Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Track Plan Adds Fun to O Gauge Model Railroad

Once you get your first O gauge train set you imagine hours of enjoyment hauling freight across the country behind a smoking locomotive.
free O gauge model railroad track plan
27" O gauge track oval on a 4x8 sheet of plywood
Then you set up the small 27-inch or 36-inch oval that comes with the set, and watch your train chase its tail. That's interesting for a couple minutes. What now? It's off to the local hobby shop to buy more track and expand your iron horse empire.
Add a couple more curves and a crossing, and you now have a figure 8. As your train runs around this track it seems to reverse itself, and crosses back and forth. Interesting for a bit longer, but still it loses its luster after a while.
What to do next? Your first step should probably be to get lumber to build a semi-permanent train table so you don't have to disassemble your track at the end of each operating session. The easiest method is to just put a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of plywood on a pair of sawhorses. For O gauge trains, we recommend 3/4-inch thick plywood. This will work for a while, but without a frame to stiffen it, even this thick plywood will eventually warp.
free O gauge model railroad track plan figure 8
27-inch figure 8 O gauge track plan on a 4x8 sheet of plywood
In later articles, we will show how to build a much sturdier train table as we explore more complex track layouts and start adding accessories.
For us, that's half the fun of O Gauge model railroading: trying to plan what to do next to make your layout even more interesting. And, there's a lot of accessories to choose from. Lionel, MTH, Atlas, and many other companies manufacture accessories ranging from buildings to create an urban environment to operating accessories that can add the action of unloading and loading train cars on your railroad.

For more visit our simple 4x8 layouts page at

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