While the focus of many of today's modelers is scenery and operations based on specific prototypes, walk around control and around-the-walls trackplans, there is still a lot of appeal for the classic "toy train" platform.
This plan is in line with traditional O Gauge 3-rail display layouts where the focus is often on lots of train action along with animated accessories. While the trackplan and concept has been around for decades, the plan provides larger diameter curves to accomodate today's biggest O-Gauge models.
Layout at a Glance
- Scale: O
- Size: 8x8' (96x96")
- Minimum Curve: O-36
- Minimum Switch: O-36
- Maximum Grade: none
The 8x8 platform is a common layout size for layouts like this. Construction of the platform itself is straight forward. You could follow these plans for a simple platform, or adapt the open grid platform as shown on the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Layout.
Several different manufacturers offer O Gauge track. Unlike the standard track sections in other scales, each of these lines is proprietary. Although the gauge is the same, the profile and fasteners are different. This plan was designed using templates for Atlas O sectional track. You could use another brand of track, but you may find some of the pieces are a little different.
For Atlas O, here are the pieces you'll need:
- 10" Straight - 14
- 10" Terminal Track - 3 (1 per loop)
- 5.5" Straight - 4
- 4.5" Straight - 4
- 1.75" Straight - 5
- O-72 Curve - 16
- O-54 Curve - 22
- O-36 Curve - 11
- O-54 Switch, Left - 8
- O-54 Switch, Right - 3
- O-36 Switch, Right - 1
Curve diameter is very important in an O-Gauge trackplan, as it will determine what sorts of locomotives you can run. Nearly everything produced for 3-rail trains however will run on an O-72 curve. The outer loop gives you complete freedom to run the largest locomotives out there if you so desire.
The O-54 middle loop will accomodate the vast majority of products made for 3-rail. The O-36 loop is rather tight, will be more than adequate for a short train with smaller equipment to serve a variety of action accessories located here.
Crossovers connect each of the loops and a four track yard on the middle loop can hold waiting trains, or simply display more equipment. Each of the loops should be electrically isolated to allow up to three trains to operate independently. This can be done with block control or with a command control system.
Scenery and Structures
Although this platform is filled with track, there is still room for scenery and accessories. You could fill the layout with structures of your choice.
There is also room for operating accessories - a halmark of any classic toy train layout. Everything from pipe loaders to crossing flashers could be positioned around the platform. The inner loop in particular would be a good place to locate many of the loading / unloading accessories available in O Gauge.
Whether you choose simple scenery or loads of animation, walk around command control or a central panel loaded with buttons - this platform gives you plenty of space to accomplish a lot of classic toy train fun.