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Does anybody know a good source for G scale layout plans? I have an outdoor area approx 120ft x 9ft and I'm looking for inspiration and options before designing my own plan. Thanks.
 

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Your 9' width is a major limitation. What type of train and era are you interested in modeling? A lot of 1:20.3 ( narrow gauge) and 1:29 (pseudo standard gauge) requires a 10' diameter as a minimum to not look too toy like. My 1:29 USAT streamliners and Aristo heavy weights will run on my 10' diameter curves, but a critical look as they enter the curves says that they aren't looking even a little prototypical. Logging and mining trains with geared or small engines and short wheel based cars would would also work in 1:20.3 on a layout with less than 9' diameter curves. LGB, Delton (reborn as Aristocraft classics), and HLW are made for tighter curves, less than 8' diameter and don't look bad in a layout with tighter curves. Those scales are in 1:22.5 and 1:24.


A little more information about what you want in a railroad will help us help you


Chuck
 

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You might take a look here at what (Loco) Lee Wheelbarger did in 8 by 65 feet, notice the 2 levels. There's 3% grades linking the two levels. All SS track, DCC, and block signalling and detection. There's also auto routing for unattended running. You can even control the layout by a smart phone.
 

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I'm in the process of migrating out of the garage (having modelled British OO guage for the past 3 years) into the garden for the first time. The 9' by 120' area is part of a 'bush' block (I live in Sydney, Australia). There is some slope on the width so I will have to elevate the lower length slightly which I'm intending to do by mounting the track on embankment created by stone walling blocks. I'm looking to model USA standard gauge 1950s+ and I'm happy to keep this broad because I want to build up a variety of locos and rolling stock. At this early stage in my G scale experience my priority is for functionality. Therefore as long as the locos don't jump a curve then I'm happy enough. At a later stage I have the option of running a spur into a different section of the garden which is much larger and square in shape but the 9'x120' area is it for now. Thanks for your help.John.
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 18 Mar 2011 09:30 PM
You might take a look here at what (Loco) Lee Wheelbarger did in 8 by 65 feet, notice the 2 levels. There's 3% grades linking the two levels. All SS track, DCC, and block signalling and detection. There's also auto routing for unattended running. You can even control the layout by a smart phone.


Wow! how many thousands of dollars does it cost to have someone build something like that?
 

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I don't entirely understand the space limitation, so forgive me for asking one more time: Is there ANY possible way to fit 10' diameter curves into this space? You could go with a dogbone design where the middle area is narrow but if you could squeeze in 10' diameter curves at the ends it would really expand what you can run.

Regardless, with such a long length you could come up with some really interesting track plans. I'd probably go with a folded over dogbone, so you'd have a continuous mainline that essentially runs around the entire area twice on two levels. (You can search Google Images for examples of this track plan).
 

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Our layout has some 8 foot diameter curves on it, out of necessity--we fit the railroad into an existing garden, which was probably a mistake, but we had a really beautiful and elaborate garden already and wanted to keep it.

Most stuff will run on an 8 foot curve, but it won't look right.

On our layout, the tightest curves are partly hidden, so the unrealistic tightness is less obvious.



If you run smaller stuff, they not only look better, they run better. We like to run mid 20th century standard gage, and over time, I've downsized some of our rolling stock--I downsized an aristo Mikado into a 2-8-0, and an aristo Pacific into a 4-4-2. I replaced a three bay coal hopper with two bay hoppers, and 50 foot boxcars with 40 foot. They just look better on our layout. On another layout the bigger stuff would look great. My experience suggests that if you want a good, convincing mainline standard gage look, you need really wide curves. But from watching people visit our layout for years now, I'd say people find small charming, and smaller rolling stock often elicits a lot of delight from visitors. If i were to start again from scratch, I'd design the garden and the RR at the same time




In general, if you model a narrow gage railroad, tight curves look better. I'd think some about what "look" you want.
 

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John,

A track plan is a track plan. There is no real scale to them. You can scale them up or down to whatever you want. So just look at any track plans you can find, then decide what you like as a basic plan.

Now go to an office supply store and buy one of those planning pads that have a square grid. Make each square represent say 6 inches, or whatever you can fit. Mark out the size you want as a boundary. Starting with your ideas from the previous paragraph sketch in some track plans until you have something you really like. Now you have a starting point.

Hope this helps.
 

