Track plan comments please


I am designing a new Lionel O gauge layout to be 16’x 6’. All curves O36.

Here’s a sketch I did to plan it out. Do you have any comments or suggestions, please?

How do the margins look and is the plan realistic for smooth running?

It will be landscaped as high desert. It’s my stylized version of Santa Fe, where I live. I will run mostly AT&SF as well as BNSF trains.

Grateful for your input, please! Thanks!


Answers ( 7 )


    Is this DCC?


    Looks good Bill. If you want to check the plan, you can download a free-ware version of SCARM software. It’s a good planning tool.


    Layout looks good, my only thing would be to try and add 6-12” of width so the tracks aren’t parallel to the edges (a personal preference). Otherwise looks good as the point is to have fun.


    Hi Bill and Happy New Year. Looks like you have included lots of train running, switching operations, and visual displaying of trains and accessories which is nice.
    My thought would be to put this together and run it to experience it. Make changes etc until you find the combo that just talks to you and says….yeah that’s it. This is one of the nice features of Lionel, to be able to make track arrangement changes so easily. Sometimes one can gain inspiration from using a layout designed for a smaller space and expand it to fit your larger space.
    Al and Bob have good suggestions. Try the scarm software and see if it does anything for you.
    If you don”t have room to add more layout width you could still re-arrange some of the track to remove a lot of that parallel track/board edge stuff and add some interesting angles.


    Bill, it looks good. Lionel and American Flyer tend to long straights due the older tinplate track and the lack of flexible track. What I’ve seen of Fastrack has the same limitations. It does appear that you may only be able to have one train running continuously since your loops are interconnected. I agree that laying track and running some trains before doing anything permanent is a very good idea. I’ve laid American Flyer on the floor to see what I could do before I tried to put it on a table (many, many moons ago!).
    The only real issue I can see is the 6 foot wide table will prove to be a nuisance when trying to place things in the middle of the table. My current layout is 5 feet wide by 12 foot 8 inches and trying to reach the middle has been a challenge, particularly when surveying track alignments. On the other hand, I’ve seen a couple of ingenious ladders in Al.s blog that allow you to get up close in the middle of the table. My only problem is lack of clearance under the table for the fingers that hold one in the air. Good Luck and Have Fun, Ray


    Bill, You have a lot of track there. Perhaps for the high desert setting you are aiming for that could be reduced. Flowing curves winding through the desert landscape could be looked at. A number of firms make curvable 3 rail. This could be included where needed. If you have the space, an L shaped layout might help you reduce any width issues. Have fun.


    I am building an O gauge track using tubular track, so my question and comment may not apply: You appear to have multiple switches coming together to the right of the bridge. If so, I have found I had issues with the engines derailing when the switches are so close together; I had to insert a small straight piece of track before allowing the engine to enter the next switch. If you get it to work, I am eager to find out how you accomplish it and where you put the insulating pins.

Leave an answer