O Gauge Track Plans

This post was written by Scott
Posted Under: Model Train Layouts
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Far from being limited to a simple oval design, the configuration of model train track layouts is only as limited as your imagination and the amount of space you are willing to dedicate to it.  Resources abound online, in print, and in hobby stores, providing both materials for construction and guidance for designing track configurations.

Whether you want to keep it simple or want to push the limits of track design and really wow your friends, your options are endless.

If you are having trouble coming up with a layout design it might help to first make some decisions about what, if any, theme you might want to work with (Christmas village, wild west, etc.) and any features you would like to include such as tunnels, hills, or buildings.  Deciding on features and starting to acquire the needed materials might help to guide your layout decisions.

Online you can find countless examples of layouts and designs made and shared by fellow enthusiasts, forums in which you can seek advice, resources for buying materials, and even software that enables you to first create a virtual mock-up of your design before committing to physical construction.  It can be quite an expensive hobby, but with a little creativity you can find ways to improvise and incorporate found materials to save a little money.

Your layout can consist of anything from a simple rural landscape to a scene replete with intricate model buildings, people, and trees, to a surreal alien cityscape if you so desire.  If this is your first time designing and constructing a model train track layout, spend some time reading about the different types of track that are available for purchase, noting that track sections have different lengths, curve diameters, and gauges.

Though no longer as popular as it once was, O gauge remains a fairly common and affordable track type.  O gauge tracks use a three-rail system to guide and power the train, and can be configured in countless ways using various curves, switches, and crossings.

Numerous different manufacturers produce O gauge tracks, and though they are often compatible with one another and can be combined in the same set, it should be noted that O gauge tracks made in the United States are not always compatible with those made in Europe as they conform to different standards of measurement. If this is your first model train track layout, you may want to start simple.  Dedicate a space in your home or studio to constructing the set and housing the materials.

Come up with a simple layout to start, and decide what materials you need for the practical and decorative elements.  Remember once you get a feel for designing layouts and putting them together you can always go bigger, investing more time and money as you progress, making more intricate layout designs, more realistic sets, or more exciting ones!

Many elements such as model buildings can be purchased, though if you enjoy creating models yourself then doing so could both add an element of fun and save you some money in the long run.

Of course many shoot for realism in their designs, evoking a particular historical period and/or a particular region, using very specific model trains appropriate to the era.  That’s not to say that you couldn’t include elements of any type of craft/design/engineering that interests you, incorporating anything from real plants to complicated Rube Goldberg machines of your own design.

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