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Hi All
Newbie alert...

Good news: I've got permission from the wife to build myself a model train layout!
Even better news: She likes the idea and may even help build and design scenery and stuff.
Bad news: I don't have much room, and the wife thinks it will lead to clutter


I had a 16ft x 4ft HO Hornby/Lima layout when I was a kid (20+ years ago), but know nothing about what's available these days, and have never used N gauge.

A standard 8x4 layout looks like it's going to be too big for me, unless I hang it from the garage roof on pulleys so it can be lifted up and out of sight. So I need to start small to convince the wife this hobby will be feasible and won't clutter the place up.

I've got a 5ft x 3ft board and that looks usable in the space available, so N scale is the obvious choice.

Now to my first question:
Is a decent N scale layout possible on say a 5ft x 3ft board?
I like really long line runs, trestle bridges, tunnels, mountains, rivers, canyons, and other types of "alpine" type scenes.
I also like having lots of trains running at once.

Is my idea possible in such a small space?, and if not, how big would be a minimum and what proportions do you recommend?
Could I make it even smaller than 5x3 and impress the wife with how little room I'm taking up?

Comments, ideas, criticisms, and heated discussions invited!

Thanks
Dave.
 

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Hi Dave.
Welcome!
I have never done N gauge but it would seem the choice given your requirements.

Peco do a publication titled "Railway Modeller Book of N gauge Track Plans" or how about this site?:

http://carendt.com/

I'm sure others will have a heap of suggestions also.
All the best!


Les
 

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Hi there Dave. Welcome to the forum.

I too used to have a large OO layout (20'x8') in my youth, but thats went the usual way when jobs, girlfriends, wives, kids and morgages got in the way. I'm now looking at a n-gauge one to see me though my mid-life crises.

You seem to know what you want out of a layout and as you've had experience of what fits in OO, ask yourself if you were still modelling in OO, would your layout plans fit on a 8'x5' board? If the answer is 'yes' then it'll work in n-gauge on a 5'x3'.

Hope that helps, Al...
 

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[quote name='Al' date='22 Dec 2007, 09:38' post='42877']
Peco also do other books of track-plans. The Setrack planbook is fine but uses only setrack components. If you want some further ideas i recommend Peco's 'N Gauge Track Plans' by C J Freezer (starts with 4' x2') and '60 Plans for Small Locations' also by Freezer. The latter is scaled for OO, but simply reduce dimensions by 2/3rds - (you could half dimensions but it just doesn't look right). It starts off with 4' 6" x 3' 3" in OO which will scale out at roughly 3' x 2'2" at two-thirds scale for N. I model in N and 009 and use this book for ideas.
Regards
David Y
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys.
Sounds like a decent layout is easily do-able.
In fact, I realised that if I hinge the table to a wall in the garage I can get a fold down 6x5 layout. Any problems with such an idea? How much height would I roughly have to leave for the backdrops (if any)? I can probably afford for it to stick out about 1ft.
But then it would be too big to fit in the car for transport or generally playing with in other locations. Pros and cons of large fixed vs small and transportable?
Starting small and getting some practice probably isn't a bad idea before moving up to a larger and more permanent layout I guess.

What about all this fancy software available these days to plan layouts, like "3rd Planit" http://www.eldoradosoft.com/3pi.htm
Worthwhile?

To come up to speed I'd better read some books. The track plan ones for starters, but what about other "beginner" publications?, any "bibles" of N guage that are a must-have?, and magazines? (I'm in Australia)

What about DCC? sounds cool, but how many locos have the controller in them? Hard hard is it to retrofit if they don't? Worthwhile for a small layout?

I'm sure that's the start of a bunch of questions...

Thanks
Dave.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 22 Dec 2007, 11:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Beats buying a motorbike (& a lot safer).

Already done the bike thing - '73 Triumph Trident with a custom back end (coz I've only get short legs)


Railway layout is definatly safer, although without a doubt, not cheaper...
 

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If you hinge your layout against the wall could you reach the far side of the track to put loco's back on when they derail? I tried one of the Peco plans and wondered why it didn't work. Then I found out that the points are 22.5% and the diamond crossing is 25%, creating a dog-leg on the track. I wonder if Peco changed the track geometry since the track plans book was first published.
I have the free Xtrkcad track planning software. It's not too difficult to use.
As for dcc, some loco's only need a drop in decoder to convert, other older loco's need 'surgery' to fit them. See http://www.trainbuddy.com/Reference/decodi...ngines/N440.htm for one of the most difficult loco's to convert. If the loco says dcc ready, then you shouldn't have too many problems.
 

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I buy my Kato track from the Ebay shop, Plaza Japan. It's about half the price of MG Sharp as long as you don't go over the £18.00 duty/tax free import limit. Delivery only takes about 9 days, a lot quicker than some of the UK sellers on Ebay.
 

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Hi Dave and welcome.

I notice that someone has already mentioned Kato track, but have you considered the Fleischmann "Piccollo" track. This also has built in road bed and has a wide range of sections available.

Regards
 
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