Wednesday 24 November 2021

Small OO gauge layouts?

I'm convinced that we all get a basic idea of what we want from model railways and that stays pretty much fixed for the duration. Although I'm a scale tart, that is really only the sauce and salad, the size of the plate remains the same. My excuse, should one be needed, is that I don't have a large team of helpers, a large vehicle or a large house.  This defines what and how I build things. Of course this is utter bollocks as plenty of people shoehorn large layouts into small properties, I could ask more people and I could buy/ hire a bigger vehicle; but I don't.

Yesterday I dropped things down just about as far as they can can go and I noodled around with a Futers' Fork in 6'. As he has explained in numerous articles, this works really well, especially if your main traffic flow is multiple units. In essence you are just following the prototype in that respect. Does this satisfy? Well it did. I'm not sure whether it is an age thing, or whether my hitherto non-interest in bigger rail subjects is now being forced though reading layout/prototype articles for hours every day. I sense the later. Whichever it is I now find myself still liking the essence of small layouts and their intimacy, but it's missing something. I'm not happy with just shuffling back and forth, it needs to represent something closer to reality. The cop out of easy freelancing feels almost childlike now, even if it can't be perfect I feel as though it has to look, or at least feel, slightly more serious. Whether I can do this is another matter and small and fast may reign for a while yet.



  1. I suspect you are right. I've told myself over the years that my tendency towards tiny layouts is due to a lack of space but when I've had a bit more room I've never really got round to using it although there has been the occasional idea (eg: Nantmor to Beddgelert via Aberglaslyn Pass in my hobby room which got grabbed to be the nursery before it got to be anything more than a piece of paper).

    We'll have to see what happens when the planned house move comes to fruition as the new place will hopefully include a reasonably sized hobby room.
    I have thought in the past about a larger scale to fill a bigger space but if anything I'm more likely to go for N as it'll allow a decent run.
    Something a lot of published layout plans used to feature was more than one station...look at several plans in 60 Plans For Small Railways for examples. OK, so train lengths were severely compromised but at least the short trains went somewhere...
    Having ridden in DMUs (with a view from the front) along both the K&ES and Llangollen Railways recently has perhaps made me think a bit more along the lines of modelling a section of a railway rather than just a station or yard or whatever. I've even been wondering about the dockyard plan in "60 Plans" to run the Triang on, while that modelled a closed system at least you could pick up a wagon from a siding and move it to another some distance away.

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  3. Have to say I'm with you when it comes to exhibition layouts. What will fit the car is two baseboards roughly 4ft 6ins by 0ne foot three inches - plus lighting, legs, stock, tools a chair and other creature comforts - so that's what I tended to plan for. At some shows (Wycrail - I'm thinking you) where you may be up on the second floor and a long trek from the loading area, and facing a solo load/uload if the helper is late or has to leave early does detract from the day.

    Now with a developing room-sized home layout nearing completion, I'm starting to wonder if track cleaning before a running session will take a long time. You just can't please some folk!