvania built an O scale version of this some decades back, about 16’ L x 18” W, based on WM and Cumberland & Pennsylvania operations...said he had a lot of operational fun with it.

Yes; in two rail O scale a tight radius is considered to be about 40”. That translates to an 80” diameter circle; just a tad under 7 feet. Atlas O Scale  SW’s can negotiate maybe a 36” radius if the track’s real nice and you lay in a transition curve. Forget about road power at that radius. Turnbacks are space eaters in two rail!! 

 

Ahem *polite cough*

Here's my Atlas SD40 on 36" radius curves, with an MTH Centerbeam as first freight car. Most Atlas 2-rail stuff I've seen will take 36" curves - in terms of diesels & freight cars, anyway. Steam locos will be another matter.

https://youtu.be/YdhXghlga04

My layout is 17ft x 8ft - small space on your side of The Pond but quite generous here in the UK.!!

Here's one of the spurs along the one 17ft side, under construction....

20200111_210732

You can still see (for now) the mortal remains of an HO layout that used to be on this benchwork!!!

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@Kyle Evans posted:

Or Chuck Yungkurth’s Gum Stump & Snowshoe line, which I believe dates back to the 60’s. A correspondence friend of mine up in Pennsylvania built an O scale version of this some decades back, about 16’ L x 18” W, based on WM and Cumberland & Pennsylvania operations...said he had a lot of operational fun with it.

You could also do some urban railroading like the Baltimore inner harbor where those 0-4-0 "docksiders" ran or NY's Bush Terminal or one of the California waterfront railroads. 

I have a track plan from my parents home town that, in about a linear half mile of track, had elevated coaling pockets, meatpacking plants and abbatoirs, a fruit distributor as well as foundries with tracks crossing each other and a good number of buildings with sidings entering them.   In later years the wooden elevated coal pocket even had SWs shoving single Center Flow cars of materials up onto it for bulk unloading.

One could easily have enough track and structures crammed in a switching layout to spend all days kicking cars.

You might also want to look for the old Model Railroader that has the issue on the Milwaukee Road's Kingsbury branch in Chicago.

That's another great example of something that could be compressed for O scale. 

Last edited by Rule292

Yes; in two rail O scale a tight radius is considered to be about 40”. That translates to an 80” diameter circle; just a tad under 7 feet. Atlas O Scale  SW’s can negotiate maybe a 36” radius if the track’s real nice and you lay in a transition curve. Forget about road power at that radius. Turnbacks are space eaters in two rail!! 

 

I beg to differ.  In designing an industrial area on my layout I tested Atlas SWs for minimum radius.  The SW8 will negotiate a 17" radius curve but you need about 24" to couple a 40 foot car and 23" to couple a 34 foot tank car.   I ended up with 26" radius for better reliability.  My Iron Horse Models (Precision Scale) SW1 needs 22 inches or the universal joints become disconnected.

Real EMD SW series locos were designed for 100 foot minimum radius (25" in O scale).

From the Southern Pacific SW1500 operators manual:

"Truck swing limits single unit curve negotiation to a 60 degree or 100 ft. radius curve.

Two units coupled are limited by footboard clearance to a 38 degree or 154 ft. radius curve.

Locomotive coupled to a 50 ft. car is limited by coupler swing to a 40 degree or 146 ft. radius curve."

Last edited by Jim Scorse

If you haven't done so, check out Neville Rossiter's layouts. I say layouts, because he has done several over the years. His current effort is based around a steel mill. He posts here under the tag: Roo

You WON'T find many that are better.

Simon

Last edited by Simon Winter
@Juniatabilt posted:

More food for thought: In addition to his series on building a layout, Mike Culham also wrote an article, "Layout in a Small Space: 11' x 19'," which appeared in the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of OST.  The article shows designs for two point-to-point switching layouts; #6 turnouts are used.      

Mike Culham did a follow-on six-part starting with the Jan/Feb 2005 (Run #18) OST. It's a good read.

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