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Another thing to consider is that your curves don't have to be completely circular! You can use a larger radius heading into the curve and by using a smaller radius at the middle of the curve and then gradually widening it out again to the exit, you make a parabolic arch that will allow for larger curves in a small area. Then, by strategically placing some vegetation, rock formation or combination of both, you can hide the tightness of the curve and will have a visually interesting layout! I have done this with 10 ft. radius curves going to a small section of 5 ft. radius (2 sections ) in order for it to fit my layout and then "hidden" it with the track going behind and under a hibiscus bush! It works well and even better, it doesn't look weird!
 

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If both ends don't allow for larger curves then you have a perfect layout for a point-to-point (P2P) setup with two head stations and maybe one middle station, with a passing siding and maybe one or two stationary siding. The two head ends could basically have up to 9 sidings. This a a very interisting opportunity for a great passenger and freight activity, with lots of shunting operation. In this P2P you can run about 10' long trains, that would give you about on either side of the center station about 40' of running track or without a middle station about 95' of running track outside the station. P2P configuration allows you to run large American rolling stock, as well as any European rolling stock.

But in 9' you can also get a standard 4 radius curves, to you can acutally have a go around course, but with 4' radius you will have to restrict yourself to smaller US style egnines or only European style rolling stock for which 4' radius is still excellent.

If you utilize 4' radius curve (or when you lay flextrack - highly recommended) you can stretch this to 4 1/2' (every little bit helps) you can still have a P2P laout where the two end stations have also a track that allows for a go-around (also known as a reversing loop). Yes this setup requires some extra technology if the reversing loop feed to the same track polarity again, or you can hide the rturn track out of side, so one sees predominantly the front line and the two stations (which in this case are about 5' inwards from the tow endpoints to make room for the loops.

If you stay with smaller rolling stock your front line can wave in and out of the front and could round mountains, go through tunnels.

120' give you a lot of opportunity and it doens't have to be 10' radius curves - you just have to match the rolling stock accordingly.

Are you by any chance in York, PA on the ECLSTS next week. Love to talk about this design, or call me and we can discuss this wonderful opportunity you have.
 

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8 foot toy like?

10 foot looks better?

Blah Blah Blah

Heck, 20 no 40 foot curves look better but how many of us have than kind of room?

Fact is JohnB has 9 foot to work with.

Using 8 foot diameter curves, John can have a running layout.

No, it won't pass the Rivet test some of you insist be adheared to, but why must we make it sound like anything under 10 feet shouldn't even be considered.

Should he just forget the idea and put in a rose garden?

If 9 feet is all he has, help him design a great layout to fit his space.

Randy
 

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Woah! Easy there Randy! We know he only has 9 ft. to work with! The same principles apply whether you are contemplating 2.5 ft. radius curves or 30 ft. radius!! The fact of the matter was that he asked all of us to help him with planning a layout. Isn't there a book (softcover) that covers G scale layout planning? (I'm almost positive I saw one at Caboose Hobbies...) As to whether something looks right.......I think we're all in agreement that, if it looks right to you, it looks right! The different opinions are just that...opinions! Treat 'em like a buffet and use the ones you want!
 

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The only person on this thread that used the term "toy-like" was Chuck and I think his post was clear, well written, honest, and helpful.

Maybe you should re-read what he said Randy, he was asking what the OP wanted to run and cautioning that things might look toy-like on tight curves.

In my opinion, watching my full length streamliners on my layout with 10' diameter curves is a bit toy-like, but it's fine for me. Others might turn their noses up.

Giving a newbie things to think about is what this is all about, warning them and helping them not make mistakes they later regret, giving them the benefit of years of experience.

I have a 9-1/2 foot diameter curve at the "R.J. DeBerg Memorial Hairpin Curve" just before a 5.5% downgrade. Does it look toylike? Yeah, kinda. Can I run a 50 car freight train through it? Yes. I'm happy.

Regards, Greg
 

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OK

A real question for John, what is your budget like? 120' long gives you a lot of room for some great operations and long main line runs (even if you have tight radius curves at the end.) Are you interested in operations or watching trains run? What would you think of a double mainline for most of that 120'? (dog bone, or ben's folded dogbone.) Do you want to run a lot of engines or are you thinking of just two or three? Do you want to run more than one train at once? What would you imagine your layout to be in ten years?

I wish I had your space.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the great replies. Taking into account what an extra 1' in width could give me, my daughter and I went out into the pouring rain (yes...it rains in Sydney) armed with a tape measure, some builders line and hope. The good news is that I reckon I can stretch to 10' at either end. In order to maintain the grade it will mean sinking some wooden piers into sandstone bush rock and having part of the curves on elevated wooden sections. My preference at this stage is running and watching trains so I 'm happy to keep things relatively simple at this point. I have scope to expand into other parts of the garden which will offer up options for later on. I like the idea of the dogbone as the core of the layout design. If anyone does know of a G Scale layout book or website then I'm still very interested to track one down. Meanwhile I'll go the squared paper route. Thanks. John.
 

