Starter HO 4x8 Track Plans

Discussion in 'General' started by trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017), Mar 27, 2016.

  1. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    A lot of people get into the hobby with HO scale, 4 x 8' layouts. Since that's how I started out, I thought it would be good if aspiring HO modelers had a thread for HO scale, 4 x 8 track plans.

    Look at an image of the Mobile yard on google maps.!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0xfe049db296d86065
    The area is basically flat so modeling terrain isn't necessary. More importantly, the site is U-shaped. Because of that, it could easily be modeled on a 4 x 8 panel. Since I prefer layouts with a running loop, I drew up a plan with a curve on the top/north end to make an oval. My plan includes a representation of the yard, a site for the office (if someone were to want to tackle scratch-building or kit-bashing it), the Alabama State Docks Truck Control Site, the ELG Metals site, the Buchanan Lumber site, as well as parts of Telegraph Rd.
    This plan could easily be expanded later by modify the north curve. For this "starter" plan, I used Atlas Code 100 Snap Track with 22" radius curves. The siding for Buchanan Lumber is a piece of flex track, but true beginners might prefer using snap track instead. Even though my current layout is a little larger, because it's still an oval, I thought about using this idea myself before opting for something a little closer to my area instead.

    I hope other forum members will contribute original 4 x 8 plans, and/or provide links to other 4 x 8 plans.

    HO 4x8 Track Plan for AT&N/SLSF/BN/BNSF/AGR @ Mobile, AL
    Mobile, AL Yard.GIF
    Ozarktraveler and The_Kid like this.
  2. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Here's a shot of the original Zalma Branch in it's 4x8 beginning. Only two spurs but plenty off scenic opportunities and a bit of operational play.
    yardmaster, RogerRT, The_Kid and 5 others like this.
  3. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Jim, I like how your straights on the left weren't parallel to the edge and that the right side has a bend in it rather than it being entirely straight. That track plan gives something different on each side. It looks like you used a 22" radius curve on the near end and an 18" radius curve on the far end or something similar. Your backdrop and scenery clearly help to divide the layout into at least 4 scenes. This was a great 4 x 8. It's a great example of how much can be accomplished on a 4 x 8. Thank you for the reply.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Jim's layout is an epitome of doing a lot in a small space. His Swampeast Missouri Zalma Br is a great reminder of railroading and the drainage work which occurred during the early part of the last century. Allowing the track to wander away from the layout edge or the room wall is a great illusory tool.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  5. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Jim's layout has expanded considerably since this photo was first posted.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  6. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Hi, Brandon.
    Question - what software are you using for your track plan?
  7. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Very good looking trees!
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    His trees, stumps and scenery are among the best in the hobby. He aint shabby in the model building either, whether it buildings on rolling stock. Some of the best trees on my MRR came from him LOL. Thanks Jim!!
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  9. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    As always, you guys are the most kind folks of all. This is a great thread in that many folks have limited space but a 4x8 can really be a very rewarding layout. I was able to cut mine into sections when I expanded to a point to point layout so a 4x8 can be a testing ground for a larger project. I modeled specific scenes and was able to incorporate them into a larger version of the prototype. It's a perfect way (if that's possible) to refine scenery methods.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  10. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Bruce, I use the old Atlas Right Track Software 8.0. There are newer versions out but 8.0 is the only version I've used. I have also used Atlas Track Planning Software a little, but I went back to RTS 8.0 because it seems a little more simple to me. I have both installed on my PC. I could post a link for RTS 8.0, but I am hesitant to endorse any download source for fear of one having a virus. If you're just starting out, I would suggest that you go ahead and get the ATPS directly from I like it's 3D view and other features.
    Ozarktraveler and mark like this.
  11. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    I used * and liked * Right Track software back in the days when it came on a floppy disk! But I'm a Mac user now, so there's not a way for me to install it now (without lots of hoops to jump through). I'm using Abracadata's Empire Express, and really like it. I did a quick search, and they may be defunct. But it appears some folks have it as a download.
  12. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Bruce Adams and Ozarktraveler like this.

Share This Page