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Author Topic: HO small space  (Read 1384 times)

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« on: November 28, 2013, 10:22:50 AM »

 I am wanting to put a train in one of my Christmas displays. The problem that I am having is space since it will be built to put on an 119 x 24 counter top and I was thinking about building it out of plywood and sectioned for easy storage. I want to put an oval on each end with either two rails in the back or one rail in the back and one in the front. I understand that the ovals will have to cantilever to accommodate the necessary radius. Any ideas would be welcome!!
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2013, 11:40:49 AM »

24"? You will be very limited in loco size, and need "custom track".
The minimum turn for the loco you wish to run should be considered.

Oh.. cantilevers.. and you have ideas..3/4 might be a bit thick. But you might not need much cantilevering with that....I.M.O.the standard loop offers easy access in front, Dogbones add visually. That said. I would suggest playing with two free programs, Anyrail (limited to 50pc.) or SCARM which has a bit taller learning curve, but a great 3d view.

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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 12:19:48 AM »


I think you'll find that 2" extruded foam insulation is stiff enough and lighter than plywood. Also, the foam will let you make some details below track level, like a stream or a lake. You can split a 48" piece down the middle for the 24" width.

One problem you are going to have is turning your trains. 24" is inadequate for any kind of loop in HO. Bachmann (and most other companies) make 15" radius curves but that means an actual outside radius of nearly 32". And 15" curves will seriously limit your choices for locomotives and rolling stock. I strongly urge you to use nothing smaller than 18" radius. This will give you an outside radius of about 37.5"; I suggest that you plan on 42" width so your trains aren't quite teetering on the edge of the layout. A plunge from counter height to the floor is likely to be very hard on your train's health.

There's another consideration for you, too: How do you want to do your ends? You can basically make one single loop with parallel straight tracks between the loops or you can have a single straight track with loops and turnouts (switches) on the ends. The first will look like a giant dog bone, the second like a string with balloons on each end. The ends with the turnouts (single track connecting the loops) will create electrical problems unless you use some special wiring. That's because the rails will become dead short where the tracks connect back to themselves. This means the dog bone style will be easier to set up. You'll need a little more track for the doubled section but it will be less expensive than two turnouts. There are special units which can automatically cope with the short circuits at the turnouts if you use DCC wiring but that will cost significantly more than straight DC wiring. The cheapest and easiest way to do this would be the dog bone layout and DC wiring. I would suggest DCC wiring if you plan to expand into the hobby but not if this is just for a seasonal display and you won't actually be focusing on running trains.

I hope this has been helpful rather than confusing or discouraging. Please keep us up to date on your progress.
                                                                                                                                                                    -- D
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