need a viable track plan

i've decided to "downsize" a layout. i'm modeling On30 and have a space of 2' x 8' for a display layout. my intention is to shadowbox this layout. i am wanting to put o'neill's up front along with a couple of other O scale waterfront structures (probably scratch built), the railroad camp and truck repair will need to be fit in there somewhere, and so will the woodcutter's shack and a scratch built water tower. the layout will have a "rise" near the back of the layout with an S scale structure or two on it to force perspective. it doesn't need to be loaded with switching. it's primarily for display. that said, i do want the train operational. if any of the members here are good at track planning, your help will be greatly appreciated.


  • i should add that there is no need to put trackage up on the rise in the rear. i may end up placing a dummy track up there, but at this point i don't think it's necessary.
  • edited December 2018
    In a 2x8 space a simple switchback arrangement would fit well. This is what I am doing on one of mine.
    Think of a flattened "Z" arrangement, this can also be automated for displays with a couple of "auto-reverse" modules.

  • thanks karl. i'm working on a variation of the gum stump and snowshoe. i plan to scratch build a variation of bar mills idaho hotel in S scale for the upper level. that raises the question, how ridiculous will an O scale passenger car look stopped in front of an s scale hotel?
  • here is a image of the gumstump and snowshoe. i'm considering making the upper level a little bit skinnier and putting the S scale Idaho Hotel up there with a small station for forced perspective. my question in the last post, "how ridiculous will an On30 scale passenger car look stopped in front of an S scale hotel" is kinda critical, and i would appreciate answers from modelers that maybe have done this in the past.
    here's the image:


    Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
  • That trackplan should do what you have described, but the switchback will take away area that could be used for another that's the tradeoff with a functional trackplan.

    As for the hotel. I think what you are describing will work. You might want to consider a couple of options. First, what about making the hotel a flat? You could probably shave off 2 or 3 inches from the depth by doing this. Since you are going to narrow the upper portion, these inches might be necessary. Second, about the passenger car. I might consider using a small, open design for the car with a lowered roof to more closely match scales. I'm thinking something like a passerger/excursion car in the 18' range might work.

  • bryan,
    my intention is to scratch build the bar mills idaho hotel as a flat with about a 3" depth. at first i was just gonna put a dummy track up there, but then i saw the gum stump and snowshoe and suddenly i had a little bit of operation. i have a buddy that still has the old atlas rts on his laptop and he's fiddling with a track plan for me.
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