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My comment about "toy like" refers to the length of the car as it enters and traverses through a curve. If the car (passenger car usually) is too long for the curve, three things could happen. The first is that the the end will swing out such that any reasonable path between the leading car and the following car would lead a passenger to fall into the abyss between the cars. The second is when if you are looking down on a car, in the curve, the chord defined by the outside of the car permits the outside rail to be visible. The third is that it will derail. None of these situations would happen on a real railroad, hence the use of "toy like". I do not have any of the newer longer freight cars, so I don't know how they would look on a 10' diameter curve.


I just wanted John to be aware of the potential problems he might encounter with less than 9' diameter curves. Remember if his space is limited to 9', he is probably really talking about 8' diameters as the diameters are measured from the center of the track.


There are a lot of cars and engines that are available that will go through 8-9' diameter curves and look fine. I would just hate to see him build a layout that might not meet his expectations.

My recommendation has always been to use the largest diameter available for the space and then plan you trains accordingly.


Chuck


PS: My problem is that after I built my layout with 10' diameter curves, then USAt and Aristo came out with their streamliners and heavyweights. That I could deal with, but then Accucraft had to develop an Allegheny that will require a 20' minimum. Such is life.
 

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John,

My comment is to not get too hung up on the "scale" of the track plan...it's really debatable if that term has any meaning to a track plan. I'd just search on dogbone or folded dogbone layout plans and see what you get. Since most US standard gauge is 1:29 scale and that is 3 times the size of HO scale (1:87) you could take HO track plans...multiply all the lengths and diameters or radii by 3 and get a layout that would have the same proportion as an HO plan (might have to use flex track as not all the equivalent radii are necessarily available in large scale). I have done this myself using an old book of HO track plans...and then once I had the characteristics I liked from the published plan, I then deviated and customized a few things.

The comment about getting a pad of graph paper and drawing the space to scale and sketching what looks good is a great suggestion. I will say that I tend to try to cram TOO much in when I do that but it's still a good exercise.

Also, just a thought, but I can see that the ends where your curves are to turn the trains around (if that's what you decide you want to do) will probably have to be planned more thoroughly than the long straight section where you may just be able to decide where the track will go as you lay it.

Maybe take some garden hose out and lay it about and try to visualize it as the track. Planning on paper is fine..but there's also a very real 3-D aspect to this that you should try to estimate/experience as well.

I realize my advice here is not very concrete...but I hope it helps. I'd just advise you to look for inspiration rather than "the plan".
 

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I think books of track plans aren't common in the garden because so much depends on the environment.

8 ft diameter? Even Madam Mallet does 8 ft diameter curves semi-gracefully.

So here's what you do: Get some track and put it on the ground and get a train running. Look around here and see what others have done. Visit their web sites. Get a couple Garden Railways magazines and see what people have done there. Look over your space. Maybe visit a couple gardens and see what they've done. Then wander out to your space and puzzle over it for a while. See what the wife thinks. While you're doing all this, be sure to get out and run your train often. Before long, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you want to start and how to go about doing it. It'll be fun.
 

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I like to direct your attention to my post. In particular with waving in/out main line over the majority of the 120 ', two end stations, and the return hidden by plants from the eyes with even a potential siding so that you don't see the same train disappearing and at the other end reappearing. This could be handled like a "hidden" station that HO scale very often use underneath the main level.

Try to make a lot of landscape, and work with your existing environment. Too often I see that poeple take their childhood experience of a tabletop HO layout and put the tabletop into the garden - just larger. That is missing an opportunity for a more realistic operation.

Of course it would help to see a photograph of you backyard area where you are going to place your layout.

Also you can consider instead of going across all the way 10' wide to run more along the perimeter of your property and utilize even more of the sides then just the back of the property. You are more narrow, but get more runway that way too.

In addition, if you have any way to connect to a shed,, garage, or basement that would be excellent, because never underestimate the time it takes to take your rolling stock out to he layout and bring it back in again. It is so much nicer if you can make a covered storage area from where you deploy or where you return to.

In terms of prototypical....... and some of the "toy-like" comments. In European layouts based on the much smaller sizes of available garden space, they succeded to create a lot of interest and prototyical looks in these smaller spaces. So I wouldn't worry too much, however, you must restirct the desire to run non mathcing rolling stock. A BigBoy for example will not clear through your curves, some cars will also jump out of the track, so with that said, its a combination of the right rolling stock and your layout that will provide a pleasurable experience.
 
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