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There are lots of published plans for 8 ft by 4 ft layouts. One of those stretched out in both directions would be one way of doing it. Don't be tempted to take a plan for 12 ft by 8 ft and compress it. This can produce over-tight radii and other difficulties. Much better to take a design for a smaller space and stretch it. You can use larger radius curves, lengthen platforms, fit in anextra siding or just have more space for scenery.

Peco booklet "60 plans for small model railways" or similar title is good. I also have in front of me "PSL Book of Model Railway Track Plans". This has several at around your available size.

Good luck with the project, Robert.
 

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If you can build in a central operating well, then I would say do so. As I was explaining to someone else on here only a few days ago, it has two big advantages.

1. Trains going round behind you are much more realistic than having them circlng in front of you. They appear to actually go somewhere, as with the real thing. You can stop a train behind you, and bring another one on before the original one reappears later.

2. Carriages and wagons will close up as they go round curves if watched from the inside. Watched from the outside, they open up, and on small radius curves, the gaps can be so large that they look awful.

I said above a central operating well, but it does not have to be symmetrically central. There is some advantage in having more on one side where you can site a station and less on the otherside for just plain track or hidden storage sidings. In OO gauge you can get six parallel storage sidings inside a foot of width, even seven if you are careful.

Good luck with the project, Robert.
 
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